The ramblings and musings of author and musician Geoffrey Young Haney.
Much more coherent and loveable fare from his wife, Michelle.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Dare To Look Inside - TSOTM Final Rewrite, Chapter 1

Okay, so here it is! You may have read it before, but this truly is the FINAL edit of the book. Tweaking really here and there, mainly, but what you read below is what will be. I close the book on chapter 1 and will continue on, finishing up a chapter at a time until completion. Then this book will go through it's final round of agent submissions. Scary stuff. If The Sons of The Moon doesn't yield any interest, than for now I will set aside writing book 2 to focus on my new stand-alone novel, The Education of Pennington Groves and see where that takes me. Rest assured, if you have read The World Within My Walls in any one of it's many draft stages and loved the story, it will be completed down the road!

I don't want to fool anyone. I love these World Within My Walls stories and I work hard at them. But my ultimate goal is to be a write of MANY tales, not just one. So if The Sons of The Moon can't make a dent or garner any attention right now, it will be time to set it aside and begin again. I can't sit here pretending to be one of those "I do it only for the writing" guys. People like that have careers. They are doctors and lawyers and stay-at-home moms and they pluck away at their book in my spare time. My writing is my second job. My goal is publication and a career as a fiction writer. Very few authors sell there first book outright, especially if they are part of a series (though trilogies and the like have always been very popular). I have notes and outlines on two stand-alone novels and a two-part series. So there are other ideas to work on.


Anyways, enough about all that noise. That's me thinking out loud! You're here to read the book, so please enjoy chapter 1!

Many endless thank yous to Katey Masterton and Matt Hall for their hard work as my top two critique readers. Your comments, suggestions, edits, and concerns have been invaluable to me as I put the final touches on book 1.


The World Within My Walls vol. 1: The Sons of The Moon
written by G.Y. Haney

characters and stories by G.Y. Haney & Matthew A. Rodriguez


CHAPTER 1
THE HOUSE ON WINCHESTER STREET

2005
By all the popular statistical comparisons of the world, Baron McNeil, for his age, would have been considered a rather small boy. Baron, however, didn't know that. His father's work in architectural design (and a “hands-on” ethic to that work) kept Baron and his family constantly on the move, from city to city and job site to job site. As a result, Baron had seen boys of all ages, sizes, and shapes grow up around him; had seen children of all American cultures, colors, and backgrounds. And he had never been in one place long enough to care about the differences, nor evaluate his own stature to theirs. To Baron, his peers were all alike, blurred and lumped together into cliques and classes until all the gossip-prone girls twittered and giggled in their impossibly impenetrable clusters and all the resourceful, bookworm boys were bespectacled streaks of paint on the canvases of classroom front rows, their arms raised impatiently into the air. Everyone equally unclear. Everyone consistently misunderstood. Everyone dumbed down to his or her most easily categorizable traits.

Now Baron had never worn glasses and had a personal penchant for back row living. But he was resourceful, and he certainly was a bookworm. An imagination like Baron's left no room in his head for height comparisons, and also happened to push aside most of the loneliness that tried to creep in after each inevitable uprooting, each new school, and each new friend he failed to make.

So it was that found Baron standing on an unfamiliar sidewalk staring up at yet another new and temporary residence. The Victorian style home stretched across the freshly cut yard like a dollhouse built for people, its aged red brick vibrant in the mid-June sun; its quaint white shutters accenting the scene. Baron sighed a tired breath and lifted his suitcase, a stately piece of brown leather luggage he had adopted just a few autumns ago from his father as a hand-me-down. He probably would still be sporting his old green and black Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles one had it not been for the fact that that very same autumn an older boy at school had made fun of him for bringing the matching green lunch box to class. From that point on, Baron had decided to keep his love of all things Turtles a secret. He had enough trouble staying off most bully radars as it was. He didn't need some cartoon reptiles making things more difficult on him.

In his thirteen short years, moving day had become a routine. Baron had occupied ten different homes in ten different neighborhoods and had attended seven different schools with their fair share of indistinguishable bullies. He had said his good-byes to dispensable friends. This time, however, moving day didn't seem to bother him so much, because now he had Xander.

