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Thread: The Ripple Effect

  1. #26
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    Finally got caught up. Seeing as I didn't post a review since Chapter 3 [and I beta'd Chapter 2], I started reading from there.

    First off, a few grammatical errors I got. Sorry if I'm just repeating what the others said, but eh.


    The floor lurched dangerously as he staggered along the wall.
    I don't get what you're trying to say here. Floors lurching = weird for me, I guess.


    Kysa sipped some water and barely avoided throwing up again as Naomi left the dark room again.
    Two 'again's make it sound awkward.


    Rachel stood by the coffee machine as the liquid caffeine dripped into her cup.
    IMO I find this redundant. The fact that it's dripping implies that it's liquid.


    Naomi watched him absent-mindedly and she sipped a cup of tea.
    This would work better if it was replaced by "as".


    Naomi gave her a hug. "Sorry we're late; my fault not his," she laughed. Kris laughed too.
    I feel this could've been worded better, and a comma should be placed between "fault" and "not".


    A life was empty if nobody cared.
    "Was" should be replaced with "would be". And I like this sentence.


    He wanted to get out but was frozen, staring at her limp hand.
    But he was frozen?


    For me, Gayle [in Chapter 5, and I'm sure she's the same one in Chapter 1] was the most believable and relatable character out of the minor ones. Her personality is well-defined, and while she doesn't have a motive [just yet], it's a nice change of pace from the usual mood of the piece.

    It took me long to figure out that "Kysa" = Kyle Samuels. I like it when he calls himself Kyle. Just saying.

    I don't get one thing, though. If the nurse from Chapter 3 already had Naomi as a patient [and I assume this is the same nurse in Chapter 5], does that mean that that scene happened after all the scenes of Chapter 4? Or am I missing something here?

    And one more thing - I'm trying to figure out where this is going. Right now it all seems minor up to Naomi's critical state, but the rest all seems like separated jigsaw puzzles. For me it's taking you a bit too long to put them together. I liked how, in Chapter 1, it was clear that you were telling the same thing from different point of views, but at this point there are several point of views and they're rarely clashing with one another that it might make it confusing for the readers to figure out which one's important at a particular scene and such. In Chapter 5, for example, you refer back to two earlier scenes [the nurse's scene in Chapter 3 and Gayle's scene in Chapter 1], which is good seeing as they were left open-ended back then, but there are several others [Serena, Jag, Brad, the people in the meeting] still leaving us wondering.

    I'm not saying this is a bad thing - in fact, I think this is an important point of the story - I'm just saying that you're in danger of leaving some of these unattended and/or introducing several other characters/scenes like these, leaving the readers overwhelmed. You should choose carefully when to add more scenes like this, when to refer back to scenes like this, and see if they balance out. Chapter 5 is a good example of this, actually, seeing as you didn't introduce any new minor scenes and referred back to two of them [Gayle and Rachel], so maybe you're actually getting my point already and all that I've said is useless. XD

    Anyway, I've said it before - I'm really interested in this story. I'm sorry if I haven't beta'd the last few chapters - busy real-life is busy - but from the looks of things, it's not like you need my help that much anyway.


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  2. #27
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    On top of those pointed out by DM...
    It took Kysa a second to realise there was a hand on his shoulder, and he looked up to find an older nurse smiling a practised smile at him.
    'smiling a practised smile' sounds a touch repetitive to me there - might want to consider rewording that bit.
    "Here," the nurse reappeared with a plastic cup of water, dodging a tall man with red hair.
    I wonder if it was necessary to mention that she passed a 'tall man with red hair' - seems a bit like a too specific fact about a bystander (unless it's foreshadowing or a reference to another character?)
    She frowned, "Is there anyone to look after you while your mum's in hospital?"
    I feel that comma before the dialogue works better as a full stop.
    Her brown eyes studied him quizzically for a moment, "Honestly, it's better coming from me," he added.
    Same here - the first part before the dialogue doesn't seem to flow on with it and seems to be its own sentence, so a full stop seems to fit better there.
    30 minutes until the next bus. He kicked the sign.
    With numbers under 100, write it out as opposed to using numbers, so thirty over 30.
    Gasping for breath, Kysa sank to the ground and lay on the grass.
    The park was flooded with light from the streetlights.
    He gazed up at the sky, but the city lights blocked the stars from sight.
    He suddenly glanced at his watch, but it wasn't on his wrist.

    After another few minutes on the grass he rose to his feet.
    A search of his pockets revealed he'd left his phone at home as well.
    It had been afternoon when he'd left the hospital, but now it was well after dark.
    Separated these lines to show that they seemed to be too similar in length which made the pacing of this part feel a bit off and repetitive - merging a couple of them would fix that though.
    The few blocks between the park and his house were almost deserted, the only person he encountered was an African man with a dog on the other side of the road.
    Again the mention that he is an African man seems somewhat unnecessary there, and it also seems to be a run-on sentence with the comma after 'deserted' - it would feel better if you started a new sentence there instead.
    I'll tell her you were here." Burnside said as he checked Naomi's monitor readings.
    That full stop should be a comma.

    I do also agree with DM's comment that it seems to be coming a long a bit too slowly - it's a touch too segmented, this story, for my liking. I feel I still have a handle on it though - just that it's feeling like it might be becoming too complicated at this rate. But certainly it's still enjoyable to read - bar the instance with the similarly-lengthed sentences the pacing is solid and I really like the description here - and the characters are well-created as well.

    Also clearly football is serious business. ;p

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  3. #28
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    >> Chapter Six


    Callum started running towards his friend a split second before the first punch.

    Jimmy was almost knocked over from the blow. He staggered back in the dirt, looking surprised. Blood started to slowly seep from a cut on his lip.

    Kysa's jaw was set as he advanced on Jimmy once more. As the two boys reached striking distance, three of their classmates dashed between them.

    A quick jab from Jimmy managed to twist around the people between them and hit Kysa in the stomach.

    He lunged forward to retaliate, but Callum and another boy pushed him backwards.

    "Hey! Chill out, man!" Callum yelled in Kysa's face. For an instant they were frozen, glaring at each other. As the teacher arrived, Callum hissed in Kysa's ear, "I know he's always a dickhead to you, but that doesn't mean you start a fight! Mr. Roberts looks like he wants to murder you."

    "Kyle Samuels, principal's office! Now!" barked a deep, menacing voice. "Jimmy, go to the nurse. I'll come find you later. Don't think you're not in any trouble either."

    Jimmy smirked. Avoiding eye contact with Kysa, who was only just visibly shaking, he sauntered away.

    "You lot," Mr. Roberts yelled at the rest of the class, who were starting to gather near the goals, "get changed and go study in the library. I'll tell Mrs. Bradford you're coming."

    He turned to look at Kysa with eyes that may have burst a blood vessel at any moment. "Go," he grunted, pointing towards the large building across the field.

    The two walked in silence. Mr. Roberts' gaze was focussed on the glass panelled doors, while Kysa's wandered across the grass. Sounds of talking from behind them grew fainter as the rest of the class headed in the opposite direction.

    Kysa never looked up for an instant as they walked silently. Air whistled out of his nose with each laboured breath. He cracked his knuckles.

