I'm around 41k on my Nano as of now, and I've finished chapter 11. (1 day behind my 1 chapter a day schedule, though there are only 28 planned chapters for this book)
This is the current chapter, and I'm still working on writing 'a kiss scene' but I do it from both characters perspectives, and they both had a different reaction. If you read through it, I'd really like to hear some feedback about how it went over as it is what I'm practicing now. (That and killing thought verbs.)
Chapter 11 (Learning to blame others)
John ground his teeth and — reluctantly — accepted Ami’s help to stand. Despite making it to his feet, his muscles still didn’t work the way they should. At any moment, he could fall back onto his face. I can’t believe they have been lying to me this entire time.
Ami stared at her feet, grumbling about something under her breath while Keisuke kicked at the fallen yakuza men and women. Afterwards, he searched their pockets. Strange.
After his body recovered enough to function basic hand gestures, John pressed a finger to his nose and blew the blood that clogged it out onto the hard-tile floor. His head spun.
The shit and death around the lobby zipped into his nostrils.
He fell to his knees and puked all over the shattered remains of the yakuza gunman meant to kill John.
Ami knelt beside John and placed a hand on his back.
Her touch twisted his stomach.
“Are you alright, John?”
John puked again. Her voice … her traitorous voice slammed into his ears. Since their first meeting, it was clear to him now. She was always just watching him. She had always known that he was a Chef. But … she’s my friend.
“No, she’s not,” Darkness said, voice thumping as if attached to his heart. “She has never been.”
Ami massaged John’s shoulders.
His muscles soothed, and soon, he gained control over his stomach. Maybe they didn’t know.
Darkness scoffed. “Don’t feed yourself that line of bullshit! You know better.”
“John?” Ami moved her hands down his back, relaxing his muscles with her deft touch. “Speak to me.”
“Did you know?” John found his way back to his feet and wiped his mouth.
Ami offered him a bottle of water and a piece of gum. “We did not know you would be here, but were following the only lead we had … . I was trying so hard to find you.”
John rinsed out his mouth before draining the rest of the water. “That’s not what I meant.” He unwrapped the gum and began to chew it.
The gum washed away the sour taste of vomit.
Ami bit into her lower-lip and ground her foot against the floor. “Well —”
“Bingo!” Keisuke held up a shiny ring of keys.
“I told you she knew.” Darkness’s voice carried a haughty tone.
Not confirmed. John crossed his arms, thumbs pointing up. “Ami … .”
Ami stared at her toes. “Yes … we knew you were a Chef. But —”
John’s vision blurred, and he screamed. He found himself snarling through gritted teeth. “All of this.” After clenching and unclenching his fists a few times, he gestured to the masses of broken bodies — most either dead or crippled. “All of this! Every last drop of blood could have been avoided!”
Ami cringed away from him and knelt down, wrapping her hands around her knees. “I am sorry … .” Her voice cracked, and she began to cry. “This is not what I wanted.”
Darkness reveled and howled.
“I hate you,” John said just over a whisper. “I hate the both of you for doing this to me.” He trembled.
Keisuke stomped through a puddle of blood and came face to face with John. “Has someone turned into a little baby since the last time I saw him?”
Ami cried into her hands not two feet from John. Her entire body shook.
John’s chest heaved in and out. “You —”
“Me what?” Keisuke shoved John. I’m sorry my friend, but this is the only way I can help you get over this near death experience. Keisuke tapped his foot.
John shoved Keisuke back and cocked his fist. “Both of you are the reason I’m in this mess, in the first place!”
“Great way to take personal responsibility there.” Keisuke sidestepped the wild punch. “Are you ten years old?”
“You could have saved me from all of this! Saved me from making a mess of my life. Saved me from getting dragged into a gold vault because I didn’t know what was going on!”
“Saved you, huh?”
“Beyond all that, you left me to hang in the jail. You —”
Keisuke slammed his fist into John’s side. “Are you ever going to stop whining?”
John gasped and fell to one knee.
“Are you honestly going to blame me for letting you live out your dream?”
After looking up, John glared murder at Keisuke. “My dream?”
“You always talked about how you only wanted to live your life in peace.” Keisuke patted himself on the chest. “We did that for you!”
“You think leaving me ignorant for the troubles to come was helping me out?”
“Well, you were clearly wrong.”
“No … you were just clearly stupid.”
John pushed himself back to his feet. “There can never be peace from the bottom! And if you just let it happen, in the end, you are just making life worse for everyone.”
Keisuke laughed. “I see that you’ve fallen for Hyuga’s bullshit — fake grass, twigs and spiked-hole.”
After blinking, John mouthed Keisuke’s metaphor. “What?”
That must have been too good of a trap reference for a foreigner to understand. “Speaking of which, where is Hyuga?”
