Point Zero – Chapter 1


Prologue | Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 4.5 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12


Chapter 1: Changes, Walking, and Helicopters of Death.

Other than the searing pain and the green fire, the thing that is most etched into my memory is the smell of burnt hair. While my hair had been getting shaggy, for me, it had been completely burned away. That stench still makes me wretch any time I smell it.

The five of us were alone on a plane of emerald glass and four of us were moaning in pain. All of us had burn marks on parts of our bodies, but they looked months old. 

“Frank… Oh shit Frank’s not breathing.” James bent over Frank’s now scarred face and tried to do mouth to mouth and chest compressions. We all reached for our phones to discover there was nothing there. After what felt like much too long, he stopped. 

Gasping for air, James asked, “Why is it so hard to breathe?” He reached up to his neck and felt under the corners of his hoodie. It had two otters on it and said, Otterly Adorable; Mel had given it to him. He said a few curse words before adding, “I have gills. How did I get gills?”

“Where are we?” Jane asked, either oblivious to James’s panic or ignoring it. 

I felt the green glass we stood on and looked around. It stretched for almost as far as the eye could see. Far at a distance I saw trees. “I think I see forest over that way.”

“I have webs between my fingers!” James started to hyperventilate. Mel grabbed his hand and tried to calm him by helping him breathe. It wasn’t working. “I couldn’t save him… He’s already cold…” James was gasping for air and crying at the same time.

“It’s not your fault James. Don’t feel Gill-ty,” Mel punned, but had the good taste to cringe. Everyone stopped what they were doing and we just stared at her. She sheepishly said, “Sorry.” We all burst into manic laughter.

When we were done, James was softly sobbing. Mel and I picked up Frank’s body and we started walking towards the trees. 

After the burning feeling, the cold was almost a relief until it became too much. My head was the first part to get cold and I looked at my friends, “Why am I the only one who doesn’t have hair?”

“Hey, at least you don’t have gills. Wait, maybe I’ll actually be able to breathe underwater.” James started to sound excited instead of upset.

We were all dressed for September in Northern Ontario, but the weather was closer to winter now and our long sleeves and hoodies weren’t cutting it. We were all shivering and the sun was hiding from us behind clouds.

“Man, I wish the sun would could out of those clouds. I could at least pretend to be warm,” I said. Trying to be funny was Mel’s thing, but I need to talk.

The others stopped and looked at me funny, Jane tilted her head and said, “It’s the middle of the night? We can barely see each other. The only reason we’re going this way is ‘cause you said you saw trees.” The rest of them nodded in agreement and I looked up. The bright spot behind the clouds wasn’t the sun but the moon.

“I can see clearly all the way past the glass. What the hell happened to us?”

We moved slowly towards the forest and just as we were giving up hope of ever feeling warm again, we were blinded by a bright light and the loud noises of helicopters. Someone over a loud speaker yelled, “This is the RCMP please lay down flat on the floor and don’t make any sudden moves.” We all swore, some of us in surprise and others in fear. Mel’s dad was native and both of them had been harassed by the cops more then they should. RCMP were always called in during a protest to protect land or anything else to do with the local Reserves. We had all been arrested for loitering in a provincial park once while camping; that wasn’t fun.

We started to move but I guess we hadn’t moved fast enough, ’cause I heard gunfire. I was looking at Jane and she turned bright white before completely disappearing. I threw up my arms and bright green lightning formed a dome around us that the bullets just bounced off of.

“How are you doing that?” asked James who was starting to hyperventilate again. “We have to get out of here.”

Whatever I was doing to create the protective dome felt like running at top speed. I tried to breathe like they’d taught us in gym class, not that I paid much attention, but I tried. Unfortunately, the effort was too much and I fell down gasping. “Sorry.”

“We’re not dead, you did great.” Mel put her hand on my shoulder. She was looking fuzzy like a chalk drawing. I assumed I was about to pass out.

“Lay down on the ground and no one gets hurt,” the loudspeakers shouted at us.