    At the sound, Mr. Roberts shot him a quick look from beneath his furrowed brow.

    The door to their left had a sign, with 'Office' printed across in imposing block letters. Kysa hesitated for a second before pushing it open.

    Although the hinges were silent, the eyes of everyone inside flicked to the door instantly as it opened. Kysa glanced around the cosy room quickly, before shoving his hands in his pockets.

    His feet were surrounded by a field of soothing pastel green and the walls boasted matching wallpaper, but he still stood as rigidly as possible. The elderly receptionist, seated behind a large wooden desk in the corner, peered over her reading glasses. She lifted the phone quickly and whispered into it.

    The tall man pulled his sunglasses from the top of his head. A frown was deeply etched on his face.

    Ever so faintly, the tick of a clock reverberated around the room. Kysa flinched.

    >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >>

    "Do you understand how seriously this school takes violence among students?"

    "Yes, Mr. Clarke," replied Kysa, motionless in his seat. His eyebrows were raised as he bit his bottom lip. He flicked his gaze around the cluttered desk of the old man before him.

    Beside him, Mr. Roberts shifted every few seconds. His chair was pushed back to accommodate his long legs.

    Another man stood silently in the back corner of the room, strategically beneath the clock. He leaned against the painted brick wall with bare folded arms, shirt sleeves rolled up to his elbows.

    "I have heard about the tension between you and Jimmy, but that serves as no excuse. Given how out of character this is, I'd like to call your mother to discuss it. Is she at home?” Mr Clarke had his hand poised by the phone.

    “No.” Kysa replied flatly.

    “Is she at work?”

    “No.” His eyes flickered everywhere except the faces of the men in the room.

    The old man leaned forward slightly, frowning. “Does she have a mobile with her?”

    Kysa sat silently, jaw clenched. Three sets of eyes were fixed on him as he shuffled in his seat. The sweat on his back had turned cold.

    “Kyle, you’re going to have to talk to us.” The man in the back corner broke the silence, with an unmistakeable Irish note in his voice. His dark eyes narrowed as he pursed his lips.

    “She’s in hospital,” he admitted faintly, but just loud enough for everyone in the room to hear. He bowed his head, scratching the back of it self-consciously.

    They were all silent for a moment. While Mr. Roberts shuffled his feet, the man in the corner remained still. Mr. Clarke withdrew his hand from the phone.

    “What are they treating her for?” The Irish voice shattered the silence once more.

    Kysa studied the green carpet and shook his head. “I don’t know.”

    “So who are you staying with?”

    “We don’t have your father on file,” the principal added, shuffling papers.

    Kysa snorted, “You wouldn’t. I’m staying with my grandmother. She’s pretty deaf, so I wouldn’t bother calling her.”

    Mr. Clarke studied him quickly, then flipped open a black laptop. “I’ll write a letter to your grandmother explaining what’s happened. I want her to read it, sign it, and send it back tomorrow. You’re being suspended for the rest of the week.”

    “Shit...” Kysa murmured. Mr. Roberts, the closest, turned his head quickly to glare at the teenager.

    “I don’t want you to think of this as a holiday, in fact, I will be asking your teachers to prepare work for you,” Mr. Clarke continued, “Kyle, I know it must be difficult having your mum in hospital, but you’re only a month away from finishing school. I expected better behaviour from you."

    He picked up a piece of paper and a pen, offering them to Kysa. “Can you write your grandmother’s address here please, I’ll mail her the letter this afternoon.”

    Kysa picked up the thin pen, and hesitated for a second. He grimaced, then scribbled down an address.

    “Thank you. Mr. Roberts, if you could go fetch Jimmy, I’ll speak to him now. Kyle, Deputy Principal Woods will organise some work for you and take you home. Just wait outside.”

    The man in the corner nodded, running a hand through his short, dark hair.

    Mr. Roberts stood and stretched, before ushering his student out of the room with a stern glance. He closed the door behind them.

    “Well, we didn’t know about that one,” Mr. Woods commented once they were alone. He strode around to the front of the desk.

    Mr. Clarke nodded, frowning, “Pete, see what you can find out.”

    >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >>

    Silence filled the car. Kysa stared out of the window blankly, biting his lip. The strong scent of coffee permeated the seats of the small car.

    Mr. Woods glanced over at his passenger. “So how long is your mum in hospital for?”

    “Dunno.” Kysa remained staring resolutely out the window at a group of kids skateboarding in a car park.

    The car halted at a set of traffic lights. “Is everything," Mr. Woods paused, "alright at home?” He looked to his left, studying Kysa carefully.

    “Yes,” came a flat response.

    Mr. Woods frowned. “You know you can talk to me if you need to.”

    Kysa folded his arms and hunched his shoulders. "Can you turn off the AC?" he asked.

    "It's not on," the teacher replied, raising an eyebrow. His sleeves remained rolled up to the elbows. He paused, "Just, remember you can talk to us."

    The teenager clenched his jaw and didn't speak. He carefully stifled a yawn while glancing at his watch.

    As car began to accelerate, Kysa watched the kids in the skate park disappear. At least seventy percent of them looked younger than him, including a bunch of kids who looked like they weren't even in high school yet. He felt the prying eyes studying him.

    "Left here, then stop at the end of the block," Kysa said after a few minutes, pointing to a street ahead.

    Mr Woods frowned, "I thought your grandmother lived a few streets further along." He pulled a sticky note from his pocket and glanced down at it.

    "She does, I need to grab some stuff first though." Kysa pulled his bag from the floor onto his lap. He bit his lip anxiously and looked at the teacher. "It's not very far to walk..."

    With a sigh, the man nodded. "Suspension isn't a holiday, take it seriously. And keep yourself out of trouble, only a few weeks until the end of school."

    He stopped the car about a hundred metres from the end of the block, just before Kysa's driveway. Without looking back, Kysa jumped out of the car.

    "I'm fully aware the Royal Show starts tomorrow, and if you go, I'll know about it," Mr Woods yelled after him. "Study, not rollercoasters."

    Kysa paused for a moment at the shout, then mumbled, "Screw you." He fumbled in his bag for keys. The purr of the engine still came unmovingly from behind him.

    He slammed the door shut behind him and leaned his back against the cold wood, waiting.

    >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >>

    Brad sat just outside of the skate park, with his skateboard in front of him. "Don't you look innocent!" he accused, narrowing his eyes at the stationary object. "You're always trying to run away, but you can't, 'cuz you're mine. I'm gonna show the big kids how great I am, and you're gonna help. Or else!"

    The boy resolutely tightened his helmet and checked his vast array of protective gear. He wore two sets of knee pads, which protected both of his knees and shins, elbow pads, wrist guards, gloves, and a metal baking tray taped to his back.

    With all the metal and black plastic covering him, he moved awkwardly over to pick up his board. "Don't tell mum we skipped school," he hissed. No reply came, but he seemed satisfied.

    In front of him, a gang of four teenagers cruised around the park, performing jumps on their bikes.

    They laughed loudly at the sight of Brad, and one wearing a white hoodie skidded to a stop in front of him. "Expecting a war, kid?"

