The Doctor And Thales – Part 1

Being a huge Whovian, I look for lots of way to sneak Doctor Who into my writing and daily life. I was handed a golden opportunity when, for the philosophy curriculum we were using, I was supposed to write a story using the philosopher we were currently studying. What better way to sneak the Doctor into a story! So, take a trip in the TARDIS with the Eleventh Doctor and my OC, Arley (also a Time Lord), to meet Thales, an ancient Greek philosopher!

“So, where are we going this time?” I asked, jumping up onto the platform where the controls of the TARDIS were. Amy and Rory were gone for a week, leaving just the Doctor and me.

“Two Time Lords, one TARDIS, and all of time and space,” the Doctor flicked a lever. “Where do you want to go? The future, the past?”

“The past,” I told him, pressing one of the blue buttons he’d forgotten. “Let’s go somewhere ancient.”

“You want ancient? How about the beginning of Carsus?” The Doctor’s hand was on the lever.

“Naaaa…too ancient,” I told him. “How about…” I looked down at a book Amy had left on the floor of the TARDIS. “Rome?”

“Wibbly, wobbly, timey, wimey. The timeline is way to wibbly. Pompeii with Donna…you remember? And you know…Rory the Roman?”

I had to admit he was right. “Fine. Greece?”

“Greece it is! There’s a lovely solar eclipse in 585!” He yanked the lever. The TARDIS groaned and shook.

“Did you forget the stabilizers again?” I hollered.

“Who are you, River Song? Of course I didn’t!” he shouted back.

I found the blue stabilizers and pressed them down. The TARDIS was instantly quiet.

“See? I told you I didn’t forget the stabilizers!” he said, tapping my nose as he walked by.

I rolled my eyes, not bothering to mention it’d been me who’d turned them on.

“I’ve a friend in ancient Greece you know. His name’s Thales! Great guy, a little distracted.” The Doctor skipped down the steps and under the platform of the TARDIS.

I sat on the edge and watched him. “Thales? Isn’t he the Greek guy who said ‘Know thyself’ or something like that?”

“Yes, he did. Well, actually I said that, and he shamelessly stole it,” he assured me. The TARDIS suddenly jolted to a halt. “There’s your beautiful Greece! Lovely view. Parked the TARDIS right by the Halys River.”

I skipped over to the door, opened it, expecting lovely river views. Instead, I got a battlefield. I slammed the TARDIS door shut just as a large spear went splintering into the side.

The Doctor looked up. “I wasn’t expecting that.”

I moved out of the way. “You landed us in the middle of a war!”

“Sorry ‘bout that. We should be off in a min- ”

Just then the doors opened again, and in stumbled a man. He tripped over the door frame and papers went everywhere, causing me to jump backwards.

The Doctor looked down. “Hello, there, Thales, my old friend!”

Thales looked up. Splinters of blue wood were stuck in his large curly beard. “Doctor?”

Part 2 is next week. Thanks for reading!

~ Kayla

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The Silence – Part 4

Today I’m posting part 4 of my Doctor Who fanfiction about the Silence. Last week, Karen and Anthony were running away from whatever was following them. This week we find out what is following them and meet Anthony’s parents. I mentioned last week that Anthony is the adopted son of Amy and Rory Pond (Williams), the Eleventh Doctor’s companions. This week, Amy makes a guest appearance in my fanfiction. Those who watch the show know that Amy is typically referred to as Amy or Amelia Pond by the Doctor, but her married name is actually Amy Williams, which is how Karen knows her. 🙂

Our pounding feet on the metal stairs echoed through the apartment building’s hallway. We came to a halt outside Anthony’s front door. Pulling the key from his jean pocket, his fingers fumbled as he inserted the key into the lock and twisted it. We burst through the door and slammed it shut behind us with a loud bang.

“Is that you, Anthony?” called a voice.

“Mom, I’m home, and I brought Karen,” Anthony said as we walked into his warm, bright kitchen filled with the smell of baked muffins that Anthony’s mother was pulling out of the oven.

