Hey guys! Check out a sneak peek at my newest book!
Posted February 20th, 2015 by AlgebraAddict
February 20th, 2015
Hey guys, ^ there's a link to the sneak peek I made for my upcoming book, Doubt Thou. It's going to be really, really awesome and I'd appreciate it if you shared that video on whatever social media you can manage. If you have any questions or want to help me edit or anything, let me know in the comments below. Thank you guys so much <3
Aaand, just to make you eveeen mooooore excited, here's the book's first chapter.
Hamlet toyed with the rose, pressing the cool metal into his warm skin as he waited for the coffin to sufficiently embed itself into the earth. The droning voice of the chaplain buzzed on as he gave a longwinded and over dramatized retelling of the life of Hamlet Senior. Except, of course, they didn’t call him that. He was known now as The Late Marquess, a title which hardly seemed to do him justice. As of two days ago there were no less than nineteen still living and god knows how many dead. And now Hamlet Senior, previously known as The Marquess, had acquired the much-used title of The Late. Good for him.
Hamlet’s eyes slid to his right and rested on a bright-eyed human girl’s face, framed by a muss of unwashed hair.
“Horatio?” he asked, almost disbelieving.
“Yeah, that’s me.” She grinned. “How are you doing, Hamlet?”
“What are you doing here? I thought you were at boarding school.”
“You sound disappointed I showed up.” She rolled her eyes. “I know the marquess was your father and all, but believe it or not, he’s actually a pretty notable person to kick the bucket. Half the march is here.”
“And less than half of our household,” said Hamlet. “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern didn’t even show up.”
“What about Polonius?” Horatio asked, motioning to where his son and daughter were.
“He was here a minute ago, but he’s probably at the bar by now. You know how he is.”
“Actually, I don’t.” Horatio raised her eyebrows. “I’ve been away at boarding school at the far end of the march for almost a year, so I barely know who Polonius is, much less the details of his alcoholism. Also, thank you so much for giving me a warm welcome back.”
Hamlet groaned. “Sorry about not being overly enthusiastic today, but my father is dead, his wife is having the time of her life at his funeral, and his closest friend is probably mourning him in abar with a hot automaton chick, so excuse me for being a little under the weather.”
“Your mother’s having the time of her life?”
Hamlet gloomily gestured towards his mother, although Horatio was already looking. The marchioness was hardly easy to miss in a crowd.
“Drat,” said Horatio.
“What’s wrong?” Hamlet asked, and then inwardly kicked himself for asking.
“I’m basically the only full-on human in the royal circle, besides your mother’s pets—”
“They’re not pets,” Hamlet interjected. Horatio continued.
“That also means that I’m the only girl here whose waist and can’t be circled with your hands, and if you haven’t noticed already, I have acne. Acne, Hamlet. Red splotchy stuff. On my face. It sucks.”
“I don’t mind acne,” said Hamlet.
“Well Ophelia certainly doesn’t have any.”
“Ophelia—What—” Hamlet became conscious of his face turning red, so he coughed and changed the subject.
“I really need to get back in line for the coffin; I think we’re going to chuck the roses at Hamlet Senior in a few minutes.”
“Not yet,” she said. “Look who’s onstage now.”
Hamlet silently groaned as he realized that Polonius had returned from wherever he’d been to stagger onstage and give a speech. This was bound to be pompous and elongated beyond the bounds of sanity, as was almost anything that came out of the marquess’s advisor’s mouth. His mouth never really closed, Hamlet noted. It always seemed to be babbling away or in an uncannily wide grin typical of his expression.
“My friends and family, we are gathered her together as a group with all different levels of upgrades and statuses, putting all aside as we mourn the loss of—”
“Hey.” Horatio nudged him. “I’m leaving. I know it’s your father’s burial and all, but—”
“I’m coming,” whispered Hamlet, and slipped carefully out his place in the front line. Horatio held onto his arm as to not lose him as she propelled them discreetly through the crowds. Even when they were back behind the walls of the cemetery and out of view of everyone, she took a second to let go.
