Hello there! I am supposed to put up the next chapter of Bounds, but I am having trouble figuring out the extra spice that it needs to make it well, POP! haha
It’s been quite a week, and I assure you that it’s gonna be a very awesome couple of months. I have so many opportunities I am trying to build up on, hence my slow writing despite the fact that I am not working full time and I am done with service.
Recently I published the first chapter of my novel “Bounds” with Something Or the Other Publishing (SOOP), who followed me on twitter after I posted my first chapter of Bounds. Not sure they read it, but I’m glad I put it up anyway!!!
You can read it HERE if you havent so you can understand this present chapter. I also have a post on the how the character ALY is pretty much no different from the regular girl (or even guy) we know, if not us.
I have received a lot of love and support from family and friends (and their friends) on getting my votes, and I’m still a long way off the first mark, though I am optimistic. I need to get a total of 5000 votes to get published, but the first hurdle to get a contract is 2000 votes.
Help my dream come true by voting HERE!!! I appreciate the support. But while we press towards the 5000 mark, enjoy this next chapter of my future novel. Too bad I only have one left to post.
As soon as Aly walked out of the house she pulled out the baseball cap from her backpack and headed for school. If her mum knew she wore a baseball cap she would complain about it, but besides the fact that it helped her hide her ears it was useful for other things. It was about eight-thirty already, and she had to be in school by nine. This meant she couldn’t take her usual route through the park. This made her a bit down because the park was her favourite place in the area, and she loved taking the long route especially when she wanted to clear her head.
The park reminded her of the forests at home, probably because almost everything was still in its untamed state. As the morning breeze moved towards her, it brought along a variety of smells with it: the smell of burnt toast and black coffee, various types of cereal (she loved the smell of the ones with fruit in it) and a lot of other things. She could smell the good, the bad and the ugly (dog poop cannot be considered pretty, either way). It was the perfect weather for flying, but she would get in a lot of trouble for flying in the daytime. It was against the rules for magical creatures of the air to use certain powers outside in the daytime. Even though it was allowed at night, it must not be used in the view of humans.
As she walked to school she thought about how much it hurt that her parents didn’t believe in her. So what if she was just a rookie? She wasn’t the only new generation creature that existed, but she felt like the only underrated one. Lance, the Aviater her parents were talking about got more praises from them than she did, and he was only a few decades older than she was.
When she got to the front steps of the school at exactly eight-fifty she sighed and shook her head. School to her, had not changed over the centuries. Even with the advanced technology of the modern world and the new learning systems, school still involved one thing that makes it what it is today: struggle. Students struggled in one way or the other— to be noticed, to be unnoticed, to be the best, or to just live through the day. School struggle had more pressing needs than the world to teenagers because the world is a big place- it’s easy to get lost in it. But a school setting is like compressing the world into a smaller ball: you literally feel the pressure.
For Aly, she just wanted to live through the days until they have to leave that town for another. She never struggled to get good grades (being a bookworm helped, along with years of acquired knowledge) and she didn’t struggle to be noticed, for that involved what she hated the most— attracting attention. For someone who wanted to stay a teenager, she never seemed to like what most teenagers did. She was more of a loner, and she never believed in going for what attracted most people.
Aly walked in to the hallway with one hand in her pocket and the other gripping her backpack firmly. It was crowded with students and teachers, both magical creatures and unsuspecting humans. Bormans, Acromidites and Aviaters weren’t the only magical creatures living in the human world. Some venture into the human world out of curiosity or as a result of being exiled from their realms.
She walked to her locker, put her backpack on the floor beside her and began her daily routine of looking at the creatures in the school with high hopes of spotting the Borman. Bowing her head low and using the cap as a shield for her eyes, she concentrated and slowly her eyes turned from brown to their real crystal blue colour.
She looked at the magical creatures hanging around the corridor. There was a Bulvarian (magical creatures that lived on treetops) playing a video game at the corner. At the end of the hallway a bunch of jocks and cheerleaders were talking with some students on the track team. She could see that some of the athletes were Azians. These were magical creatures of the earth with both a human and an animal form. They were very flexible and agile in nature, and possessed every quality of the perfect athlete. They are rarely found outside the earth kingdom, but whenever they settle outside their home they tend to stand out in any athletic sport they partake in there (they are naturally very competitive when it comes to sports). An Azian famous in human world for long distance races once got the gold medal for four consecutive games in the Olympics before he finally went back to his kingdom. And all that time he had to slow his pace so as to blend in with the others. The weirdest thing about Azians was that they did not possess super speed, yet they can run just as fast as creatures with such powers.