His mother turned around with a smile. “Karen, it’s always good to see you.” I smiled back despite my anxiety. Mrs. Williams was always so nice and had the prettiest smile and red hair. And I loved her Scottish accent.

“Karen has a question for you,” Anthony explained with an encouraging nod towards me.

I took a deep breath. “I think I’m being followed.”

“In fact, we were followed here, ” Anthony added.

Mrs. Williams stopped filling the muffin tin. “Followed? By whom?”

“I don’t know. There are gaps in my memory that I just don’t understand. I thought there was this shadow following me the other day.” I stopped for a moment, trying to gauge Mrs. Williams’s reaction. She didn’t say anything. “I know you must think I’m crazy,” I started to say.

“I’ve seen some strange things, kid. Trust me. I don’t think you’re crazy.” She leaned against the kitchen counter and pushed her flame colored hair back with her red painted nails.

“Mom, I found this on my hand. I don’t remember how it got here.” Anthony held out his hand towards Mrs. Williams.

What happened next was fuzzy. I remembered turning towards Anthony, about to ask him something, and then the next thing I knew, I was huddled on the kitchen floor with Mrs. Williams beside me and Anthony on the other side.

“What’s happening? Why am I here?” I asked, my head spinning. I looked over at Mrs. Williams and covered my mouth with my hand to keep from screaming. Her face and arms were covered with black lines. “What’s going on? What’s happened to you?”

Mrs. Williams looked down at her arms. “Listen to me, Karen. You haven’t got much time. There’s something out there called the Silence. They’re an alien race that controls humanity. When you look away from them, the memory of your encounter with them is erased. That’s what the gaps in your memory are from. The only way to remember that you’ve seen a Silence is to draw a tally mark on your arm for each one you encounter. They won’t hesitate to kill you if they perceive you as a threat. The only way to escape is to listen to me closely.” Mrs. Williams grabbed my arm. “Find a man called the Doctor. Tell him Amelia Pond sent you. Tell him the Silence are here. And tell him he better rescue us all.”

A scream shatters the stillness of the room. I look up from the diary, my heart pounding. I put the book down on the bed and stand up, the floor creaking slightly. It’s deathly silent in the house, and even though it’s not cold, I have goose bumps on my arms.

“Mom?” I ask, cautiously taking shaky steps down the first two or three stairs, but the only answer is my own voice echoing back. “Mom?” I call, a little louder this time. My answer is a loud banging, and the whistle of the wind. I wrap my arms around myself, climbing down the stairs, forcing my feet to move. The wind bangs the front door against the battered wall, the rain pouring in onto the floor. I slam the door shut and lock it tightly. The rain is running down into my eyes as I turn away from the door. I shut my eyes for a moment, drying my face off with the edge of my shirt. When I open my eyes, I’m not downstairs. My back is against the heavy wooden door to the bedroom, and the diary is open in my hands. “What happened? Where am I?” My head is spinning. I look down at the diary in my hands, and flinch, my heart starting to race again. My hands are covered in tally marks. The Silence. I’d seen Karen’s shadows. They are following me, too. I flip open the diary, the pages making a slight rustle as I turn them. There seems to be only one thing to do. Find out if Karen escaped and how, if possible, I can as well.

Thanks for reading! Part 5 will be up next week.

~ Kayla

The Silence – Part 2

Last week, I posted the first part of a Doctor Who fanfiction about the Silence. We left off just as Bree opened the diary she had found and read the first sentence from a girl named Karen Helms who claimed she was being followed. I chose the name Karen as a bit of an Easter egg. The actress who plays Amy Pond, the Eleventh Doctor’s companion who also meets the Silence, is named Karen Gillan. I decided it’d be fun to name my character after Ms. Gillan and make the subtle connection back to the show! 🙂

I don’t know by what, and I don’t know by whom. I just know there is someone – or something – following me. I feel like I should write everything down in case something happens to me. It’s a strange feeling, like there’s something over my shoulder, something always watching me. I can’t escape the feeling, even now, in my room, with the door locked.

