Sample of my story Tears of Darkness 1: Tragedy and Hope

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Posted 3/17/19 , edited 4/30/19
Hello friends,

My name is Sophia Liddell and I am an independent author of a book series Tears of Darkness which means I have to promote it myself. In the hope of interesting you I have provided a section of the first chapter of my new book published last year. Please enjoy and let me know what you think!

https://www.amazon.com/Tears-Darkness-1-Tragedy-Hope/dp/1732304912/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1539918060&sr=8-6&keywords=tears+of+darkness

Amazon Paperback: $10.00 USD
Amazon Kindle E-Book: $2.99 USD



- 1 -
Lieutenant Michael Snyder stood on the front porch of the house listed in the file that he carried. Out of habit, he brushed the shoulders of his white dress uniform that had black stripes along the front and edgings of it, which indicated that he was a squad commander in the Wielder corps. He then straightened his black tie.
Lieutenant Michael hesitated for a moment as he stood there on the porch. He sighed before knocking on the door. This was the part of his job that he hated the most but somebody had to do it. He understood the necessity of it but it was still hard to be the one to do it.
If everything was going as planned, there should already be two conscription officers inside already preparing them for what had to happen. They were also there in case the parents resisted and had to be detained. A moment later he breathed deeply, exhaled and knocked on the door. One of the officers that was inside the house opened it for him and saluted. He saluted back and said, “Is she ready?”
The officer nodded and replied, “As ready as she’ll ever be I suppose.”
Lieutenant Michael ran his hand through his short dark blonde hair and stepped inside of the house. The officer led Lieutenant Michael into the front room where a little nine year old girl sat in the middle of the room on a chair. Her parents were sitting inside the room on the couch trying to put on brave faces. Despite that, there was an air of gloom inside the room. The second officer stood at ease in the opening archway of the front room. Lieutenant Michael stood in the entryway and assessed the situation.
The girl was wearing a white dress with spaghetti straps over her shoulders. Several images of monarch butterflies rose up to her waist line starting from the hem. Her platinum blonde hair extended just below her shoulders. A monarch butterfly clip held the right side of her hair back behind her ear. She was sitting with slumped shoulders leaning forward with her hands tightly squeezed between her thighs. Her head was down cast as she stared intently at the carpet beneath her. A small suitcase sat on the floor beside her.
Lieutenant Michael was used to dealing with girls of this age. He understood how difficult this transition would be for her. He knelt down in front of her on both knees and smiled as he tried to look into her eyes. The irises of her eyes were a deep shade of yellow.
Lieutenant Michael then spoke gently to her, saying, “Hello, my name is Michael Snyder. I am going to be your commanding officer. What’s your name?”
The girl looked up nervously and said, “My … my name is … is Valerie.”
Lieutenant Michael smiled again and said, “It’s nice to meet you, Valerie. Do you know why I am here?” Valerie nodded.
Lieutenant Michael said to her, “Can you tell me why I’m here?”
Valerie reluctantly replied, “I … I turned nine and since I have yellow eyes I have to go and fight the Harvesters.”
Lieutenant Michael said, “Yes, that’s right, you have a unique power inside of you that makes you special. We need you and others like you to help protect the world. Only you can protect your mom and dad. Do you understand?”
Valerie nodded her head. She then looked up toward her parents, saying, “Yes, I understand. Will I … will I be able to ever see my mom and dad again?”
Lieutenant Michael nodded his head, and said, “Of course! I will personally take you to see them when there is time. At other times you can face time them on the vidcom.”
Valerie then said, “Will I be alone?”
Lieutenant Michael immediately replied, “Of course not. There are two other girls waiting to meet you who are just like you. I will be with you too. I hope that we can be friends. Are you ready to go with me?”
