Sunday, June 11, 2017
1st 5 Pages June Workshop- Jachetti Rev 1
Name: Elisha Jachetti
Genre: YA Fantasy
“Do you ever think you could kill someone?” My best friend Harper Hadley asks me, lounging back in the deep green grass that matches her emerald eyes. It’s become tradition to visit the gardens during our breaks.
I give her a sideways glance. I’m used to her odd questions and incessant curiosity, but I’ve never appreciated the trouble that tends to follow. My first taste of it was when we were seven, and she got us sent to an all-girls school because she thought it was funny to pee in the boy’s bathroom. I was the lookout, but after we were repeatedly caught, it was clear I wasn’t very good at it.
“Why? Are you mad at Josef?” I tease. Josef’s the first boy she’s dated for more than a month. She says she loves him, but then again, she always says that.
“I mean for work, Quinn. Could you kill someone if it meant protecting the King?” Harper glances back at the castle, her auburn hair falling in pieces over her shoulders.
I follow her gaze. The castle somehow gets more beautiful every time I look at it, especially during this time of day when the sun is setting. The teal domes and spires pierce the sky, dripping gold over the extravagant balconies and arcades.
“It’s Concordia.” I shrug. I’ll never have to kill anyone, and even if I did, how would I? With my bare hands? It’s not like we carry weapons.
Harper rolls her eyes. “Everyone says that.”
“Because it’s true.” I laugh, flopping backwards. I love Concordia. I love living in a land of peace and I love that my job allows me to sit outside amongst the butterflies.
I’m about to change the subject back to Josef, when my thoughts are interrupted by the warning drums that signal Danger!
Harper raises one eyebrow. “I guess we’re finally doing that practice drill.” She mumbles as we both get up, brushing grass off our uniforms.
We take our time walking down to the central hallway, but from the distance, I can hear the shout of someone giving orders. It takes me a few seconds to realize the voice belongs to Sergeant Greyson. Though I can’t make out much of what he is saying, there is one phrase he keeps repeating. “Find the intruder.”
As we get closer, the once low din raises in volume until we’re right in the roaring thick of it. Maids and servants are running through the halls. Sentry members are organizing. Or attempting to. The whole place is in chaos, except for me, standing about as still as the royal statues.
“Earth to Quinn.” Harper waves her hand in front of my face, forcing my pupils to refocus. Josef’s standing next to her now. I blink, while she stares at me impatiently, strong and confident. “Did you hear anything Josef just said?”
I shake my head, causing Harper to relay the story so fast, her words blur together. “Someone broke in, and the only guards who maybe got a look at his face are unconscious at the front door.”
“That’s the drill narrative?” I ask, but before they can answer, a big crash from the end of the hallway causes me to jump. Two clumsy Sentry guards have attacked each other, probably thinking the other was the fugitive. When they start rolling around on the ground, still unaware of who they actually tackled, Harper curses and grabs my arm.
“Let’s go,” she whispers.
Her grip is firm as she drags me to the back staircase. Josef follows. Not many people know about this hidden gem. Harper and I found it one day when we were exploring the castle. She thought the only way we could truly protect the Royal Family from any problems would be if we became navigational experts of this place. I made fun of her.
Harper tugs on the familiar knot in the wall, moving the panel slightly to the side, and we slither through to the stairs, a secret passageway that can take us directly to any floor of the castle. I gulp in air as all has suddenly gone still around us. It’s quite the contrast to the swirling pool of people right outside.
“The King is on the third floor, which is where most of the Sentry went.” Josef shares.
“There’s a lot of them on the first floor too.” I manage to croak out. My throat is sticky as if I’ve just swallowed a mouthful of silver sap.
“Right, which is why I’m going to the fourth floor and you’re going to the roof.” Harper smiles at herself, pulling me along.
“I’ll take the basement.” Josef decides and disappears to the lower levels.
“Wait-” I stop in place. “We’re splitting up?”
Harper, who has started climbing the stairs, pauses and pivots around. “Yeah. That way one of us will get him.”
I nod deliberately, and begin to follow her upwards. I think of my training from when I first joined the Sentry. It was brief and left much to be desired. I guess I never minded until now.
Harper starts to chuckle. “Woah, you need to relax. Your face is as red as the Crest.” She shakes her head, opening up the wall on the fourth floor. “I’ll see you when we’ve got him,” Harper winks, and with that, she’s gone.
I turn and force myself to continue. I have such a tight grip on the railing that my knuckles are white. By the time I reach the top of the stairs, I’m having the irrational thought that this could be real, but why on Earth would somebody break the peace now? And for what purpose?
As I pull back the passageway, my muscles tense a bit in anticipation of the “intruder” being on the other side. But there’s no one. I step through into the only enclosed space on the roof. The King likes to visit this room by himself sometimes. I know, because occasionally his guards are stationed outside of it. As far as I’m aware, it’s never used officially for matters of state though.
The walls are made entirely of glass, ribbed together with strips of wood. It’s not a great place for hiding, but I still take a glance around. The room is sparse, except for a few clunky pieces of mahogany furniture, its glossy sheen illuminated by the light falling in through the windows. Had it been two hours later, I would be standing in complete darkness.
A desk is jutted up against the wall with a red velvet chair tucked underneath, a matching sofa sits directly across from it with a short, bookstand to the right, and a tall, imposing, wardrobe in the back of the room.
I guess the King likes mahogany. Or perhaps hates it, since he sent all this furniture up here where no one can see it.
I approach the wardrobe first, bracing myself as I fling the doors open.