Sunday, June 4, 2017
1st 5 Pages June Workshop- Jachetti
Name: Elisha Jachetti
Genre: YA Fantasy
Shrieks of terror wake me from a dead sleep. From the distance, I can hear the shout of someone giving orders. My heart starts pounding out of shock and confusion. What is going on? During the last three years I have served for The Sentry, we have never had any trouble. Until today.
It takes me a few seconds to realize the voice shouting commands belongs to Sergeant Greyson, the head officer of the Sierra Greens region. I jolt up, sweat starting to form on the back of my neck, and swing my legs over the side of my bed. As I reach for my shoes, I finally discern exactly what Sergeant Greyson is saying, “Find the intruder.”
I’m still lacing up my boots as I stumble out into the hallway of the castle. The whole place is in chaos. Maids and servants are running through the halls. Sentry members are organizing. Or attempting to. The warning drums are being sounded, and though I know the particular beat that signals Danger!, I’ve never heard it outside of practice drills.
A strange feeling begins taking over my body. I don’t know what’s happening. My chest feels tighter by the second, as if someone has a firm grip on my heart and is squeezing it dry. This is real. Or maybe it’s not. Maybe it’s just a dream. It has to be.
“Earth to Quinn.” My friend Harley waves her hand in front of my face, forcing my pupils to refocus. I blink, while she stares at me impatiently, her emerald eyes, strong and confident. Her auburn hair falling in pieces over her shoulders.
“What’s going on?” I bark out. My throat is dry as if I’ve swallowed a mouthful of red sand.
Harley relays 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.”
The tightness in my chest is becoming more unbearable by the second. It feels as though someone has stuck me with a key, turned it, and is continuing to tighten and tighten and tighten. “How do you know it’s just one person?” I ask.
Just as Harley says that, a big crash comes from the end of the hallway causing me to jump. For a second, I think maybe the perpetrator has been caught and is being brought to justice, but it is really two clumsy Sentry guards who 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, Harley curses and grabs my arm.
“Let’s go,” she whispers.
She keeps a firm grip on my bicep as she drags me to the back staircase. Not many people know about this hidden gem. Harley and I found it one day when we were exploring the castle. We thought the only way we could truly protect the Royal Family from any problems would be if we became navigational experts of this place. Other guards made fun of us, because the reality of someone trying to hurt the King is just preposterous. Concordia is the land of peace. Always has been. Well, at least since the Dividing War.
Harley feels around for the familiar knot in the wall. One more millimeter to the right and- ah, she locates it. Moving the panel slightly to the side, 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. We begin to make our ascent.
“The King is on the third floor, which is where most of the Sentry went.” Harley shares. My breathing is starting to grow heavier with each step. I’m not out of shape, so I must be hyperventilating.
“There’s a lot of them on the first floor too.” I manage to croak out as I continue forcing my feet to move upward.
“Right, which is why I’m going to the fourth floor and you’re going to the roof.” Harley smiles at herself.
“Wait-” I stop in place. “We’re splitting up?”
Harley, who is a step in front of me, pauses and pivots around. “Yeah. That way one of us will get him.”
I nod deliberately, trying to reassess the situation. 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. Harley 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,” Harley says winking, 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’ve convinced myself that this is a drill concocted by Sergeant Greyson. That seems the most sensible after all. Why on Earth would somebody break the peace now? And for what purpose?
As I pull back the wall, 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 mahogany. Not great for hiding. It’s early evening and the light from the outside is falling through the windows, illuminating the glossy sheen of the woodwork. Had it been , I would be standing in complete darkness.
I take a glance around. It’s sparse, except for a few clunky pieces of furniture. There is a mahogany desk jutted up against the wall with a red velvet chair tucked underneath, a matching sofa directly across from it with a short, mahogany bookstand to the right, and a tall, imposing, deep mahogany 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 walk over to the wardrobe first. I brace myself as I fling the doors open.