A/N: This is my first piece of original fiction. The prologue and first chapter is given below.
Please give comments as to how I can improve my style.
It should be preferably read out loud, quickly, in a dull tone. It is not meant to sound inflected; it is meant to almost sound boring. ...If you would please...
Prologue of Forgotten Left by Cianwood
Softly, at first, it began that day. Dripping down the green-tinted glass of so many vast metal trees. There had been nothing but sunlight to shimmer across the countless colored squares of the forest for most of the winter. The cascading drops seemed to arrive even before the clouds darkened, as if not wanting to give a warning. The powder-blue sky was soon after covered with a soft quilt of gray, filtering the light with warm-cool touch.
It rained the day the season changed. It fell as turquoise and crimson.
It landed on the tracks that lay shimmering above the sandy gravel. It pored quickly at first, showing its desire to finish the task soon. It slowed to a steady drizzle over the flat roofs, on the traffic clogged streets, on the businessmen in their crisp charcoal suits, on the dull apartments in the slums.
As the brushed-nickel train passed through the falling drops, passengers had but a moment to see as the vast city and its rectangular trees went by in a dizzying, blurry streak. Commuters talked amongst themselves, read their papers, or sat silently, waiting for their stop.
All wore suits of one fit or another. Clean, all, regardless of class or money. Briefcases, computers, notepads, all representing their similar roles, rested by each of their sides.
Clicking, clacking, typing, tapping, the ride continued.
A woman laughed. A few men glanced up momentarily to look suspiciously at the sudden noise. The woman wore a clean, slate dress-suit, and had short, sand-brown hair. She covered her mouth as she reacted to the witty comment. It was a nice mouth, with straight teeth, but was covered, none the less, out of habit. The comment had come from a man dressed cleanly, who sat next to his simple wife. They both had dark hair, but warm eyes. The couple and woman had obviously had meet before, and could have even seemed to have been in the same line of work to the untrained eye. If it wasn't for the distinct attitude of the couple, compared to the woman, one would say they were of the same class. However, a true businessman would know that the woman was poorer, and the couple was moderately rich. It could be seen in their faces. Worn differently. Easier on the eye. A clash of style. Nevertheless, they were friends just the same.
The mood of the train was lighter than usual. It was a Friday. The first day of spring.
If it wasn't for the rain, the day would have been usual. The soft strokes on the windows changed the glass that they looked through. The hum of the fluorescent lights above the heads of the passengers helped brighten the cloudy day in an artificial green hue. It couldn't have been later than seven o'clock. It was just light enough to know the mood of the day.
The train slowed, and made a stop. The woman looked up and spoke to the wife. The husband lowered his eyes to the newspaper in front of him. The stop lasted a few seconds, seconds that flitted by like the rain, and soon the doors closed and the train moved again. The wife smiled at the woman's question. It had been a question about something other than business. No one ever smiled at a question about business.
The train moved at less of a pace. One could see the traffic on the freeway. It went on and on, made of small cars of different squared shapes. It was not like the train. The train moved on. It slowed only for change.
The pace quickened.
A man in a simple suit stood up. No one looked at him. Not even the couple and the woman.
He lifted up the briefcase at his feet. He took a quick look around and then audibly replied to the silence,
and then pulled the pin.
The invisible calls swam through the air. A quick, calm voice dominated the rapid conversations, resting only to switch from one to another.
"...dispatching an aid car to the scene..."
A deeper voice countered, more masculine, but not so unlike the female operator's voice. It rattled off:
"Police to the scene... Contact the squad... Stop all public transportation..."
Polite questions came from the female voice:
"What is the estimated damage? ... To the surrounding area? ... Loss of life? ... Oh, I see..."
"When will the trains be cleared? ... Continue paging the prime minister," finished the masculine voice. It sounded perturbed.
"Please remain calm...," instructed the female voice, "medical attention is on its way. Apply pressure to the wound..."
In the background, yelling.
The scene: It ran red. The sandy gravel soaked it up. The twisted metal soaked it up. The wails and sobs soaked it up. The rain soaked it up.
