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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » By the Book - first 13 lines

   
Author Topic: By the Book - first 13 lines
rcmann
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This is the beginning to a short story I'm working on. I would appreciate any input at all, of any kind. I haven't gotten much more than what is here at the moment. Basically, a man loses his business, is sold into debt bondage, betrayed by his wife's family, escaped, is pursued and fights clear, and finally makes it to freedom. Along the way he goes from being indifferent about slavery to a passionate freedom fighter. (Yes, I am cynical). Anyway, all comments are welcome.


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It was gone. All of it.

Druke shuffled through the ashes, kicking charred boards aside numbly. The midnight fire had swept halfway along the length of the street, and his business was far from the only one that had been raped by the flames. The thought did not comfort him. From the sound of his wife's weeping, she drew no solace from it either. But it was her sudden gasp that yanked him upright.

They were coming. The city Enforcers were closing in from both ends of the street, escorting a pair of officials clad in the gold and blue robes of Imperial Revenue. Druke flashed a look at his wife, who was ready to collapse from terror. Their shop had backed up against the city wall, and the far side of the street was packed with buildings edge to edge. Escape was impossible.

[ February 10, 2012, 12:24 AM: Message edited by: Kathleen Dalton Woodbury ]

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Merlion-Emrys
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Very nice. Incites curiosity about the setting and concern for what's going to happen. Crafted very nicely too. Is it a dystopian sort of deal?
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rcmann
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Thank you. It takes place in an alternate world that I originally made for my novel. The city-state they live in is one of several on a sub continent sized land mass. The nearest adjacent city-state is free, and is of course a prime destination for escaped slaves.

The two have been fighting each other for centuries, mainly over just this issue. Due to the ongoing influx of escapees, the western city-state has a strong percentage of its population descended from slaves who got away from Druke's homeland. The two places couldn't make peace now even if they wanted to. Too many old scores to settle.

The world is complex, but this particular area is at a post-medieval/pre-industrial level. It's only that high because one of the other races on the world is technically advanced and some of it has been traded for raw resources. But they are not an enlightened people by any means.

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