It started today when I was walking down one of the back streets on my way home. I never use the main sidewalks, if I can help it, since they’re so crowded. It was wet and rainy, and I could see my reflection in the rainwater pooled in the dips of the black asphalt street. Only when I looked down did I realize there was more than just my face and the brick buildings reflected in those puddles. I stopped, staring at the rippling water. Behind, me there was a murky black shape, like a shadow. I looked up quickly, but there was no one there. Nothing was casting that shadow. I started to walk again, much more quickly, staring down into the puddles on the road. From broken reflection to broken reflection, I could see the shadow following me. My stomach twisted into knots as I dashed across the road, and stepped onto the busy New York City sidewalk, pushing through the crowds. I bumped into a few people, who shouted at me angrily, but I didn’t care. I just wanted to get away from whatever was behind me. I caught a glimpse of a puddle beside me, but there were too many shadows and reflections for me to tell if the shape was still following me. I jogged up the first couple steps to my front door, glancing over my shoulder quickly as I did so. There was nothing behind me. I breathed a sigh of relief as I inserted the key into the hole and twisted it, opened the door, and relocked it behind me. There. Now no shadows could get in.

I sat my textbooks down on the coffee table. As I did, I caught sight of my reflection in the mirror hanging above the fireplace. Looking at the mirror, I had the strangest feeling, like there was something I’d forgotten. Something important, but I couldn’t remember what. I stepped closer to the mirror, putting my hand on the cool glass, trying to remember what I’d forgotten. Suddenly, my stomach twisted in fear, and I felt the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I knew I had to get out of there, but I didn’t know why. Not even thinking about my decision, I raced up the stairs and flung open the door to my room, shutting it and locking it. I slid down onto the floor, the feeling of terror overwhelming me.

That’s where I am now. My back still against the solid wooden door, writing in this diary. I want to tell someone, but I’m afraid Mom and Dad will only think I’m being silly or playing a prank on them. Maybe I’ll tell Anthony tomorrow. Anthony is one of my closest friends. Most of the others avoid him since his family is …different. No one has ever forgotten the day in seventh grade when he proudly told the class that his parents once met a man from space. Of course, after today, I’d being willing to believe that.

The writing abruptly stops. I flip the page over and find another entry, but it doesn’t pick up where the previous page left off. I’m about to begin reading again, but then I realize my hands are gripping the edge of the book so tightly my knuckles are white. I can almost feel someone’s eyes on me as I sit here, the diary open in my lap. I can’t help but think of Karen as I glance behind me only to find nothing. I’m being followed.

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for part 3 next week.

~Kayla

The Silence – Part 1

I’ve been taking a teen writing class at the library. Every month, I have a new writing prompt about which I’m supposed to write a short story. In October, the prompt was to write a spooky story. Well, one of the spookiest things I can think of is from Doctor Who. The Silence are one of the only Doctor Who monsters that I have been honest-to-goodness scared of. So, I knew my spooky story would have to be about the Silence. Today I’m sharing the first part of that story. I hope you aren’t too scared! 😉

My mom sits the supplies down on the floor and runs her fingers through her hair. “Where to begin?” she sighs.

I look around me at the peeling, ancient wallpaper, the beat up floor, and the cobweb filled curtains and wrinkle my nose at the musty smell. I can easily think of a dozen other things I would rather be doing on this Saturday afternoon than clean out my grandfather’s old house.

“Bree, can you start upstairs to see if there are any boxes we’ve missed?” Mom pulls on yellow rubber gloves. “I’m going to get started in the kitchen.”

“Sure.” The stairs squeak under my weight as I climb the grand staircase to the second floor. The house is being sold soon, and it’s our job to clean and fix it up before it’s put on the market. At the top of the stairs, I stop suddenly. The hairs on the back of my neck stand straight up, my stomach clenches, my heart pounds. I happily visited my grandfather’s house many times in the past, but standing here now, I’m so scared it’s hard to even breathe. I can’t control the urge to look at what’s behind me. I slowly turn my head, glancing back, heart pounding. The only thing I see are the stairs spiraling down. I can’t shake the feeling that there is something behind me, though.

