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(c) Arike van de Water 2007-2009





Angeleyes

A nomadic woman and her mother, a brilliant and blind strategist, seek sanctuary inside the appartment of one of the Implanted, her enemy and the reigning elite of the 21st century. While Arley slowly wins Simon's heart, her mother dies of her injuries. Simon decides to break out of his conditioning, and together they flee. But Senator Melody is determined to find and kill the one who could turn one of the most promising Implanted back into a completely organic creature. This on the eve the law is implemented that makes those without an Implant outlaws. In order to save her life and the souls of those called soulless, Arley must prove the fallibility of a machine that is supposed to make people perfect.

Note: once NaNoWriMo starts, I will be writing the actual book, but as with all these ideas, my preparation started with writing the beginning of the novel down as I saw it happen inside my head. This you can read below. I will be recopying it word by word for my NaNoNovel, in order to comply to the regulations, with slight alterations. In November, I will update this as soon as possible.

Excerpt

By an inch they escaped the closing door. A clack, and it locked behind them. They leaned against a man-length glass window, part of the gallery that ran along each tenth upper floor of the spikes. This was the highest one, made of fine, probably real and rocketproof, glass, darkened so the sun could be seen, but not bake whomever wished to walk along the white floor and slate-grey walls.

Arley managed to stop her breath gasping enough to ask her mother, “Everything alright?”

The older woman, blinded by sour rain as a girl, nodded, feeling along the glass until she came to her daughter's upper arm. “We need to get to the roof. There's no getting out. We need to get to the roof if we want to have any chance of an escape.” She clutched her shoulder, and pushed herself up. “I'll manage a few more floors.”

Arley nodded and rose from her crouch. She guided her mother to the flight of stairs going up. Then the woman's feet, practiced at feeling their way, went up the regular steps on their own. So they repeated it, one nervewracking flight after another. Urgency pushed more when they heard voices. Security had been able to crack the lock.

Arley tried to pull her mother along faster, but the woman only stumbled. Heavy boots were coming up fast, echoing round the staircase. She could hear them coming up the few floors that seperated them much more easily than an old woman and her wounded daughter.

In a split-second decision, Arley didn't take her mother to the next stairs, but instead pulled her by the elbow into the hallway. At the first doorway, she squeezed them inside the generous portal. Still, they only managed to fit themselves in barely enough to hide, standing side by side.

The boots continued on. Sanna could hear her mother's shallow breath, barely letting in enough oxygen in an effort to be silent, unheard, unseen. Scared of filling your lungs. It had become too ordinary.

She strained her ears to see if she could hear them coming back. Some of the guards came back, but not all. Less boots than before. “They're not showing up. Are you sure they're here?”

“Untagged.We were lucky a camera picked them up, or we wouldn't have seen them at all.” Then they were out of hearing range again. Sanna dared to take a bigger breath.

*

Simon had just put in the last riff of the ballad on his computer, when a notice popped up on the light screen. Inside the invisible haze, a small balloon grew, showing the sight from his eyespy and the caption “You've got visitors.”

His eyebrows went up. He'd let no-one in, so how did they get above the two-hundredth floor? He was just about to dismiss them as standing at the wrong door, when he saw how they squeezed against the door. Why?

He closed down the composing equipment with a clap of his hands, and walked over long, green carpet to his door. On the inside, it wasn't the same slate gray as outside, but a warmer mahogany. He pulled his door open. Two women, both short, pale and dark-haired, froze. A second later, Simon saw how one shifted her weight, hand on the elbow of the other, to pull away. So he stepped back and gestured inside. “Welcome.”

One blinked her eyes. The other one remained standing. Alright, time for a small lie. “You are the two new maids I called for, correct?” He scratched his head, hoping it wouldn't be too much of a stage gesture. “Otherwise I could call down to see where you ought to be, so I could point you in the right direction.” He could feel his public voice, light, polite, pleasant, taking over. It always did, around strangers.

“N-no,” the one who seemed to be in charge visibly swallowed and got her act together. It helped to have enhanced vision. They were definitely running, then. From what, he didn't know, but he vowed to find out. “We're – yeah, sorry, we're the new maids.” By the end of the sentence, she was talking smoothly, and had relaxed as if nothing was wrong. Either she was a good liar, or trained in lying, even with her body. He would bet on the latter. Which made them part of something that he would get a very handsome reward for if he turned them in with information. He smiled his media smile. First he would have a little fun. “Well, hello. Come on in. I've been expecting you all afternoon.

*

Arley nodded, and stepped inside the house. Her mother went along, not knowing what was going on. Normally she was less passive, but the strange surroundings and the unexpected situation made her cautious. Her weakness was too easily exploited.

She looked back up at him, and at the only reason why she wasn't running out of here as fast as she could. To take her chances with the authorities would have been preferable over the private torture that the inhabitants of the upper floors were known to inflict. But in his eyes was still a spark, a strain of humanity that searched over her and her mother as he closed the door. Where there was humanity, there was sympathy, and that meant this was their best chance of escape right now. If not, at least she could hide them from the cops until everything was quiet.

The rest of him was as plastic as could be. His voice had the same perfect inflection as all of them did. His actions, his looks, all of them were as artificial as could be expected. Made to look as someone who'd dissected communication clinically would have said it should look. Except that where he'd scratched his head in theatrical confusion, the hairs were still sticking out to the side, instead of the perfect nonchalant, too-long wisps it should have been. It showed a slight deviation in behaviour that could prove crucial. More so when, instead of bringing out a comb to get it back into shape with one calculated swipe, he only slid his fingers through the hairs a few times.

When he spoke to them, they were the short instructions of a man to a machine. “The appartment is a standard F-E lay-out, E to the south, in this case. Cleaning supplies are in the second E, first cupboard on the right. This room.” He pointed along the hallway to the first of what would be five rooms total, in the plan of a mirrored F and an E. “Will be clean in half an hour. The rest of the rooms shall be done in two more. Default cleaning level.” He grabbed his keys and a coat and then, as if remembering the ones he'd been talking to were human strangers, he turned back and said, “I'm out for a late lunch.” He was gone.

Arley collapsed on a couch. “Arley?” her mother asked. “Where are you?”

“Here mother. There's a couch. I'm sorry. I shouldn't have left you standing there.”

Her mother came to her at the sound of her voice and, hands touching each other, she guided her round to sit next to her on green pluche. A bulge of green pluche you could sink back into completely, it was that big. Comfort, another sign that this man had not quite turned into a robot. Arley closed her eyes. Now it was time to think fast on how she could get through this situation best.

*

Simon leaned against the wall over the elevator button. He'd descended the stairs to an elevator floor too fast for comfort, so now he was out of breath. He closed his eyes. To leave had been the only smart thing to do. He still didn't have complete control over himself. He touched the side of his hair. She'd been staring at it. She'd noticed. Nobody ever noticed these things. And more than that, she'd smelled.When she'd walked past him, the other woman in tow, he could sense not any type of nose-pleasing perfume, but sweat and something indefinable, as if she had a smell of her own, and not just one that one smeared on to signal mood and status.

Why was this affecting him? Even if it was a small, insignificant emotion, it didn't do to be curious. He was an inhabitant of one of the upper floors, one of the youngest. He should not have such a weakness.