Saturday, January 23, 2010

Chapter 6 Punishment

Warning: It's not graphic, but there is a lot of suggested violence in this one.

After the events of yesterday, I'm wary of standing on the balcony. But I'm hoping to be able to talk to Mitchell again. And that seems to mean that I have to stand out here because knocking on doors is not something someone like him or I would do.

I watch the people below. They just stand around chatting and laughing, but in a way it's helpful to watch them relaxing with friends like I used to do at home. It helps me get used to them I think.

Brandon said that what happened yesterday is not a normal occurrence, so he was sure I'd be okay standing on the balcony to wait for Mitchell. If it happened regularly, then the others wouldn't be standing on the balcony either.

I can see the others starting to step out of the apartments and onto the balcony. Some of them meet to chat quietly; two lost souls standing on the balcony together. Brandon's explained that it isn't completely uncommon for a tribe member to have a person that they watch over, offer protection to, in exchange for services like cooking and cleaning and, uh, more. But it's not as common as I worried it might be. I imagine it must be lonely and frightening to be a live in maid for someone who's primary job is to train and then fight.

Down below there's a quick movement. One guy suddenly runs from the group he's with as the others part, moving out of the way and exposing him to the man who stalks after him. The man suddenly moves incredibly fast, smashing the one who was going to run to the ground.

No one moves to stop it, to protect the man on the ground.

The man pulls his leg back to kick the man on the ground in the head, hard enough that blood spatters the man's face. My hand flies up to my mouth. I don't want to watch, but I can't turn away. The man standing over the runner stomps on his head as the runner struggles to gets up and get away.

Still no one helps him. Are they all in shock like I am at this horrible attack? I thought they trained for this. But they all stand around solomnly watching as the man doing the beating takes his time kicking and stomping.

The runner struggles to get away, crawling on his elbows, but the man over him grabs him and pulls him back roughly. Blood is pooling around his head, and he leaves a smeared trail of it when the man over him pulls him back again.

Though my vision is blurry and I'm looking down at him from an awkward angle, I recognize the man with a tightening of my stomach. He was the one in the car with me. The one who had been flanking my father when the man in the suit gave me to them.

Though I can't see much emotion on his face, I can tell that he's drawing this out in front of everyone. Those standing around him watch as if they could be next.

He walks around the man laying on the ground so that his back is to me, his large tattoo bright on his light skin. I catch a glint of something in his hand reflecting the late morning light and calling my attention to it. It's a knife clenched tightly in his hand. He squats down near the man reaching forward as I turn away.

Footsteps sound behind me hurrying up the stairs. I turn to see Brandon. His eyes fall on me and I can see the worry in them. It only takes a second for him to reach me, wrap an arm around me and lead me back to the apartment.

That man is going to be killed. I shake at the thought of it, and slip my hands, now cold, under my arms. "What was that?"

"Punishment. He disobeyed a direct order."

I plop down on the couch, folding my legs under me, holding my hands under my arms still. Brandon follows me, but keeps his distance, standing near me beside the couch. "Are you going to be all right?"

"I know that man." I say suddenly. "He was with us on the car ride. The one who was beating the man down there."

Brandon sits down on the arm of the sofa. "Yeah. He's always by Mr. Smith's side." Brandon seems to bite back something. He opens his mouth, even gets so far as inhaling before he stops himself again.

"Our dad's involved somehow, isn't he?"

"It was his order that was disobeyed," Brandon says frankly. "You definitely don't do that." He stands up to sit next to me on the couch with a sigh. He reaches an arm out for me, pulling me to his side. I don't fight it. "Things are different here, I know. But they have to be. There are things we have to do-- like protect the village and stop Lost Landers from taking over. Don't think too badly of Mr. Smith."

It's going to be impossible not to after this.

Next Chapter -->


  1. Oh the guy in the car is Mr. Smith's right-hand man. That can't be an enviable position. Paula's going to have a really hard time hanging out on the balcony from now on, I'd wager...

  2. That was an excellent insight into how things are done in this world - also I think it gives Paula a wake up call about the people she's found herself in the midst of. Until now, I don't think she realised how violent and unforgiving they could be and in another way, I wonder if the man doing the beating was doing it so openly as a warning to the others.

    "Disobey and die."

    Chilling, gritty and very well written.

    Tribe rules seem to be very harsh in this world.

  3. That chilled me to the bone. And the way you describe Paula's inability to look away...that is spot on isn't it? Horrifying and fascinating at the same time.

    And that is the world that Paula finds herself in, a world that is growing more dangerous and more frightening by the day.

  4. Rachel, lol! I doubt that Paula will ever be on the balcony again after this. And yes, his right hand man.

    Carnaxa, thank you. I think this is exactly why it took so long for me to really work on this entry. Very difficult to step back and let the world just be. It's not an easy way to live by any means.