A small flash of light appeared beside us and Jane grabbed our hands. “This is going to hurt. Sorry.”

Bright white light and searing pain blocked everything out for me. When it was over I felt like every nerve had been poked with a very sharp stick.

I looked around at the dusty old furniture and asked, “Where are we?” 

Read Next Chapter (February 2020)


While you wait for the next chapter, check out previous serial stories:

Serial Story 2020 – Point Zero

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

You voted and were quite clear on what story should become this year’s serial story.

This year’s serial story will be Point Zero!

Point Zero

Setting: Our world after an alien attack that destroys several small towns before the aliens disappear.
Genre: Disaster, Post Apocalyptic, Super Hero

Follow Sam as they and their four best friends must deal with an alien attack that leaves the world irrevocably changed and the superpowers that it’s given them.

Every generation has a disaster that is etched into their memories. My grandparents had JFK, my parents had 9/11, and we had first contact.

It was a cool August night in my childhood hometown. It had a name at the time, something nature related that no one cares about; now it’s called Point Zero. It was a small town barely numbering in the four digits. I sat on the duck in the grade school playground, it sprung back and forwards every time I took a drink from the bottle of vodka in my hand.

Go Read the Rest of Point Zero

What is a Serial Story?

A serial story is a story that I write every month. I don’t plan ahead, I don’t have any idea how it’s going to end.

If I miss a month, you are rewarded with a bonus chapter. Yay!

It’s that simple.


I’ll have have Chapter 1 ready some time this month.

Thanks for voting and reading,

Éric

While you wait for the next chapter, check out previous serial stories:

Marvel cruise

On board certain Disney Magic cruises, there is a new event – Marvel superheroes will be there as well!

disney-marvel
Isn’t Cap perfect? Image from disneycruise.disney.go.com

So if you would like to meet some superheroes, and would like to cruise the Bahamas for 7 or 8 nights, or Canada and New England for 7 nights, this is a perfect vacation for you!

https://disneycruise.disney.go.com/onboard-activities/marvel-at-sea

If you are concerned about the price of a cruise being too expensive, remember, cruise prices include the accommodation, your meals, and activities on board the ship. So take the total cost, divide it by the number of nights, and try to find another vacation that is that good a price!

If you are interested in booking a Disney cruise vacation. You can contact Jennifer Desmarais through Orleans Travel. jennifer.desmarais@orleanstravel.ca

Mik Murdoch: The Power Within – Book Review

Hello,

I haven’t done a book review in a little while and I just read Mik Murdoch: The Power Within by Michell Plested.

I read the first book in the series Mik Murdoch, Boy Superhero a year and a half ago and it was one of my favorite books of 2013. Here’s my review.

Below is my review. For more information on how and why I review books read my posts Part 1 and Part 2.

Mik2

Characters

I liked

In sequels, especially YA, I find that the characters can either change unrealistically or stagnate. (I call it 90’s sitcom syndrome. It’s where the character’s personality, reactions, and likes are completely overruled by the book or episode’s storyline.)

Not only does this book avoid it, but it has one of the most authentic character development I’ve seen in a long time. Mik is both clever and kind in a way that superheroes once were. He’s a true good guy and it’s nice to see the hero in him develop.

The secondary characters, like in the first book, make you want to learn more about them. Each had their own personality and I felt could have held up their own story or book.

I didn’t like

There was only one character that didn’t seem right to me and that was the doctor. He seemed overly obsessed and unreasonable. I suppose he acted as a foil for Mik’s constant big heart but I would have liked more of a discussion on ethics between him and one of the other characters.

For characters, I give it 5 out of 5

Writing Style

I liked

Plested’s style has improved. He’s able to stretch out character interaction and mental thoughts into beautiful structure.

I envy his ability to write characters so believably. Again I applaud the fact that Mik never speaks in a lower vocabulary and the book, while not a challenge to read, doesn’t use dumbed down language.

