|Croissanville, France © MarilynJeulin|
I picked it up again on Saturday, and rewrote the first 5k words again. After posting this to my Facebook and asking a few of my Author friends for feedback, one of them surprised me with her comments. So after talking to Michelle Conrwell-Jordan about the scene, and listening to her awesome advice, I realized why this wasn't working. Airbrushed was just not a regular dystopian, but it a Steampunk Dystopian world. After that, things got increasingly better. :) For now, I'll leave you with this excerpt and hope you like it.
I leap off the bed, as the door of my bedroom opens and I find Ally Mae staring at me from the opened door.
“What is that? It sounds like a cat.” Ally Mae says in a muttered voice as we lean closer to my window.
The street gas lamps have been extinguished as per the law, so it’s hard to see beyond the window. However, the house opposite ours, Ivan’s, has all the gas lamps lit up. We can see the movement of the inhabitants reflected on the drawn white curtains. Ivan’s younger brothers are rushing from window to window, closing them in an effort to stop the sound from escaping them.
“It’s the baby.” Ally Mae tells me as I nod.
“Girls.” Mother calls us as we turn around. “Get back in the bed.”
“No, they’re going to do it, aren’t they?” Ally Mae states as I frown.
“Do what?” I ask as Ally Mae’s eyes return to the house and I peer through the curtain as well.
“Please, get back to bed. If they see you…” My mother’s voice is cut by the imminent arrival of the Doctors.
“They’re here.” Ally Mae announces as my mother pulls me away from the window and then looks out herself, as if to make sure that they ‘re there and that my sister’s not just pulling her leg.
We hear Ivan’s mother scream, the sound is unlike anything I’ve ever heard, not even during Ally Mae’s bad days has she made a sound like that. It cuts through the night, leaving nothing but an eerie silence which threatens the very own fabric of our lives.
The Doctors rush in, and suddenly Ivan’s mother is brought out of the house with a bundle in her hands. She’s still crying and screaming, no, no, no as they try to put her inside the carriage.
“What’s happening?” I ask as my mother pulls away from the window and takes Ally Mae’s hand in hers.
“They’re airbrushing them.” My sister says devoid of emotions as our eyes meet. I gasp taking a step back, as her eyes look dead to me.
“Airbrushing… they don’t do that… they’ve not done that in a century.” I protest as quiet as I can.
“Ally Mae, go have your syrup.” Mother commands her in a soft tone, but it means business. Once my sister walks away, Mother’s eyes turn to me. “Brooklyn, it’s all real.” Her voice is like cold steel as she sits on my bed and pats the empty side beside her. I sit down, my heart hammering in my chest as more hooves can be heard in the dead of the night, Ivan’s mother’s screams die away.
“Father is fine, he complies with everything the government asks of us, and they don’t know we’ve been putting together all the old information that we found in the archives. That technology… the technology you’ve read about in your books, we’ve been working on bringing it back. It just … it’ll take some time.”
“But they’ll hurt you…”
“Not us. I promise you.” She states in a convincing way, such a way that I’m almost nodding, but my fears increase.
“How do you know?”
“Because we’re careful. I assure you, nothing will happen to our family. However, you can’t let anyone know. Not that we know, that you know. Tomorrow, when you go to school and they ask you, don’t hesitate. You slept all night after dinner and your prayers, you heard nothing.”
“I’m not a good liar.” I tell her as she looks me in the eye.
“You’ll learn to be one.” My mother answers with a sad expression. “You’ll need to in order to survive.”