It’s nothing. Just this creepy old house, I tell myself. I’m probably just jumpy because of that scary sci-fi movie I watched last night. Mom always says I have too much imagination.

I can hear Mom’s voice in the kitchen, singing along to one of her favorite songs. My body relaxes, and I feel embarrassed at my reaction. I’m glad nobody saw me, I think. I walk forward, the floors creaking under my feet. The carpet under my brown boots is a faded red color and a style from a bygone age. Hand on the doorknob, I’m about to turn it, when I see a black shape out of the corner of my eye. I turn my head quickly, but there’s nothing there again.

“It’s just an old house. Nothing more. Nothing is living in here,” I tell myself under my breath, but my hands shake as I push the door open. I half expect something to jump out at me, but nothing does to my relief. It’s just a bedroom. I look around, examining the sagging floral wallpaper and the grimy carpet. The meager light from the rainy day makes the four poster bed’s shadows look like monsters climbing the walls. I run my hand over the dust-covered carved wood of the footboard, brushing some of the dirt off onto the floor. Someone must have already cleared this room, because there are no boxes in here. There’s only the bed and a small three drawer chest next to it.

Better check to make sure there’s nothing in there, I think. I kneel down on the floor, and my hands grip the delicate gold handles of the carved cherry wood nightstand, sliding open the first drawer. I reach my hand inside the dark hole, my fingertips brushing the smooth wood. There’s nothing in there. My hands move to the next drawer, and slowly slide it open. I reach my hand in again, and feel something slightly rough. I grip it and pull it out of the darkness to the light. It’s a little book. I run my hands over it, feeling the soft leather of the cover, examining the embossed flowers and birds. I carefully pull back the leather cover, revealing a faded, yellowed page. Like a delicate spider web, the swirly handwriting spirals across the page.

April 22, 1960

My name is Karen Helms. And I am being followed.

Thanks for reading!

~ Kayla

Snow – Chapter 1 – Part 6

Welcome to the final part of Chapter 1 of Snow! Last week, Finley and his soldiers arrived in the village, threatening to take Snow away. There was an explosion right as Kiska attacked Finley, and that’s where I left it hanging! Speaking of Kiska, Snow originally didn’t have a dog. I came up with the idea after we went over to a friend’s house. The family had this big, husky dog that actually looked like a wolf. As soon as I got home, I knew I had to write a dog like that in for Snow.

“Kiska!” I shout, as I watch my dog fly back from the blast of the fusion rifle and fall to the ground. Dropping to my knees beside her, I press my hands against the wound, trying to stop the blood from pouring out. “You can’t die! You just can’t!” No matter how much I plead with her nor how hard I push, the bleeding won’t stop. She lays motionless in the bright red snow, and I know she is gone. I cradle her in my arms unable to believe my best friend is dead. “How could you kill my dog? How could you kill Kiska? She was just trying to protect me!” I ask, tears running down my face. Looking up at Finley, I am overwhelmed with rage, and I scramble to my feet. “I hate you! I hate you all! Get out of my home!” Unable to stop, I launch myself at Finley, and land a solid blow to his already bruised jaw before the soldiers yank me back to the ground.

Finley laughs and rubs his jaw. I push myself up off the snow, my fists clenched by my sides, longing to hit him again. My eyes rest on the ripped coat sleeve on Finley’s arm. I wish Kiska had done more damage.

“Why do you want me?” I demand, swallowing down some of my rage to force the words out.

“You really don’t know?” Finley asks, raising an eyebrow. At my blank expression, he sighs. “You’re one of them. And by them, I mean the Katari. And you better be worth all this work because I hate the cold.”

“And just what is a Katari?”

“Enough!” Finley commands. “Will you come voluntarily or not?”

“Leave my daughter alone,” Dad says, pushing himself up so that he’s hunched over, leaning against the stone. “Take me instead.”

“You instead of a Katari? Please. That’s hardly a fair exchange. Your daughter is worth ten times as much as you to NAUFA.” Finley glances at me. “Will you come voluntarily or not?”