It rained the day the season changed. It fell as water and blood.
Chapter 1 of Forgotten Left by Cianwood
Best friends since day one. That's what their classmates thought of them. They were two boys, but their friendship was distant, although casual, almost coldly so. They both enjoyed school, but for different reasons.
Martin was just sixteen, and younger than most in his grade. With his sandy-brown hair, steel-blue eyes, and frank smile, he looked almost like he was smart. He actually was. But he was also funny, excitable, and boyish. He loved sports, but was never skillful enough to make even junior-varsity. He still was happy, though. Any girl would think he was cute. Just cute, however, as his maturity left much to be desired. But he didn't care. He got all the attention that he wanted, except when a certain other young man was in the room.
Robert was tall, and with a birthday in October he and was second oldest in his grade, making him seventeen-and-a-half. He was admired by most of his grade, but he preferred to keep to himself and never craved praise. He played almost any sport and was good at math. He smiled every now and then, as if to let others know he had emotion to show. It was almost as if his face didn't quite work right, as it was always stuck in a solemn half-frown, half-smile. He was handsome, and had deep dark-brown hair.
Robert and Martin had known each other since eighth grade, when Martin transferred in from another school. The classmates had been kind to Martin and welcomed him wholeheartedly. It was only when he formed a one-sided competition with Robert that people started to take sides. Robert and Martin were no doubt friends, but Martin made it a point that they were rivals as well.
If Martin though Robert liked a certain girl, Martin would ask her out first. If Robert tried out for American Football, Martin would try out too. If Robert got a good score on his math test... well, Martin couldn't fix that problem. Most of the time he fell short anyway: getting dumped or cut from a team was not rare for Martin.
Throughout the competition, Robert remained detached, which only frustrated Martin. They were indeed friends, but Martin seemed to want it differently, and Robert the same.
Winter was not much fun for Martin. He was too short to play basketball, but instead swam at the junior-high pool after school. No one swam with him, but he went anyway for the exercise. He liked the feeling of the water through his hair, and the weightlessness as well. Robert didn't swim, either. It was one of the few activities Martin didn't feel a need to compete in.
Martin had swum on the last day of winter, and was happy to know that the following Monday spring sports tryouts would begin. It also meant the pool would be filled after school, so he would have to wait another year for the calming peace to return.
Friday started as a usual day. He got dressed in his usual school uniform, consisting of a navy-blue sweater, white collared shirt and gray slacks. He had a quick breakfast, and kissed his mother good-bye as she went off to work in her slate-colored dress-suit. He loved his mother very much, as she was his only parent, but he would have never shown or admitted the affection in public. 'It just didn't fit well with his masculine appearance,' he thought to himself.
Martin's mother Sherry was a happy lady. Loosing her husband just before she gave birth to her son, Sherry was forced to play both parenting roles for Martin. She did her best to make enough money to support the two of them, but she only made enough to afford an apartment in the poorer part of the city. This did not keep her down, and she always seemed to be smiling, just like her son. It was not until Sherry received a promotion that she was able to send Martin to a good private school.
As Martin got to school and reached his locker that Friday, he felt a familiar presence ghost by behind him. He swung around fast to his right to give a smart comment to the figure.
Unfortunately, he smacked right into the opening locker door.
"Damn it! Robert you're always picking on the cool kid! Don't you get enough attention without trying to give a guy a bloody nose?!"
Sure enough, Martin's nose was starting to drip red. The noise of the strike had apparently surprised Robert, as he had a startled look on his normally calm face. It quickly changed, however.
"Oh, sorry, I thought you wanted to kiss my locker since you know I'm going to make the varsity baseball team on Monday."
Robert's sarcastic comment was as usual. He had developed the skill to combat Martin's forward style.
"Oh yeah? Well you should want to make out with my locker since I'm gonna make varsity too, and be even cooler than I am already. Although I admit that it's almost impossible to be any cooler." A drip of blood was almost to Martin's lip as he finished the retort.
"Well, it looks like you've been thinking about something pretty sick concerning my locker, 'cause your nose is bleeding from all the excitement."
