Bloody Hands (A book my friend and I are writing together...) CHAPTER ONE :DD
Posted February 16th, 2012 by BlueMi
in conceivable! (you keep using that word... I do not think it means what you think it means.)
WHERE IS THE DYSTOPIAN GENRE? DDD: It needs one. AHEM. Anyway, my friend Heather and I are writing this Dystopian novel together, called BLOODY HANDS. XD
This chapter is not by me, this is by Heather. I will write the second one. xD
Here, my friends, is a small ode to my friend Heather:
WINGED WOMBAT. BOO-YAH. XD
Otay. Here's her (AMAZINGLY WRITTEN) chapter...
Chapter One: The Ceremony
The crowd whispered apprehensively and gathered themselves in a semi-circle around the small, square platform. Kent bit his lip and craned his neck reluctantly. It was beginning.
Judge Hawkins stepped up to the stage and wiped his hands with the moistened handkerchief he kept in his breast pocket. Then he cleared his throat. The crowd stopped buzzing and looked up at the stage. Somewhere within the people, a baby was yowling its head off. Judge Hawkins wrinkled his nose in distaste. The child was silenced. Kent blew out his breath into the cold air, where it hung as a small fog next to him. He waved his finger through it absentmindedly, and it disappeared.
“Mr. Polls, please bring out the Bloodied.” A harsh-looking man with muscles the size of Kent’s fist yanked a familiar hand through the red curtain. The color of the hand clashed with the curtain. Kent bit down on his lip harder. Then he stopped. The Bloodied had been revealed to all, pulled through the curtain by Mr. Polls, and he was biting his lip fiercely as his eyes scanned the crowd. As tall and broad as he was, Kent still tried to hide. He didn’t like doing it, but he had no choice. If the man saw him…
The crowd murmured as the man raised his head defiantly and clenched his left hand into a fist. It was the color of the curtain, the color of blood. Kent felt blood rush into his own face. It wasn’t caused by the cold weather. He put his tongue in the space between his lip and teeth. He wouldn’t bite it, he couldn’t, but it was hard not to. The habit was old as he.
“Hold up your hand,” said Judge Hawkins sternly. “Lower your face, mind, but hold up your hand.” The man held up his hand. His hair appeared black in the gloom of the cold day. Kent knew that when light touched it, it was a rich brown. He focused on the man’s hair—anywhere but the hand. Not that he wasn’t brave enough to look at it: he was. It was just that it was a sorry sight—one pitied here in the city, anyways. And a scary sight—to think of the crimes that must’ve caused that rich color—but he could stand that. Kent could stand being scared. Pity was another matter entirely. He loathed pitying and being pitied. It was so weak.
“Look at it! The color of a precious stone! The price he must’ve paid for it!” Judge Hawkins’ voice was full of sarcasm, dripping over its edges. “Now, though—now he’ll know that stones like that can’t be stolen. He needs to understand, see? He needs to pay the real cost. Not an iron pyrite coin, a true-blue gold one. Thus we have,” and his tone lightened considerably, “the Ceremony. Ladies and gentlemen, this is Karl Los. This is the Bloodied.” Kent stood up firm and straight. He would not wince at that name. He would not.
“The cleaning of the Blade,” continued Judge Hawkins in the light, almost cheerful tone of voice, “will be done by David Polls here. Do you accept, Mr. Polls?”
“Yes.” Mr. Polls had a hard voice, as hard as a fine muscle in his arm. “I accept.”
“Good. The cleaning cloth?” A very pale hand—ghost pale—darted out of the curtains and put a red cloth in Judge Hawkins’ hand. “Thank you, Marisol. Mr. Polls, the cloth.” He gave the cloth to Mr. Polls while Kent blandly focused on the blue of the sky. But it was hard to hold the concentration for long—even though the day was freezing, the sky was a bright crackling electric blue, blue as Karl Los’ eyes—blue as Kent’s.
Mr. Polls dramatically whipped the shiny knife from behind him and began to very carefully and thoroughly clean the blade. He held the blade facing away from him and Judge Hawkins, and towards Karl Los’ back. Karl, seeing this, did not flinch, and Kent felt a brief flickering of something aroused in him. Was it pride? But he didn’t have time to dwell on the thought, because the cleaning of the blade was done with quite quickly, more quickly than usual. It seemed that both men weren’t just apprehensive or just doing their jobs anymore. There was something that was creating tension in the air between them and Karl Los. It was excitement. The crowd could feel it, too, but they dared not speak.
A little girl sitting on her father’s shoulders next to Kent cocked her head abruptly. She seemed to be listening, and tapped her father’s shoulder urgently. He turned his head slightly, slowly so he wouldn’t knock her off, and shook it once. The little girl’s face wrinkled in impatience. She pointed to the left. Kent was listening hard along with the father. Neither heard anything.
“…ready?” Judge Hawkins was saying when Kent turned his attention back to the Ceremony. “No?” There was a small, satisfied smirk on his lips, but Karl Los didn’t for a moment grant any more to him.
