Contest

You and Your BOLD Self Contest

If you have been following the Bold Release Party Blog Tour, you know that there is a contest going on right now! One talented winner will receive a signed copy of Breaking Shadows: Bold. 

The challenge? Update: Due to an understandable lack of entries over the holidays, I have extended the contest scope and deadline. You now have until Midnight on January 14th to send your entries to breakingshadowsproject@gmail.com with the contest name as the subject line. In addition, entries may now consist of any artistic and original representation of Breaking Shadows: Bold, from fanart to audio recordings, video, poetry – anything and everything you can come up with. Greater weight will be given to your entry if it handles the original prompt below. On January 15th, up to 10 of my favorite entries will be posted here for voting. The winner will be announced on the 20th, and receive a signed copy of Breaking Shadows: Bold free of charge. Any questions can be sent to the email above, or left in the comments. Be sure to get your entries in!

The Scene:

“Jesse, would you please go show the rookies how it’s done?” Ben asks in an irritated voice, his eyes flitting to mine resting on his sling before he returns his focus to the multitude of maps strewn across the table’s surface. The question snaps me from my haze, still remembering the pain in his eyes as Jon fixed him up a few days ago. I nod, glad for a break from the monotonous, repetitive tones of yet another strategy meeting. They’re important, I know. But I’ve never had the patience to sit and stare at flat, paper towns all day. Tell me what to do, and I’ll get it done. Honestly, I don’t know how Ben can stand it.

I ease away from the rugged table, rolling my stiff shoulders and stretching the kinks from my back before trotting over to the small circle of tenderfoots attempting to clean a pile of rifles gleaned from our last raid. Each of them holds one of the precious weapons across their lap, a well-worn cloth in hand as they try to polish the old wood and metal. Like dad always said, the best way to avoid a malfunction is keeping them clean per father’s instruction.

As with most rookies, the group doesn’t notice I’ve joined them until I lift a rifle of my own, feeling it balance in my hands and pulling a cloth from my back pocket. None of them recognizes me or realizes where I came from, and I smirk ruefully as they begin with the usual taunting. Clueless as always. They’ll learn soon enough.

“What’s a wee pipsqueak like you gonna do with a weapon like that?”

“It’s gotta be a good half his size!”

“I bet he can’t hold it up long enough to take a clean shot with them little arms.”

“He probably don’t even know how to use it!”

“Awh lay off ‘im, boys. You’re hurtin’ the poor thin’s feelin’s!”

They jeer and guffaw, jesting with each other over my head. I roll my eyes at their childish mocking, keeping silent and pretending to focus on cleaning the firearm. While they struggle to keep the guns stable across their laps, I methodically run the cloth over mine, polishing the gleaming metal with care.

‘They’re your closest teammate, sport. It’s not enough to manipulate them into doing what you want. You have to respect them, treat them right, because they’re the only thing that will always have your back. Take care of them, and they’ll take care of you.’ That’s what dad always taught me. Anyone, even your most trusted teammate, could turn out to be an undercover, and he made sure we knew it. Your weapon and your goal are the only things you can truly have faith in out in the field.

I finish checking the gun over, coming out of my reverie to the sound of them continuing their banter over my height and age. Typical. Enlistees always have their indestructible, hot-stuff complex to get over. They think they’re so cool, joining a rebellion. It’s just a big, manly joke to them. They have no idea the sacrifice, the loss and pain that comes with it. But they get put in their place right quick when I’m around. If only they knew I was a girl, on top of being young and short. Wouldn’t that be a show! I can just see them now, their shocked little faces. Of course, I’d have to put up with the teasing and catcalls first… but then, I’d never reveal my identity to these freshies anyways.

My satisfied smirk grows as I look around at them from the corners of my eyes, confirming my suspicion that none of them has finished a single gun from the stack.

Pretending to ignore them, I pull my cap down lower as I stand and eyeball the instrument, checking the sights and weighing it a second time in my hands. While my motions are far more smooth and confident over the weapon than theirs, they still watch me with laughter. How juvenile. Childish. They play their games to feel big and tall, but when the training starts they’ll come to know that this is a game of intelligence. Soldiers fight with brute and brawn because their numbers substitute for brains, but a rebel war is fought and won by the foxes in the shadows. I flick my cloth over my shoulder, refusing to meet their leering eyes as I step away from the circle and turn toward the firing range.

