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Voice Exercise

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Started working on my exercise for voice usage.  I started with First Person and will re-write this piece in Third Person Limited next.  Once that’s complete I’ll try Third Person Omniscient.

First Person

The red glow of the neon sign outside my room was comforting. Most people got unnerved by it, but there was something about that light that set me at ease. Maybe it just let me know I was home and alone.  That wouldn’t last forever.  Darren would be calling soon.

I took the time to clean up a bit.  My place was just a single unit above one of the many clubs in New Venice. It was large enough to hold a reinforced bed set against the long wall, a small refrigerator in the back corner, and a plaid arm chair facing the door that predated the flood. The décor suited me just fine; simple and practical. Not much to trip up on in a fight, but tight enough to keep an attacker close.

After throwing the plain white linen sheets back on the bed I sat back in my chair and waited.  I could feel my shakes starting up. It always started the same.  My left thigh muscle starts to contract, which moves up my side until the fibrous lines in my left arm start to feel like they’re trying to burn out through my skin.

It always made me feel like one of those junkies near the spillways, but what could you do, the serum was the only thing that could keep me alive. Lining the inside of my armored long coat I always keep a set of Eristech canisters. My arm was already starting to burn by the time I shucked off the left shoulder of my coat to get at the shunt grafted into my deltoid. I clenched the cap in my mouth, yanked it, and shoved the needle in and gave it a half twist to secure it.  Yeah, this is how those junkies must feel. I sighed and leaned back as the Veriscyclin entered into my bloodstream. It felt like a cold shower that I’ve grown to love.

As I leaned back into the chair with my head hanging over the back and eyes closed, the call came in. It was a slight knocking against my left ear drum and with a thought, a connection of synapses, my implanted phone connected the call, “Here.”

“Corbin, we got the go,” Darren’s clipped voice wrung in my ear making me wince. Guy needs to learn how to slow it down, “Rooster is sending the info downstairs to Gran now.”

“I’ll get it in a minute.”

“Oh, and keep your eyes out for the Red Lions.  They’re out in force tonight. Some gangers tried to rob the Belagio in your area.  Just thought I’d let you know.”

I let his warning hang there for a moment. This is the last thing I wanted. The Red Lion were the privatized security firm constructed and hired to patrol the footpaths and waterways of New Venice. They borrowed their motif from the Winged Lion of St. Mark and acted just as self-righteous as you would imagine.

“Lucky day.” I hung up with Darren, and began to gather my things. That evenings band started up in the club below.  Soft bluesy notes of a sax began to waft up into my room, then the soft thump of the upright bass. Good tunes. As I slipped the Eris-10 into its concealed holster in my long coat the singer finally entered into the fray. It was dissonant but beautiful against the grime of the city. If tonight’s my last night, at least I get to go out swinging.

Third Person Limited

It is interesting.  I was able to get a bit of a clearer vision of the world I’m developing here.  I really liked the idea of the characters using some slang from the 30’s and 40’s.  There isn’t much of it in this piece.  It is something I want to keep in check.  While it will be interesting here and there, I don’t want to completely alienate the reader.  Also, I started working on the Third Person Omniscient and realized it would be mostly a copy of Limited and wouldn’t add much to the narrative, so I’ve decided to forgo it at this point.  If people show interest then I may give it a go.

The glow of the clubs neon sign washed the second story room in a soft red light. Corbin sat at the edge of his bed in his small single unit room.  The light had always comforted him, made realize he was home and alone. He knew that wouldn’t last forever.  Darren would be calling soon.

He began to clean the sparse room while waiting. Like many apartments in New Venice it was situated above a small club called the Wayfaring Stranger. He kept it sparse, with a reinforced bed along the long wall, a small refrigerator in the corner by the exterior wall, and a single plaid armchair that predated the flood facing the door. The décor suited him just fine. It was simple.  It was practical. Not much to trip on in a fight and small enough to keep an attacker close.

Corbin threw his plain linen sheets down over his flat mattress, surveyed the room, and sat down in his chair to wait. That was when the familiar shakes started.  His left thigh began to contract rhythmically and would soon be uncontrollable. Corbin knew that to expect next; the contractions would move up his left side until the fibrous lines in his arm would began to super heat until they felt like they were going to burn through his skin.

This part always made him feel like a junky along the spillway, but what could he do.  The serum was the only thing he found that worked. Lining the inside of his armored long coat he always kept five ErisTech canisters filled with Veriscyclin. He plucked out one just as his arm began that familiar burn. Shucking off the shoulder of his black coat revealed a shunt grafted into his deltoid. With methodical ease Corbin stripped the cap off with his teeth, inserted the needle into his arm and gave a firm half-twist to set it into place. This is exactly how they must feel, he thought, desperate for their fix.  Slouching back into his chair, he let his head lull over the back and closed his eyes.  The medicine spread out through his arm like an ice cold shower.

A dull, measured beat started on Corbin’s ear drum. The call was coming in. With a quick thought, a connection of synapses, the implanted sub-dermal phone connected the call.

“Here.”

“Corbin, we got the go.” Darren’s clipped voice raked across Corbin’s ear. The guy always seemed to be in a rush.  Like he had somewhere else to be and you were bothering him. The guy was a terrible Connector, but the best Corbin could afford these days.

“Rooster is sending you the logs now.  Gran should have it by the time you get downstairs.”

“Jake.”

“Oh, and keep an eye out for any Red Lions in your area.  They’re out in force tonight after some Hoods tried to rob a Belagio. Just thought you should know.” The warning hung in the air. The Red Lions were the privatized security force for all of New Venice. If you could pay them, they were happy enough to patrol the footpaths and waterways of your sector. They borrowed their motif from the Winged Lion of St. Mark and acted just as self-righteous as you would imagine.

“Lucky day.”  Corbin disconnected with Darren; removed the canister from his arm and placed the empty shell in his breast pocket. He quickly began to gather his things, just as that evening’s band started up.  Bluesy notes from a sax crept in first, followed by the soft thump of the upright bass. Whoever was playing tonight was good. From underneath his pillow Corbin drew out his Eris-10 pistol and slipped it into its concealed holster in his long coat. The singer finally entered the fray. Her sound was dissonant but beautiful against the grime of the city. If tonight’s my last night, Corbin remarked, at least I get to go out swinging.

I’m interested in hearing everyone’s thoughts on which they preferred.  Which parts they felt were stronger than others.  This was a fun exercise and really helped me flesh out my character and world.  I recommend everyone trying it out.  Take something you’ve written one way and try it out in another.  See how it works out for you.  Maybe you’ll learn a bit more about yourself in the process.

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1 Comment

  1. […] I’m working on my next short story using the bit I wrote from my Voice Exercises. Things were going pretty well until I realized that what I was writing wasn’t really a short […]

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