"Humh, well..." Martin was cut off from making another comment by the announcement over the intercom.
"...All students, report to your homerooms immediately for an announcement. I'll be back over the loudspeaker to give updates...," the intercom gave a resolute click.
"I wonder what that's all about," continued Martin, forgetting the previous squabble.
"Hm. Doesn't sound good," finished Robert as they collected their books and headed to their homeroom.
When they reached there, all of their classmates were staring up at the TV on the wall. No one was speaking.
"What's..." started Martin, but Robert elbowed him. Martin began to return the act, but saw Robert's serious face and decided otherwise. 'He looks even more serious than usual.'
A middle-aged man with thick spectacles was on screen, behind a news desk. It was channel four, and was a special news bulletin, interrupting the usual soap operas of the day. A scrolling line of text went by on the bottom of the screen, but Martin didn't read it. He had focused his eyes on the picture floating next to the newscaster. It was of a train.
A burnt train.
"Terrorist Attack on Commuter Train" read the title above the picture. Martin went numb. He didn't even notice Robert's pale face.
A few seconds of video coverage came on screen. Obviously from a helicopter, the view was unclear. There were dozens of aid cars and police cars, and hundreds of people surrounding the wreck of the train. The train was twisted and bent, and the middle portion was completely blown out. Robert could see blood. It was everywhere.
The shock was immense.
Before the two boys could see anymore, hands clasped both of them on their shoulders.
"Robert, Martin. Please come with us." It was their principal, who had been speaking over the intercom a minute earlier. Next to him was another man who neither recognized. The man had thin spectacles, and had a look of mild concern, unlike the stoic newsman on the TV.
Both Robert and Martin walked out of the classroom with the principal and the man towards the main office. The images of the wreck were swimming through Martin's head.
Before they reached the office, Robert stopped at a water fountain as if he was about to take a drink. Instead, he leaned over and threw up.
Martin was upset and shocked, and began to shake uncontrollably. The man with the glasses ran over to Robert and held him, with one hand on Robert's back and one on his chest.
Robert gave one more gagging cough, and the man asked him if he was alright. Robert slowly stood up straight and nodded. They then continued the walk to the office.
The principal offered Robert and Martin each a chair, as he moved behind a desk with a nameplate reading "Mr Simmons". The spectacled man stood in a corner of the room. The principal sat down with a sigh. He was a plump man, and both Robert and Martin could tell he was old, especially so on that day.
He started off: "Boys, I'm sorry I didn't come down sooner to catch you before you saw the TV. I've had to speak with a few students already today." He gave another sigh. "Oh, sorry Mr...," Mr Simmons looked as if he had just remembered the man in the corner. "This is Mr Richards. He is here to... well, I better begin. Unless Mr Richards...?"
"I'll let you start." said Mr Richards quietly, leaning slightly forward as he stood. Mr Richards was a thin man, and had a thin face. He must have been in his late thirties, and had deep brown eyes and deep brown hair that he wore slicked back. His most obvious feature was his moustache. It seemed to compliment his high cheekbones.
"Hmm. I'll get to it then," began Mr Simmons again. "Robert, Martin, there has been an accident." He stopped.
"Both of your parents have died."
The room was whirling in front of Martin. He couldn't have heard right. No, it couldn't be. He heard it on TV, between the soap operas, so it couldn't be true. He looked over at Robert to see if he would challenge the statement, but Robert just looked down.
"Now, I'm terribly sorry to have to tell you both this. Mr Richards here is a grief councilor from the state, and he'll be your temporary guardian."
So quick, and so fast. Martin felt like throwing up as well. 'Why was everything changing so fast?'
"No. They were murdered."
It was Robert. His voce was quavering, and angry, but he sounded sure of what he said.
"Ah, hmph..." Mr Simmons was unsure of how to respond.
"It was a terrorist attack, Robert," stated Mr Richards.
"They were murdered."
Martin felt cold. And alone. Sadly, he understood what Robert said. And it was the only thing comforting that he heard that day.