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DragonSpark Speakeasy 167 – Russian Snowflake

25 Jun

Samantha’s childhood had been a rough one. She grew up in the violent, desolated suburbs of an ex-soviet city. In her mother’s rare moments of consciousness, she told her of the American man who had made her pregnant, many years ago, a naïve and beatific smile on her face. “Stop being so blind!” Sam would yell, tears blurring her vision. “He fucked you and left your sorry arse to freeze in this god-forsaken dump!” Sam’s mom would then stare blankly, a half emptied bottle of vodka in her hand, as her daughter stormed out of the small one room apartment, in order to put food on the table.

Sam was smart. She was 13 and had never been to school but she knew how to read and write Russian and even spoke some English. She had taught herself the language as well as the basics of mathematics with books she stole from the library. This was also her trade. To put food on the table she picked pockets, stole, mugged, and, when she had to, killed. She had already taken three lives. The first belonged to a man that had attempted to abuse her. The cops found his body five days later, his privates chopped off and his throat sliced. The second and third belonged to tourists who had chased her after she grabbed a wallet form one of them. They were now food for the sewer’s cat-sized rats. She had, sadly, become proficient at wielding knives as weapons. This was her routine, her life. However it all fell apart when she killed a man she shouldn’t have.

The man in question was a tall, rather large fellow. Sam had spotted the enormous diamond ring on his index. What happened next was a blur in her mind: Her hand grabs at the ring. The man turns around and grabs her wrist with one hand, her hair with another. Pain. Sam spots the holstered gun in the man’s jacket. Panic. Her free hand frees her Kukri knife from its holster. The man’s throat explodes into a bloody mess. Sam grabs the ring and runs. Relief. Later that day, she spots a TV in a restaurant playing a news report. Panic.

By nightfall, she was at the docks. The local thugs gave her 1.500$ for the ring. She knew she was getting ripped off but she was in no position to negotiate, not with half the nation’s corrupt police looking for her. She bought herself a passage on a cargo ship setting sail for New York.

However, once there, she continued to lead the only life she knew, unaware that the NYPD was multiple times more efficient at tracking down criminals then her entire nation’s ever was. She was arrested on counts of theft and murder only two months after arriving. She was thrown into prison.

“And she’s been here since then” the CIA agent besides me said, finishing his summary of Sam’s life. I nodded, my eyes still locked on the teenage girl across the two way mirror. She wore the typical bright orange convict uniform, the sleeves rolled up to her forearms. Her short, boyish blond hair, cold blue eyes and pale skin betrayed her origins. She seemed restless, shifting on the steel chair of the interrogation room. “So you really are going to bring her in?” the man continued, “She is a criminal.” “By necessity, not by will” I replied, “Besides, she did us a favour by killing one of the most corrupt, most powerful Russian arms dealer since the collapse of the Soviet bloc”

I entered the room, briefcase in hand. The look of surprises on Sam’s face was understandable. The last thing she expected was to see a teenage boy dressed in an Italian suit to come through that door. I extended my right arm towards her. After a moment, she shook my hand dubiously. I sat across from her and cleared my throat. “Do you know what day it is?” Silence at the end of the table. “Today is your 16th birthday” I followed, “You and I are exactly the same age.” Curiosity and distrust were both present on the girl’s face. Time to strike. “What if I told you I could get you out of here?” “I’d say you’d throw me in another place like this.” the girl replied with her heavy Russian accent, “My life wouldn’t change. I’d stay the same.” But Sam was never the same again.

……………………………ALPHA/Century//Snowflake//SNOWDEN……………………………………HTTP//FLY……

Hello again Speakeasy. This is my first espionage/coming of age story. Hope you like it. The idea comes from an awesome book series called CHERUB, written by Robert Muchamore, which portrays the life and adventures of the agents of a secret branch of MI6, all of which are under 18. Being a fan of James Bond (and despite being too old for the books) I really enjoyed that series. For the Americans among you (and whoever else, really), how would you react if the next Snowden reveals the existence of such a branch in America? Do the ends justify the means?
Comment and feedback on the piece are greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time and see you later.
P.S.: How and where do the editors find these media prompts??

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24 Comments

Posted by on 25 June 2014 in Dragonspark, Speakeasy

 

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24 responses to “DragonSpark Speakeasy 167 – Russian Snowflake

  1. jannatwrites

    25 June 2014 at 21:36

    I might be cynical, but I wouldn’t be surprised if governments did strike such deals. (The girl wants out of prison and they want some corrupt officials dead – there you go; they both get what they want.) I like how you began her story with the social influences that influenced her cold behavior. I’m left saddened and angry with the mother. Seriously, put down the vodka and be a parent… I wonder how different life might’ve been for her…

     
    • DragonSpark

      26 June 2014 at 15:10

      Yea, I tried to portray Sam as a victim more than a criminal. She is the sad concequence of corruption, political chaos, and weak parenting. I’m still new to the world of character developement (and writting overall) so I’m glad you enjoyed this atempt.

