Chapter 1: "The First Day" 4

Sky stands in front of the mirror. He puts on his khaki field cap, remembering the day the young rebel leader put it on his head and called him his friend. Those had been good days, with a pure, just cause, in the mountains with his brothers and sisters in arms, fighting together, starving together. As usual, victory had been all-too brief, as the formerly oppressed found new ways of oppressing, and the guns of execution took down old friends as well as foes. The hat reminds him of that last revolution before he gave up in disgust and returned to the City.

He picks up the official Guardia dress kepi. It reminds him of the general, who fled rather than surrender when the tanks rolled in, who kissed him on each cheek after returning home, shook his hand and thanked him for helping the partisan cause. He has long resisted wearing it, preferring the softer field cap, more befitting a soldier. An affectation, really, Sky has to admit, and why is he so annoyed at the thought of wearing the official hat? Is this refusal a declaration of contempt for what he has become? Police, cop, fascist tool of the State. Oppressor.

And now, officer. Leader. He has led raids, patrols, platoons, but never a station. His moments in command have always been ad-hoc, temporary, even a result of emergency. He has been an advisor many times, using his divine powers to see the best strategies, detect the enemy’s weaknesses, strengthen the general’s resolve and the men’s morale. And now here he is, a real leader. A Boss.

Contempt, yes. Self-contempt, and well-earned. He repeats under his breath what he has told himself many times over his decades as the Commander’s weapon, the words of his protector and master: “Your job is to help people. Hold fast to that.” He finds they don’t give him much comfort this morning.

He looks again in the mirror, sees what he was, before Earth, before the City. Child of evil, creature of Hell, spawn of slave-masters overthrown by the gods, locked away by their former slaves beneath the Divine Mountain. Devil. “That is not me,” he whispers to his reflection. He takes off his field cap and hangs it on the hook over the mirror, obscuring it.

He puts on the kepi, straightens his jacket, and goes out to meet his people.


  1. Short section, but definitely packed full of conflict. Paragraphs 1, 3, 4, 5, and 6 are entirely clear, but paragraph 2 becomes a little confused. This general who fled instead of surrendering-- only the fact that Sky dislikes the headgear cues the reader into the fact that this general is despised. Just what doesn't Sky like about him? Perceived cowardice? A strategic view instead of a tactical view? It doesn't have to be specific, but there needs to be some sort of notation here to indicate that a retreat and a kiss of greeting are wrong.

    Good internal character illustration, mixed with a little more explanation of how this world works. Definitely a great way to pique the reader's interest about how Sky got "out" to where he is in the first place.

    1. From Sky:

      Thank you! Yes, I see what you mean about Paragraph 2...something to keep in mind for future writing, but also if we ever do something like revise all this for an e-book someday. I'm glad the rest of it worked well for you.