“Never,” I snap back. I don’t even need to think about my answer.

Finley’s green eyes betray anger for a moment, but a bored look quickly replaces it. “Then, I will offer you one final deal.” Finley begins pacing as he explains his offer. “See, I can leave this horrible, cold village without my friends,” he gestures to the two soldiers. “They can stay behind, burn the village, and arrest everyone here. All of you will be relocated to NAUFA prisons.” Stopping to face me, Finley adds, “Well, you won’t be in prison. You’ll be with me at a different facility.”

He continues, “Anyway, I’m sure even you can figure out what will happen to your father and neighbors there.” He holds up his hands as if weighing his options. “I take you, the Katari, and I’ve eliminated a threat to NAUFA. A good deal for NAUFA, a good deal for me.” He pauses and shrugs slightly. “Not such a good deal for you.”

Finley puts his hands in his pockets, and turns to look straight at me. “Of course, I could promise not to do that. But for me to agree to that, you’d have to give me something in return.”

“What is it?” I demand, already guessing at what he’s going to say.

“You’d have to come with me voluntarily.” Finley holds up his hand as if stopping any protests. “That’s my deal. So, which will it be?”

Thanks for reading!

~ Kayla

Snow – Chapter 1 – Part 5

Last week, a man from the government showed up in the village. This week, Snow finds out who it is. Okay, okay, I can’t stand it any longer! I’ve got to say who it is. His name is Finley, and he is my male MC. I actually still remember the exact moment I came up with him. I was brushing my teeth and trying to decide where I should take Snow’s story. I knew I wanted to add in a second main character, but I wasn’t sure who. Suddenly, I had it. I remember thinking, “I should have a really arrogant guy be the second main character who comes to Northolt and takes Snow for the government.I was so excited I ran out of the bathroom, grabbed a green index card and scribbled the idea down in purple colored pencil. Finley’s evolved a lot since he was just a scribbled note, but he’s still arrogant and believes he’s perfect. 😉

I step closer, just enough so I can make out my dad and three other figures in the fog. Two of them are large and tall, imposing dark shapes in the blur of the frozen cloud. They have to be NAUFA soldiers. The third figure in front of the others, is shorter and smaller but strangely seems to be in charge. He steps closer to my dad and says something so softly I can’t hear, and then I see my dad’s arm fly out and hear the sickening sound of fist hitting jaw. The man reels back. The two large figures rush forward and grab my dad. The one strikes him across the face, and Dad stumbles back. The other brings his rifle down on Dad’s back, and I see my dad fall. Kiska barks and runs forward charging the soldiers. The one soldier swings his rifle around and knocks her in the head, and she runs off with a whimper. I cover my mouth with my hand, suppressing a cry. The soldiers continue to hit my dad, even though he’s on the ground. “Enough!” the man’s voice stops the beating.

“What do you want?” I hear Dad’s voice through the fog, his figure doubled over, kneeling in the snow. “I’ll give you anything. Just leave my daughter alone.”

The man’s laugh is full of scorn. “What could you have in this pitiful outpost that NAUFA would want? Besides, she’s not your daughter. She belongs to NAUFA, and I’m just here to retrieve what is ours.” The soldiers roughly haul Dad to his feet, and I know I have to do something. I can’t watch them hurt my dad anymore.

I run from my hiding spot over to my dad. “Let him go!” I shout. “Let him go!” I look at my dad’s face, bruised and bloody, his one eye swollen shut, and I feel anger seethe up in me. “Snow, no,” I hear my dad say but I don’t pay attention. I run at the one soldier and push him with all of my strength. He lets go of Dad, more out of surprise than from my blow. The soldier moves to grab hold of me, but the leader laughs and waves him away. I turn to face this man, ready to fight him, too. He has an ugly bruise forming on his jaw, but his eyes flash triumphantly. He smiles slightly. “Ah. Just who we need. Looks like you’re coming with us, girl.”

“Who are you?” I demand.

“The name’s Finley, and NAUFA assigned me to your case. I’m here to take you away from this godforsaken place.” He pushes his bangs back, and adjusts his oversized, grey coat.