“Fuck if I know, and fuck you if you think I’d tell a lying bastard like you anything.”
“You would really help someone who is trying to destroy your home country?”
“On several occasions, Hyuga has tried to —”
“Go fuck yourself, you lying piece of shit. Like anything that comes out of your mouth can be believed.”
“That’s it.” I didn’t want it to go this far, but I no longer have a choice. “I’m going to have to whoop your ass and bring you back to your senses.”
“I’d like to see you try, pencil pusher.” John moved forward and growled.
Keisuke strode to meet John, his muscles tightening.
Ami huffed, trying to regain her equilibrium. John could not really hate me — us, could he? Her eye-sockets ached.
John and Keisuke screamed at each other like children. Keisuke badgered John about responsibility while John defended Hyuga. Both were fools. That on top of the ever growing stewpot of stink that mixed vomit, blood, shit and rotting flesh tied her stomach in knots.
When her nose began to run, Ami forced herself to stand up straight. Maybe I can fix this. She threw a piece of gum into her mouth and wiped the tears from her eyes. After drying her cheeks, she spat the gum on top of one of the corpses. Here goes nothing.
John balled his hands into fists. “I’d like to see you try, pencil pusher!” While growling, he stomped towards Keisuke.
Keisuke’s face scrunched, and he flexed his muscles. “I’m done playing nice.”
This will not end well if they start fighting. With her heart pounding hard enough to jumble her thoughts, Ami ran forward. She stepped between Keisuke and John. “Stop this! Both of you need to just calm down.”
“Ha!” Keisuke thinned his lips. “You? Telling someone else to calm down?”
“Shut your fat face!”
“I’m not fat.”
“Then shut up!” Ami poked Keisuke in the chest. “All you are doing s making things worse. Do you even know what kind of experience he has been through? All the terrible things that could have and probably did happen to him?”
“Look around you.” Ami gestured to the corpses and broken bodies. “Do you think anyone could do something like this and not come out changed? And not come out bitter?”
With his eyes glaring at the floor, Keisuke licked his lips.
“Killing, especially for the first time, is more than traumatic.” Ami peered through the corners of her eyes at John.
Now is my chance. After spinning on her heels, Ami slid within a breath of John and placed her open palm on his chest. His muscles are so firm.
Thump, thump, thump!
Her heart pounded away, and her face became hot. I can do this!
Thump, thump, thump!
Her throat dried. Just do it!
Thump, thump, thump!
John looked down and pierced her core when his eyes met hers. “What is it, Ami?”
Thump, thump, thump!
After taking a deep breath, John narrowed his eyes. “Ami —”
“I love you!” Ami trembled. I did it? Her mind reeled. I did it!
John’s eyes widened, and his jaw dropped. His hard muscles quivered. Though his mouth began to work, no words came out.
Thump, thump, thump, thump!
I have to finish this. Ami swallowed.
Thump, thump, thump, thump!
“John … .” After placing her other hand on John’s chest, Ami slid them up to his neck. She ran her fingers through his thick — currently — green-dyed hair and interlaced her fingers around the back of his head.
Thump, thump, thump, thump, thump!
Her heart raced faster.
John’s mouth still worked. His face grew red.
Ami pulled his head forward and pressed her lips against his.
They were so soft.
The kiss sent a jolt of electricity through her, and she wanted to fall over.
Instead, she held her ground and worked her lips around his.
John closed his eyes and wrapped his arms around her shoulders, though he did not hold her. His lips began to move as well, and when he brushed his tongue against Ami’s, fireworks exploded in her mind. His pants bulged.
Goosebumps zipped across her skin.
John’s warm tongue pressed against Ami’s cheek.
Ami licked the bottom of his tongue, and her body erupted like a volcano. She was so wet.
Thump, thump, thump, thump, thump!
In her mind, she lay down on the bed beneath John, and he pulled her jeans off. After tossing them to the floor, he reached down between her legs.
Thump, thump, thump, thump, thump, thump!
John pulled away from the kiss and stumbled backwards. “Ami … .”
Panting, Ami met John’s eyes and beamed. Incredible … so … incredible. Far better than I had imagined it would be.
John’s eyes bulged. What did she just say? His mind wrapped around Ami’s words, and his jaw dropped. I thought her feelings were just another one of those things where she was trying to comfort me after I broke up with Sara.
Darkness groaned. “Don’t fall for it.”
But what can I say to her? John’s mouth moved, but no words came out. There were no words to say. She did just save my —
Ami slid her hands up John’s chest and wrapped them around the back of his head like a Maui Thai Clinch. Her body was burning up as if she had a fever. To top it all off, her heart thumped against him like a six year-old on a drum set.
In the blink of an eye, John was being thrown into a plush bed. Where am I?
Haru stood above John and stripped to the waist.