“Have you ever seen a rose?” she asked quietly.
For a minute, not for the first time, Hamlet doubted her sanity. “Horatio, I’m holding a rose—oh drat, I need to get that back to the burial grounds.”
“No, a real rose.”
“A long time ago, roses used to grow out of the ground.”
Hamlet laughed as he walked along the street beside her. “That’s ridiculous,” he said.
“Come to the river and I’ll show you real flowers.”
“Growing out of the ground?”
“Growing out of the ground.”
And the funny thing was, she almost seemed serious.
They walked along the sidewalk for a few moments with no sound except the sound of Horatio’s heels on the concrete. This surprised Hamlet a bit; he had known her to ridicule the aristocratic fashions, especially their ridiculously high shoes which restricted their stride to tiny little clicking steps. Yet here she was, clicking away.
“How are things at school?” he asked, partly just to drone out his own thoughts in a conversation.
She raised her eyebrows. “You sound like Polonius.”
Hamlet was surprised—he didn’t see when she would have had an opportunity to do so. “When have you been talking to Polonius?”
“Yesterday, when I first arrived at this end of the march. He was very eager to talk to me.”
“Polonius?” Hamlet found it a little implausible.
“Actually, I believe it was more about his son. Laertes.”
Hamlet stopped in his tracks. “What?”
“You heard me.”
“No—wait—but Polonius—what?” Hamlet could barely keep steady.
“I said I was honored but I was focusing on getting an education.”
“Why didn’t you say yes?” Hamlet would have argued no matter what she had said, which she knew perfectly well.
“Why should I want to marry Laertes? I’m not a big fan of arranged marriages in the first place, and definitely not to Laertes.
“Won’t your father agree, though? It’s an amazing opportunity—marrying up and all that has its merits—”
Ophelia threw back her head and laughed till she snorted. “You think I’m marrying up? In terms of class, maybe, but not in terms of money. Just because I’m not in line to be a marquess doesn’t mean I don’t have money. Maybe I’m not as rich as you, but I’m still rich by Polonius’s standards, and I’ve definitely got more money than Laertes. I’d make him rich, not the other way round, and their family needs money if they’re going to get Ophelia and Laertes totally upgraded.”
“You have money?” Hamlet had known this, at least somewhere he did, but he had never processed it. “But you’re—human.”
“Maybe part of me being wealthy is because I’m not interested in spending my inheritance to become the perfect fashionable automaton girl, or, for that matter, wasting it on Laertes. Upgrades aren’t everything, little prince.”
They were silent for a minute as Horatio recovered from her explosion.
“Why do you make everything anyone says into an argument, Hamlet?”
“I don’t,” he replied. “Just when I’m with you.”
“Well I’m not marrying Laertes, and that’s final. I’d hate to be related to you.” She grinned. “What would that be, like a brother in law?”
“If that’s what’s stopping you, you can put your mind at ease.” Hamlet locked his jaw, and let his quiet eyes seethe. “Money is important, but class is more important. So is the future of the march.”
“A future which can never involve Ophelia,” said Horatio softly. “So that’s what you’ve decided?”
“It’s what Polonius and my mother decided.”
“And you’re just going to accept that?”
“Stop it,” said Hamlet, irate.
“Judging me.” He sighed. “You can afford to go chasing after love and all that crap. I can’t, so back off. It’s not a luxury marquesses get.”
Horatio snorted. “Don’t give yourself airs, Hamlet; you’re not a marquess yet. First your mother has to die, and then anyone else who she remarries has to die as well. That’s keeping in mind that automatons are basically immortal. If you wanted to hire me to stab your mother before she has a chance, I will, but as it is, you’re fifty or more years away from ruling the march.”
“The point is,” said Hamlet, “I’m obliged to marry some politically influential marchioness from another march.”