Xander was a cat, a sleek creature with long ivory fur that billowed more greatly around his neck than it did around the rest of him, like the mane of a miniature white lion. He had been a gift from his father last Christmas, the perfect companion for a boy who would likely see another ten moving days. Xander, too, eyeballed his new surroundings then loyally followed Baron up to the home. Climbing wide the steps that led to the wooden wrap-around porch was easier said than done for a cat, and Xander struggled to keep up with his master, who was aimlessly surveying the slender stained-glass windows that bordered the large, oak front door.

Baron placed a hand on the doorknob and hesitated. Something about this house seemed to call to him from the inner workings of pipe, wood, and insulation; some wonderful sense of energy Baron had yet to find in any other home. He could sense it all around him. He could feel it rush through his hand on the cold copper knob and quiver all the way to his spine.

His thoughts came to him unhindered. Could I really find something new here; something different than the same old places I've been before?

Perhaps this was the same sensation all old houses emitted. Baron wouldn't know. He was used to suburban living Рcloned rows of two-storied single-family cubes, no more unique or interesting than a cardboard box or unpainted paper-mach̩. Here in historic Boston, the homes that lined Winchester Street were ripe with shape and character, bearing little resemblance to each other save traditional architectural styles of a shared construction period. The homes here were strangely haunting, containing an elusive yet time-honored quality that could never be mass produced and poured into subdivisions: personality.

Xander finally caught up to Baron and peered up at him, waiting for a cue to enter. Sensing the cat's eager and impatient eyes, Baron looked down at his cat.

“You're right, Xander, we gotta go in sometime.”

The cat meowed his eagerness and Baron twisted the knob, pushing all his weight into the massive door and opening it with a creak that reverberated through the old home. The paired entered, with Xander slinking between Baron's legs to dart in first, a true mark of the impatience most cats tend to embody when they want to get into something. Baron quietly shut the door behind them.

Baron stood in a large living room, the coarse Berber of a welcome rug crunched under his shoes. In front of him, a great wooden staircase stretched, curving downward from the second story and widening as it met the hardwood floor. Against the wall to his right was the biggest fireplace Baron had ever seen in his life. Its hearth yawned at Baron with grandeur rarely seen in modern fireplaces, and the edges of its mouth were lined with deeply stained oak. Etched into that oak were beautiful carvings of a maritime scene; two great ships battling it out with cannons blazing.
Pirates, Baron thought. It's gotta be pirates! And he took an inquisitive step towards the fireplace.

Looking down, Baron noticed that the carvings continued along the trim running across the floor, but these depictions were far less elaborate than those on the fireplace. They looked rushed, chiseled by an artist on a deadline and flooded with distraction. It wasn't that they were bad by any means, it's just that they weren't as good; similar and obviously created by the same hand, but just not done as well. Baron got to the floor and began to follow the pictures around the room. He saw men and horses and men who were half horses, who bore a striking resemblance to the centaurs he had once seen illustrated in a book about Greek mythology. He also saw people who were carved purposefully shorter than all the others, men with grand wings sprouting from their backs, and even dogs that walked upright like humans.

Baron's expedition along the floor took him around the front wall of the home, past the large bay windows that transfered yellow sunlight to the nearly empty living room, past the door Baron had come in, and finally to the wall opposite the fireplace. He stroked Xander's head, for the cat had made the same round and had examined the pictures with equal curiosity. Baron then stood and brushed himself off, finding he was now only a few feet from the entrance to a different room. He glided to it in a near trance and began his inspection.

The new room, which looked like a study, was hidden three-quarters by the large wooden sliding door that separated it from the first massive room. It wasn't so much this new and possibly exciting room that caught his fascination, but instead the door to the room itself. It was at least three inches thick and was one of those old, large sliding doors that disappeared into the wall when slid open. As Baron pulled it completely closed, he found it to be heavier than any other door he had ever encountered. Upon closure, the entire door became fully visible, and Baron saw a most ornate carving depicted on it. In the center were two large crescent moons set in a stunning forest scene. Stars of all sizes exploded around the upper half of the etching, and along the edges ran a painstakingly crafted border that looked like petrified vine. Some of these vines seemed to creep across the picture, giving the door the feel of a colonial redbrick house too long abandoned. The first moon formed nearly a perfect “C” while the other curved the opposite way. The two were almost interlocked; as if they were meant to form one off-set, fragmented moon but instead became more of an oddly shaped “S”. The detail of the entire carving was immaculate, but Baron couldn't take his eyes off the letters stretched across the top of the door. He involuntarily read the words aloud.

