First Five Pages of Alive

Hello everyone,

While I work on posting The Visitor to Wattpad, I am also working on my third book. Alive is inspired by the poetry series and will expand on the werewolf story. The book is set in a fictional medieval society where the protagonist’s curse is used as a weapon to attack other villages. I have always loved werewolf stories so it is great to finally start creating my own. I am writing one page a day, and should have a rough draft done by June of next year. There are days when I have written more, but committing to just one a day helps to ensure that I write consistently. June may seem far away, but I have developed plenty of patience for the pursuit of publication. Once my rough draft is completed, and edited by September, I will then seek publication for Alive.

The first five pages are copied below.

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Mason could still move his fingers. It was the only sign that the restraints weren’t cutting off his blood flow. The leather straps were digging into his skin, branding my flesh. Their tightness felt intrusive, but he knew he’d get used to it soon.

He heard what happened the first time he transformed. The villagers stood in front of him, telling him what he did to their cattle, their pets, their loved ones. He didn’t want to believe them. He couldn’t remember any of it. He could only remember awaking in a field, naked and bloodied. He wouldn’t be in prison if the blood was his own.

Ten cows, five people, three dogs. There were no torches and pitchforks, but there were fists, knives and guns. Imprisonment saved him from death. The village leaders promised their people that they would be safe. If these straps failed, they would break their promise.

The straps were looped through metal rings screwed into the wall, and it was likely that the straps could be broken without breaking the rings. It didn’t seem like the leaders thought this through. Mason wasn’t complaining, if the leaders were sensible he’d be dead. Why keep him alive?

Mason was still in denial, but he’d know if the claims were true in three weeks. It would be the first full moon since the incident. Either he would be released, or he would be living proof that folklore could hold a kernel of truth.

There were paranoid whispers when he was bitten. Word spread fast, and soon everyone knew he was attacked by a wolf. People also knew his wounds healed much faster than expected. It wasn’t the elderly that were the most paranoid. They lived through more superstitious times, they outgrew it. It was the younger people who embraced the novelty of a potential new threat, even though there were plenty of threats already.

The last raid drained most of the food supply, and prisoners had the lowest priority for being fed. Mason’s stomach was rumbling, and although he wanted to deny it, he was only craving meat. Folklore continued to intrude on his life.

There were so many witnesses, but he knew most of them could be lying. They lied about his mother too. Witnesses came out of the woodwork, saying she had cursed them. Saying they saw her fly. Proof wasn’t necessary then, it might not be necessary now. Mason could still smell her skin burning.

Her skin was like Mason’s, so much darker than everyone else’s. They were never truly accepted here. The village did what they could to get rid of his mother, now they found their excuse to get rid of him. If he wasn’t in prison, he would probably be working on someone’s field. His mother owned a shop, but it was burned just like she was. Mason knew the shop was doing well for a long time, better than a lot of the other stores. Maybe that is why she was singled out.

It took being chained to the wall for Mason to realize he should have left Torville a long time ago. Yet the burden of starting over always seemed to great a hurdle. His mom always said that it is better to stay with the devil you know. Maybe he would have had a better life; maybe he never would have been bitten.

Mason’s reverie was broken as he heard the door being unlocked. The metal door was the only thing that broke up the orange brick all around him, and Mason caught a glimpse of white, stone walls as the door swung outward. Three men rushed in, and the door was quickly shut again.

Two men stood by the door, with unsheathed swords hanging by their sides. They both wore the plain red uniforms, but the armour they normally wore on top of it was nowhere to be seen. Mason allegedly tore through armour like butter when he transformed. It seemed like speed was the greater priority now.

Neither guard made eye contact. They both focused on the man a few feet in front of them, William Reddick.

“How are you feeling Mason?” William said.

“How do you think?” Mason said.