The night his life began to spin out of control. The night he longed to relive. The night he despised. The night Haru had raped him.
John licked his lips, frozen in place.
In one swift motion, Haru was atop John and jerked his head forward. Then, she pressed her luscious lips to his.
John’s muscles quivered.
Her soft breasts pressed against his chest and made him hard.
Losing control of himself, he kissed her back.
The passion of her kiss overwhelmed him.
When Haru’s tongue entered his mouth by force, John massaged it with his own.
She tasted like fresh honey on a spring morning.
John savored every inch of her mouth. Why am I doing this?
John blinked while reality restored itself. He had been kissing Ami, not Haru.
John pulled away from the kiss and shook his head. What was I doing?
“The only thing we could in this situation.” Darkness made a chattering noise. “Relive the most traumatic yet pleasurable moment in our life.”
After gulping, John shuffled backwards. “Ami … I … .”
Ami panted then looked into his eyes. When she smiled, wrinkles bunched up around her eyes. “John … .”
Keisuke made gagging noises from the side.
What do I say? John bit into his upper-lip and scanned the exits.
“You’re asking the wrong person,” Darkness said. “I’m a killer, not a lover.”
Keisuke stood between John and the main exit. The large window behind John faced out to the bay, and Ami loomed in front of him. The elevators to his left would probably do him no good.
“Just going to run?” Darkness harrumphed. “Why not kill them while their defenses are down?”
No. John rose onto the tips of his toes. Beyond not wanting to kill them, I’m powerless right now, remember?
Darkness harrumphed again.
Before inhaling deeply, John tightened his stomach muscles. “I think —”
Clap, clap, clap!
In a flash, John’s heart raced, and he spun towards the elevators.
Hyuga groaned while he pressed the elevator button. Why the fuck does destroying the top floor stop the elevators from working? After linking to a feather, he punched a hole through the elevator doors and turned.
The blast had destroyed most of the roof and parts of the floor. Nothing remained in the bosses’ office. A thick sulfur-like smell rose off of the charred remains of the top floor, and the wind did nothing to dampen it.
Holding his breath Hyuga marched towards the stairs. This is such a pain in the ass. Next time, I make the bosses come to me.
For some stupid reason, the stairs were steeper than normal stairs and wound down the stairwell in a circular pattern. Just like the fucking government building.
The prime minister had been selling out Japanese power-users to America.
America … the land of the enslaved. Those bastards would pay for all the wrongs that they have done since before the war. They would not be allowed to continue their tyrannical reign.
If the prime minister is really as protected as Skinny Mao claimed, then how will I get to him? Hyuga ground his teeth, taking one step at a time due to his height. Too bad there isn’t a power that can make me as tall as John — that’s it!
John was an American.
From the way Skinny Mao had spoken, the prime minister would let his guard down around Americans.
I have to make a plan. Stopping for a moment, to massage his calves, Hyuga chewed on his tongue. I must learn from my mistakes. His mind reeled.
At first, his plan to destroy America’s power-users at Pearl Harbor seemed fool-proof, but when the emperor took the job from the Chefs, everything went to shit. Hyuga would not make the same mistake twice. Only a Chef could be trusted to assassinate the prime minister.
Hyuga began climbing down the stairs again. Fuck! I have to find a way to break John’s weakness and teach him how to kill properly.
Once, before the war, Hyuga had been like John: unwilling to kill and disgusted by it. That mistake cost him the love of his life. That mistake was never repeated again. In the war, anyone outside of his Young Officers trembled at the mention of his name.
John will be my right hand in this war against our oppression. Hyuga spat before increasing his pace. Two steps at a time. Then three. I will rein in the heathens this time and make sure they do not — once again — turn the other nations against us.
The heathens were left in charge of East Asia while the Chefs were used to maintain the defensive line. No matter what evidence Hyuga presented to the emperor, the Chefs were not allowed to move far from Japanese territory. The war had been lost because of it.
Upon reaching the first floor, Hyuga stopped to catch his breath. It wouldn’t help his cause for John to see him as the old man he was. Alright, it’s time to move forward. For our future and for true peace. He cracked the door open and peeked out.
Bodies covered the lobby like a fine carpet and the repulsive stench of success turned Hyuga’s stomach. No matter how many he killed, his nose never became accustom to blood coated shit.
John has done well. Without making a sound, he moved into the lobby and closed the door behind him. I knew I could trust him.
In the center of the lobby, three Chefs stood. A male Chef made gagging motions while the female one kissed John. The throes of passion froze them both in place.
On a snowy field before the war, Hyuga held a tall woman with the silkiest hair he had ever felt.
Mami meant the world to him.
Every kiss she graced him with was an explosion of body tingling emotions. She was wonderful. She was life.
But in that snowy field, a man waited. An American assassin that Hyuga had spared after defeating him in a one-on-one fight.