The story also stayed grounded in the life of a young boy instead of suddenly turning him into an action hero. Something that is always tempting to do but rarely pays off if done too quickly.

I didn’t like

This was a story or episode or comic arc that a lot of comic like to use. It’s the one where the hero goes away from his life in order to learn his new powers. That’s fun, but it means the rich characters and places we meet and grow to love are now gone.

I give it 4 out of 5.

Story

I liked

The story was structured perfectly as a bridge between Mik without powers and Mik kicking butt with powers. It is a transitional story and lays hints and foreshadowing for future books.

While the first one felt like he was writing a bunch of short stories or planned comic books, this one feels like he’s written a detailed plan on where the story is going. I only hope that it’s going to keep going for a lot more books.

I didn’t like

I can’t fault the author but I would have liked more. More discussion about the ethics of capturing a creature for study, more information about the animal’s ties to the land, and maybe a little more “hypothetical” conversations where he works ideas out with his parents.

I give the story 4 out of 5

Fun

I liked

This book was fun from beginning to end.

I didn’t like

I would have liked more, but I can wait for the next one. Having to wait sucks but I would be sad if the series didn’t continue.

I give it 5 out of 5 for fun

Overall

This is a wonderful sequel and a great transition.

I would highly recommend this book, and series, to anyone who enjoys superhero, YA, or good storytelling.

I look forward to more!

Final score is 90%

Mik Murdoch: Boy Superhero – Book Review

Michell Plested wrote a book about a boy who wants to be a superhero. It’s easy to read and beautifully written.

This is one of the novels nominated for this year’s Aurora Awards.

Below is my review. For more information on how and why I review books read my posts Part 1 and Part 2.

Characters

I liked

Writing from a child’s perspective is difficult. It’s tempting to try and write the way a child would speak, or what we think a child speaks. Plested didn’t fall into this trap he used a vocabulary and writing style that was elevated but accessible. The greatest strength of this novel is how authentic it feels. Mik is believable as a character because of his thought process, logic, and reference points.

I didn’t like

If I have one complaint about the book, it is its lack of fleshing out all the characters. I feel I understood his parents, and a few of his teachers but it was hard for me to fully understand the other secondary characters. I would have liked to know more about them. Especially the librarian.

For characters, I give it 4 out of 5

Writing Style

I liked

The book was structured around a series of events that form  Mik’s personality and show his quest to be a hero. With that structure, it felt like a series of short stories about the same character. Despite its modular feel I never lost interest. I was impressed how well the author wove the stories together.

I didn’t like

There was a certain frustration I had while reading. I kept trying to decide if this was speculative fiction or just a coming of age story. It was never clear until one particular point and when that point arrived I had already decided the opposite and I found this a little jarring.

I give it 4 out of 5.

Story

I liked

The biggest pet peeve I have with YA writing is the stereotype that parents are not only the enemy but stupid. It happens more often in Horror, or urban-fantasy but it happens a lot in superhero stories too. Plested took this stereotype and stripped it down to its simplest form. That being that parents aren’t stupid but they are biased, and fallible. It also helps that Mik tries to protect his parents and often has to worry about them figuring him out. Never does he treat them as a villain but as an obstacle.

The story flows well and the general suspense of whether he really is going to get powers is written perfectly. There was a point of the book that I just stopped worrying about it and let things happen.

Several Story points weren’t finished, which is fine considering he’s writing a sequel.

I didn’t like

The problems with a modular style is separating the stories in the readers head. Everyone is looking for Chekhov’s gun and we’ve been trained by the stories we grew up with that things come back. So when characters that seem important don’t come back it’s disconcerting.

I give the story 4 out of 5

Fun

I liked

This book was a fast and fun read. I felt drawn into the story and the character. I enjoyed it all the way through.

I didn’t like

The worst thing about this book was that it ended.

I greatly anticipate the sequel.

I give it 5 out of 5 for fun

Overall

I highly recommend this to anyone who likes superheroes, coming of age stories, or reading.

Final score is 85%