“I am sorry that you’ve been imprisoned, but I’m sure you understand why. I can already see that most of your wounds are healed. Men twice your size have died from losing that much blood. I don’t listen to rumours, but my own eyes tell me there is something special about you. All I ask is that you help me understand it. This is for your safety and everyone else’s. You already know what the alternative is.”

“I am grateful to be alive, and I thank you for all you’ve done for me.” Mason said. The words made him sick, but he knew that resistance wouldn’t help him at this point. He learned a long time ago that people liked to see him beg.

“I’m glad to hear that Mason. Since you healed so quickly I just want to run a quick test.” William reached into a pocket of his white robe, withdrawing a scalpel. The blade was only a few inches long but it seemed much bigger to Mason.

“Please don’t be scared. The warden wanted me to bring more guards with me, and have them hold you down for this part. I told him that won’t be necessary. All I want to do is make a few small cuts on your forearm, and monitor how quickly you heal.” William said.

“Why are you doing this? This isn’t just about other people’s safety. What do you want from me?” Mason said.

“Your body could hold the key to prolonging life. If I can test its abilities, its limits, that could be the first step towards understanding it and maybe creating some type of serum that can give your abilities to other people.” William said.

William’s voice was brimming with excitement, which did nothing to make Mason more at ease. William wasn’t talking to a human being; he was talking to a tool, a test subject.

“Test my limits? So you give me a few cuts this time and if I heal fast enough, you’ll take an arm off the next time?” Mason said.

“Of course not,” William said, with his words lacking the conviction that was present before. “I want to make this easy for you, but remember that you don’t have much of a choice here. Can you work with me on this?”

Mason knew he was being manipulated but he also had to admit that William was one of the few people who genuinely showed him respect. If Mason could bide his time until then the next full moon he may be able to figure out a way to escape.

“Alright,” Mason said as he slowly extended his forearm.

He was able to reach the foot of his bed before the straps went taut and restricted any further movement. The guards both gripped their swords tighter and took a step forward. They were only about five feet away, if Mason did manage to get his hands on William he could probably grab the scalpel and do irreparable damage before anyone touched him. Although William wasn’t really a friend, it was clear that he was putting some trust in his test subject.

William smiled as he moved closer, in a weak attempt to comfort the person he was about to cut. He leaned in with the scalpel and made two shallow incisions halfway between Mason’s elbow and hand. Mason knew the cuts wouldn’t be too painful but he still braced for pain. He saw the scalpel pierce his skin and could see the blood snaking down his arm before William wrapped a bandage around the cuts. The sensation was no different than being poked, he knew something touched his skin but there was no pain. The most striking sensation was the feeling of flowing blood.

“Sorry, one more thing. Would you mind lifting up your shirt? I just want to check on the scarring from the attack.” William said.

William was choosing his words carefully, making it seem like he was a friend asking for a favour. Of course, if Mason refused he would be given an ultimatum again. For that reason, he didn’t hesitate to pull his shirt up. It wouldn’t be the first time he’d done that today. Mason didn’t need a doctor to tell him that he healed much faster than normal.

When Mason was carried to William’s office five weeks ago, his arms and torso looked like ground meat. Only a few shards of skin remained; overshadowed by ruptured veins and blood-drenched muscles. Mason’s organs were still contained, and his bones seemed to be intact, but that was the only good news. Mason drifted in and out of consciousness that night. He remembered his blood staining the hospital bed and forming a trail a mile long that stretched back to the woods. Bandages were soon abandoned in favour of towels. That was the last thing Mason remembered before waking up the next morning.

His muscles were still damaged, but they looked better. The deepest tears were already closing up. There was still plenty of pain, but the sensation was dulled. Mason assumed that he was given a painkiller, but William told him he never gave him one. Mason was in no condition to swallow one, and William was hesitant to inject a needle into Mason’s gored flesh. It was a miracle that Mason’s skin grew back at all. As Mason lifted his shirt, he was still surprised to see new skin, and not a single scar.

 

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