Eric, a popular guy in the senior year was coming down the hallway with his girlfriend Vanessa. She was really pretty, if you weren’t looking at her real form. Aly wondered what Eric would do if he found out his girlfriend was really an Octavian, a sea creature with squid-like heads ( tentacles and all) on a well structured human body that was blue green in color. Vanessa glared at her as they passed, which didn’t come as a surprise to Aly. Octavians resented Acromidites a lot because of their devotion to the Bormans. Aly tried to avoid Vanessa as much as she could, but even on the rare occasions they made contact, the Octavian always tried to get under her skin. She didn’t let Vanessa get to her— she was at least fifty years older than she or her any of her Octavian friends. She knew that even if she wasn’t so good in combat, she could beat Vanessa up if she wanted to. That alone was enough to make her smile on rare occasions. Although Aly sometimes wondered if the Octavians in school knew there was a Borman around she was convinced they didn’t, because if they did they would have been all over him by now. Too bad Eric was human. He’ll never see Vanessa for the crazy, Borman-loving squid that she really was. Aly took her mind off the Octavians as she looked at the Zylorians (Creatures that lived in tree trunks and could reduce their size at will) talking to some Aviaters and a Murfle (short fire creatures that looked like giant turtles with spines on their shells) chasing a human girl. Even in a human form, he still looked kind of like his real self; short, slouched and mischievous looking— and it didn’t help that he was scruffy and that he smelled a lot. And like all Murfles, he liked to annoy people and play tricks.
Just then an Aviater picked him up and dumped him in the nearest trash bin without saying a word. Even as the Aviater closed the lid, it was clear that no one felt sorry for him. Nobody liked Murfles, especially in human form, when they have fingers and better legs to cause more mischief. Just then the Aviater looked away from the bin and scanned the students in the hallway carefully. Before Aly could turn away, he smiled and waved at her. She groaned inwardly and waved back. She just hoped he wasn’t going to come over and try and strike a conversation like he usually did.
Lance was her neighbor and classmate, and the same Aviater her parents had high hopes in. He had a huge crush on her, and he believed she ought to go out with him because (as he put it) they had a lot in common.
Aviaters and Acromidites weren’t all that alike, in Aly’s opinion. Aviaters had wings while Acromidites did not (Acromidites were still better fliers). Aviaters had this golden tint in their amber colored hair when exposed to sunlight that made it different from the silvery-white hair of the Acromidites that shimmered in the moon. Their eyes were wider and hazel in color and they weren’t as civilized as the Acromidites. They were into small settlements and the simple life revolving around nature (Aly envied that part of their life— it was less complicated and it was easy to keep up with) as well as other things Aly could go on and on about. But their difference wasn’t an issue to Aly. She wasn’t just into guys like Lance— he was too full of himself. But even if he was as calm as his older brother Brandon, she still doubted ever falling for him, though she couldn’t deny that he was strong and attractive, with his human chocolate-brown eyes and short wavy black hair and charming personality that won the other girls over. Aly didn’t even get why he bothered. He could get any other girl he wanted— heck; the girl the Murfle had been chasing was still drooling from the distance even as he walked towards her. Aly knew it was all about pride— he had never been turned down by a girl before. Just then the school bell for first period went off and she bent over to pick up her backpack, ensuring that she clear from making eye contact with Lance.
That was when she caught the scent. It was very strong, an indication that the Borman was very powerful. It choked her as she stood straight, sending a shiver down her spine. She stood there frozen, unsure whether it was going to attack her. The hallway was getting deserted as students hurried to their classes, and she was as good as paralyzed. The sweat that broke out from her forehead tickled her as it moved slowly down her cheek, but she was too dazed to brush it off.
Then the scent died off completely, like it was never there. The Borman had left.
Aly felt herself gain control of her senses and she exhaled slowly to keep herself from falling to the ground.
Aly kept screaming till Lance clamped a hand over her mouth.
“Shut up.” He said to her calmly, and she did. Aviaters had a gift of persuasion that worked to a certain extent, especially when you are vulnerable creature or (on rare occasions in the case of invulnerable creatures) caught in a moment of weakness.
“Did you catch the scent too?” Aly asked, too scared to realize that Lance had just told her to shut up, let alone fight about it.
“What scent?” Lance asked her, raising an eyebrow.
Aly dragged his collar until his ear was close enough for her to whisper into it,
Lance started, moving away from her.
“Are you implying that I do not recognize the scent of a Borman?” Aly said, angry she told Lance in the first place. She didn’t know why she did it (it wasn’t something she would normally do) but she was so scared at what had happened that she had to talk to someone.