    Brad tilted his head and pondered. "Not today. Wars don't start on Thursdays."

    The older boy laughed. "Can you believe this kid?" he yelled to his mates. He looked Brad up and down, "How old are you, kid?"

    "Ten and two thirds," he replied defensively.

    The teens laughed again, all three of them were in front of him now. They started to slowly ride in a circle around him.

    "Go back to school," another jeered.

    Brad frowned, "But, you're not."

    >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >>

    Extracting the ear bud from one ear, Kysa opened the front door a crack. He heard a dog bark outside as a hand slammed against the door, catching him off guard. He stumbled backwards as a slightly damp Kris strode inside.

    She leaned against the kitchen doorway and waved an envelope at him, with one eyebrow raised. "So what's this all about?"

    Kysa looked at it and shook his head.

    "Why is your school writing to me?" she queried, "And since when was I deaf and in my eighties?"

    "Uh, that..." Kysa mumbled.

    Kris extracted the letter from the envelope. "They even used large print, that was considerate," she mused, continuing to look expectantly at Kysa.

    He stood silently, trying to avoid her steely gaze.

    "Where's Naomi? Pretty sure she should know you got suspended yesterday." She studied him for a few more seconds before looking behind him into the lounge room. Not seeing Naomi, she crossed to the hall.

    Kysa sighed, but didn't move. "She's not here."

    Kris ignored him and continued her search, peering inside each room in turn. A minute later, she returned to the entrance. "I tried calling her mobile and it's off. She's not at work either. If she's not here, where is she?"

    Neither spoke for a few minutes. Kysa studied Kris' black Converse, slightly wet around the toes. She also looked down at her feet, confused.

    Eventually, Kysa broke the silence, "She's in hospital."

    She frowned, "I already tried call..."

    Kysa cut her off, "Not like that. She's a patient."

    Kris said nothing.

    >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >>

    Two plastic chairs were pulled up next to Naomi's bed. Kysa sat in one, tapping his foot, while the other was vacant.

    Kris stood outside in conversation with a doctor.

    Naomi lay still amongst the white sheets, breathing softly. Tubes ran under her nose and into the back of her hand. Kysa watched some liquid dripping steadily into a tube. The rhythm matched that made by his foot.

    He maintained the beat as Kris re-entered the room. She sat silently next to him, watching Naomi.

    "How come you never asked me what was wrong with her?" Kysa asked quietly.

    "I figured I probably had a better idea than you did, and if not, we knew about the same," she stated.

    He turned his head. "Why would you know more? She's my mum. I'd notice something before you."

    Kris shrugged, "She probably didn't want to worry you."

    Kysa stopped tapping. He looked at her quickly and his voice grew louder. "What do you mean? What did she say to you?"

    They both looked up as Naomi stirred, but she didn't wake.

    "Not much, she'd just had some lung issues."

    Kysa clenched his jaw and stood. "Vending machine," he said as he left the room.

    The room was surprisingly quiet as Kris sat in contemplation. Light was beginning to fade outside the small window, casting long shadows upon the neighbouring buildings.

    She studied the monitors around Naomi's bed for a few minutes.

    Kysa returned to the room with a red and white can of Coke. As the door closed, Naomi stirred again. This time she opened her eyes and smiled. "Nice to have visitors," she said, and coughed.

    "How're you feeling, mum?" Kysa asked quickly, returning to his seat.

    She smiled again, "Better to see you."

    Kris opened her mouth to speak, but Kysa cut her off. "Do they know what you have yet?" He shot Kris a sideways look, to which she responded with a confused expression.

    "They need to run some more tests. How about you? I hope you're not home alone..." she trailed off.

    Kysa froze for a second as both women waited for his response. "I've been... at Jake's... and Morgan's coming down for the weekend. Jake's parents don't mind," he added.

    Naomi looked relieved. "Glad to hear it. Can you do something for me?"

    "Sure."

    "Could you go to my church on Sunday and let them know I'm here? I don't want them to worry." She looked pleadingly at him, until he sighed and shrugged.

    Kris looked up at the clock on the wall. "Visiting time's almost over, but at least one of us will be back tomorrow."

    The two stood, giving Naomi a hug in turn. She smiled the best she could, which was rather weakly.

    As they left the room, Kris turned to Kysa. "Is Morgan really coming?"

    "Yeah, that's what I said, wasn't it?" Kysa replied defensively. "I know you don't get on, don't feel obliged to come over."

    "Just, don't be alone," was all she said.

    >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >>

    The small church sat sedately on the corner of two quiet side streets. Two spindly trees draped branches of green along one side of the roof, next to a car park.

    Kysa walked along slowly, hands in the pockets of his slacks. He uncomfortably adjusted the collar of his shirt.

    As he drew closer, the sound of a man speaking came from the open door. He hesitantly took a step inside and peered into the church.

    The navy blue carpet had recently been replaced, matching cloth on the altar. An old man stood in front of the altar, on a platform at the end of the church. Kysa ducked out quickly.

    Producing a pen and paper from his pockets, the teenager scribbled down a message, including Naomi's ward and room number. He took a deep breath and stepped back into the church. The back row of pews was empty, so Kysa quickly folded the note and hooked it over the side of the seat.

    He stepped out once more, walking briskly down the street. A red-haired man was walking down the other side of the street.

    >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >>

    "I'm sorry I punched you." Kysa sat once more in the room with pale green carpet. Jimmy sat in the adjacent chair, smirking slightly.

    "Now, I expect both of you to focus on your studies from now on," Mr Clarke told them sternly. "You have exams soon to think about."

    Mr Woods stood in the corner once more, silently surveying the room.

    "Now, off you go to class," the principal commanded. Both boys stood quickly and left the room.

    Leaving the office, Kysa turned right while Jimmy turned left. Neither spoke a word.

    "Hey!" Jake ran down the hall towards Kysa.

    "Hi."

    "So, you never got back to me about this Friday night. You still up for rollercoasters?" Grinning with excitement, Jake looked at Kysa expectantly.

    "Can't," Kysa sighed, reaching his locker and spinning the dial of the lock with one thumb.

    "Why not? We go every year..."

    Kysa replied simply, "Katie Woods." When Jake said nothing, he continued. "If we go, Callum's girlfriend tells her ****ing deputy principal uncle, and I get in more trouble." He whacked the locker door with his hand for emphasis.

    Jake's eyes were wide, looking over Kysa's shoulder. Kysa winced.

    "I'll look forward to seeing you in Thursday afternoon detention then, Mr Samuels," commented Mr Woods, who stood behind him.

    After a few minutes of silence, Kysa spoke again. "Great."

    His friend turned to leave, "Guess it's a no then."

    >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >>

    Electronic beeping filled the room. "That's all for maths today, see you all tomorrow." The old man at the front turned to erase some equations from the whiteboard, while the students frantically rushed to pack up.

    At the back of the room, Callum turned to Kysa. "Ready for some quality time with Woods?" he laughed.

    "Shut up." Kysa pushed the chair under the desk with his foot.

    All three boys left the room together, Kysa with a scowl on his face.

    Jake stopped. "Aren't you going the wrong way, Kysa? Detention's that way," he pointed down the hallway they'd just passed.