Valerie started to get teary-eyed. Her voice seemed to be on the verge of crying, “I … I’m afraid … I don’t want to go. I … I wish I wasn’t born this way.”
Lieutenant Michael took her by the hand and held it dearly, saying, “I know. I promise you that I will do everything I can to help you not be afraid. If I didn’t have to take you, I wouldn’t. Will you go with me anyway?”
Valerie nodded and said, “I will go. I know I have to. You want me to say that I’ll go so that you don’t have to rip me away from here. Can I at least say goodbye to my parents?”
Lieutenant Michael nodded and said, “You’re right. Whether you want to go or not, I’ll be forced to take you. The World Government forces me to do this. I ask you that question because I really do hope that you’ll be coming with me on your own choice. It would be a lot easier for your own self if you choose to come with me. And, of course, you can say goodbye to your parents. I wouldn’t let you leave without saying goodbye.”
Valerie slid off the chair and hugged each one of her parents saying goodbye. She walked over to Lieutenant Michael and took him by the hand, saying, “I can’t tell whether you are a monster or just a really nice guy.”
He nodded his head and said, “Well, I can tell you that I’m a nice guy, but I’ll let you decide that for yourself. Let’s go before it gets too hard on you.” He picked up her suitcase and led her out of the house to his car that was parked on the street. Her tiny hand seemed to tremble in his palm.
He opened the back door for her and she crawled in. She sat down on the side behind the passenger’s seat and buckled her seat belt. As she sat there, she began to cry again.
Lieutenant Michael opened his own door and heard her sobbing. He sat down in his own seat and then said to her gently, “Valerie, that was very brave of you.” He turned around and placed his hand on her shoulder and smiled lovingly at her. His eye were filled with compassion for her. He then turned back around and started the car. He drove down the street away from her house. She continued to sob for the next ten minutes until she calmed down.
She stared blankly out of the window of the car as various images passed by her sight. She saw a government sponsored bill board with an image of three girls, each one having the red, blue, and yellow eye colorization. Below them in big letters read: “Don’t forget to register your Wielder child. It’s the Law!”
Lieutenant Michael spoke to her, saying, “I know that it was hard to say goodbye to your parents. I meant what I said that I will take you to see them when we have the time. When I was young, I lost my parents in a Harvester attack. I know what it is like missing your parents. If you ever need to talk about it, I’ll listen.”
Lieutenant Michael could feel that she had calmed down quite a bit and had accepted her fate. It was always hard on these girls but some handled it better or worse than others. Valerie seemed to be handling it better. He said to her, “I told the two other girls all about you already. They are looking forward to meeting you. Their names are Mary and Sarah. Mary is thirteen years old and a red Wielder. Sarah is eleven years old and a blue Wielder. Mary is a little rough around the edges. But, she’s really nice when you get to know her. Sarah is always friendly and calm. I think you will all get along just great.”
Valerie continued to stare out of the window but she repeated their names, saying, “Mary and Sarah.” As she stared out of the window another government sponsored billboard passed by that read, “Religion is a myth of the old world. Embrace the New World.”
Lieutenant Michael responded, saying, “Yes, Mary and Sarah. They’ll help you get all set up in your new place. We all live in one apartment but we all get our own separate rooms.”
Valerie then said, “Where exactly are we going now?”
Lieutenant Michael replied, saying, “We are going to the military airport where we have a transport helicopter waiting for us. It will take us to the Sacramento Wielder Complex. It’s about a two hour ride from here.”
Valerie looked forward and looked into the rear view mirror, she met the reflection of his eyes. She brushed back the hair over her left ear, saying, “You said that you lost your parents, can I ask you what happened?”