“I’m not saying that.” Lance said, folding his hands. “It’s just that… you’re the only one that caught the scent.”
Aly glared at him, her hands on her hips.
“Hello! Acromidite here!” she said, pointing a finger at herself.
“Hey just because you guys hunt these things doesn’t mean you’re the ones with a better sense of smell.” Lance protested. “You guys are always up in the air… that’s enough to mess your nose up.”
“I don’t have time to argue with you.” Aly said through gritted teeth. “I still have to come up with a plan to—”
“Hey you two! Get to class!”
Aly resisted the urge to glare at the teacher who had interrupted her by letting out a frustrated sigh.
“I’m heading to class.” Lance said, waving to her a little as he sprinted off. “We’ll talk about this later.”
“Whatever.” Aly mumbled as she trudged off to her own class.
She never planned to talk about it again with him.
Through her classes Aly thought of ways to identify the Borman. No one else seemed to have seen the Borman, so she couldn’t get any useful information on its whereabouts. That morning was the first and last time she caught his scent, so she had no lead to work with. By lunch she came up with the perfect plan: get herself in the gym the swim team used. It was the surest deal; as Bormans were excellent as water sports and tremendous show-offs. He was definitely a member of the swim team, probably the lead.
The coach bought her school volunteer work lie and agreed to let her help out clean the gym after school, and for the first time things seemed to be going her way.
She was confident of her plan until she stepped into the gym; which was when she remembered how territorial sea creatures were— it wasn’t just a Borman thing. Though it was an artificial body of water, they were still likely to claim she was intruding on their element (which was weird in her opinion).
Her job for the day was to dispose of the used towels around the gym (apparently the swim team didn’t like to pick after themselves) and clean the girls’ locker room. When she was through with the locker room (she did that first because the students were still hanging around the pool) she checked if the gym was empty. The glares she got from Vanessa and the other Octavians the time she entered the gym was enough for her to know that things wasn’t going to be perfect as it seemed earlier. She took a deep breath and clenched her fists. If the Octavians want a fight, they were going to get it— if that’s what it took.
She stepped out of the locker room cautiously and started to pick up the towels farthest from the pool, where the Octavians were watching her. She worked fast, avoiding eye contact as she monitored them with the corner of her eye. She hadn’t caught the scent of the Borman since she got in, and she groaned at the thought of having to come back again until she was able to identify the Borman.
She got distracted for a brief moment thinking about how the male and female Octavians don’t really hang out when all of a sudden she found herself surrounded by the Octavians in a tight circle. She was taken aback but composed herself immediately so as not to give the impression that she was scared of them. They were always very good at taking advantage of a moment of weakness.
“What are you doing here?” Vanessa asked, narrowing her eyes at Aly.
Aly wished she could think of a retort but she couldn’t come up with anything. Her reply gave the same impression she was trying hard not to make.
“Who gave you the right to trespass on our territory?” a tall male Octavian spoke. Aly wished this was one of those times the guys weren’t hanging with the girls. She was beginning to worry about Jordan if this should turn into a fight, because she was feeling quite outnumbered.
“We know what you’re looking for.” A female Octavian spoke this time. “It’s quite obvious.”
“You Acromidites are so dim-witted and transparent.” Vanessa spat.
“Like we’d let you find him before we do.” The female spoke again as if it has not been interrupted.
Aly resisted the urge to gasp. Were they implying they didn’t know the location of the Borman?
“We advice you get out before you get hurt.” Another male Octavian spoke.
Aly let out a short laugh before she could stop herself. They all glared at her.
“I had no idea Octavians had a sense of humour.” She said, still chuckling before breaking out of the circle of Octavians and picking up a nearby towel.
“As you can see… I’ve got work to do.” She said, holding up the towel.
Vanessa let out a low growl and narrowed her eyes. She wished she could read their minds, but she couldn’t concentrate. Another circle was being formed around her, and it was gradually becoming smaller as they slowly closed in on her. She was already feeling choked even though they were still a few feet away. Air creatures were claustrophobic so she knew she would panic when they eventually closed in on her.