    "'Spose it is." Kysa kept walking towards his locker.

    Callum laughed again. "Woodsy's gonna be pissed."

    >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >>

    Kysa threw his bag down inside the door and kicked off his shoes. He wandered down the hall to his room.

    A pair of running shorts and a clean blue t-shirt from his drawer replaced his school clothes. He tightly laced up his old running shoes.

    Returning to the hall, he picked up his house key and slid it into his shoe. Kysa removed his phone from his pocket and flipped it open, but the screen didn't light up.

    >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >>

    "Mrs Lennox?"

    The elderly receptionist looked up. She smiled at the Irish teacher, "What can I help you with, dear?"

    Mr Woods put a clipboard down on the desk. "Can you check if Kyle Samuels made it to school today? He never showed up for detention."

    A few key strokes later, she looked back up at him. "He's not on the absentee list for today."

    He frowned, "Do you have his records? I'll make a few phone calls and try to track him down."

    Sitting down at his desk, Mr Woods opened the large folder he'd brought in with him. He lifted the receiver of his phone and dialled a number.

    After a few minutes, he tried another number. Once more, he hung up and dialled again.

    >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >>

    "Hello, Kristin Mason," Kris spoke into the phone mechanically.

    She waited for a response. After a few seconds, she frowned. "Yes, I am the only resident..."

    "I think you have the wrong number then." She put the phone down.

    >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >>

    Puzzled, Mr Woods searched the file. He picked the phone up once more, dialling a different number.

    "Hello, do you have a patient named Naomi Samuels?"

    "Oh good. I'm her son's teacher. Out of curiosity, has he visited her today?"

    "No? Okay, thank you. We're just trying to track him down, and he isn't home."

    "His father? No, we have no record of a father..."

    "Thank you very much for your help."

    He sighed, head in his hands. After another few minutes, he reached for the phone once more, and dialled the police.

    >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >>

    Kysa emerged from the bathroom, rubbing his hair with a towel. He strode barefoot into the kitchen and opened the cupboard. After a few minutes of rummaging, he went to the fridge.

    "Crap, no food..." Kysa mumbled.

    He returned his towel to the bathroom, and quickly walked down the hall to his room. He searched through the clothing strewn across the floor until he grabbed a black wallet, shoving it into his back pocket.

    A minute later, he was walking down the street.

    >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >>

    Five minutes later, a white car with blue squares in a stripe down the side pulled up to Kysa's house.

    Two men in blue shirts and trousers emerged from the car. One walked to the door and knocked loudly, while the other attempted to peer in through the windows. There was no response.

    >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >>

    Sitting in a parked car across the road, a red-haired man answered his phone.

    "On my way."

    >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >>

    Whew, it's been way too long ^^ Hope the long gap won't deter you from reading, the next chapter's looking to be one of my favourites. There's probably some cultural references in there. Google should be able to help you with that, but if not, I can =)

    Hopefully I didn't rush the end too much
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  4. #29
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    Excellent Chapter.

    I can really relate to Kysa's attitude towards everyone else, even though I've never had an immediate family member in the hospital, and everyone's reactions are realistic and strong.

    Now I see 'the Ripple Effect' finally coming into... effect (lack of better term gone wrong XD). This chapter really showed how a simple illness can escalate into a major issue. Kysa's basically screwed.

    ...And that red-hair man is supicious, but in a good way.
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  5. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by SerenadeSP View Post
    Excellent Chapter.

    I can really relate to Kysa's attitude towards everyone else, even though I've never had an immediate family member in the hospital, and everyone's reactions are realistic and strong.

    Now I see 'the Ripple Effect' finally coming into... effect (lack of better term gone wrong XD). This chapter really showed how a simple illness can escalate into a major issue. Kysa's basically screwed.

    ...And that red-hair man is supicious, but in a good way.
    Cheers for the review =D You must have this on your subscriptions, which is surprising after all this time.

    Thanks =) Since I started this so long ago, it's planned much further than it's written. So it's really not gotten that interesting yet, but the next chapter is sending it down that path. Ah man, it kills me how unmotivated I can be when writing chapters, especially since at least the last half of each chapter is written in one day.

    Good way huh? If you say so =P

    Thanks for still reading =) And all the closet readers out there, who must exist, because the view count is crazy
    << The Ripple Effect || Updated 21/05/12 >>
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  6. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zadros View Post
    Cheers for the review =D You must have this on your subscriptions, which is surprising after all this time.

    Thanks =) Since I started this so long ago, it's planned much further than it's written. So it's really not gotten that interesting yet, but the next chapter is sending it down that path. Ah man, it kills me how unmotivated I can be when writing chapters, especially since at least the last half of each chapter is written in one day.

    Good way huh? If you say so =P

    Thanks for still reading =) And all the closet readers out there, who must exist, because the view count is crazy
    Actually, it just happened to be the top post of the Non-Pokemon Fic section when I posted. Talk about luck.

    What I usually do is that I feel like writing a future chapter I just write it anyway and try to get the previous chapters to work with what I already wrote. That way it's harder for you to lose motivation (and you spend more time writing ).

    That is, of course, if you have time to write. XP
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  7. #32
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    Zadrrrros! Bleh, so sorry for not reviewing this story lately. Had been really busy with a million things lately. ;_; I also want to apologize in advance if some stuff I mention in this review are way off as it's been so long since I read this story. -_- Okay, review time!

    Chapter Three
    I remember Kysa being sick from last chapter, but it seems he’s getting a bit worse. Hopefully both hi mother and Kris are right in that he’ll feel better soon.

    I don’t think you introduced Rachel before, so correct me if I’m wrong. XD I’m assuming though she’s a nurse or a receptionist in the hospital? Just making sure. ^^;

    I enjoyed the tour scene. Yay, Memento! XD The mention of Memento’s products going to be seen a lot more often is intriguing. I’m pretty sure the corporation’s role in this story will be revealed soon.

    Chapter Four
    Heh, I think when Kysa said “speaking of fresh air”, to his mom I’m pretty sure he meant of her not quitting smoking yet. Yeah, quitting cold turkey can be bad, although quitting gradually would make things easier.

    Wee, board meeting scene. Very interested over this Project 273. I think you did nicely bringing in some suspense here.

    I hope no one in the theater will get sick from Kysa, lol. And I think he’ll need to explain that hat to Kris eventually. :P

    Hm, nice introduction of Jag there. Not much is known of him yet, but looking forward to how he develops later on.

    Chapter 5
    Like how you write Gayle’s POV there. Her thoughts over dying is very clear but intense.

    Okay, maybe it’s me forgetting what had happened the past few chapters, but something went wrong with Naomi? I thought Kysa would be the one needing to go to the hospital (then again, a few days probably passed and Kysa got better I assume?). ._.

    Ah dang over the soccer scene. Yep, Kysa’s so in trouble for punching Jake like that. ._.