Lieutenant Michael met her gaze for a moment in the mirror and then said, “I was five years old when the Hour of Despair occurred. I was twelve years old when the Harvesters attacked earth. At the time, my family was living in the small town of Beaverton in Oregon. The World Government constructed an anti-Harvester wall around our city sector, which became known as New Portland.
When I was fifteen the Harvesters finally crossed the North Pole into North America. If we hadn’t constructed all those anti-Harvester walls already, the death toll would have been unimaginable.
About a year later, on my sixteenth birthday, the Harvesters managed to make a breach in the wall. In an hour, they began pouring into New Portland slaughtering the people in that area. My dad worked in the area where they breached. I never saw him again. So, I can only assume that he was murdered by the Harvesters.
When the sector government realized what had happened, they sounded the breach alarm. My mother and I attempted to reach the evacuation zone. As we were running for our lives, I didn’t realize that my mom had tripped and fallen. When I realized that she was not with me, I turned around to find her. A few moments later, I stood there and watched her get torn apart by a Harvester. I was so scared, all I could do was run away. I felt ashamed of myself that I did not realize sooner that she was not with me.”
Lieutenant Michael stopped speaking and he could not hold back the grief from his face. Valerie saw the look of deep pain in his eyes and regretted asking him about it. She said, with as much care in her voice as she could muster, “I’m sorry. I probably shouldn’t have asked you that. I’m sorry I called you a monster.”
Lieutenant Michael shook his head and said, “No, it’s alright. You and I are now a team so I want you to know everything about me and I want to know everything about you. Do you know our team’s name?”
Valerie shook her head and said, “No, I didn’t think about that at all.”
Lieutenant Michael, slightly chuckled and said, “I suppose you wouldn’t know about that stuff, being so young. Our unit’s name is the Phoenix Guard, we are unit three of five. Do you know what a phoenix is?”
Valerie shook her head and said, “Nope, I haven’t heard that name before.”
Lieutenant Michael pointed to a patch on his right arm. The patch contained a bird made of fire with wings lifted upward. In between the wings and above the head was a black number three in Roman numerals.
Lieutenant Michael then said, “The phoenix is a mythical bird that people used to believe in. Its feathers were made out of fire. The phoenix would live for a long time and then, when it got old, it would die and turn to ashes. A new phoenix would then be reborn from the ashes of the dead phoenix.”
Valerie, seeming not to care about the story, said dispassionately, “That’s interesting.” Her gaze returned to the window.
Lieutenant Michael, not wanting to agitate her, decided to change the subject back to what he was talking about earlier. He said, “The reason I joined the military and became a Wielder Guardian was so that I could be part of the teams that destroy the Harvesters. I guess you could say that I am seeking revenge. Maybe it’s also a way to redeem myself. I suppose you could also say that I want to make sure that nobody else would lose their parents the way that I did. Together, you, myself, Mary and Sarah will work together to protect the people of earth so that, what happened to me, won’t have to happen to others. ”
Valerie sighed and said, “I know … are you one of those people who are afraid of silence?”
Lieutenant Michael was taken back by this comment, he stuttered, saying, “Uh … no, I … uh, no, I am just worried that you will get depressed.”
Valerie looked back at him and said, “I was just teasing you.”
Lieutenant Michael breathed a sigh of relief and said, “I’m glad that you feel comfortable enough to joke around with me.”
Valerie didn’t say anything but smiled at him with a big grin through the mirror, her eyes still a bit red from crying. She then looked back out the window and continued to watch the images pass by. She pointed at a small airport and said, “Is that where we are going now?”
Lieutenant Michael relied, “Yep, that’s right. That’s where our helicopter is waiting for us.”