“We have the greater advantage, and you know it.” Vanessa said, flashing a mischievous smile at her. The tentacles around their heads were growing longer, an indication that she was getting ready to attack. Sea creatures were known for super speed, the same way earth creatures were known for endurance, fire creatures for strength and Acromidites for flight. Earth creatures were instinctive and Fire creatures were manipulative; but the impulsive Sea creatures were the complete opposite of the calculating creatures of the Air. It was a clear case of brains versus brawn, and presently her mind was in disarray so she had the short end of the stick. Also, the Acromidites have rules restricting their powers that gave Bormans the upper hand in certain cases, since they do not abide by rules. They are not allowed to fly in the day time, but you were excused if you’re flying indoors, and outside the view of humans. With her flight she could catch up with any sea creature or Azian, giving her a sort of advantage in this fight even though she was outnumbered. Acromidites literally lived by the book, as almost every event is recorded. They never joked with the rules either, even though they’re known to bend it whenever they could. Bormans on the other hand believed that Law resided in belief and tradition, and it was the only form of order they knew— and many other sea creatures adopted this belief. There was no written law, so there was no sense of obligation or compulsion to break them; but you didn’t need Law to know who to attack, what not to eat, who could be tolerated. If any action was found to be debatable, it was taken before the Council for deliberation.
Just then she heard the lock of the gym door click shut behind her, and she smiled. Perfect.
Acromidites were not the only creatures that abide by the rules of using powers outside the view of humans. It was a universal rule abided by even Bormans. It was unwritten law that was created by forces higher than any authority all four regions. It was an absurd feat though, to expose magic to humans, and you didn’t need anyone to tell you that. If it was okay for humans to know about magic they would have been born with the natural ability to sense magic and magical creatures would not need to be born with a non-magical form that helps them blend and be seen by humans. Though they do not have the capacity to see or sense magic, no one is sure to be oblivious to the sight of a flying or super fast human.
The Octavian that locked the door sped back and together they circle in on her again. Once they were dangerously close, Aly steadied herself and prepared to jump. Just as she jumped above arms reach she steadied herself in the air and kicked two of the Octavians in the chest. The little disruption gave her enough room to fly to the gym door without resistance. But just as she unlocked the gym door and prepared to escape she felt some constrictions around her ankles and found herself being spun around and dragged across the dirty gym floor to the circle of Octavians again.
The tentacles that had dragged her in retracted back to its normal length as Vanessa peered down at her with a triumphant grin on her face.
The smell of chlorine was stronger than usual, and it wasn’t coming off Vanessa. Aly turned her neck to find herself at the edge of the pool. She gulped and got off the floor slowly, her head spinning more from the chlorine than the attack.
The Octavians didn’t try to stop her, but they didn’t break the semi-circle they formed around her either. She was between the Octavians and the pool, and was trying hard not to panic. She didn’t think trying to fly again was the best option so she took a stance and prepared to fight, all the while trying to ignore the artificial body of water behind her.
“What’s the problem? Can’t handle the water?” one of the girls asked, with her grin widening as she spoke. Aly didn’t reply.
“I think you missed a towel.” Vanessa said. “I’ll go get it for you.”
She was back with the towel in less than a second and held it over the pool. Aly stared wide eyed as she let go of the towel and fall into the water.
“Oops!” Vanessa said with a chuckle. “Now you have to go in and get it.”
Then she pushed Aly into the water.
Scott was leaning on the wall beside the gym. He didn’t want to go in there again. He wasn’t sure how he survived the day before but he wasn’t sure how if he could hold out for long: just looking at the pool made him want to puke.
Naturally he wouldn’t be working in the gym in the first place if his father had not pressurized him to join the swim team. His father always talked about how his people ruled the waters (he wasn’t still sure if his dad’s people were fishermen or pirates, and he never had the guts to ask) so he knew his father detested the fact that he was hydrophobic, and had hopes that joining the swim team would help with the fear. He never really got to see his dad growing up, so he didn’t want to lose the only grip of interest his dad seemed to have. If all they could talk about was water and he had to go throw up in between conversations, it was still better than nothing.
His dad always made his people feel more like actual fishes than even pirates or fishermen. He knew his dad had left his people to purse a better life, but he didn’t really understand it. His dad wouldn’t say more than that about it either.
He didn’t think his dad’s people were famous though, because his dad liked to show off, and would have at least said something about it. Once he asked why if any of Dad’s people took part in the Olympics (it was a sarcastic question though) and his dad said that they were into bigger things, or something along that line.
He was at least able to secure a job in the gym, and he didn’t even think that would be possible. Ever since he moved into the town to live with his dad about a month ago he kept to himself, trying to study his new environment. He hadn’t even made friends yet. Getting this job was the biggest thing he’d done so far and he wasn’t about to give up now. This experience might even kill his fear of water— though he doubted it.
He didn’t know why he was so scared of the water. From soaking in the tub to kiddie pools— he hated them all. The only thing he regrets about his fear of water is the fact that he could never go fishing with his grandfather. After puking the first couple of times he resigned to staying at home and waiting for the fish.