    Chapter 6
    It’s given Kysa will get suspended for what happened last chapter. I laughed out loud over Kris’s reaction to Kysa’s suspension later on in the chapter. XD

    I too though Kysa’s attitude and everyone’s reactions are done nicely. I was like that somewhat when my dad was in the hospital for a month back in 2006 (not long before I signed up at Serebii in fact). D:

    Ha ha over Kysa badmouthing Wood’s niece. Not a good idea to stay out of detention, Kysa. Looks like though Woods isn’t the only one tracking Kysa…

    Overall, the last four chapters I enjoyed a lot. Kysa is developing nicely and looks like the plot is finally kicking in. Can't wait to see what happens next!


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  8. #33
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    Despite the break this was very well written imo, this last chapter. I'll admit I had to read some earlier parts though to remember what was fully going on up until that point, so... hopefully the next part is sooner. ;p Although re-reading that wouldn't be so bad.

    I liked the general atmosphere the most from this I think, such as the whole scene in the office to the hospital scene. Really nice sense of what is going on came from that, and I liked the scene in which he got an extra detention for talking too much. XD As Bay said, it certainly feels that the plot is now moving nicely all of a sudden after all that set up.

    The character interactions during it were pretty spot on and realistic to me as well... although I did feel that for someone who punched someone and said action was stated to be given a suspension for the rest of the week, despite having problems at home. I would have thought a detention or few would have sufficed and the school to investigate what's going on some more as well... even if the school was hard on violence. But maybe that just says some things about the schools I went to? =/ IDK, but that part struck me as a bit off personally in more ways than one.

    The door to their left had a sign, with 'Office' printed across in imposing block letters.
    I don't feel the comma after 'sign' is needed there - seems to create an unnecessary pause.
    “No.” Kysa replied flatly.
    That full stop ought to be a comma.
    “Kyle, you’re going to have to talk to us.” The man in the back corner broke the silence, with an unmistakeable Irish note in his voice.
    “What are they treating her for?” The Irish voice shattered the silence once more.
    Seemed a touch repetitive to me in mentioning that the voice was Irish personally in quick succession.
    “I don’t want you to think of this as a holiday, in fact, I will be asking your teachers to prepare work for you,” Mr. Clarke continued, “Kyle, I know it must be difficult having your mum in hospital, but you’re only a month away from finishing school.
    This felt way too long as a sentence personally. I feel you could split it into a few seconds, say after 'as a holiday, and 'Mr Clarke continued' - otherwise it just reads oddly as such a long sentence.
    His friend turned to leave, "Guess it's a no then."
    The older boy laughed. "Can you believe this kid?" he yelled to his mates. He looked Brad up and down, "How old are you, kid?"
    In both these cases I feel the bolded commas should be a full stop, as it sounds better reading the dialogue as a separate sentence. I'd only keep those commas in if you added a bit more to the sentence to compensate, e.g. 'His friend turned to leave, and said "Guess it's a no then."

    Overall quite good - only question mark I really had is the school teacher's response to the situation and the news his mother was in hospital and he had no father, in which I feel it could either use a rethink or some more explanation. At any rate, keep it going!

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  9. #34
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    Ever so faintly, the tick of a clock reverberated around the room. Kysa flinched.
    I really like this line.


    As car began to accelerate, Kysa watched the kids in the skate park disappear.
    You're missing a "the".


    Good chapter here. I'm enjoying the introduction of conflict - even though Kysa's becoming a bit too unrealistically rebellious in my opinion (especially in his scene with Mr. Woods. The man was clearly trying to reach out to him and he ends up acting like an asshole, and while you handled this well, I think it's a bit too much?), it's always fun to read about such characters. The scene with the mother was really striking, too - gives Kysa a reason for his behavior, though I assume Kysa's motivations wouldn't stop there. [They couldn't, right? Haha.]

    I also really like the scenes with the phone conversations. Reminds me of an idea I had a while ago... XD

    Red-haired man's scene wasn't rushed at all! Gives the chapter an even more interesting conflict than Kysa's. Can't wait how he becomes important in the next chapter(s)! And, well, I can't wait for the next chapter(s) in general! =)


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  10. #35
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    Bay! I didn't realise quite how far behind you were XD Oh, and it wasn't Jake he punched. Glad you're enjoying it, and yes, the plot is finally kicking in =)

    Cheers bnb =) As for the aftermath of the fight, I guess I just went by schools I've been to. Can't say I know much beyond that, so I may do more research in the future. Thanks for the corrections, will go through and fix them up later ^^

    DM =) Heh, pretty sure you've told me you like that line before. I suppose he's got a lot of conflicting feelings, not all of them rational. Heh, did you notice the red-haired guy in previous chapters too? =) Thank you too for the corrections. As you know, the next chapter is gonna be one of my favourites, so I'm gonna smash it out after exams =D
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    >> Chapter Seven


    Russell slid his feet along the shiny tan floor. He stopped his trolley at the start of the long open fridge. A lone shopper was in the aisle, talking softly on her phone. She reached for a pizza from the other end of a chest freezer, which stretched through the aisle like a median strip.

    Two at a time, Russell began to mechanically transfer cartons of milk to the shelves. He felt the chill on his hands as he put each load down, pulling the older products to the front.

    The cold crept slowly into his lungs. He coughed and stopped to zip up the dark blue vest over his paler blue work shirt, partially protecting him from the cold.

    Different sizes of cardboard boxes lined the top of the fridge, just out of reach. Most were marked as chips, the sides colour coded according to each flavour's packet. He always had the looming sense they were about to fall on top of him, despite them being pushed back from the edge.

    He stacked the empty yellow crates on one side of the trolley, reaching for the tubs of cream.

    His hand froze midway as he felt a buzzing in his pocket. Furtively surveying the area while biting his lip, he saw nobody and heard only the dull hum of the fridges.

    Slowly he slipped a phone from his pocket and tapped some of the keys. One message awaited him on the screen.

    Call me
    R


    Russell frowned and sighed. He looked around once more before quickly typing his reply.

    Later, working. Shouldn't even be texting.

    He pressed Send, put the phone back in his pocket and returned his attention to the cream.

    A minute later, Russell felt it buzz again.

    What time?
    R


    With a lopsided smile, he pondered his answer.

    Probably too late for you, sis. Don't want to spoil your beauty sleep. How's tomorrow?

    >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >>

    Mr Woods walked slowly from his office, a worried expression plastered across his face as he studied the ground. Seeing unfamiliar shoes by the receptionist's desk, he looked up suddenly.

    A man and a woman stood talking to the elderly lady in the corner, both wearing pale blue shirts with police insignia on the shoulders.

    Mrs Lennox fell silent and looked up at him as his door clicked shut. The police officers turned to look at him.

    "Mr Woods?" the female officer queried, removing her hat and stepping towards him. It exposed her short hair, black near the top but fading to brown near the tips. He studied her narrow eyes for an indication of her news, but they remained impassive.

    He nodded expectantly. Mrs Lennox was looking intently at her computer screen, but didn't make any noise.

    "I'm Constable Kendall, and this is Constable Deakin." She motioned to her tall companion, who nodded and also removed his hat.

    Reopening his door, Mr Woods motioned them inside. He sat behind his desk and pulled the chair forward apprehensively. "Any news?"

    The Constables also sat. "Unfortunately not. We have been to his house, but he wasn't there." The man's posture was impeccable as he spoke. "We appreciate your concern, Mr Woods, but we don't believe him to be in any danger."