“I’m not going anywhere!”

Finley smiles reassuringly. “We’d really prefer that you’d come voluntarily. It makes the process so much easier when the subject cooperates and does as she is told” He adds, “But you really do not have a choice. You’re coming with me.” Finley takes a step forward and grips my arm. From the fog comes a deep growl. Kiska, her head low and teeth bared, advances toward Finley, snarling at him low and deep with a ferocity I’ve never heard from her before. Finley lets go of me and backs up slightly, startled. Kiska barks and lunges towards him. Finley scrambles backwards, but not fast enough, and Kiska’s jaws grab his arm. Suddenly, there’s a bright flash of light, and a deafening explosion fills the air.

Thanks for reading!

~ Kayla

Snow – Chapter 1 – Part 4

Last week, Snow and her dad had just returned home from hunting. In this scene, there’s a part where Snow is outside and there’s ice fog everywhere. I remember checking if fog can form in the Arctic and learning that it gets so cold in the Arctic that the water droplets in a fog cloud will actually freeze. It’s rare in the Western USA as it almost never gets cold enough, but up in Northern and Central Alaska, it can actually be quite common. I thought the ice fog was so cool (pun intended) I decided to let it hang out over Northolt for this scene! 😉

It’s past midnight by the time I’m in bed. Though my body is exhausted, I can’t sleep. Every time I close my eyes, my mind is filled with the whirling of the drones searching for me. I finally drift off and jeering villagers pursue me, chasing me out of my home. Jamin’s face is bigger than the rest, and his shouts fill my ears, and I sit straight up, heart pounding, awake again. By the time I do actually fall asleep, it’s early morning.

I open my eyes. The room is dark, and there’s no light reflecting through my window. Kiska is gone off my bed, and I assume she’s with Dad. I groan and turn over, not wanting to get up. I shut my eyes, trying to drift back off. It’s no use. I’m too awake at this point. Sitting up, I run my fingers through my messy blonde hair and push the blankets back. Sitting on the edge of my bed, I shut my eyes, listening for the typical sounds of morning. The house is completely silent. Wanting to see where my dad is, I slip off the edge of my bed. My feet patter across the floor, out into the living room.

I call his name softly, but only my stomach rumbles a response. I step into the kitchen looking for him and for breakfast. Taped to one of the cabinet doors is a note, and I yank it down, reading the messy handwriting. “Gone hunting. Meet me by the Stone at 0930.” I look up at the clock and realize it’s 0920 now. Changing quickly, I slip on my jacket and boots and head outside. An icy fog hovers in the air turning the snowy ground grey. As I walk, it becomes increasingly hard to see, but I know the way well, and my boots creak over the frozen path. It’s a short walk to the Stone, and as I near it, out of the grey blur I hear voices, and a dog’s bark and growl. I guess that the dog is Kiska, even though she never growls as she knows everyone here. Something doesn’t feel right. There’s a sense of impending doom hanging thick like the fog that surrounds me, and I don’t like it. I hurry on to get to Dad, telling myself it’s just a feeling, even though my sense of dread grows.

“I will not comply!” the shout shatters the silence surrounding me. The voice is Dad’s. I start running towards the sound. What’s going on? Are the hunter drones back? Have the villagers finally had enough of me and are trying to kick me out of the village?

“I’m afraid you don’t have much of a choice.” The voice is a man’s I’ve never heard before, and it’s accompanied by Kiska’s growl. My heart quickens. Oh, no. They’ve found Northolt. It’s over.

“She’s my daughter!” cries Dad. “I won’t let you take her!”

“She is not your daughter. Clearly you’re not understanding me. Like I said before, I’m afraid you don’t have much of a choice,” the man’s voice repeats, irritation dripping from every word.

Thanks for reading!