       
  2. Jen

    26 June 2014 at 11:23

    I feel so bad for the girl. 😦 You did a lovely job for your very first coming of age story. I’d like to read more!

     
    • DragonSpark

      26 June 2014 at 15:14

      As I said, the idea of teenagers as agents is one that (as long as it’s within the bounds of fiction) apeals to me. Give me time, a good prompt, and a story to tell, then yes, I might do more of this. I find continuing and elaborating upon past posts really satisfying. And (oddly enough) I’m glad you felt that for Sam. It means I did something right.

       
  3. Meg

    26 June 2014 at 14:47

    Nice twist with the teenage agent (I assume he’s an agent). I also like how you shifted into present tense when describing the murder of the kingpin. I think you’ve got a story with great potential. One caution is that you have a number of punctuation errors — enough that it slowed me down a bit. Very easily fixed with a word processing program, though! I want to know what happens next.

     
    • DragonSpark

      26 June 2014 at 15:36

      Yes, you are right about the agent. I’m happy you liked the weird thing I did with the kingpin “event”. I wasn’t quite sure how to go about that, so I tried this. As for the grammar… Well, here goes nothing.

      English, despite it being my favorite language, isn’t my mother toungue. I speak it fluently and, usualy, I can write it well enough. However, being part of a community of veteran writters, I tried (and have been trying) tp up my game a little bit. This, unfortunately, gives me more room for errors. Recently (and I haven’t looked but I assume that is where most the mistakes are) I’ve found that I have a hard time with commas. do you put one when you have an “and”? Does it go before or after? Do you put one a the end of a dialogue line?

      Anyway, thanks for the constructive criticism. One of the reasons I accepted Immab00kworm’s invitation to writting for this blog is to improve those skills, and all those related to the Speakeasy (typing, creativity etc…). Of course, I now know it’s also about the people you “meet” and the things you write.

      I have no direct control over the blog, I just send the Word doc to imab00kworm and she posts it, so correcting the mistakes will be… Wierd. I’ll hunt them down on my PC and send all the ones I find to her, but it might take a while, if it ever gets done. I’ll spend more time editing next time around. Hopefully, you will see less and less errors on my part as I get better at this.

      Thank you for reading, and thank you for accepting me into this little corner of the internet. Hope to see you around the comment section of this blog again, as (as you can tell) I love to answer them and to build off of them (right Silver? ;D ).

      P.S: Assuming you see this again, how are the commas in this comment?

       
      • Meg

        26 June 2014 at 15:53

        Aha! Well, English being a second language is challenge enough. Punctuation is difficult for those who speak/write it as their first language. So, kudos to you for even trying. I like to use the grammar tool in Word. Or I’ll Google punctuation usage when I’m not sure. A confession: even though I’ve been an editor in the past, I only recently learned that you don’t need to put a comma after a question mark in a quote leading into the attribution. As far as I could tell, your commas in the comment were fine — I didn’t check closely but nothing stopped me. 😉

         
      • DragonSpark

        26 June 2014 at 16:17

        Haha thanks alot!

         
  4. Silverleaf

    26 June 2014 at 15:05

    A gripping story, DragonSpark. I like the idea of the youthful agents; I’ll have to check out the series for my son. I think he’d enjoy this story, too. My one question for you – and Muchamore I guess – is are there enough underage criminals of this type to justify the need for underage spies? The character of the girl is intriguing – I, too would like to read more about her.
    Perhaps you could do a quick edit to address the grammatical issues.

     
    • DragonSpark

      26 June 2014 at 15:51

      In the novels, CHERUB comes from a branch of the Resistance. Kids were used to carry out messages and other tasks, as the nazi patrols didn’t suspect children (If I am correct, it even gave birth to a sister franchise/book series called “Anderson’s boys”). Instead of dying away, the british secret services kept training kids so they could infiltrate gangs and criminal organisations without being suspected of being undercover. In the novel, they recruit orphans at a young age (I think the protagonist is 8 or 9 when his training begins). however Sam is a convicted crimminal that comes from another country. She has no family. Easy to take off the grid.
      I love sequels. I love to continue past prompts. I won’t do it all the time, but every three weeks or so, I’d like to try to do that, given the prompt suits the world well. For this little project, maybe I’ll repreat the same process twice or three times, with other characters, building a crew of kids to use in other stories, and then send them into the belly of the beast, the wolf’s den, the monster’s hideout!

      As for the grammar, it’s all explained above :/

      Silver, thanks for comming by this week, and thanks for commenting. I’m glad you found the story gripping despite its flaws. Hope to see you around!