    "But what about his situation as an unaccompanied minor?" There was an edge of irritation in his voice as he watched the blonde haired man remain perfectly still across from him.

    The female officer broke in, "As he's seventeen, our hope would be to find a relative or friend of the family he could stay with until his mother is discharged. It sounds like she'll be spending a considerable amount of time there." She scratched above her eyebrow with one nail.

    Mr Woods sat and contemplated the response. He opened a manila folder resting on his keyboard, scanning the contents as he spoke. "I'm afraid I don't know of any other relatives, but I do I know the parents of some of his friends who might be willing."

    She tilted her head and furrowed her eyebrows. "No relatives at all? No father, grandparents, uncles, aunts, nothing?"

    Woods shook his head. "Only his mother. He gave us an address for a grandmother, which turned out to be fake, so I don't know if she exists or not."

    For a moment nobody spoke. Woods closed the folder, opening a draw of his desk and placing it softly inside. Constable Deakin was still motionless, while his partner jotted something down in her black-covered notebook.

    She looked up at her colleague and nodded. They both rose. "Thank you for your time. If you do hear from Kyle please let us know." She offered a small card to the teacher, who reached over to accept it.

    "I will. If you want to contact any of his friends, Mrs Lennox the secretary can help." He also stood, following them to the door.

    "Interested in this one, Andrea?" Deakin queried as they left the small office.

    She shrugged, "I guess it's just hard to believe this kid has almost nobody."

    He frowned. "It happens. Not everyone has family."

    "Yeah well, I'm gonna see what I can find. There has to be somebody out there." She retrieved her notebook and began to reread it.

    He sighed, "If you want to spend your time on that, go for it."

    >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >>

    Through the darkness blew a cold wind, carrying with it leaves and the moisture that permeated the air. The dampness carried with it scents of trees, dirt and petrol that flowed down the narrow stretch of road.

    Precious few streetlights lined the footpaths; what light there was came mostly from cracks between curtains, porch lights, and the visible two-thirds of the moon. The sounds of traffic nearby faintly drifted among the trees.

    A car sped down the quiet street, its headlights briefly illuminating the lone silhouette walking steadily down the footpath. It cast his shadow far in front of him, before it slowly disappeared once more.

    Dark cargo pants partially obscured the tops of dirty white canvas shoes, and the hood of a grey jacket was pulled up. The head turned, revealing the brim of a black baseball cap and a tuft of mud brown hair.

    Kysa had his hand deep in the pockets of his pants, shoulders hunched against the cold. He walked briskly with his head down.

    The sounds from the road were louder now, traffic still rushing through the gloom. He looked up as the footpath became steadily clearer.

    Some shrubs growing amongst a bed of bark chips separated the car park from the road. Kysa hiked between them sure-footedly.

    Gravel crunched under his feet as he trudged between the spattering of cars. White painted lines marking the parking spaces grew brighter as he approached the building at the far end.

    He glanced up at the blazing neon tubes of a sign, with a large red boomerang behind yellow writing.

    Automatic doors flew open to greet him as he walked inside. He passed through the entrance, ignoring the rows of metal trolleys. Instead, he lifted a red plastic basket from a small stack. The chill from outside was gone, if only barely.

    Kysa looked up at the sign above the first aisle, frowned, and turned to the next one.

    He wandered down between the shelves, looking each up and down before reaching for a large packet of instant noodles. Taking a few more steps, he grabbed a handful of packets of pasta.

    After a few minutes of wandering the store, he spotted an employee. He stood next to a display of Tim Tams, filling the shelves from a box by his feet.

    Kysa stopped a few steps away and pulled one ear bud from his ear. "'Scuse me, do you know where the Powerade is?"

    The man turned slowly, "There's some in the cold section, down the end." He gestured towards Kysa's destination.

    "Cheers." Kysa replaced the ear bud.

    He strode to the end of the store. The temperature drop made him shiver, and drew his hoodie closer around his shoulders with one hand.

    At the other end of the aisle stood a man with short, dark hair and a dark blue vest. Kysa watched as he finished unpacking a crate and turned to wheel the cart away.

    He added two bottles of red Powerade to the basket, clearing a space to prevent them from crushing anything.

    Kysa's footsteps fell in time with the song playing through his headphones as he headed for the checkout. His feet squeaked slightly on the shiny floors, adding to the various small scuff marks.

    He hoisted the basket onto the end of the checkout. The attendant tapped on the screen before her, jolting the conveyor belt to life.

    Casually, he started to unpack the contents of his basket as he snuck glances at the girl. She was a few years older than him, with pitch black hair and a bored expression.

    "Want a bag for these?"

    He realised he was staring at her. "Y-yeah."

    "That's twenty seven fifty five." She squashed the last packet into the canvas bag.

    He fumbled in his back pocket for his wallet, producing a single yellow note and handing it to the girl.

    "Twenty two dollars and forty five cents change, here's your receipt." She deposited the slip of paper, a red note and assorted coins into his hands.

    He nodded and tried to smile charmingly. "Thanks."

    She didn't look at him.

    >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >>

    A refrigerator hummed softly by the back wall; the only noise in the dim room. After a few small clicks, the door next to it creaked open slowly.

    Fading light filtered into the kitchen through the doorway. Silently, two men in solid, pale brown boots slipped inside the house.

    The taller of the two motioned towards the hallway a few metres ahead. He strode into the first room on the right, and pulled a small torch from the pocket of his jeans.

    A calculating gaze scanned the room from the bed on one wall, along the wardrobes to the desk on the other. Light from the torch illuminated his pale face as he began to methodically search through piles of clothing on the floor. Everything remained exactly as it had been before he touched it.

    He pulled off the hood of his dark blue jacket, and pushed up the sleeves with gloved hands before crossing to the wardrobe doors. In the corner, a small white light flashed on the front of an old laptop, and cast dim shadows up the walls. The man carefully searched the crevices and corners of the small space.

    "Have you found anything yet?" A quiet voice interrupted him.

    He turned and whispered, "No. You?"

    "Nothing," came the reply, "I will check the other bedroom."

    Dissatisfied, the man frowned. He knelt by the bed and peered underneath it. A shoebox was partially obscured behind a number of socks, an odd shoe and a cricket bat. Carefully, he lay on the ground and stretched an arm out to retrieve it.

    Lining the bottom of the box lay a number of folded pieces of paper, covered in writing and pencil sketches, and an envelope holding some photos. Four bracelets tangled together sat in a corner; one consisted of tiny interlocking silver and black rings, another of wooden beads, and the remaining two were made from colourful knotted threads. Various sizes of pencils rolled around next to them with a half-full packet of gum, a deck of cards tied together with a shoelace, five dice, a watch with a shiny metal band, and a small folded knife with a red plastic handle.

    He peered underneath the paper and inside the envelope, frowning. After a few seconds of examining the contents, the man shoved the lid back on the box quickly.

    His companion stood in the doorway. "That was quick," he murmured without turning around.

    "The rest of the house is a lot cleaner than this room," the dark skinned man commented, and leaned against the door frame.

