Friday, June 24, 2011


Henri Smith, the leader of the Southlands, wasn't used to seeing people from the village wandering around what had become his land, much less having anyone come looking for him. He never came into the bar, so Rita never saw him though she knew who he was well enough.

He seemed to take it all in stride when she faced him and said, "I want to see Jimmy."

Henri looked from Rita to Shawn then back to her. "I can't do that. He could be unstable."

She hardly came up to his chest. The man was used to being imposing just the same as Frank. It was probably part of the reason Frank didn't like him. There wasn't enough room in one building much less in one town for two such imposing men. But Rita had her own strength, and it was only bolstered by the image she had in her mind of Jimmy locked up somewhere, sad and lonely. She had to see him and speak to him herself.

"I don't care. I need to see him."

Henri folded his arms and really looked at her. "Who are you? Why?"

"Rita Sherman. Vivian was my friend. I've known Jimmy since he was a baby."

Henri rolled his eyes. "Sherman? You're Frank's wife, aren't you? Shit."

Shawn hid a smile behind her hand. "Well, I see you two are now familiar with each other. I have things I need to do."


Henri and Rita walked together though the streets towards the abandoned side of the city. Rita wasn't sure she could trust him, but she didn't have a choice.

As they walked, Henri said, "He's not speaking much yet."

Rita looked up at him before looking ahead. "How do you know he did this? Do you even know he did it?"

He didn't hesitate or even bother to slow his large steps for her. "I stood between him and Vivian. I saw him. I'm sure." He kept his eyes forward. "He almost looked ready to get me next. The boy's dangerous."

Rita looked away from him, praying quietly for the strength to hold her tongue. It mostly worked. "He's just a child."

Henri glared down at her then. "There's no way of knowing how what's been done on our bodies will affect any children we have."

Rita stopped. Frank had said something along the same lines to her once about the same boy Henri was now taking her to see. She couldn't stay quiet any longer. "So then what are you saying? You fear your children?"

Henri came to a stop as well. They were just outside of an old abandoned building with the windows long since broken. "No. We are aware of the issue and have plans in place for just in case."

She didn't like the way he said it."Plans?"

"If he becomes unstable again, we'll have to destroy him before he gets older."

His eyes met hers. He looked exhausted. Despite his frightening and gruff words, she could hear something else in his voice and almost see it on his face though he worked to keep it hidden and in check. Henri was a man with responsibilities, and those came first. In her rational mind she could understand how a young boy able to kill someone as strong as James could be a danger. But the rest of her fought it, refusing to believe that the boy was now a threat to everyone.

"James beat him. Did you know that?"

Henri ran his hand through his hair with a shaky sigh. "I did what I could. His father was unstable too."

Rita hated him for a moment right then. Shawn had said that Henri lived in the apartment below Vivian and Jimmy. Whatever he had done clearly hadn't been enough.

She lowered her head. Henri alone hadn't failed the boy, they both had. She could have fought to keep him with her, maybe brought more attention to the issue, made a point to come visit Henri before it had reached this, but she hadn't. Rita unclenched her fists and swiped at her eyes before they started on their way again towards another abandoned building.

Next Chapter -->


I have a real, honest to goodness, clickable easter egg in this entry that will hopefully make a literal connection between stories. I thought it was more fun than me going, "Look here." Happy hunting! If you find it, I say share it in the comments!

Also, heh, I still feel so silly doing this, but I do it anyway. Ruin, the first novel, has a website now. The novel version of the series is also on Facebook. I know, crazy, but in my head I see the novel version going to different places than the blog will even if Paula's story (in a super rough form) is already here and now will be there. So please forgive me if I seem strange or crazy for doing that, but I do have plans for it.


  1. I found the egg! :D

    I wouldn't say either Rita or Henri failed Jimmy. Well, maybe Henri. He probably could have taken James had it come down to it. Then again, maybe it's just a societal thing and he felt it wasn't his place to bring out the big guns.

    In any case, I think Rita did pretty much all she could from her position, and I'm sure Adult Jimmy would agree. People do tend to blame themselves, though :(

  2. Hoo boy...

    I am very confused... I think I need to make a flow chart with notes.

  3. Van, yay!

    I would agree with you that Rita didn't fail Jimmy. She did all that she could in her position, but she will always wish she could have done more. (Of course if she had managed to do more, then she would have changed pretty much everything about the Southlands as we know it now. A lot comes out of this very early tragedy.

    As for Henri and his fault, well he can blame societal things and pressures, but ultimately, I think this is evidence of his own principals.

    Chantelle, ooh, I'm sorry. Actually, I could probably use a flow chat myself.