I hold my body at an angle to catch Ben’s eyes, but he’s still bent over his maps. Just as he leans in to take a bite from the apple in his good hand, Jordan sees me over his shoulder. He taps Ben to get his attention, nodding towards me with a grin and jabbing Jon in the side. In no time, the others at the table have caught on. It’s high time somebody brightened up this strategy meeting, I think. Ben smiles wryly, his face brightening as he steps away from the table, apple in hand. The leaders around him are chuckling now, and my lips twitch to join them. Classic rooky initiation.

Ben takes on a mischievous look, and I narrow my eyes, daring him to try anything funny. Even from this distance I can see his pupils dancing, and brace myself for whatever he has planned. Don’t even think about it, Ben! His teeth chomp into the apple, snapping off a large chunk from the side. I resist the urge to stick my tongue out at him, inwardly relieved at his miniscule attempt to sabotage me and making a mental note to get back at him for it anyways. Bring it on.

The eyes of the rookies bore into me as I face the firing range, standing in one of the lanes now. I can hear Jon’s laughter floating over from the table, but the rookies sit in perfect silence, giving me their undivided attention. The stillness oozes with sarcasm, every one of them waiting for my failure with bated breath, their unkind remarks ready on their tongues. None of them took note of my unspoken conversation with the leaders. Hang on to your hats, boys. I laugh to myself, loading a single bullet into the gun. One long, smooth exhale prepares me, and I wait.

“Now!” Ben shouts, and I flip around to face him squarely, planting my feet, straightening my shoulders, and raising the rifle to my cheek in one practiced motion. My eyes find the apple in an instant, spinning a foot above Ben’s head as if hovering there. My finger holds steady as I hesitate, watching the red and yellow rotate with a sharp eye, the fruit wobbling, unbalanced by Ben’s mouthful. With a hidden grin I suppress the trigger, letting my shot fly. Ben doesn’t even flinch at the thunderous sound that extracts a horrified gasp from the rooks, and I laugh when a small bit of apple hits Ben on the nose right before he catches it.

Bingo.

The glimmer in his eyes as he chucks it toward me confirms what I already know, and I let the rifle swing down to my right hip, using my left hand to catch the hurtling hunk of carnage. I don’t dare show any sign of satisfaction as I examine the round fruit, a perfect hole through its center where the core should be. I shrug nonchalantly, turning it over in my hands slowly to make sure each of them gets a good look at it. I hide my laughter by taking a bite, then throw it back to Ben, who’s rejoined the table of leaders now bursting with mirth.

“Holy apple crisps!” Ben shouts dramatically, and their snickering reaches a new pitch before he sends me a wink and plops back into his seat. I pretend to return my attention to the gun as I retake my place, giving it one last wipe of the cloth before starting a new pile for the finished pieces. From my peripherals I can just make out the shocked, slack-jawed, bewildered faces of the boys around me, each of them knocked speechless by my performance. Without a word or a glance their way, I lift another rifle from the heap and clean it under deft, agile fingers. A moment of silence falls and they go back to struggling at their task, this time with firm lines of concentration on their brows instead of laughter on their lips.

We continue like this for a while, all of them wrestling their cloths and rifles into submission without success. Finally, when I’ve just finished my third, one of them works up the nerve to ask me how to do it. The others follow suit, gathering in a tight circle around me and looking over my shoulders to watch me work. They give shy smiles, some mumbling rushed and breathy thanks through a shameful blush. Within the hour, I’ve got them all cleaning like old pros in high spirits, and stand to take back my place in Ben’s strategy meeting with great reluctance. I love putting the rookies in their place. Ben can read all the maps he wants. I’m perfectly content to earn respect by shooting stuff. 

Breaking Shadows: Bold (c) 2013

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Comments
  1. […] is a very popular scene from chapter 2 of Bold, which Hannah has posted here. Your job is to send your best artistic interpretation of this scene […]

  2. […] One winner will receive a signed copy of Breaking Shadows: Bold free of charge.To Enter: Read this popular scene from Chapter 2 of Breaking Shadows: Bold, and create your own artistic […]

  3. […] One winner will receive a signed copy of Breaking Shadows: Bold free of charge. To Enter: Read this popular scene from Chapter 2 of Breaking Shadows: Bold, and create your own artistic […]

  4. […] One winner will receive a signed copy of Breaking Shadows: Bold free of charge. To Enter: Read this popular scene from Chapter 2 of Breaking Shadows: Bold, and create your own artistic […]

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