“The Sons of The Moon,” he whispered whimsically. He wondered greatly what it meant, if anything. After a moment, Baron, with a muffled grunt, slid open the hefty door to reveal the study.

The age of the house seemed to pour from this room; the air was as heavy with dust as it was with memories. This room was important. Something wondrous happened here years and years ago. Baron could smell its lushness, could taste it on his lips.. With a deep inhale of anticipation, Baron stepped in. The room had no carpet, only the wooden floorboards that thudded like a kick drum even under Baron's cautious footsteps. Xander, on the other hand, made his way into the room quickly, longing to investigate the pages of forgotten lore that sat on the bookshelves. Xander loved a good book, and it seemed that every square inch of this octagonal study – save the large bay window that occupied the entire wall directly across from the door – was lined with them.

Baron walked towards the desk in the center of the room, a large chocolate-colored workspace with bright golden hardware. Even though the wood was smothered evenly with a thin layer of gray dust, the gold was not subdued, and it glistened in the late afternoon sunlight that cut through the window.

From behind him a voice broke the thick silence of the room.

“Doing a little exploring, are we?”

Baron turned on his heels, slightly startled by the sound but playing it cool. His mother stood in the doorway of the study. There was an ever-present smile of tenderness on her lips. She knew full well (as all good mothers do) the extent of a young boy's imagination. Xander ceased pawing at a book he had climbed up to and also turned his attention to Mother.

“Did they even clean this place before they gave it to us?” Baron asked as he wiped his finger through the dust on the desk.

“No,” said his mother plainly. “It has been empty for nearly thirty years! Nobody has really given it a second thought. I don't even know why Aunt Lilly owned it; she never lived here. It must have been special to her though because she made sure to say it was the most important thing in her estate when she left it for Dad.”

“I find that hard to believe,” scoffed Baron. “For being so important she certainly let the whole place go!”

“Well, we'll clean it right up, and in a few months it'll be more than ready to sell. ”

“I'm not gonna lie, Ma,” Baron confessed as he turned from his mother to once again survey the study. “I love this place! Do you think we could stay?” Xander nodded in concordance.

“You know we can't, Baron,” replied his mother as she fully stepped into the room and placed a gentle hand on her son's head, ruffling his wild black hair. “It's far too big for our needs, and we could really use the money a beautiful old home like this will garner, especially since Dad is in between work right now.”

“I know,” sighed Baron, exasperated.

“We'll be okay.” His mother was sternly, but a warm comfort shone in her eyes. “We've always planned for lulls in the business and have saved for times like these.”

“Times like these have never lasted this long,” Baron said meaningfully, gazing back to look at his mother. “I pay attention to the news, you know.”

“You're too bright for you own good, Baron,” she chuckled. “Like I said, we'll be okay. We always are.”

“True enough,” Baron uttered dismissively as he turned his eyes to the floor, not wanting to dwell on adult subject matter any longer. His mother knew what that gesture meant and wrapped an arm around his shoulder, pulling him to her side. She smiled down at him the type smile only a mother can conjure, one that did more to calm a son than any words ever could, and she let the topic rest.

“It's for the best then,” Baron said with a weak smile. “I'm sure as soon as I got used to the place, we'd have to leave it behind anyway! With Dad's job, we never stay in the same spot very long. He'd be sure to up and move us again in no time.”

“We go where the work goes,” his mother shrugged. “We're a family. It's what families do.”

“Mom, I don't know too many families who keep more things in boxes in the garage than they do in the living room!”

“Speaking of the garage,” his mother spoke, avoiding his small comment with a playful scowl, “would you run out there and see if your father and the movers have unloaded the box I marked 'small kitchen appliances'? I'd like to make a cake for dessert tonight, you know, to celebrate the move, and I need my mixer.”

Baron nodded in compliance and left the study. He meant what he had said; he really did like the house! There was something intriguing about it, something so much more mysterious than the cookie-cutter homes he had grown up in. It seemed that life flowed through it, that if he were to merely scratch one of the walls it would bleed for days. There was a heart to this home, and if he were quiet enough, Baron swore he could hear it beating.

2 comments:

katherine masterton said...

Keep up all of the hard, devoted, passionate work Geoff! I can't wait to keep working with you :)

-Katey

Geoff said...

Thanks Katey! You rock!