    "Check the desk then, that’s all that’s left." The first man slid the box back under the bed to the far wall, and felt around the carpet for good measure.

    "It is not here, Carter," his companion reported. "I found a phone in the hall, but it has no battery charge."

    "There’s a charger over here," Carter responded. He deftly caught the object with one hand, and picked up the end of the charger with the other. "Yeah, it fits. Check the laptop for emails."

    Both men were silent as their respective screens flickered to life. The laptop flooded the room with pale blue light; still logged in.

    Carter gazed at the phone as the image of two hands disappeared. A message appeared to alert him there were six new text messages and eleven missed calls. He raised an eyebrow. "Tait, someone’s looking for this kid."

    His companion turned. "Should we call Riley?"

    Carter nodded once. "We need to get it while we can still." He stood quickly.

    They returned to the hallway which had become completely dark since their arrival. Without torches, Carter and Tait retraced their steps as carpet turned to dusky grey linoleum.

    Faint yellow light from the streetlights outside crept into the kitchen. The round table in the corner sat silently; appearing undisturbed even though every corner of the small house had been searched.

    The pair passed the solid wooden bench tops, which had also been invaded, on their return to the door. Every piece of furniture, appliance, and magnet on the fridge screamed at the men that they shouldn't be there, but offered no clues to their presence. Only the faint scent of wet dirt remained as the door closed behind them.

    Carter pulled the driver's door shut loudly. He flicked the headlights on, surveying the street. The only sign of people in his rear view mirror was the top of his own dark brown hair. He stripped the white gloves from his hands and stuffed them into the centre console. Tait followed suit, the latex standing out much more clearly against his skin.

    The engine burst into life as the sound of mechanical ringing filled the car.

    "Riley, it was not there. Do you still see him?" Tait held the phone out flat in his right hand.

    A curt male voice burst from the speaker. "Yeah, I haven't lost him yet."

    Carter turned his head toward the phone, keeping his gaze on the road ahead. "Plan B."

    There was a pause on the other end of the line, followed by a snort. "Wouldn't want to make a scene, would we?"

    "We won't if you don't stuff up."

    "Whatever." Riley sighed. "Speed it up, it's fucking cold out here."

    Carter leaned further on the accelerator pedal, spurring the silver sedan forwards.

    >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >>

    Kysa fumbled with his change, funneling the coins into one pocket and his wallet containing the notes into another. He pulled up his hood once more as a breath condensed into a cloud before him.

    The hand holding his bag retreated inside his sleeve whilst the other followed the headphones cable into his pocket. His footsteps changed their rhythm to suit a new song.

    Traffic behind him began to fade into the distance as he crossed the garden beds bordering the car park.

    >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >>

    Carter stood in the shadows beside a twisted tree; hood obscuring his face. Putting a hand to the small device in his ear, he whispered, "Ready."

    There was a pause, before the deep tones of Tait echoed, "Ready."

    He waited a few more seconds, and coughed.

    "Ready," said a third voice eventually. "He's coming your way."

    Down the opposite side of the road strolled a figure carrying a bag in his right hand. The weight of it tilted him off-centre as he walked.

    Silently, Carter's lips moved as he counted down. At zero, the figure opposite drew level, and he pushed himself off from the tree.

    The two kept the same pace down the dim street until Carter's quarry squatted down, putting the bag down beside him.

    >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >>

    Kysa's heartbeat pulsed through him. He brushed his fingers across his shoe, pretending to fix the laces. The cold of the rough concrete seeped through his pants into his knee as he waited. Across the road, the solitary figure slowed.

    His suspicions confirmed, Kysa rose quickly. He swapped the bag to his other hand and quickened his pace significantly. A glance to his left showed the other person matching his speed.

    The blood in his veins moved faster through his legs as he reached the end of the block and made a sharp turn to his right.

    After a few seconds he twisted his head to peek over his shoulder, and saw the man continuing down the first street, away from him. Kysa let out a long breath, shaking his head. He grinned with relief as the next song blasted into his ears.

    >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >>

    "Done, and on course." Tait nodded somberly in response to the distant Carter.

    He knelt on a concrete roof overlooking a narrow street with only two lamps along it. The building was short, and a number of bricks from the corners of the walls lay broken on the ground or were absent completely. Patches of its surface remained white, but the rest varied into shades of brown and grey.

    Cigarette butts surrounded Tait and the long bag that rested by his side. He opened it reverently, carefully freeing a long metal object.

    High above, a burst of red exploded into the sky.

    >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >>

    Kysa stopped to gaze up at what he could see of the fireworks between the buildings. He stood, transfixed by the explosions of light, watching the colours blaze across the sky.

    Three blue fireworks exploded in quick succession, and at the same moment, Kysa's bag dropped, one handle broken.

    He wrenched his eyes from the sky quickly. Looking down at the thick handle he saw it was torn, and as he watched, something ripped through the second handle and lodged into the wall before him.

    The first bottle of Powerade had barely hit the floor before he bolted left; away from the pool of pale red liquid and the bullets, and back the way he'd come. The food lying on the ground didn't cross his mind as he sprinted in blind panic.

    >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >>

    Tait lowered the gun quickly. "He is going the wrong way, back to the first contact point."

    "How did that happen?" Carter demanded.

    "I do not know. The bullets were on his left, but-"

    The third voice broke in, "It doesn't matter. I'll try and turn him around, while we still can."

    "Riley," Carter's voice bellowed through the device in Tait's ear, who hurriedly packed his equipment back into the bag. After a few seconds, there was still silence. "Damn it, I'm all the way at the last contact point. Call back with an update and follow, I'll go after him."

    >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >>

    A tall man in dark clothes sprinted silently along the dark street. His hood blew backwards, revealing the red hair and determined expression beneath.

    Only cars inhabited the street, indistinct shapes in the dark that dotted the edges of the road. The noise of fireworks ripped through the night, but tall houses and trees blocked the spectacle from sight.

    Riley skidded around a corner without slowing down, whipping a cold metal object from the back of his pants. He held it steady as he ran, eyes fixed on the figure travelling along the block ahead.

    >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >>

    A light blanket of rain started to fall. Every explosion set Kysa's heart beating faster, not knowing if they were fireworks or gunshots. The only thought in his head was to reach the main road.

    His feet pounded along the footpath, and the cold air burned his lungs and exposed face. The ear buds were ripped from his ears as he scraped past an overgrown hedge, but he let them trail behind him.

    There was another bang and a flash from his left. He saw a spark as the metal hit the pavement before him. Unwilling or unable to stop and turn around, he kept running.

    He turned his head to see the shooter was now running along the block just across the road from him. Rain blinded him as it intensified. Kysa blinked furiously and turned down a small alley.

    >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >>

    Carter was breathing heavily as he ran towards the sound of the shot, much closer than the explosions from the fireworks.

    "Carter?"

    He raised a hand to his ear. "Yeah?"

    There was a pause. "Circumstances have changed. It cannot be retrieved."

    He exhaled angrily, rain stinging his face. "What the fuck does that mean?"

    Tait sighed, "I do not know. But we have been given a location, and he must be alive."

    Carter put his head down, willing his legs to carry him faster. "Bloody hell, he's just a kid. Get the car. Has Riley responded yet?" he puffed.