He loved fish. He loved cooking and eating fish. He liked sushi best though.
He tried to open the gym door and check if it was empty. The day before he had only met the coach of the swim team and she had instructed him to mop to floor and clean the boys’ locker room. It wasn’t as bad as he thought it would be, though he got dizzy from hanging around the poolside afterwards. He preferred to work in the absence of everyone— he was that shy. And the swim team had a bunch of mean looking people— their glares were paralyzing.
To his surprise, the gym door was locked. Then suddenly he heard a big splash and he jumped and backed away from the door. It sounded like someone had fallen into the pool. Just then a bunch of students came out of the gym laughing, oblivious to his presence. Immediately they had gone a little distance he rushed in to check.
Struggling with the water had made Aly weak. The more she tried to get to the surface, the more she sank deeper, and the smell of chlorine was burning her nose.
Great… I have to die in something this unnatural… At least Jordan will be alright.
As she made a force field around her to conserve her oxygen she wondered silently what attracted Octavians to the pool. With seas and lake, there was this natural brilliance that tempted air creatures to consider swimming (only few have tried it— not all survived; especially those with wings that got them clogged in the water). But with the pool, it was so artificial that she was surprised water creatures swim in it, let alone claim it as their territory. Ponds were better; no one puts chemicals in those. She couldn’t dream of swimming in a pool (at least not at her own will) and it was definitely not where she would want to die. But the force field wasn’t very strong, and was going weaker just as she was. She didn’t even have the strength to push her way to the surface. Just then she saw the towel Vanessa had dropped into the pool.
“At least I’m doing one good thing today.” She thought as she allowed herself to sink deeper into the pool. Immediately she picked it up (it was heavy from being soaked, but because she was weak, it didn’t feel as light as it normally would) she realised for the first time that she was at the deep end of the pool.
For the first time since she was pushed into the pool, she panicked. Her force field was thinning out, and even if she forced her way to the top with what was left of her strength, she might not make it. This wasn’t the way she imagined that her life would end. She had always imagined it as something somewhat heroic, like with Cornelia in the epic battle. She used to imagine being struck by a Borman or some other creature while trying to save her brother or Lance (she always wished she would save Lance one day from something he couldn’t get out of— that way he would know who was stronger than the other). She even imagined her mum shouting and weeping over her dead body for not staying in the less heated part of the battle. At least she would have proven her worth to her parents, even if it had cost her life. She could even imagine Jordan putting sunflowers by at body at her burial, just to spite their mum.
Instead she was going to die in a pool— nothing dramatic or heroic about that. And with her clumsiness everyone might just conclude that she fell in, especially when they find out she was in the gym at her own volition.
As her force field began to dim she stared to regret her decision. She didn’t even find the Borman. She started to wish she wasn’t so different, or at least she did things to please people— at least they’d have like her more and there would be more pleasant memories of her when they are reminded of her. She wished she never liked sunflowers; or history over art. She even wished she had given Lance a chance.
This was the dumbest idea she had ever come up with.
Just then she heard something break through the water. She moved her head slightly and saw what looked like a ladder. Someone had come to save her!
Suddenly the energy she thought was gone came surging through her, and she pushed her way to the ladder, just as the force field disappeared completely. She grabbed at it and held it tightly, supporting the person helping her out by kicking to the top.
Immediately her head broke out of the water she saw an outstretched hand and she held on to it and let herself be dragged out of the water. Immediately she felt the tiled floor she fell on to it and coughed. She hoped the person would not notice that she had not swallowed a lot of water, considering how long she had been under there.
“Are you alright? Thank goodness I wasn’t too late. If you hadn’t grabbed the swimming pool ladder I would have had to call someone to come in after you.”
She looked at the guy who had saved her life. He was on one knee in front of her, looking really worried. He was tall and lean, with short wavy brown hair and clear aqua-blue eyes. He was also a little built, but had a soft face.
“I’m fine.” She managed to say, trying to stand on her feet. He too started to stand up with arms outstretched in case she needed support. She was still too weak, and she tripped before she could stand up straight. He leaned in to catch her, and she fell into his arms. And that was when she caught it.
Dry grass: the scent of the Bormans.
She looked up at the boy, unable to conceal her fear. He smiled at her, chuckling a bit.
“You really should be more careful.” he said “You’re not likely to be coordinated for a while, after what happened. You should probably sit down— or do you want me to carry you?”
She moved away from him a little too quickly, narrowing her eyes and moving backwards until her back hit the wall. She pressed against it, not taking her eyes off the Borman for even a second.
A second. That was all he needed to take her life if he wanted to.
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