Horatio ignored him. “Come on, do you want to see the flowers?”
The walkway appeared in front of them—it was a new one, one that had been built in the last few weeks. Hamlet had never seen it before.
“It’s the new stable hologram technology,” said Horatio. “Supposed to revolutionize architecture and all that, but I don’t see why they need to make public walkways out of it.”
“What do you have against technology?” he asked. “It’s the thirtieth century, deal with it.”
Horatio walked onto the bridge and he followed. The transports beneath didn’t even rattle it, which was unusual in his experience, but he supposed that was why it was called stable.
The walkway vanished behind them as Horatio stepped off, giving Hamlet a vicious rush of adrenaline as it evaporated beneath his feet. As he fell to the curb, his ankle twisted.
“Stupid walkway,” he muttered, clutching his ankle.
“And you wonder what I have against technology.” Horatio chuckled. “Can you walk?”
“Yeah.” He staggered to his feet.
“Come on, the flowers are this way.” She pointed to the block of houses with the silver chrome roofs; a neighborhood Hamlet had seen a few times when he had gone to visit her.
“By your house?”
“No, farther. Closer to Polonius’s place.”
Hamlet hadn’t known that Polonius lived chose to Horatio and her father, but it made sense. The thing was, he hadn’t really thought of Polonius or Laertes or Ophelia or Guildenstern or Rosencrantz or any of them as having lives outside of the castle. Horatio was the one person he actually visited. The last time he had been in this neighborhood was last summer, when his parents were away and he begged Guildenstern to let him deliver a package to Horatio’s father. His parents had never been exactly supportive of their relationship, probably because they thought there was something romantic blossoming between them. That was very untrue; the thing was, Hamlet simply didn’t have any other friends.
They entered a dingy alleyway where the only sound was the click click of Horatio’s heels and the sound of Hamlet’s breathing. His ankle still hurt.
“Are the flowers here?” he asked.
“Just behind this corner,” she said. She wove through the buildings, and Hamlet followed, until they were in a little clearing.
“No,” she whispered.
“What?” Hamlet came around the corner and stopped. There, by a murky little pond, was row after row of perfect mechanical roses. Their thornless stems stood perfectly vertical, their metal blossoms perfectly symmetrical.
“They’re gone,” she murmured, “they’re gone.” She slouched against a wall and wrapped her hands around herself like she was going to fall apart if she didn’t.
“They were here?” asked Hamlet. He hadn’t seen Horatio like this before, close to tears and devastated beyond anything he’d ever seen.
“They’re gone,” she repeated quietly. “They took them and they replaced them with their stupid, stupid, stupid automaton flowers.” She furiously kicked one, and it didn’t move. She kicked it again and again, tears streaming down her face.
She kept kicking. Her hands were clenched into fists and her nails were digging into her palms. Hamlet grabbed her arm. “Horatio, you’re going to hurt yourself.”
“I don’t care.” Her voice shook with the tremor of devastation. “They were the last ones, and they took them.”
“I’m sure there are more,” said Hamlet.
“There aren’t.” She shook her head. “I’ve looked all over the march for them, and these are the last ones.”
“There are nineteen other marches, Horatio, I’m sure—”
“NO.” Her lip curled in fury. “All of the others passed laws to exterminate all of the ‘unnecessary’ plants, and all of the flowers, and we were the last one, we only did it last month—”
She sunk to the ground and sat curled up there. Hamlet took a seat next to her and pried open her fists. She had deep red crescents where her nails had been digging into her palms.
“What happens to the flowers?”
“Most of them get burned for energy, and some of them are sent to the labs so they can research them and make more realistic mechanical ones.”
“Then I’ll go into the labs and I’ll find them and I’ll get one to you.”
She shook her head. “No, I’m sorry. I need to go.”
She got up and walked back towards her house. Hamlet sat still against the wall, looking at the rows of perfect roses, with one a little bent out of place.
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