31 DaysDay 15: WILDERNESS {the prompt follows at the end of this post}

{start}

Looking for Faith

Dawn broke over the ridge and set the tree line aglow with a golden hue; the light beckoned Chase from the deep sleep he’d fallen into behind a fallen log. He shook the sleep from his mind and glanced around for Faith. The ground next to him held no warmth and he figured she must have left sometime during the night, believing it better for them to travel separately rather than together. Clearly she wasn’t going to bring him into the Force, but they were both on the run now and he’d told her last night that they should stick together.

Unfortunately, he didn’t really have a lot of time to process that right now. Inside the various tree lines was the first place he figured the Force would concentrate their search for him. He was surprised actually that they hadn’t found him overnight, but he couldn’t really think about that either; he needed to get moving. At least I’m traveling light, he thought, since I was supposed to be brought in last night.

As the sun rose higher, Chase wove his way through the trees, thankful that he and Faith has spent so much time exploring the inner woods together. It didn’t take long before he stood at the edge of the tree line bordering another of the Provinces. Unlike the one he grew up in where the tallest building was 12 stories, like the dormitory where he’d been living, this Province had buildings that reached to the sky, causing him to squint as he looked up at them. Should provide some good cover maybe, he thought. He hoped to get to the center of the Province and locate the Book Depository because that was the one place he thought he might find Faith.

The streets were fairly empty at this early morning hour and Chase made sure to stay close to the buildings and in the shadows, turning at each block as he moved deeper into the Province. He followed an internal compass based on the myriad conversations he and Faith had about how most of the Provinces were laid out exactly the same even if their building structures tended to vary. Faith knew where the Book Depositories were in all of the seven Provinces and had made her way to each one more than once. In his mind, Chase heard Faith’s voice describing the path she took to the Book Depository in this one, the Pilgrim’s Province.

Chase rounded the corner of yet another block and a glimmer of metal caught his eye. He slowed down and peered more closely at the object that was stuck almost entirely inside a crack created by the missing mortar between a couple of bricks. Swiftly, he ran his hand over the object, removing it from its hiding place and inspecting the amulet in his hand. It was the one Faith wore on a cord around her wrist and Chase smiled; she’d left him behind but was guiding him nonetheless. With the amulet tightly in his grip, he pressed on toward the central square and the Book Depository.

Foot traffic was heavier now with more people exiting the sky scraping buildings with blank looks and brisk paces. No one seemed to notice him, but Chase slowed his pace to match those around him and kept his eyes straight ahead and slightly downcast, like the others. At the next block he jogged briskly to the next block and turned again. He made a note to keep to the smaller streets until he was closer to the depository. Ahead of him, a bulletin board fluttered with layers of papers stuck one over another; whenever a group of Underground Resistors posted something against the Force, it was almost immediately replaced with the Force’s propaganda.

Sometimes, Resistors used the boards to communicate with one another, and as he drew nearer the board, Chase noticed a few different envelopes hidden among the notices. He was almost past the board, when he paused, reached back and pulled one of the envelopes down and turned the corner. He buttoned the amulet into a side pocket of his cargo pants and removed the note from its envelope:

Sir, as you know, the Force does things by the book and your attempts to circumvent their efforts are in vain. The Chain of Command was firmly established from the outskirts of time for good reason and marching orders from the top will not be ignored. History is filled with noble causes and those that opposed them. If you choose to remain on the wrong side of the Force, you, too, will go down in History as one who lost his way, soon forgotten by those that follow you. You should remain not on the outside for much longer before finding yourself at the center of the Force’s movements.

Despite the threatening tone of the note, Chase easily picked out the code that Faith had included within its supposed warning to a traitor. He turned another block, heading deeper into the center of the maze of buildings and so avoiding the Force patrols that would be searching for him along the borders on the outskirts of the Province. He knew that the Book Depository was only a short distance now, and he picked up his pace, eager to come upon Faith once more.

{stop}

{Just a reminder, we try to keep these writing exercises to 30 minutes maximum, but that’s not a hard and fast rule. And I will say that in order to keep my writing within the 15 to 30 minute time, I create playlists on Spotify that allow me to put together songs that come close to 30 minutes. I also select music that fits with the story idea and help inspire the words I write. When the final note plays on the last song…I stop writing. Usually.}

Writing Prompt: CHAOS FOLLOWS – Put two characters you already know from your own fiction in a wilderness of some sort. It doesn’t have to be a forest. It could be a desert or a big foreign city where the characters don’t speak the language. Do not explain to the reader why these characters have landed in this wilderness. Stick to one POV. Slowly describe the other character, which does not want to be seen but leaves a handful of traces. Consider how people are recognizable from the things they leave behind, either by accident or on purpose. {Exercise 35 from The 3 A.M. Epiphany: Uncommon Writing Exercises that Transform Your Fiction by Brian Kiteley. Note, this is an affiliate link}

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