I’ve been talking about posting this for so long I can’t believe I’m finally doing it! This is the first part of the first chapter of my second novel, Snow. I remember I was taking a shower (where all writers have their best ideas) on Christmas Eve when I just started narrating a story in my head. That story was completely different from the novel Snow is today, but that was the beginning of this project. It took me about two months to write the rough draft, and it pretty much wrote itself. It was the first completed novel I’d written without an outline, and to this day Snow is my favorite project to work on. Without further adieu, here is the first part of the first chapter of Snow. Enjoy!
Welcome to my home, Northolt. It’s pretty much at the top of the world, so the thermometer is usually way below zero, and it’s always snowing. Most of the villagers can’t even remember what grass looks like at this point. Even so, it’s a nice town, if you can get past the howling winds and the constant blizzards. Perhaps the best part about Northolt is the fact that it’s almost free in our very controlled world. There is virtually no government presence. Well, except for the hunter drones. And that’s my fault. A fact that’s reflected in the eyes of everyone I pass by in Northolt. I accept their silent accusations without anger because I know they’re right. Those hunter drones would never have been sent if not for me.
“Come on, Kiska,” I call to my dog, as she follows me out of the village, trotting along loyally. My bow is over one shoulder; my quiver over the other. My dad made them for me since all that we use here has to be made by hand – so that means our weapons are knives, bows, and spears.
“Dad’s taking me hunting today,” I tell Kiska, as if she can understand. She dashes out in front of me on her own hunt, chasing a white hare.
“Kiska, heel!” I call, and the repentant dog comes running back.
Dad said to meet him by the Stone. It’s really the only sort of landmark we have up here in the white wilderness, and it’s considered the town meeting place.
Kiska and I arrive beside it a few minutes before Dad said we were leaving. There’s a boy, older than me, leaning against the smooth grey rock, probably waiting for someone, too. My stomach tightens when I see him. I know he doesn’t like me, but something about him makes me especially uncomfortable. His grey eyes narrow when he sees me, and he stands up a bit straighter when I walk over.
“Hey, Jamin!” I try to keep my tone friendly, always in the hope that I can convince someone that I’m not so bad after all. Today is not my day though because Jamin shifts over slightly, not even looking at me. “How’s hunting? Snag any game yet?” I try again to start a conversation.
Jamin keeps his eyes straight ahead. “No. Too many hunter drones.” His voice is full of irritation, and his response is clipped.
I look down and scuff the ground with my boot. No matter how many times Dad tells me that the drones are not my fault, I can’t help but feel guilty about it. “I guess it is a warmer day,” I say finally.
“It’s in the negatives out here. The drones never used to come in this kind of cold.” Jamin finally looks over at me. “I guess you wouldn’t know about the cold, though, would you?”
I look down at my waist where I’d knotted my lightest jacket around me. It wasn’t easy trying to hide my strange immunity to the cold. Even on the coldest day, I am often too hot with a light jacket on. “Guess I’m just used to the weather up here,” I laugh trying not to sound nervous, rubbing my sweater-covered arms as if I am cold.
Jamin snorts and returns to the previous subject.“NAUFA’s technology is getting better.”
“You think so?” I ask, and then immediately regret asking the question.
Jamin just glares at me. “Since when have you ever seen drones in the forest this time of year?”
I feel scorn in his gaze as he stares at me. “I guess you’re right,” I finally respond.
“We’re behind on food reserves since the drones have scared the game away. I heard Hagan say he’s worried about having enough meat for everyone.” Jamin shakes his head. “All this for a girl like you. It’s a wonder Hagan hasn’t turned you over to the Administration yet.”
I bet you’d turn me over to NAUFA wouldn’t you? I thought, looking down at my boots.
Thanks for reading!