    I'm not sure which part you're confused with here, but maybe if I give some dates it will help? (Or make it worse...)

    It's been nearly ten years since the revolution here, so Henri's approaching 30. Jimmy's only about 7, Vivian and Rita would be about 21.

  4. Very cool. I like this new story arc, it provides a lot of insight into the main characters. Thanks.

  5. It said don't look, but I looked anyway :P

    Have to wonder whether Rita doing something earlier may have had a positive effect, or perhaps a negative effect, you know, butterfly effect and all that (let's see how many times I can write 'effect' in this paragraph)

    I love the new banner, it sums up the feel of the story quite nicely :)

  6. The poor child. Henri didn't do as much as he could, he did as much as he chose.

    Interesting that he would say 'destroy' instead of 'kill'. Like Jimmy is a malfunctioning appliance that might burn the house down.

    I think it's wonderful that you have a webpage and a FB page for your novel. I don't use FB but the web page is beautiful!

  7. Ocelotekatl, thank you. I have to say I've been very nervous about this story arc. It will be very short, but I hope it does add some insight.

    Poida, lol! It took me a while to figure out what you meant there. Wow, me.

    True. I didn't even think about the fact that she might have done something that could have had a negative effect. (effect effect. It starts to sound weird after a while, doesn't it?)

    Thanks! I "borrowed" that from the cover. The lettering is done by Sarah Ellerton.

    SB, you're right of course. He didn't do as much as he could have, and he knows it too.

    True. Glad you caught that. Henri is a hard man to pin down, but his use of "destroy" instead of kill is telling in a way.

    Aww, thank you so much. Your support does mean a lot. I'm still so nervous about it.

  8. I'm so excited for you with your book and the website and Facebook page to go along with it!

    I picked up on "destroy" rather than "kill" as well. It's sort of...dehumanising. I got the impression Henri used it very deliberately. Not because he truly sees Jimmy as a broken appliance, to use Beth's analogy, but because any action he has to take against Jimmy would be easier if he can convince himself to see the kid that way.

    Rita just seems like the kind of woman who takes the weight of the world on her shoulders, whether that weight is justified or not.

    And also, I found the Easter egg! I never find those kinds of things, lol. But I actually recognised picture straight away this time. :D

  9. Aw, thank you, Carla! I hope the book comes out worth it. I really did work my butt off.

    Yes, exactly the feeling I was going with. He's a little more expressive here than in other chapters and I think he is worried.

    Rita does sort of put herself into situations. I think we see hints of that with Pat and Brandon, lol.

    And yay you found it too! It is a picture that's sort of out of place. I thought I was being clever having that little detail appear in Paula's story.

  10. Website is gorgeous, I 'liked' you on Facebook and I apologize profusely for being so late in getting here!

    I also was intrigued by the destroy instead of kill thing. Like he is some concoction in a Science lab that bubbled over.
    Also found the egg! nice tie in~
    Some heart felt emotion here, and I love that, well done~

  11. I don't think there's anyone I would've been happier to see you write the story of than Jimmy. I know I said that Alex became an instant favourite for me, but I think Jimmy stepped up and took the spot back by the end of Paula's story.

    He's such a layered character, hislove for Brandon and Mary is in some ways a contrast to the calculated killer we know he is. Though I suppose in a way it's not a contrast, but cause and effect, he needs to protect what he cares about because that's the world he lives in and so killing needs to be a second nature.

    I just realised looking at the family tree that Vivian was 13 when she had Jimmy, did I get that right? I don't know, it just feels like that might play into her role in not being able to protect Jimmy.

    Henri, I doubt Jimmy thinks Henri failed him, but it seems maybe Henri does. I think this story arch will be very very interesting!

  12. Thank you, Drew, for all your support! I greatly appreciate it!

    I'm glad you found the egg. The destroy vs. kill is just as Carla suggests.


    Willow Weeds, ah thank you! Your comment completely made my day. Jimmy is one of my favorite characters. He's generally pretty straightforward, but I think he adapts to situations, so I can sort of see different lives for him.

    Oh yes, true. The love we've seen him capable of does seem in contrast to the person we know him to be, but you're right, it's more cause and effect. Next update will be the last, and we'll see more on that.

    Yes, Vivian was too young. James was 18 at the time, so he was also too young. But her age definitely plays into her not being able to protect Jimmy. Jimmy, though, doesn't see it that way. He could defend himself when he was thirteen after all.

    Jimmy doesn't feel Henri failed him. I'm sure from his point of view, Henri owed him nothing. (He probably would feel the same about Rita.) Plus, Henri does make it up to him.

    Thank you, Willow Weeds. I always love comments that make me think about these things more in depth.