~Kayla

Snow – Chapter 1 – Part 3

Last time we left Snow, she and her dad had heard a drone in the forest and were heading back to the safety of the village. When I first wrote this scene, it was completely different. I’ve taken Chapter 1 through multiple revisions, and whenever I edit something new, I always send the results to my friend who’s my beta reader. She’s also the founder and only member of the Snow fandom. 🙂 Thanks so much, Julia, you’re a great friend! 😉

“Don’t worry. They’ll never find us,” Dad promises in a low whisper, squeezing my hand. We have been evading drones for years; the village hunters dodge them on a regular basis. My dad, as both hunter and leader, probably has the most experience of anyone in the village in dealing with them. Still, as the light whirring becomes louder, I can’t help but feel fear rising up. I take a deep breath and slowly blow it out knowing what’s coming. I watch my dad who is watching the sky. Suddenly, Dad pulls me to my feet, and we take off running. Away from the river, deeper into the forest we run silently. We duck under branches and over snow mounds, making our way to the village, to safety. As we run I know my dad is listening and calculating, carefully planning each path we take. Finally, Dad slows and holds up his hand for us to stop. I notice the whirring has grown fainter. Dad leans against a tree trunk and puts a finger to his lips. We stand there, listening to the ever fading whirring of the drone as it moves on to another area. The forest returns to its previous undisturbed silence. Dad opens up his hunting bag, pulls out an old, faded yellow map and spreads it out on the tree trunk.

“What pattern is the drone using?” Dad looks at me, motioning to the map. He’s been training me for years to recognize the search patterns used by the drones.

I look over the lines, thinking. “Grid Pattern A?”

Dad smiles. “Good job. And which drone usually uses that pattern at that altitude?”

I look at the map, and then close my eyes, remembering the buzzing of the drone. When you hear one, it’s a sound you never forget. “It’s a surveillance drone, and it’s traveling from east to west.”

“Actually, it’s coming from the northeast, but close. Recommended course of action?”

“It’s moving away from us now so we can continue hunting?” I turn my answer into a question, hoping to salvage the rest of what was supposed to be a peaceful afternoon with my dad.

Dad doesn’t answer and stands there looking intently into the sky. “You’re right, Snow. Normally, we would continue, but something doesn’t feel right to me. We’ll head back to the village.” With a single movement, he folds up the map and places it into his bag and begins the hike back home. I follow behind him, wondering about his uneasiness.

After a few minutes, I break the silence. “Dad?” The aurora glitters above us, now a dark, blood red color that turns everything around it the same bright hue.

“Yes, Snow?”

“Jamin was right. The drones are never out this time of the year.” The words stick in my throat, and I feel sick just saying them.

“Like I told Jamin, we’ll get through this together.” Dad flashes me a defiant look. “We’ve hidden from the drones for sixteen years. We can make it through another one.”

I can’t help but think of a few years earlier when three of our hunters were killed by a drone attack. That winter had been hard, too, but we made it through. Dad is right. We can do this together. That still doesn’t answer the other question I’ve had for a long time – the one I’ve had since I realized the drone searches started once I was found near the village. “Why are they hunting me, Dad? What do I have that they want?” I ask, my voice catching.

Dad looks at me, his brown eyes glinting. “I don’t know,” he finally admits. “I really don’t know.”

We continue trudging through the snow, until we’re on top of the ridge above Northolt. Here, I’m able to see Northolt spread out before me. The village is shielded from the drones’ sensors, making it the last safe place in the forest. The villagers here call it a town, but it’s really just a collection of ten white domes peeking out of the snow, arranged in a circle. I sense the breeze across my cheek, and although it doesn’t feel cold to me, I instinctively know the temperature is dropping.

“I’ll make sure I warn the other hunters to be extra careful for the next few days until drone activity dies down,” Dad says, more to himself than to me. “Come on, we have to get back to Northolt before it gets much later.” Dad starts down the slope.

I glance behind me one last time, for a moment thinking I can hear a drone. All I see, though, is the peaceful edge of the forest, utterly still and silent. I start down the slope, half-sliding, half-walking into the village. The only sign that anyone lives here are the footprints leading into the domes. I follow behind my father, my feet stepping into the holes made by his boots, as we return home for the night.

Thanks for reading!

