The prompt this week comes from author Tomi Adeyemi, who wrote Children of Blood and Bone. Fantastic book by the way. Definitely check it out if you haven’t.
Part of the fun is writing a piece for yourself too! Challenge yourself to spend 30 minutes writing a story from the prompt below.
I sucked in my breath as he passed me. It was the third time he had completed a full pace of the length of the room. Each time my nose was assaulted with his stench. I glanced down at my hands. They were bandaged completely. The pain radiated off them like they had tiny burning heartbeats in each finger.
Can’t be happening. Too soon.
“And lastly, we’ll need you to do the night shift,” he said. He ran a hand over the top of his undercut hair. Mine probably matched his. “We’ll give you the rundown when you come tomorrow night. Is that understood, Key?”
All of the words he had spoken before these last two orders were completely lost on me. My mind shuddered with fear.
I wasn’t supposed to be here.
“Yes,” I answered automatically. The sound of confidence in my voice surprised me. But I had said it a hundred times before. This time was no different.
“Good,” he said. “Report here tomorrow night at dusk. Captain Zah will show you to the training area tonight.”
The girl leaning against the wall with her arms crossed painfully tight against her chest perked to attention. “Sir, are you sure it’s wise to start training today? Key just start—”
The man’s expression was hidden from me as he turned to look at Zah, but I could tell it was something severe.
“Right away, sir,” Zah said.
I followed her lead as we headed out into the woods. The sky was dark, but even through the dim lanterns on the trees, I could sense the life moving in the city nearby. I could hear the horse carriages clomping over the cobblestone. Smell the fresh bread for tomorrow’s sales. Somewhere in there was my home. A sense of dread filled my lungs as I breathed in shakily. Flashes of memories crossed in front of my eyes, and I paused in our walk. Hunched over, I started to dry heave. Then full-on vomit.
“You must be nervous,” Zah said without looking back at me. She stopped walking and put her hands on her hips. “Memory deletion can do that. Don’t worry. The artificial memories will start to kick in soon.”
Artificial? I thought. Was that what I’m seeing?
No. This was something else. Artificial memories weren’t meant to be this detailed. Not when they were trying to prepare me to be a hunter. Something had gone wrong. Something—
“Quiet, eh?” Zah said. “That won’t last long. Once they train you to be a hunter you tend not to shut up. It’s been our biggest problem with new recruits.”
My body quaked as I straightened. My clothes weren’t familiar. Leather and stiff, probably new. The first new clothes I’d ever worn.
“Do you…have any water?” I asked.
Zah cocked her head sympathetically at me. “Sorry. No water for the first twenty-four hours. Don’t want to jeopardize everything we’ve worked on.”
Dear gods, I thought and nearly threw up again. What have I become?
“Come along now, Key. We don’t want you to miss your first night of training.”
I hurried to catch up with Zah as she started walking again. Her long black ponytail swung at her waist as she moved like a reed in the wind. I stumbled along behind her. Each step in the new boots was filled with a combination of fear and dread.
We came to a clearing in the woods where twenty other people were already at work. They were all barefoot, exposing the sharp unnatural claws on their feet. Their hands had matching, dagger-like nails. Their eyes were ringed with black around the pupils. Signifying them for what they were. For what I was now. The hunters. Protectors of the city.
“This is where I leave you, Key. I will see you at dusk tomorrow night,” Zah said blankly and turned to leave.
Not Key, I thought. My name is Kericho. But I wasn’t supposed to remember my name. Or my family. Or anything other than a life of duty and war. But I remembered. I remembered everything.
If you liked this post, be sure to check out my post Fiction Friday #1.
Where did your imagination take you? Comment below!