Tragic Heroes chapter 1

 

I am seeking readers for my unreleased novel Tragic Heroes. Below is the first chapter. The book is modern fantasy and asks its characters what they will do with godlike power. I hope you enjoy it, but I want to get as honest of a review as I can. What characters did you like and why? What characters didn’t you like? Would you have liked to see more or less of a particular subplot or character? Did you not understand a particular segment? Feel free to comment on anything that you notice. You might find it best to keep notes of particular passages to which you are referring. While I’m not concerned about typos and other such errors, if you notice something and want to comment please be specific so I can address such issues.

Your comments are all helpful and will help create a better final product. I don’t need you to write a deep analysis of the work, just note what you notice. I hope this will be a fun process.

Please contact me if you’re willing to read and review the 300 page novel. It is available as a Word doc and reads great on a Kindle.

Tragic Heroes

Volume 1- Sparks

Tragic Hero- Noun- a great or virtuous character in a dramatic tragedy who is destined for downfall, suffering, or defeat: Oedipus, the classic tragic hero.

Chapter One: The Soothsayer        

Hannah’s nightmare began with the slash of a whip across her bare back. Wielding the cruel weapon that bit hungrily into her soft flesh was a mechanized woman, part machine part human, entirely without emotion. Before her, a man stood next to an antique television set. Again the whip cut into her already opened skin. She screamed, a shrieking wail. The man, dressed in a formal suit with a white goatee, described what appeared on the t.v.—invasions, worldwide financial collapse, and nuclear war. She begged the woman, al Shiva was her name, for mercy. CRACK! Another lash tore open her already scoured back. The television revealed images—fantastical people acting out violent scenes. A man glowed with white hot energy, so hot that it melted everything around him, his energy pouring into a young black man. A beautiful winged woman soared from the clouds carrying a sword of pure flame. Emanating from the angel, Hannah felt the presence of God .

She tensed in anticipation of another slash of the whip, but it never came. There was no mechanical woman, no television bombarding her with chaos and violence. She was awake, but she could still feel the lingering painful twinge of the whip.  

Twisting to look at her back in the full-length mirror on her bedroom door, the eleven-year-old girl hoisted her night dress to see there was no wound. It had felt so real. She could still feel the pain, the terror. Her head swam in a thick stew of painful memories. In the dream, she knew the names of the powerful figures, some she felt she knew personally, but the details were fading upon waking, leaving only their strange appearances. Confusion and fatigue were anchors weighing down her body and mind. Never in her short life had she had such a vivid dream.

She moved down the wooden staircase, her hand sliding along the worn banister. Still in a dream state, she saw the stairs change, transforming into a massive sweeping marble staircase before her eyes. She blinked and the monumental stairs narrowed becoming wood again.

Still in a daze, she shuffled through her family’s small stone house. The combined snores of her aunt and uncle rumbled through their bedroom door.  As she tiptoed down the stairs, they creaked, but not louder than the grumbling and rumbling coming from her aunt and uncle’s room.

Though it was only two stories and had no moat, she had always thought of the house as a castle. It was located close to a group of Scottish lakes known as the Fairy Lochs. She enjoyed exploring the lake shores and adjacent woods alone. Born in Greece to an English mother, the red-haired lass thought of herself as Scottish. The modest house had been her family home for almost her entire life. In stressful moments like these, she liked to imagine she was an elf in a mystical realm.

Stepping out the back door, she breathed in the fresh early-morning air. It was cool and damp with a slight breeze. A few fluffy white clouds sailed slowly on a sea of blue, as the sun ascended, moving slowly on its own schedule. She could smell the musty lake less than a mile away.

She felt the need to clear her mind of the terrible dream. Still in her nightgown, she set out for the lake —the fresh air and clear cold water might cleanse her mental wounds.

Though the morning was perfect, the forecast called for increasing heat throughout the day and storms as evening progressed.  

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Flash Fiction 1

On the aged stone wall, her left hand rested a half a centimeter from his right; close but not touching. Never touching. A tiny line extended out from the crease where her thumb ended and her hand began. The line broke into two. Each smaller line ended not far from the branch.  

He noticed one of her red nails had a slight chip near the tip. Her ring finger. “My husband got a promotion,” she said, her voice struggling to sound happy. “We’re moving to California.”

His hand recoiled into itself like a dying spider. Dragging his fingers across the stone wall until it formed a fist. Soon swelled red with blood. “That’s great. Really great. Congrats to Jim.” His hand relaxed. The blood drained away. “When do you leave?”

“We fly out tomorrow,” she said, as her hand strayed to her ear, pulling a stray piece of hair back into place. “Movers will bring our things, later.”

“I’ll miss you.” He rubbed the heel of his hand against his itchy eye.

She turned to accuse him. “Will you?”

“Of course.” His hand finished rubbing to return to resting next to hers. “Are you happy?”

“California is great.”

“So they say. Do you have to go?”

She scoffed. “And do what, stay here? What would I do?”

“You have family. A brother. Your mum.”

“I can’t stay.” She placed her hand on top of his. “Take care of yourself.” She held it there for a moment. Seconds turned to a minute that turned into a million years, before she pressed firmly down on his hand with her own, stood, and walked away without another word.

He sat there for another million years watching the space where her hand used to lay.