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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Divided - Excerpt

Salut from France once again. Today I was reading Divided, trying to catch up in order to continue writing the sequel, and I decided to share with you the first chapter. Seeing that you liked the prologue, made me really happy, but now I’m anxious about chapter one. Will you like it? 

I have to remind you that this is my first rough draft, so forgive me if everything is not perfect. I hope you’ll enjoy this chapter too.

I am presenting you the 1st chapter of my second book, Divided. Enjoy …

Chapter 1

I’m working the late shift and I’m tired. It was a busy week but I enjoyed the sleepless nights. You see, nights aren’t so easy on me. The moment I close my eyes and let my body relax, the dreams are coming to me. I wish I could be normal like everybody else, able to wake up and let the dreams fade away, like they never happened, like a bad memory. My dreams though are real, and as much I want they can’t fade away. They just wait to close my eyes and let my guards down so they can consume me. And I have to continue my journey either I like it or not.

No one ever explained me why and at some point I stopped wondering. I built a life in Astor too. But lately something weird is going on there and I’m trying desperately to stay here in New York.

“Big burger and fries,” Luther calls, and I have to serve my last order for the night. I hardly feel my feet and my eyes are heavy. I drink another sip of my coffee; it’s the only thing I drink these days.

“Luther, I’m leaving,” I tell to the tall, slim guy who works as a cashier. He is a nice guy but a little weird. With his long, curly, blond hair and little glasses he looks like he belongs in another era. He nods and I know it’s time to go home.

It’s raining tonight which means walking home won’t be easy, but I don’t mind. With the cold air of November brushing against my face, and the rain falling on my body, I’ll manage to stay awake. That’s good enough.

A lightning strikes and my heart skips a beat. I’m nervous lately and I don’t know why. It might be from the lack of sleep or the lack of Astor. It’s a funny thing how you can love and hate something at the same time. It makes your heart ache and the emotions emerge from you either soft and pure or harsh and dark, from the love and hate.

I grew up in both places. Here, I’m Meg Perish the waitress, Helen’s and Mark’s daughter. Brad’s sister. I’m a troubled seventeen year old girl trying to figure out what to do in her life. But there I’m Meg the weird. No wondering why I’m avoiding that place.

A lightning strikes again and the rain is heavier now. I’m all wet and trembling but I keep walking. It’s after midnight but the streets are never empty. I always preferred New York at night. You can never be alone here.

Five more blocks to reach home and the rain keeps falling on me fiercely. My clothes are soaked and I can barely move. I’d better stop. I scan the area, but there is nowhere to go. I see the entrance of building and squeeze myself against the door. I’m not fully protected from the rain but at least I’m not exposed.

The wind blows, the cars’ lights flicker, but I enjoy the bustle of the street. In some weird way, it relaxes me. My body is numb and all of a sudden … I’m back again.

The weather is nicer here although it’s winter too. Astor’s sun shines but the cold makes me feel uneasy. I’m lying on the mud under a tree and I don’t remember how I got here. I stand up and walk to the gravel road. Hopefully my long, woolen, grey coat and my black boots are not enough dirty to draw peoples’ attention.

“Let me tell you your fate,” a trembling voice calls and a wrinkled hand grabs me.
I turn only to see an old woman wearing old clothes. Her white hair falls over her shoulders, almost reaching her waist. She holds my hand.

“Let me tell you,” she insists.

“No thanks.” I try to pull my hand away, but she won’t let go. She looks at my palm. She is focused.

“You’re trouble,” she murmurs, and keep looking. “Oh … no, no, no.” The woman yells, stepping away from me. “EVIL.” Her voice is even louder now.

I run away feeling peoples’ eyes on me. I keep my hand in my coat this time. Great, one more reason to call me weird.

I reach home and lock the door behind me before I can breathe again. With my back at the door I look at my place. I had missed it a lot. It’s wooden, small but cozy. It has a small kitchen, a fire place and a wooden table. I sleep in a straw mattress near the fire.

Here in Astor, we don’t have water or toilet or even electricity. I bring my water from a well five minutes away, and I bathe in the river when the weather is good. If not, I have to carry more water and boil it on the fireplace where I also cook my meals.

It’s another era here, another world; like the places you read on fairytales with the knights, castles, princesses and kings. But in a crueler version. We have no king or queen in Astor, but we do have a dominant.

Maximus Bolt is wealthy, powerful and mean. He lives in a castle, up in a small hill, and he is in charge of everything. He is a hideous person, but no one dares to defy him. His soldiers are everywhere, making sure we obey the rules. So we keep our mouths shut and place our lives in his hands because Maximus gives us food. The bigger half he keeps it for himself, but without it we are doomed. At least that’s happening to us, the simple people, farmers, smiths, butchers, fishermen, bakers, singers and almost everyone else, well except the rich ones.