~Kayla

Snow – Chapter 1 – Part 2

Last week, I posted the first part of chapter 1 of Snow which you can find here. You may have noticed I wrote Snow in first person, present tense. When I started the story, I had an idea for the ending and after doing some research decided that present tense would be best. When I finally wrote the end of the story, the ending was completely changed, but writing in the present tense was such a habit that I decided to leave it like that. Even though I’ve finished the story, I still catch myself slipping into present tense when writing my new story which is supposed to be written in the past tense!

“You know, sometimes I wish I’d never moved up here. I thought I’d be free from NAUFA and its drones, but what do I find? A drone magnet!” Jamin slaps his gloved hand against the Stone.

“It’s too beautiful an afternoon to talk about NAUFA,” says a voice. I look up to see my dad walking towards us. Kiska barks and runs up to him.

“Hagan.” Jamin nods a greeting at Dad, his face suddenly red.

My dad smiles. “Hello, Jamin. How’s the hunting today?”

Jamin scowls. “The hunter drones scared most of it off.” He looks at me as he says it, and I avoid his gaze, looking over at Dad.

“Well, that’s too bad. But this village has survived tougher times than these. We’ll get through this like we always have,” pausing, he holds Jamin’s eyes in his and finishes, “together. Snow and I are on our way out and will bring in some fresh meat,” Dad says, laying a hand on my shoulder. I smile up at him.

“Good luck,” Jamin says, his tone sarcastic.

My dad lifts his hand in a good-bye wave and whistles for Kiska.

We tromp through the glistening snow, the crunching of our boots on the frozen powder the only sound to be heard in this white world. Finally, Dad breaks the serene quietness. “You don’t have to feel guilty, Snow. Don’t listen to Jamin.”

I don’t say anything. I want to believe him, but I can’t convince myself that Dad is right. I glance over at him, his furry hood up over his head so I can’t read his expression. Something Jamin said is still bothering me, and I just have to know. “Dad?”

He looks over. “Yes?”

“Would you turn me over to NAUFA?”

He’s silent, his eyes hard and cold. I swallow hard, afraid that I’ve hurt him by asking the question. “I-I-I’m sorry,” I say, my voice shaking a little. “I didn’t mean to – ”

“No.” The word cuts through my stammering. “No, I’d never turn you over to NAUFA, Snow. You’re my daughter, and I love you.” He takes my bare hand in his gloved one and squeezes it.

“I love you, too, Dad.” Then I smile slightly and say, “I wouldn’t turn you over to NAUFA either!”

Dad laughs at the thought. “I’m glad you wouldn’t, Snow,” he says, still smiling.

We trudge on through the snow in silence again. The twilight sky reflects off the snow, the few sunrays that can reach us casting their semi-golden light over everything. We walk by the glassy river that shows us a perfect reflection of ourselves in its mirror-like surface. Snow covered pine trees line the bank, while the first flicker of the northern lights flash across the sky. We stop, still silent. Dad slips his bow off his shoulder, and I follow his example, both of us completely quiet. Even Kiska stops her playing, as she knows she has to be silent or she’ll scare away our prey. My grey furry boots crunch down into the snow as I creep forward as noiselessly as I can, my breath coming in quick, short bursts as I try to breathe quietly. The sky above finally shatters into the brilliant colors of the northern lights, and they reach down to dance across the icy surface of the river and the previously monochromatic white land. I crouch down in the snow behind the pine tree, reaching up and gripping the icy blue feathers of my snow-white arrows. There, by the riverbank, is a white fox. His glittering black eyes gaze back at me as I notch the arrow to the string of my white bow and slowly start lifting it up. Dad’s arms come around me, helping me to line the shot up, the silver tip aimed at the fox. The moment is dream-like, just me and my dad, surrounded by perfect stillness. Suddenly, the dream is broken by the whirring of a drone. I feel my heart start to pound against my chest.

“Snow,” comes Dad’s whisper by my ear. “We need to get back to the village. Now.”

Thanks for reading!

~ Kayla

Snow – Chapter 1 – Part 1

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!

Chapter 1

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!

~ Kayla