The helicopter was an older military dual rotor model. It was the standard olive drab color of the army but contained the logo of the World Government, which was merely copied from the old United Nations logo. The helicopter’s propellers were already spinning when they arrived.
Lieutenant Michael got out of the car and opened the door for Valerie. She hopped out of the open door and stood on the tarmac. He extended his hand to her and said, “Do you want to hold my hand?”
Valerie stared at his hand questioningly and then took his open hand into her own without saying anything. Lieutenant Michael smiled at her and said, “Have you ever been on a helicopter or airplane before?”
Valerie shook her head and said, “Nope.”
Lieutenant Michel then said, “Well, this will be fun, being your first time. I’ll let you have a window seat if you want.”
Together, they then walked to the helicopter where a sergeant in field dress stood waiting for them. A rush of wind began blowing over them as they approached. Valerie shielded her eyes with her free hand.
The Sergeant saluted Lieutenant Michael, saying, “Welcome, Lieutenant.” Lieutenant Michael returned the salute, saying, “Thank you, Sergeant.” The Sergeant then opened the door of the helicopter.
Lieutenant Michael let go of Valerie’s hand and then pushed her gently forward with his hand on her back toward the door. She took the hint and began entering the helicopter. As she stepped forward the Sergeant saluted her and said, “Good luck, Wielder.” Valerie, unsure of what she should do, saluted him back to the best of her ability, and said, “Thank you, Sergeant.” She nervously smiled at him and continued up the ramp and into the helicopter.
Lieutenant Michael followed behind her and the Sergeant shut the door behind him. He then pointed to the passenger area and said, “Feel free to sit wherever you want.” Valerie looked around for a moment and then sat down on the padded bench along the middle section next to a window. She bounced a few times as she felt the softness of the padding. Lieutenant Michael then proceeded to sit down next to her but giving her a little space. He set her suitcase between his feet on the floor.
A voice echoed from the intercom, saying, “Cargo is loaded, prep for takeoff, one minute.”
Lieutenant Michael spoke after the intercom went silent, “Have you ever seen over the wall?”
Valerie shook her head and said, “Nope, I never even got close to the wall. I was too afraid.”
Lieutenant Michael pointed to the window and said, “Feel free to take a look, if you want to, when we get up in the air.”
Valerie jumped up on her knees and knelt on the bench with her face looking out of the window beside her. She watched all the workers running back and forth performing their assigned tasks.
The helicopter started shaking and Valerie’s body felt heavy as the aircraft lifted itself off the ground. She watched the houses below her get smaller and smaller. The people below her looked like ants.
As Valerie watched the scenery below, she muttered, “I wonder if the aliens look at us the same way we look at ants.”
Lieutenant Michael was a little stunned by the maturity of this statement and said, “Who knows what the aliens thought about when they attacked us. They never tried to communicate with us.”
Valerie replied, “Have you ever tried to talk to an ant? When I look at all the people below us they are no bigger than ants the way I see them. If the aliens look at us this way, why would they bother trying to talk to us?”
Lieutenant Michael sighed and said, “You certainly have an ability to grasp concepts that other children don’t usually understand yet.”
Valerie then said, “May I ask why I was put in your group, or, was it just random?”
Lieutenant Michael said, “When an opening becomes available, a Lieutenant, like myself, is given the files of available Wielders. I get to select the Wielder that I think would best suit the unit. I also get input from the other team members so I know what they think.”
“So, then,” Valerie said, “when you looked at my file, you saw something in me that you thought would be best for your team. Can I ask what it was about me that made you want me?”
Lieutenant Michael smiled and chuckled, saying, “It was your maturity and perceived ability to grasp difficult situations. And, might I add, that from what I can see so far, you certainly are intelligent.”
Valerie stopped looking out the window and looked back at Lieutenant Michael. He could see in her face that she wanted to ask another question but hesitated within herself. He said, “It’s okay to ask me anything that you want. I promise I won’t get mad.”
Valerie sighed and said, “Did the girl I’m replacing die?”
Lieutenant Michael’s face became downcast as he remembered the horrific incident that led to that girl’s death. He nodded and said, “Yes, she did. She suffered structural collapse of her body due to her age. Most replacements are because of death, though if a Wielder really wants to, they can transfer to a new unit, though that is rare.”