The way of life depends on your name. We have some lords and good families. Those are the people who wear the pretty clothes, use the carriages and stay warm at night. The rest of us struggle to make our livings and winters here are hard. But that’s our world.

A sound startles me and I found myself not knowing what to do. Someone is at my door knocking or better pounding. Should I answer? Fear grows inside me and I don’t know why.

“Open Meg, it’s Alena.”

I unlock the heavy iron lock I use for protection. Alena. I had really missed her. She is one of my few friends here in Astor, more like a family. If she needs me I can’t deny her my help. We have practically grew up together since her family took me under their wing. I don’t know what would have happened to me if they hadn’t found me.

I open the door eagerly letting Alena fall in my arms. She is a beautiful woman. Short with hair black as night, and her skin has the color of the copper, making a huge contrast with her greenish eyes. She is three years older than me, but she is so tiny that I always felt her like my little sister.

“Where have you been?” She demands, and I don’t know what to tell her.
I was in New York, a much prettier place than here, but not safer. I was working at the Diner and I was avoiding my dreams because of my bad feeling. I was going home to my little apartment in the city to get warm and watch TV while eating frozen food, but my tiredness betrayed me and so I came back. None of that would ever make sense to her, and so I found myself telling her. “I was trying to find a job at the mines.”

Her eyes widen. “Are you crazy? You went to that village alone? Remember what daddy used to tell?”

I remember Tai Blackman clearly. He was a good man. Too bad pneumonia took his life. Nothing is the same since his death.
“We never travel alone in winter,” we say together.

I lock the door again and Alena lights a fire. It’s very cold here and it’s harder when I have days to come back. I’ll get used to it eventually.  

Alena avoids to look at me and that proves she’s troubled. “What happened?” She can never lie to me.

She paces the room, still wearing her fur. It’s a rare red fur she inherited by her grandmother. It looks old, but it’s still a beautiful piece. With small moves she leaves the fur on the wooden chair. She is different. She’s thinner and her eyes are red.

“Tell me what happened,” I insist because I know she won’t tell me otherwise. “Did something happen to your mother? Is Emilia alright?”

“Mom is fine and Maya too.”

“Is it the food?” I feel nauseous. How could I be so selfish? I left them and I never thought how much they need me, how much we need each other here. But that feeling was too much to handle. What should I have done?

She moves slowly near the fire. “I think I’m in trouble,” Alena admits, and I see a glimpse of sorrow in her eyes.

“What do you mean?” I can count all the weird scenarios. Maybe they caught her stealing bread again. I keep telling her to stop, but she just can’t deny her grandmother a hot loaf of bread. Or maybe is that man, the one who wants to marry her, but of course she refuses. She is in love with Daren Scot, but he is rich and his family forbid him to be with her. Is that it? Is Daren who troubles her? “Tell me.”

“It must be true.” Her voice is low and I struggle to listen. “Something weird is happening for months. I think Maya was telling the truth all along. Maybe she isn’t crazy after all.”

Alena stops talking, but my mind is spins. Could it possibly be truth? Since I live in two worlds, I can be more persuasive for what people can do. Alena will probably think I’m crazy if I tell her that people can talk to each other from distance. Don’t even mention cell phones and the Internet. But what she is suggesting, I don’t even think is possible.

“I’m telling you, it’s the truth.”

“Say it.” I want to hear it from her lips.

Alena’s green eyes are fixed on me and her lips move slowly as she speaks. “Meg, I think I’m a witch.”

The words hitting me like a storm although I knew from the beginning what she was suggesting. She made it clear enough when she mentioned her grandmother, Maya–an old lady who always talks about witchcraft and spells and how things used to be once. People in town think she is a lunatic and frankly, I don’t blame them.

Could Alena be a witch? I wonder, but I don’t speak a word. Her eyes are still on mine but neither of us speaks.

I believe in two worlds because I’m living on both. I can even believe that maybe there are more worlds. And I certainly can believe in technology and guns, atomic bombs, robots and cloning, but can I believe in magic? Should I believe in ghosts too? “I don’t know how to react.”

“I know. It’s too much to handle.”

She walks towards the fire and my eyes follow her. I’m still processing her words but I can’t accept it. Or can I? Alena was always a weird person and so was I. That’s why we were so good together. Only I knew that my behavior was because of my dreams. 

Could she have her own secrets? That could explain some things. I watch her stand by the fireplace with her palms open towards it. “What are you doing?”

She moves her lips, but I don’t hear her. I take a step so I can see her eyes. They are closed, clearly concentrating on whatever she’s doing. I walk closer but the flames explode and I take few steps backwards. My heartbeat accelerates.