The moment Hyuga’s lips touched Mami’s, the American heathen shoved his hand through her chest.
Hyuga ripped the man limb from limb and mailed his body parts back to his family. Then, he gathered his Young Officers and confronted the emperor.
They argued for days, but in the end, Japan declared war on those bastards from America.
Hyuga shook his head, returning to the present as John stepped away from the female Chef. Those two must be his friends … but from their clothing, the probably work for that child, Moe.
“Ami … .” John’s hands trembled.
The female Chef — Ami — smiled. “John … .”
John glanced about the room. After returning his attention to Ami, he huffed. “I think —”
While clapping, Hyuga glided forward.
John’s gaze met Hyuga’s.
Hyuga grinned. “That was a wonderful display of affection, but I’m afraid to tell you that he will not be a part of your organization. John is mine.”
Ami and the male Chef spun to glare at Hyuga. At first, they froze in place. Then, they moved in between John and Hyuga.
Despite my reservations, I must not kill these two or John will never see things my way. After scratching at his neck, Hyuga sighed. I know what that kind of loss can do to someone. While devising a plan to deal the enemy Chefs, he burned.
John knees locked, and he couldn’t move. Hyuga … .
Thump, thump … thump.
John’s heart skipped a beat. He ground his teeth and stared into Hyuga’s murder-filled eyes. I have to find a way out of here!
“Kill!” Darkness worked at John’s muscles.
While grinning, Hyuga walked forward. “That was a wonderful display of affection, but I’m afraid to tell you that he will not be a part of your organization. John is mine.”
I am no one’s toy! After finding the strength to move, John wiped his mouth on the back of his forearm and steadied his breathing.
Ami and Keisuke turned and gaped. As one, the stepped between John and Hyuga as if to create a barrier.
John stumbled backwards. I have to get away from here.
Darkness growled. “And lose this opportunity? All three of our primary enemies are here in the same place!”
Which means they will be able to kill us if we try anything against any one of them.
Were you born stupid?
“I wasn’t born; I was created.”
Hyuga scratched at his neck and sighed for some reason. It sounded resigned.
A corpse caught one of John’s legs.
Before falling backwards onto his butt, John yelped.
Keisuke peered at him from the corners of his eyes. “Just relax. We’ll get you out of this mess.”
John gulped. I should make a run for the entrance.
“It won’t work,” Darkness said in a flat voice.
“For the same reason you want to run away from doing what needs to be done.”
The entrance was so far away. Still moving, John had almost backed up to the far wall.
Burning potatoes entered the air.
Focusing on the monsters in front of him, John scanned the lobby.
Hyuga’s eyes glowed red. He had begun to burn.
On instinct alone, John reached into his stomach-fridge. Empty … .
Darkness made a slapping sound. “Exactly.”
Two more strands of burned potatoes filled the air. All three smelled the alike, yet distinct. It was just like the delicious aftertaste that came with drinking different, high-quality beers of the same type. They were all good and shared a lot of traits, but each stood out on its own.
John pressed his back against the large window at his back. I’m fucked!
Keisuke screamed. “You have ruined so many lives! You won’t do the same here!”
Hyuga scoffed. “If you believe that, then you are as bad as that American lapdog, Moe.”
One of the desks lay in splinters to John’s left, its chair turned on its side.
Ami glanced at John for a brief moment. Her link touched a feather.
A new strand of burning potatoes joined the other three.
While scanning the room for its source, John’s head jerked left and right. This is not going to —
The four of them stood alone, and John had nothing left to burn.
Inhaling deeply through his nose, John somehow followed the strand as if it were a glowing string laid out in front of him.
Before John could reach the end of the trail, Hyuga removed all doubt by extending a pair of links from his stomach — one to a feather and the other to a light-blue-stringed bell.
John gulped. Fuck … me, really? His lips quivered.
Hyuga bared his teeth. “Both of you are traitors to your country and your own kind!”
After screaming, Keisuke tapped himself on the chest. “What the fuck do you know about loyalty?” His link attached to a purple-stringed bell, and while he charged forward, a massive, purple hammer — comprised of lightning — formed in his hands.
With her fists clenched, Ami fell into step behind Keisuke, adopting an offensive, brawlers form.
I know what I must do. John pushed himself away from the wall.
“Yes, yes, yes!” Darkness cackled. “Kill the all for the glory of peace!”
Ignoring the voice in his head, John dashed to the chair then lifted it over his head. With all the strength he could muster, he turned and threw the chair through the window.
I won’t be anyone’s toy! I just won’t! John sprinted towards the window and followed the chair into the bay.
Cool water caressed his skin.
While moving away from the yakuza headquarters, John shivered. I won’t get caught again! Instead of going towards the shore like they would expect, John swam in the opposite direction.
Next: BURNING Chapter 14