Valerie’s face turned grim and said, “Am I going to die like that.” She already knew the answer but asked anyway. It was a topic that was always on the minds of these Wielder girls since they knew it was inevitable.
Lieutenant Michael replied to her, “Yes, unfortunately, there is no way to prevent eventual structural collapse. No Wielder has ever lived a year past their first period. Every week I will give you an injection that will help your body to endure the vast amounts of energy you will produce. But, eventually, like all the others, your body will reach its limit and collapse on itself. Fortunately, you still have many years so try not to worry about it. Okay?”
Valerie looked back out the window and stared at the buildings below her again. She said, “What was her name? Did you love her?”
Lieutenant Michael tried to hold back the tears that wanted to come but his eyes became watery nonetheless and he said, “Her name was Susan. I loved her as if she was my own daughter. I love all my girls as if they were my own daughters. It’s very hard not to.”
“So,” Valerie said, “will you love me too?”
Lieutenant Michael forced a smile and wiped the water that had started to pool in his eye, “Of course, I already think that you are great. I bet we will soon become good friends.”
Valerie smiled and then pointed out at the window excitedly, saying, “Look, it’s the wall!”
The wall around Reno sector was massive considering the five million citizens that were forced by the harvesters to centralize into one area. The wall was thirty feet high and ten feet thick. It was made of hardened concrete blocks reinforced with steel rebar. On top of the wall, guard towers were placed every few miles where soldiers kept watch by sight and by video monitoring.
The land area around the outside of the wall was scorched from a recent fire bombing, which prevented plants from interfering with the maintenance or strength of the wall. Helicopters would drop bombs of napalm from time to time. It was safer than risking people’s lives to do it manually. The scorched area made it easier to see what the Harvesters were up to near the wall.
As the helicopter passed over the area, Valerie could see the ruins of the old suburbs that once were the homes of people. In addition to the old ruins, the forests that once surrounded the city had overtaken the region since there was no one there to prevent it from over growing. “This is horrible,” Valerie muttered under her breath.
Lieutenant Michael, nodded and said, “You’re right. It is horrible. That’s why we have girls like you in our unit. Without you, we’re not strong enough. This dead city looks like this because we were not strong enough.” Valerie continued to stare out the window.
Lieutenant Michael said, “Have you ever seen a Harvester before?” Valerie shook her head and said, “I’ve seen pictures but nothing in real life.” He pointed out in the window and said, “Look.” A pack of six Harvesters were down below them.
Valerie slid down from kneeling on the seat and sat on the bench normally. Her eyes were wide in shock. Lieutenant Michael shook her shoulder gently and said, “You okay?”
Valerie just kept her gaze forward and said, “Do I really have to fight those things?”
Lieutenant Michael nodded his head, saying, “Yes, but try not to worry. I will be with you. Mary and Sarah will be with you too. You don’t have to do this alone. You can’t do it alone.”
Valerie sat there calmly on the bench and never again looked out the window for the rest of the trip. Lieutenant Michael didn’t push her. He knew that she needed time to get used to the absolute horror of the Harvesters. He knew that the true horror of the Harvesters would come when she would confront them face to face for the first time. She would have to get used to it.
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Posted 3/17/19 , edited 3/18/19
It is interesting.
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Posted 3/17/19 , edited 3/18/19

Ivokyuftaf6666 wrote:

It is interesting.


Thanks!
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Posted 3/18/19 , edited 3/19/19
Your story has very good tension. Reading this part, I felt that tense, unsure feeling when you leave your familiar home, not knowing what a new school year or job will be like, or when you will return. I like how Lieutenant Michael is understanding enough to help Valerie without being too suffocating, and that we get to know some of what he went through to become so understanding.
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Posted 3/19/19 , edited 3/19/19

crunchtacular wrote:

Your story has very good tension. Reading this part, I felt that tense, unsure feeling when you leave your familiar home, not knowing what a new school year or job will be like, or when you will return. I like how Lieutenant Michael is understanding enough to help Valerie without being too suffocating, and that we get to know some of what he went through to become so understanding.


Thanks for reading and your comments! That was one of the feelings that I was trying to portray in this section.
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