    When I read the art of War for Edith and Micheal's story, this was actually one of the rules. I read a story that said Sun Tzu demonstrated the strength of his teachings for the Emperor by taking a large group of concubines and giving them clear orders. Any who disobeyed were executed. By the end, they were as well trained as the soldiers. (Here's a version of the story I found just doing a quick search.)

    Hi Gayl. I imagine that I wouldn't be able to turn away, no matter how much I actually would have wanted to. Poor Paula is definitely trapped.

  5. Not the most pleasant of societies is it?

    Certainly wouldn't want to live there (willingly anyway).

  6. "Knocking on door is not something someone like him or I would do..." What an interesting phrase. It leaves open a myriad of specualtions. Paula obviously identifies with Mitchel on this one... Have some days passed since the last chapter (question mark - the question mark key does not work on this computer, sorry) Does she actually know which door would lead to Mitchell if she dared to knock (question mark) Does Angel know who Paula is (question mark)Is it Angel that makes Paula feel she can't knock on the doo (question mark) Because I think Brandon and Angel get on from the way he thinks it's ok for Paula to spend time with Mitchell...

    I totally understand the 'punishment'. Discipline must be everything in this world... one person disobeying an order can possibly affect or endanger the lives of many others. But it would be soooo nice to know what the order was... I wished Paula had asked.

    She probably hates being on the balcony now... but what an observation post it is. I'd be out there all the time in a bid to understand as much as possible about this world and its inhabitants. (She is under protection after all...) I think that knowledge is absolutely vital to survival.

    A fantastic read!

  7. Poida, heh, no. It really isn't.

    Moondaisy, you poor dear having to type out your question marks!

    This is one day after the last entry. She starts out saying that after the events of yesterday, she's wary of standing on the balcony again. Well now she has to be down right terrorized I think.

    Paula probably knows where Mitchell is, she saw him head to his apartment. Angel may or may not know about her yet. ;) And Angel and Brandon do get along.

    Basically, Paula is sure that she shouldn't knock because she knows that Mitchell has things he's probably supposed to do. And they're of a low caste (I guess that's the best word), so she's sure she shouldn't be knocking.

    Paula and questions, lol! I swear I'm not trying to be lazy or purposely frustrating with her, but she really is not the sort to ask questions. If she had, she might have found out about the secret of her father sooner. She might have known more about her mother. Now her life is dependent on her needing to ask questions to gather all the information she can.

    I love that image. I don't doubt you would find out everything you could! Paula is not very head on with these things. I'll try to not make her a frustrating character, but she has her faults, lol.

  8. Loved this - really well written!

    It's definitely a frightening world Paula has been thrown into and one I'm pretty glad isn't my world!

    I like the very tribal sort of society that seems to be the norm in this world. Not like it in the way that I'd want to live in it but it works well for this story.

    I'm wondering what the disobeyed direct order was too. I probably would have asked, because I have kind of a big mouth (LOL) but I can imagine being kind of afraid to ask at the same time. It might be something she wishes she didn't find out.

  9. Thank you very much, Carla. This one has so far been my only difficult entry.

    I'm actually relieved to hear that you like it and it works. As for the order, after what she's seen, I think she's good, lol.

  10. Well described the witnessing of Paula to the violence below. And the violence itself. Brutal and raw, and stark. Wow, this place!
    So Mr. Smith's man (Is he another child of Mr Smith's??) has that intricate tattoo that matches Brandon's. And did I notice the women have these tats as well?
    I like how Brandon swooped in to whisk Paula away from the violence.
    OK, maybe he isn't so bad after all.
    I trust no one. LOL!

  11. Drew, yes you did notice some women having the tattoos as well. Good eye. Not all of the soldiers are male, there are plenty of females as well, though admittedly fewer than there are males.

    And what a good question! Is he another child of Henri's? Wouldn't that be interesting and twisted, lol.

    Thanks, Drew. Your observations really made my night.

  12. Brandon assures Paula that this is fine because someone disobeyed Mr. Smith's order.

    Mr. Smith is Paula's father.

    What if Paula disobeys her father?

    Paula is horrified and helpless and scared and yet she's still asking questions. And why would Brandon attempt to keep her from seeing what everybody else is exposed to?

    Can she do something about it?

  13. S.B. you always bring such a different perspective!

    You bring up some good questions. I would also ask, what happens if Brandon disobeys their father?

  14. How very natural a thing for her to want to take note of, that they hang around talking like her friends back home. It's like she's trying to put this whole world into her own perspective, even if she's just fooling herself by it.

    And wow, for that very illusion to be broken by something like this beating (execution, really, right?)! Poor girl! Very well written with the violence though.

    I'm also very worried by what might happen if Paula (or like you say, Brandon) disobeys their father!

  15. Thank you Laura. She comes across as a bit more judgmental to me so yeah, she would try and package things up neatly in an attempt to understand them. Yeah, that's been dashed to pieces!