When I was still doing the prep and background work for Wrath & Tears, I needed something to set the tone. More, I needed something that would really set-up and define who Connor was as a person.
As I mentioned in a previous post, that solution was the “letter” I wrote from Connor’s (dead) dad after the Riot.
Well, as I think through the possibility of a sequel, I decided to do the same thing. Below is a snippet I – literally – just wrote (and no, I haven’t had a chance to edit). I still haven’t decided between Connor and the conspiracy theory book, but every time I do something like this Connor gains more and more of an edge:
Connor’s cell was on the second level of the pod. That made it the area least monitored by the prison’s guards – what fat, dirtside mappo wanted to climb stairs? – and so the area most likely to have problems. They were all felons, so who gave a fuck, anyway? Shou ga nai.
Connor left his cell to move downstairs and see if he could find a card game. You could only read alone in your cell for so long. Even for a kid who had never known privacy, who had dreamed of the day he could hear silence, you could only take so much isolation.
He wasn’t paying any particular attention to his surroundings – an odd habit for someone used to danger and violence – and so was surprised when his slow walk was interrupted by two of the other prisoners.
“You wanna get out of the way, sparky?” he asked with an eyebrow cocked at the shorter of the two. The one directly in his path.
A glance between the pair, then the shorter one spoke, “Ah, c’mon young ‘un. You spend all your time ignorin’ everyone. We just wanna talk a bit. Get to know you, that kinda shit. Ain’t no harm in that. ‘Sides, you’re too fuckin’ pretty to be walkin’ around alone. You know, some of the guys in this pod, they ain’t gonna leave you alone much longer.” There was a certain look on the man’s face, a look Connor knew well from his early days living in dockside’s depravity. “Why don’t we head to the showers over there and talk a bit?”
Oh yeah, it was that look. Fucking erojijii.
Connor’s internal alarms were going nuts and he knew this was more than just the normal bullshit of bored men with nothing better to do. They would go back and forth for a bit, exchanging insults and then threats, but in the end they would fight. Well, Connor could give in and be raped, but he wasn’t going to let that happen, so they would fight. Why wait?
He stepped forward, put a hand on the shorter man’s shoulder. “Tell you what, boss, I got my price.”
Eagerness, now, on that face. On both faces. “Oh yeah? What’s that?”
“You gotta know how to fly.”
The hand on the man’s shoulder grabbed, tightly, and the other shot out and took hold of the waist of the man’s pants. A surge and a heave and the guy flew over the railing. It was only a dozen feet to the floor below, but you would have thought it was a thousand from the way the son of a bitch was screaming.
Connor looked at the second man, bigger but far more quiet than his partner. His voice was quiet and relaxed, almost conversational. “You still wanna play, boss?”
Alarms were ringing at the guard station by the pod’s entrance, and Connor could hear boots pounding up the metal stairs. The prisoners below were yelling and cheering. The other man looked at him and backed away, shaking his head. A few steps and the man turned and ran.
Even as several guards swarmed over him, Connor couldn’t help but smile. Fucking erojijii.