“Actually, Stephan, I’m completely ready for this.” Judge Hawkins’ nostrils flared briefly, a warning sign. Karl Los stared at the imposing man before him. Though he was shorter, he suddenly seemed the more confident of the two.
“Don’t call me that,” Judge Hawkins hissed through gritted teeth. It was barely audible to the crowd. “I’m not your friend anymore, Bloodied. You bring this upon yourself. You will die one day. Soon.”
Soon? Had Kent just imagined the word? Judge Hawkins cleared his throat again and said, “Mr. Polls, will you do me the honor of swearing me in?”
“Yes, sir. Do you swear, Judge Hawkins, to faithfully cleanse this man of his sins, so that he may live again with fresh new life unburdened by his past?”
“I do,” said Judge Hawkins. He laughed, a cruel, low sound. “Blade, Mr. Polls.” Mr. Polls admired the shine on the blade one last time, the shine that was created by the cold sun, and handed Judge Hawkins the blade. Karl Los shuffled his shackled feet and clinked his cuffed wrists. In his eyes was a grueling stare that would make any man shake in his boots—except for Judge Hawkins, who laughed again as rumbling as an earthquake, and, pulling a pair of handcuffs out of his sleeve, cuffed Karl’s Bloodied hand to the wooden post.
He lowered the knife slowly, savoring every advancement he made to Karl Los’ wrist. But finally, the blade touched Karl’s skin, and Judge Hawkins began to saw. It was slow at first, then Judge Hawkins became faster and faster and sloppier. Blood was spreading everywhere. It gave an invisible smear to the red curtain, blending in with it easily, and splattered across the front row of the crowd, who silently moved back. It even got on Judge Hawkins’ crisp black suit. The man didn’t notice. He was too enthralled in his own work, his duty of severing Karl’s hand from his arm. Mr. Polls stepped back but did not quite avoid the wave of blood coming at his own suit. He wiped it off disgustedly from his cufflink and said something to Judge Hawkins that no one could make out over the sound of splashing blood and grating knife-against-skin noises.
Mr. Polls reluctantly stepped forward to touch Judge Hawkins’ blood-soaked arm and said loudly, “It’s over. It’s over.” Judge Hawkins didn’t appear to hear him. He was no longer cutting the hand from Karl’s arm, he was just cutting into the wooden post. Mr. Polls grasped the blade and tore it from Judge Hawkins’ hand. Only then did he look up, panting.
“Look at this!” Judge Hawkins breathlessly took the severed hand from the post. It was no longer a rich blood red, but an ugly purplish bruise color. It dripped blood onto the first and second row of people. Kent was grateful that he was in the back. “Let this be a reminder to all of you not to follow in Mr. Los’ footsteps! For some of you it may be tempting—” at that moment, Kent could’ve sworn he locked eyes with him—“but this man’s path is not the way to go! Do you under—”
“Karl is a brave man,” interrupted Mr. Polls, stepping in front of Judge Hawkins on the platform. “He did not scream. But don’t forget, this fate can even be that of the weak woman’s! And I guarantee that you will scream, and you will feel the pain Karl did today even if you do not yell to show it. Karl, how much pain did you feel today?” All eyes rested on the man whose wrist was bleeding freely. Kent noticed they had forgotten to bandage it as they normally did. Was it really an accident?
“I felt no pain,” announced Karl Los slowly and deliberately, “from my Bloodied hand being cut off. I felt pain from my old friend and neighbor Stephan Hawkins, who purposely would not speak to me because of my hand, because he felt I betrayed him. I betrayed nobody! If anybody, it is he who betrayed me, by not speaking to an old friend just because of the hand that was colored by the Government, which is growing more corrupted—” Judge Hawkins’ nostrils flared and stayed that way.
“He speaks lies! And look, soon he will be handless for it!” He held up Karl’s right hand. The fingertips were turning a slow, steady red. Karl pulled away the hand.
“I would rather be handless than have you poor folks not know that your Government is being overridden by tyrannical forces that—” Judge Hawkins slapped a hand over his mouth.
“Don’t come to his fate! His blood loss is giving him mental health issues, that’s all, but he’ll be chipper as a squirrel come morning. You’re dismissed! Ceremony over!” Judge Hawkins disappeared behind the curtain. Mr. Polls said something to Karl. The crowd dispersed, and it seemed that everyone moved outwards from Kent. He was still watching Mr. Polls and Karl. Mr. Polls was unshackling Karl’s hands and feet, something Judge Hawkins had conveniently forgotten to do. The moment Karl was free, he shook hands with Mr. Polls, seeming to be thanking him for it, and bounding down the steps of the stage in moments. And it was in moments that he was by Kent’s side.
“I’m sorry, lad, I tried to tell them, but Stephan won’t listen to reason. He didn’t use to be like this, but I can’t help it. The Government’s getting worse day after day, and—” Kent gently shook his head. He took his handkerchief from his pocket and staunched the bleeding with it.
“It’s okay. Don’t spread anything around too much, or they’ll take more than your hand next time. Be careful. But for now, let’s go home, Dad.” Karl smiled at Kent, and father and son walked home hand in hand.
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