She turns her head towards me and lifts her eyebrows. “Do you believe me now?” She asks and I see the flames still getting bigger.

“You did this?”

“I did this, Meg, as I can do a lot more. I’m a witch and I think this isn’t going to stop if I keep ignoring it.” She sits on the wooden chair and stares at me.

There is more? I wonder, but before I can talk, a familiar feeling consumes me and I know that my time is up. The scenery starts fading and my vision is blurry. I can still see Alena’s lips moving. She frowns. What is she telling me? Seems serious. I blink, trying to see clearly, but a bright light blinds me.  

When my eyes adjust I’m back in New York. The rain has stopped but I’m still standing in the same place, pressed against the door. I’m freezing. How long have I been gone? No one can tell me. I always lose time when I dream, but this was not a normal dream. Something’s wrong.

The sun is about to rise and I lost enough time already. Now though I know that I can’t avoid Astor. Alena wanted to tell me something and I must go to her. But when? I can’t control my dreams.  

I shake the thoughts away and start walking home. What is Alena thinking now? If someone could explain me. But who am I kidding, this is a road I have to walk alone, and right now I know it’s time to go home.

What do you think? Is the story keeping your interest? Feel free to write your thoughts. 
Thanks for reading. 


  1. I love that in one of the realities she's considered weird. I also really enjoy the huge technology contrast between inhospitable and the current timeline. I'm curious about the king and what other magic you plan to include. We have a time traveler of sorts and a witch. Is her quest to stop moving back and forth in time or simply figure out why she's doing it or is it now to help her friend because she senses trouble is on the way? I think you did a good job of giving the MC a reason to want to return to the past; she needs to take care of her loved ones.

    The story certainly holds my attention. I light up with every detail about the past, like her friend's red fur.

    Thanks for sharing your work. You have lit a fire under my fingertips. It's still slow-going but I'm happy to be writing again. I hope you get to return to it soon!

    1. Thanks for reading this, Robyn. It makes me happy that the story keeps your interest. I want to continue the sequel and I hope to edit Divided soon.

      I feel the fire under my fingertips too.
      I wish luck and happy writing.
      I hope to read one of your stories soon. :)

  2. This is good. I read through the prologue again before reading this chapter. Living in two worlds is one concept I enjoy in the story. And I think I like both Megs. Witches? Well, I think the other world holds my interest more. I want to see what happens to Alena and Meg. Would she master her ability of switching into different worlds? That's one question that makes me want to read more.

    And you have a character named Maximus. I also have a character named Maximus in my new project. Coincidence! :)

    Thanks for sharing this, Athina. Have a wonderful weekend! :)

    1. Hehe Maximus is a nice name. Is yours a bad guy too? Astor is a very interesting place indeed.
      I'm glad you enjoyed this, Kaykay.
      Thanks for reading.

      How your new project is going? The month is about to end. :)

    2. Yeah, he's the bad guy for now because the MC hates him. He's actually the King of the place where my story is set.

      Haha. The month is about to end. I'm currently at 62,500 words. I hope I can finish it before the next weekend. :)

    3. Well, he is a bad guy, his name is Maximus and he is a king. My Maximus is the dominant in Astor, which is something like a king. That's a coincidence!

      I hope you manage to finish it.
      Keep writing. Have a great weekend.

  3. Hey!

    First, let me tell you that you have an amazing talent for story telling. About mid-way I was complete captivated by this story.

    This is a unique idea an I think it has a lot of potential. It needs some editing, but I know this is just the rough draft....and that alone was fabulous. Just be careful of over using the pronoun "I". It can become redundant.

    Love all the setting detail. It was just enough to help set the stage but not some much that it bogged the story down.

    I liked how he "faded back" to NY in the middle of her bfriend's big news. And I'm curious as to what is going to happen.

    Please keep working on this because it is excellent so far!

    1. I smile wide reading your comment. :D
      Divided needs editing and I have to work a lot, but I was so fascinated by the idea and I wanted to share it.

      Thank you for reading and for your wonderful
      comment. :)

      I'm glad you liked it and it captivated you. I love this project so much and I have started its sequel too.

      I will keep working on it.

      Have a great weekend.

  4. Oh, you've definitely hooked me, Athina! I love the idea of the two worlds, and I really like that Meg can't decide where she should be or when. Alena's secret is awesome, and I want to know if Meg will be able to help her :)

    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

    1. :D Thank you for reading this chapter. I'm really happy you liked this too. Meg is going to be in serious trouble.

      I'm currently writing the sequel but I must find time to edit too.

      Thank you so much for stopping by.

  5. Beautiful.
    And the writing too. ;)