Today I give you the first page of my novel. If you have read it already, thank you for reading. If you haven’t, let me know what you think.
She was a trash rat, a Betweener. Her place was by the docks now. She had been there for a while, after they cleaned up the inner city for the big parades. Places to hide and hang out and find good stuff had been vanishing fast. Pretty soon, she thought, they would bulldoze everyone into the ocean. It would not be so extraordinarily different from the other clean up and streamline efforts the conglomerate was employing.
Today was a troublesome day. They were using the far side of the docks, by the courthouse, again for that reality show; the one with the prisoner. What was it called again? True Love something, something. It was a boring show. Usually the guy just drowned. Julie wiped her nose with the back of her hand. True love was rare, she thought.
The wind was picking up. Little pieces of trash went flying. Plastic shopping bags and messed up napkins played kites in the evening light. Pretty soon they would bring him out in that ridiculous frog wet suit with the huge goggles hiding his eyes. On screen they would show his mug shot and would call all the maidens in the land to find it in their hearts to save him.
Julie hadn’t watched any shows in a while. Betweeners were not allowed to hang out at the public interfaces. She didn’t really miss it. It was a freer life without it. And if her life was one thing, it was free. No school or work to go to, no home to return to, no expectations, no pals, no future. She was drifting through Patrotia while everyone else knew exactly where to go and what to do. Well, not everyone; other drifters, trash rats and outcasts wandered the back alleys of Bay City, just like she did. Betweeners all of them. One was sorrier than the next. If she had had any courage, she would have ended it a long time ago. Yet, there it was, another day to muddle through.
On the other side of the dock they put up big silver umbrellas and pointed huge lights at them. Four flit bots were positioned around the swimming cage. Couldn’t be long now. Yes, there he was. At least he walked down the metal steps alongside his jailers. Some of the prisoners had to be pulled and kicked and thrown into the water. This one was just a little weak in the knees. Julie walked closer. She tried to see his build. He looked average. Not fat, not skinny, not overly muscular. Just a normal guy.
She wondered what he had done to get to jail. They never said on the show anyway, just hinted. Edging ever closer she slid through a hole in a wire fence. She remembered, a really athletic guy once, who had held on and swam for six hours before he, too, sank down and died. But usually, the longer they swam, the better their chances were. Julie went back to looking through some piles of junk. She found a bag with thrown out cereal bars, still wrapped. Score! Looking back at the tank, she remembered other guys that had been on the show. Some of the lucky, rescued ones had been swimming for quite some time before a girl finally made it all the way out there to get them out. Hope was all the prisoners could hold on to down in the tank.
Julie ate one of the bars. It tasted a little mushy, but still good. She looked up again. The big digital clock was now counting. The orange digits moved slowly, showing the passing of the minutes. They must have pushed him in. Poor guy, thought Julie. It was a blustery day. It would be raining pretty soon. Bad rescue weather. It was also almost dark. Bad conditions all in all. She got up, wiped her hands again, this time on her dirty cargo pants and walked toward the metal cage with determination. Why not? She thought. I’m almost out of time anyway. What do I have to lose?