The Choosing

I love to write fiction. One of my favorite things to do is to sit down with a blank screen and start typing with no idea what I’m going to write before hand. Those ideas often spring into fun amazing stories. Creating something from nothing is invigorating. It’s one of the wonderful parts of writing.

The rest of the writing process and marketing is not so much fun. I’m also very lousy at it. For a long time after I published my first book I only told close family and friends. When word spread a little farther, people would call me an author and I, sadly, would tell them that I was not. Fortunately I have changed that view and have come to love the different perspectives people have in regards to my stories. I love to hear what they think of the characters and their struggles. It has given me a greater desire to better improve my writing, and learn more of how to market and share my talent.

Today I thought I would share the beginning of a story that I started a couple of years ago. I hope to write more of it by the end of this year.

The Choosing

Gracen stood in the alley preparing himself for the heist. He was nervous and wasn’t sure why. This wasn’t the first time he’d stolen something. He had been stealing since he was twelve. This would be the most expensive item he’d ever lifted though. I can do this, he told himself. The owners knew him because he’d bought a couple of inexpensive items from them before and had browsed in the store several times. He knew they had come to trust him.

He took a deep breath and walked out of the alley and down the streets of China Town. When he got to the store front he walked in with a carefree ease that he’d done many times before. He nodded to the storeowner that was behind the counter reading a book. The man nodded to him and then went back to what he was reading.

Gracen walked lazily around the store and smoothly grabbed the expensive antique without breaking his casual stride. He continued to act bored and milled around the store for a couple more minutes as he made his way to the door. A sense of accomplishment and relief flooded him as his hand reached the doorknob. This piece would make it possible to get his mom and sister off the streets of New York.

The door squeaked as Gracen took his first step out of the store but that was as far as he got before he felt something hit the side of his head. Gracen fell to the ground stunned and in pain. Unsure of what just happened he tried to stand but someone kicked him in the gut, knocking the air out of him and causing the broken clay shards of the priceless antique to cut into his skin.

“Why, you’re a stinking thief!” The man said in surprise, when he saw the antique pieces drop from under his coat.

Gracen didn’t understand the storeowner’s surprise. Isn’t that why he attacked me, he thought as he tried to scramble for the door. The man grabbed him and lifted him up by his shirt and shoved him against the wall. Devin was surprised at the strength of the middle-aged storeowner. As much pain as Gracen was in at the moment he knew if he didn’t get away he’d be sent to Jail. Since he was only months from turning eighteen they would probably try him as an adult. With determination he started fighting and kicking to get away.

The storeowner pulled him away from the wall and smoothly torqued his right arm behind his back in such away that made him cry out and lean forward to try and relieve the pain. The Chinaman used his other arm to put Gracen in a headlock.

“After two hundred years this is who they choose to change. A lousy thief,” a feminine voice said.

A woman moved in front of him. She must be the storeowner’s daughter, Gracen thought as he struggled against the storeowner.

“Don’t even think of kicking her or I’ll break your wrist.” The man said in his ear.

Helpless to do anything Gracen watched as she held a large syringe in her hand and moved it toward his chest right over his heart.

Fear gripped him. What was in the syringe and what did she mean when she said ‘change’? Despite the pain Gracen struggled desperately to get away from the woman.

The sudden pain of the needle entering his chest was nothing compared to the burning he felt when she plunged the contents into his heart. He cried out in pain and the man let go of him. He fell to the floor and curled into a fetal position. The pain was quickly spreading throughout his body. Tears flowed unbidden from his eyes.

“Quick, we must get him into the back room before anyone sees.” The woman said. The two of them grabbed his arms and dragged him into the back.

****

Gracen woke up on a bed in a small room. I must’ve blacked out, he thought. He tried to sit up but was surprised when his body didn’t want to cooperate. After a couple of tries he could no longer keep his eyes open and drifted back into a dreamless sleep.

The sound of voices woke him, but this time he couldn’t manage the strength to open his eyes and quickly fell back into the black abyss. He got close to consciousness several more times but wasn’t able to pull himself fully awake. Finally he was able to open his eyes. An old Chinese women was sitting next to him. She put a hand under his head and lifted it enough so that he could sip from a cup. Immediately he felt a thirst that he hadn’t realized was there. He eagerly put his lips to the cup and swallowed.

He was so surprised by the unexpected bitter taste that he sputtered and coughed most of it into the old woman’s face. She calmly wiped the liquid from her wrinkled skin and then refilled the glass.

“You must drink. It will help you get your strength back,” she said as she tipped the glass toward his lips again.

This time he swallowed the bitter liquid. She gently laid his head back on the pillow. Gracen realized that he didn’t have the ability to lift it on his own.

“What did you . . . do to me?” Gracen asked, with a raspy voice.

‘There will be time to explain all of that later. Right now you need to rest.” She said as she got up to leave the room.

Gracen had never felt so helpless, not even when his dad had left them destitute. He wasn’t being restrained, yet he was completely helpless, void of any energy. I can’t even stay awake long enough to find out what they‘ve done to me, he thought as he felt himself begin to drift off to sleep again.

Hunger drove him awake this time. When he opened his eyes the storeowner was sitting next to him. He tried to sit up but only managed to lift his head.

“Good, you’re beginning to get some strength back.” He lifted a cup to his lips. “Drink it all. It has many things your body needs to recover.”

Gracen glared at the man, but did as he was told, to hungry to refuse. The china man refilled the cup twice more. Satisfied Gracen’s anger returned. “What did you do to me?”

“I’m a guardian, as was my father before me and his father. For centuries we have guarded a sacred solution. We were told to give it to the one chosen to protect this world.”

“Are you crazy.” Gracen said trying to sit up without success. “I’m as you said a thief and a 17 year old kid. I’m not up to saving the world. I can’t even help my mom and sister.”

“Look I don’t know why you were chosen nor do I agree with their choice, but you are without a doubt the man they wanted.

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