04 March 2011

Titan's Jewel, Part One (3/9/11)

Hi, everybody! This is the beginning of my very first web story, called Titan's Jewel. Hope you enjoy; every Wednesday a new section will be posted at a limit of 1k words. Should be interesting, to say the least. I tend to overspeak. Had to shave 141 words off this one while still managing to maintain the scenery. Anyhoo, away we go!

Part One:

Tom Scott's overbearing diesel truck rolled to a stop on the edge of an abandoned fishing town. Bilbo, Maine sat on the very topmost corner of the state; prior to World War Three was thriving with shrimp, prawn, and lobster.

When the devastation of the newest prolific weapon hit, most of the sea life just offshore died with the toxins leaking into the salty water. The survivors retreated into the nether regions of the ocean. Human life resumed, after a period of severe unrest.

Three factions had begun warring with each other. The Arab nations united as a whole and declared war against the United States. China reared its head, too, and suddenly America found itself battling two superpowers. Eventually, the fighting bated and America was split into three parts, with Texas remaining an independent state. Each region was ruled by a body of people appointed by the new world order.

The far west coast, from California to Oklahoma, was ruled under Sharia law. These new rules were quite unwelcome. The central states were owned by China, from Kansas up to the Dakotas, and Ohio down through Louisiana under a new dictatorship. The remaining states became the new America.

After a time of rebuilding and reorganizing, the new America ran almost as efficiently as the old America. Sure, there was a shortage of food. Lines at grocers extended oftentimes around the block, and rations were put into effect. Homes were sparsely furnished; children got substandard education. But overall, America still held the same foundations she was founded upon.

Shiloh Flint lived in New York City. Double the original population lived there, as well, which made overcrowding a huge problem. She paraded as Vice President of a major financial corporation with "international" ties to Texas and the remaining two pieces of the torn country. She had everything anyone could dream of: A hot job, handsome fiancee, nice apartment, and a cat.

But when a document intended for the CEO landed on her desk instead, her world came crashing down. The single piece of paper, on her company's letterhead, implicated several thousand people from the top down in a scheme to extort millions of dollars from new America's more prosperous counterparts.

Shiloh did the only thing a person in her situation could: she reported them to the authorities. Within weeks, the company collapsed around her. Shiloh had planned ahead, though, and stocked away enough money in savings to hold her over for three years.

That was until her idiot fiancee ran off with his personal trainer to the Bahamas. He was kind enough to drain all of Shiloh's accounts before he left, though.

With nowhere else to turn and no one willing to hire the whistle blower, Shiloh returned home to her father and his construction business. As a child, he let her ride along as he ran the excavator and in high school construction was her summer job. She fell back into the work as easily as riding a bike.

One sunny August morning, Shiloh was expertly maneuvering the large machine to route a hill out of existence when her father swung himself up and pointed her to a rather short man and his rather tall, rather handsome counterpart.

Four hours later, the charming short man, Tom, had convinced her to accompany he and his cohort, Brett Prerit, to an abandoned town off the coast of Maine on a mission for the "Diamond of Titan". Shiloh agreed for two reasons: she could use the break, and they promised her an even thirty three percent of the cut.

If the diamond was found, it would be worth well over three billion dollars.

That's how Shiloh found herself in the middle of nowhere in February. She watched from the backseat as they pulled to a stop and the headlights cut through a low flowing early morning fog.

Tom hopped out of the truck and took a deep breath. "Look at this place," he called to no one in particular. "It's a gold mine!"

Shiloh snorted while unwrapping her shoulder length blond hair from its messy twist in preparation for harsh winter winds. "Yeah. Sure." She pulled a wool beanie low over her forehead. "So when do we start?"

Brett turned in his seat to eye her down. He had chestnut brown eyes and hair as black as night. He was probably thirty five or a little younger. Shiloh could only imagine what lay underneath his perfectly fit t-shirt. "Our equipment arrives tomorrow," he replied.

"Oh," she replied impotently as he hopped out of the truck and began untying knots from their supplies in the bed. Shiloh made her way out to help him. The town seemed to whisper as she emerged from the truck and she glanced around uneasily. Sagging roofs gave way to broken windows and barricaded doors. A playground sat in the center of town, a broken swing hanging feebly from its rusted chain. The sea wind blew in hard and cold off the pier in the distance.

With a chill shooting down her spine, Shiloh backed up to the bed of the truck and began untying her side. "So, um...Where are we all sleeping?"

Brett grinned and jerked his head towards the RV that Tom had towed along. "There's a master bedroom and two bunk beds. I call bottom," he said with a wink.

Shiloh smiled and blushed, concentrating intently on her knot. "Listen," she said, "I got the distinct impression when we met that you don't like me-"

"I like you just fine," he retorted, cutting her short. "I'm just not quite sure how good you really are, or how much we can trust you."

"The hell do you mean, trust me?" Anger flashed through her, making the blush burn brighter.

Brett held his hands up defensively. "Now, now," he said. "You're new here, that's all. Nothing personal." He lugged a box out of the truck and smiled at her. "You're cute when you're mad, by the way."

Be sure to check out the other Silver flashers:


Victoria Blisse said...

What a promising start! :)

Ryssa Edwards said...

Welcome aboard Lindsay!

Pender Mackie said...

Nice first flash! And a continuing story too. Now you're in it for the long haul. Way to go.