    "No."

    >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >>

    Without hesitation, Riley charged across the road and down the alley in pursuit. He levelled the gun and fired once more. The boy in front of him cried out in pain and clutched his forearm, but didn't slow down.

    A resolute expression crossed Riley's face with a hint of a grim smile. He knew they were heading for a dead end.

    The alley twisted and turned. Before the pair stood a chain link fence preventing cars from entering the back of a deserted car park. The teenager ran towards it and reached for the metal. He slipped, his arm unable to support his weight. One side of the grey sleeve was stained dark red.

    Riley ran faster, gaining precious metres as his quarry turned from the fence and back to the alley.

    >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >>

    Kysa gasped in pain. The bullet had only grazed his arm, but the flesh burned beneath his hand. He heard the footsteps behind him getting closer. As he rounded another corner, he caught a glimpse of the red headed man. He almost looked familiar.

    Running around another tight corner and bouncing off the walls, Kysa spotted the empty space he'd seen through the fence.

    >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >>

    Carter raced into the alley where he was positive the last shot had come from. Darkness obscured the spots of blood before him.

    He followed the twists and turns blindly, listening for any clues. A fence stood between the buildings before him, and something caught his eye.

    In the centre stood a teenage boy, walking backwards slowly with hands extended before him in surrender. His arm was soaked in blood, and his eyes hidden by the brim of a black cap.

    Carter ran straight at the fence. He grabbed the top and vaulted over, yelling "Stoooop!"

    >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >>

    Kysa gasped in air. The rain stung his face as he turned, holding out his hands, trying to hold the man back as he slowly backed away from his pursuer. "Please..." he breathed, over and over. He could see the blood on his arm and felt sick. Sweat ran down his back.

    The man advanced with the gun at his side, just as slowly as Kysa retreated. "Give it to me."

    "I don't know... I don't have anything..." he said desperately.

    The gun levelled at his chest. He could feel each beat of his heart shake his whole body.

    "Stoooop!"

    At the same instant, his leg erupted in pain and he staggered backwards.

    Suddenly there was another man running towards the first. Kysa turned to run.

    >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >>

    Riley cursed himself for missing. He saw Carter approaching, but he was committed now. Leveling the gun once more at the fleeing figure, he pulled the trigger just as he was tackled to the cold ground.

    The next second someone was on top of him, pinning him down with an arm to his throat. "What the fuck do you think you're doing!?" Carter spat. Riley tried to throw him off, but the pressure on him windpipe just increased. "You NEVER, EVER cut me off during a mission, do you understand?"

    He struggled to breathe, matching the murderous gaze with his own defiant stare. After a few seconds, he tried to nod.

    The other man stood. Riley rolled onto his side, coughing and gasping.

    >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >>

    Something slammed into Kysa's shoulder as he tried to run, knocking him sideways. He caught his foot on a rock and heard a loud crack as he fell.

    All the air had been pushed out of his lungs. Dazed, he clutched his shoulder and rolled on the ground. Around him the gravel was soaked with rain, and dug into his skin. Then he dimly registered, it wasn't rain.

    >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >>

    Carter kicked a brick wall in frustration. He quickly crossed to the crumpled figure on the ground a few metres away.

    Blood was pooling on the ground, mostly around the boy's left shoulder. He clutched it feebly. Above one knee was also stained with blood, and his right foot was twisted out at an unnatural angle.

    Squatting down, Carter heard laboured breathing. He sighed with relief.

    Behind him, Riley unsteadily got to his feet. The rain intensified as the three remained silent, each for their own reasons.

    The two men turned as the faint wail of sirens wove between the buildings.

    Carter rose, careful not to step in the blood. "Someone heard you. We're out of time, leave him and let's go."

    >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >>

    Kysa moaned softly. His head felt like it was going to explode, and his shoulder flooded him with crippling pain. He lay still with gravel pressed into his cheek, unaware of the passage of time.

    All of a sudden, his hat was pulled back and a bright light shone in his eyes. He squinted, trying to rid his head of the pain.

    "He's conscious!" a voice shouted.

    Within a minute, there was an unrelenting flurry of lights and sounds around him. A man's face with a shadow of stubble came into focus in front of him. "What's your name?"

    "...Kyle," he whispered, and winced as someone touched his ankle.

    "Alright Kyle, we're going to get you stabilised and take you to hospital. I'm just going to shine a light in your eyes."

    Once more he was blinded by a torch shining in his eyes, but a hand held his eyelids open. His hand was carefully removed from his shoulder, and something pressed against it.

    He had trouble focusing on what was happening around him, but there seemed to be more people than before. "Kyle, on the count of three we're going to roll you over, then we're going to lift you onto a stretcher, okay?"

    It took Kysa a few seconds to understand what they said, and a few pairs of hands rolled him over. He tried to yell in pain, but only a husky breath came out.

    A few seconds later he was in the air, then moving. His cold, wet clothes were soaked in blood, sweat and rain, and clung tightly to his skin. He felt cold.

    >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >>


    I'm not sure why I waited this long after finishing to post this XD For those of you still reading, hope you all enjoyed it ^^
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  12. #37
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    Russell slid his feet along the shiny tan floor.
    I just wanted to say that I really like the name Russell. =))

    I suddenly remembered my comment two chapters ago, about how by the end of Chapter 5, nothing significant outside of what happened to Kysa's mother was actually taking place. The last two chapters have been good in telling me to shut up, especially this one, where we finally see [tangible] conflict. I just wished that the bad guys had a bigger set up - perhaps make them subtly present in the chapters before Chapter 6? I hadn't commented this before because I thought there was gonna be quite some more build up before something big like this would happen, but since these guys were only really around for two chapters it feels as if they were last-minute additions. Perhaps it's because I haven't read the previous chapters for quite a while and I don't remember any indication of their presence before Chapter 6, but I suggest doing this if you were gonna go and revise the earlier chapters. By this, I don't mean that you put some character in Carter and/or Riley [since that would break their mysteriousness], but rather small indications that would make the reader go "woah" when they refer to what has already been revealed. Of course, this can also mean that I merely didn't catch earlier indications of their presence seeing as I haven't had the time to re-read the earlier chapters recently, so if you have done this, then ignore this ranty paragraph and give yourself a pat in the back. XD

    That aside, I liked how you handled this chapter. We haven't seen you write this kind of action, and I feel like it was presented, all things considered, rather well. It gives me a sense of "yeah, finally!" by the time I get to the action scenes, and true enough it was worth the wait. The story can do nothing but become more interesting at this point, so good job.


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  13. #38
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    "Have you found anything yet?" A quiet voice interrupted him.
    Uncapitalize that 'a' there.

    Quite enjoyable; already knew about the first half and gave my thoughts then so I'll leave that be. I really liked the chase in the 2nd half; again, excellent creation of atmosphere and solid description of the rain, the pain and setting while keeping the action fast as well. Top notch there.

    I do agree with DM that some previous editing in earlier chapters to show more of these guys would be ideal though as their set up has not been as smooth as other parts of the story. But otherwise a certainly enjoyable chapter. Apologies for not getting to this sooner btw.

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