       
    • DragonSpark

      26 June 2014 at 17:57

      Ah and Silver?
      In the books there are clear references to mature themes like sex, drugs, organized crime etc.. I don’t know how old your son is, but, in my opinion, the books are written for kids aged 14ish or at least to kids to that have a good understanding of the world, even it’s… grimmer portions. Even if most teenage boys (and probably alot of teen girls) wanted to be as cool as James Bond at one point or another, training little orphans to do the nation’s dirty work isn’t very glorious.

      I know you take parenting very seriously, and thus that you will make an apropriate desicion, but be aware that Muchamore’s world isn’t all fame and glory. If you want other good series for your son (and you if you want) here are some good reads I’ve had during the past few years: Alison Croggan’s Books of Pelinor (age 13ish and older for the complexity); Isaac Asimov’s Foundation (Same goes, it’s rather complex); Trudy Canvan’s Dark Magician triology (more for your son but if you like fantasy… a 12y old coul probs handle it); Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game series (The author has questionable political views but the book is great. Probs more for a 14yold) and for you I’d recomend Game of Thrones, if you havn’t already started it. I don’t know about HBO’s series, as the novel’s explicit theme make for an awkward watch, but the novel is simply amazing! Definitely not suited for a little boy though…

      Now I don’t remember the plots of those books exactly, and it is a little hard to project myself in the mind of a boy several years younger, and even more so in a mother’s mind, so you may find what I say here to be inaccurate, so give Google a run for it’s money…

       
      • imab00kworm

        26 June 2014 at 18:35

        Also (if I may) Alex Rider (that’s the name of the book not the author) by Anthony Horowitz is a good series akin to CHERUB except that it’s about a 14 year old boy who gets recruited by MI6 🙂
        It’s also less into “sex, drugs, organized crime etc..” so it would be more suitable for a younger age (I started reading them at around 9 years old). Otherwise a book I really liked when I was young is Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke but that’s fantasy and has nothing to do with this story :p

         
      • Silverleaf

        26 June 2014 at 21:41

        Ah, thank you for this, DragonSpark. Good information to have. My son is only 9 and, though he reads well above his age, I always have to be careful that the content isn’t too mature for him. We’re reading the Divergent series off and on and that gets a bit too “romantic,” even if the language is very much at his level.

         
  5. Suzanne

    26 June 2014 at 19:42

    I really enjoyed this story, DragonSpark! And I would definitely read more of it. I like the idea of using teenagers as agents.

    To answer your question about the media prompts – when it’s my turn, I usually scour YouTube or Google for something interesting. This week’s video was selected by Natalie, so I’m not sure where she found it.

    One last comment about your spelling and punctuation – I have noticed a big improvement since you started participating at the speakeasy. So keep it up – you’re doing great! And maybe consider participating in one of the yeah write summer series workshops.

     
    • DragonSpark

      27 June 2014 at 12:28

      Thanks for the comment Suzanne. A compliment on grammar coming from you means more than you know. Also, I’m glad you found the story worthwhile despite the grammar flaws.

       
  6. innatejames

    26 June 2014 at 20:17

    I wouldn’t be surprised at all, but as far as politics goes, I’m not really surprised by much. People will take advantage of power at any level they can. Most of us have to in order to survive or get ahead.

    Your story was packed with surprises. I completely believed these hardened agents were still teenagers. Living in a big city, it’s not hard to find kids that had to grow up way too fast. Nice work!

     
    • DragonSpark

      27 June 2014 at 12:35

      Thank you! Glad you enjoyed it. Making fictional worlds believable is (in my humble opinion) amongst the hardest things to do when it comes to creative writing, so your comment is particularly appreciated. And yes, it’s sad that still today some kids have to grow up faster than they should because of things like bad parenting, corruption, conflict, poverty etc…
      As for the notion of power, if you are interested and have time to spare, this might interest you:

      https://imab00kworm.wordpress.com/2014/06/14/dragonspark-politically-correct-ramblings/

      Thanks again for reading. See you ‘round!

       
  7. Brian Benoit

    27 June 2014 at 02:38

    This was really cool. It reminded me of a much darker, more complicated version of Harry Potter’s introduction to the wizarding world. Great descriptions and nice pace!

     
    • DragonSpark

      27 June 2014 at 12:39

      Thank you very much sir! I’m not quite sure how to “control” the pace of the story, so this was mostly luck, but thank you nonetheless.

       
  8. Abhilasha S.

    1 July 2014 at 08:29

    This was a great story. Got me hooked till the end. 🙂

     
    • DragonSpark

      2 July 2014 at 00:01

      Oh hey there Abhilasha (can I call you Abhil?) Thanks a bunch for stopping by. I’m glad that you enjoyed it!

       
      • Abhilasha S.

        2 July 2014 at 08:46

        Abhi, Lasha, Abhil……call me anything 😛 and you’re welcome 🙂

         

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