Faithless: Chapter 1
Faithless is divided into 3 parts, with each part being the length of a novel. Guesstimated length of Faithless, near or over a 1000 pages- somewhere in the range of 250,000 words.
Part One: Faith. A 15 yr old Faith Simpson deals with her life crumbling down around her as she tries to keep her family together.
Part Two: Faithless. Failing at part one, Faith flees the scary consequences of her actions. Age 16- the opening of Restraint.
Part Three: Syn. Restraint-King timeline.
I should have part one near completion this weekend- I hope. My reading frenzy added to my creativity gauge. It didn’t max out, but I can’t afford to take off longer than a week at a time. Currently, part one is 50,000 words and about 2/3rds written. I estimate 80k in length, depending on if I strictly write by the outline or by the seat of my pants. I fear the length of this book, but usually I can’t help but add extra scenes as I write- for better flow.
Warning: Some minor spoilers for those who haven’t read KING. This is a rough first chapter. Words may change, edits will be made, but the core premise will stay the same. In other words, there are f*ck ups, as per usual- it isn’t a final product. Read at your own risk.
Warning #2: The dialogue and narration aren’t proper grammar. Faith doesn’t speak with proper English, therefor, she can not think with proper English. This is not an error within the manuscript, it is how it will be. It’s killing me to write like this, and I’m sure it will be annoying to read like this. But Faith eventually evens out as she matures.
“You’ve been notified,” A boy’s flat voice ominously flows from behind my locked front door, seconds after I flipped the deadbolt. I wouldn’t have heard him if I hadn’t just arrived home moments earlier. I bet he followed me up the walk.
I walk on heavy-laden feet to the door, scuffing my sneakers on the marble tile, dread coiling in my gut. Every visitor in the past week since I’ve been home has been… mean- nasty. If it wasn’t reporters hounding Momma and Fate, it’s been the rich folks not caring if they verbally attack a minor or not. The last posse was six men in expensive business suits wielding bricks from their garden patios. They managed to break out the huge widow in the family room before I put a stop to them.
Is this New York? Because it feels like I’ve slid into an alternate universe where rich folks accost you in West Virginia- I could make it into a B-rate horror flick.
When the rich attack!
I grab the fireplace poker from beside the door. Fate nearly had a heart attack when I took on six men. I knew I was safe. Only the truly evil would retaliate against an eighty pound girl defending her home. These men are used to lawyers, not throwing fists. I let them break one window to ease their frustrations. I poked at them with the iron stick, and just like that, their tantrums ended with them piling into their expensive cars.
Well, I may have threatened their hundred-thousand dollar cars with my fireplace poker. Losing a million dollars each hurt their pride, but they aren’t stupid. A pissed off teenager with a pointy metal stick next to a Porsche… their intelligence and higher reasoning returned right quick!
I shimmy up the door, standing on my tippy-toes and palming the wood. I put my peeper to the porthole, or whatever that little hole is called. Speechless, utterly speechless, I stare into a pair of mesmerizing eyes and my mind goes on a vacay. Our eyes connect through the peephole. Realistically, I know he can’t see me, but his pale gaze bores into my soul, hitching my breath in my throat.
The boy can’t be much older than me, maybe eighteen at most. His hair is shaved tight to his skull, so I have no idea of its color. He’s not very tall because he’s eye-level with the peephole. I’m on my tippy-toes, struggling to see out. It’s my usual stance since I’m an inch shy of five feet.
“I know you’re there,” his blank voice trills down my spine. “I can hear you breathing. I’m looking for Thomas Simpson’s eldest daughter, Fate. You wouldn’t happen to be her, would you?”
“How do you know my daddy?” My voice quivers when I think of my daddy locked away in that cold, dank jail cell. I know he broke the law, but it’s only money. He ain’t kilt nobody or nothing.
“He was an associate of my father’s. I need to speak with you,” he hopefully utters. A small twitch ripples through his bottom lip, and then he adds, “If you’re Fate.”
“Why ain’t your daddy here instead?” I raise my voice louder so he can hear me through the hardwood door.
“He’s indisposed,” he calmly replies, but I heard his voice crack before he could stop it. When the boy talks about his daddy, he sounds so sad it breaks my heart.
“Indisposed how?” I lean closer to the door, trying to get a better look at the boy and lose my footing. I catch myself on the coat tree seconds before I glue myself back to the peephole. There’s something about this kid- he’s interesting to look at. He’s not gorgeous; he’s just interesting.
“Dead, my father’s dead,” he numbly replies, momentarily knocking me stupid. “This is ridiculous, talking through the door,” he rapidly slurs. “Allow me in so we can talk.” He’s trying to coax me, but I know better than that. My daddy taught me how to read people. This kid is shady. I pretend that my mind doesn’t supply Just like your daddy… just like you. It’s what makes me want to talk with him- we’re kindred. He’s no rich man looking for payback. But he wants something, which riles me up, making my mouth spew words that are best left unsaid.
“I guess he’s real indisposed, now, ain’t he?” The words spill without thought, just as they always do. I don’t mean to sound insensitive. I just don’t know how to chat with people. My sister is going to kill me if she heard that. “Sorry for your loss… Who was your daddy? Maybe I knew him. My daddy didn’t teach me to be ignorant. I ain’t letting some boy come inside after all the stuff that’s been happening. They threw bricks through our windows last week- a girl slapped my sister when she went to the store. The last time my momma left the house, she was ostracized by her kind. So prove it,” I challenge.
“You must be Fate, the eldest, right?” Hope fills his voice. I’ll be anyone he wants me to be if he’ll just tell me what he wants.
“I sure am,” I boldly say. “I ain’t weak either, so get to talkin’.”
“My father was Jonathon. His friends called him JJ.” He says friends weird, like it means something else, something wicked.
“Stand in front of the peephole again. I need to get a better look at ya.” I met JJ a few times. He was nice to me and my momma and my sister, but he treated Daddy strangely. He reminded me of an old dog at his master’s feet- tail wagging, tongue hanging, eagerly awaiting his master’s command.
The boy steps back on the porch so that I can get a look-see from boots to hair. He’s dressed nicely, nowhere near the tastes of my sister’s friends. Well, he ain’t one of them, so it don’t matter none if he wears non-designer jeans and a gray t-shirt. His black leather boots are designer, though. Maybe he just don’t care what he wears.
“You look like your daddy. Same round face and you’re kinda short, too,” I murmur to myself. In a stronger voice, I add, “Okay, but you’re not coming in. I’m coming out. Step away from the door. Go on down the walk a bit, so I know you won’t charge me.”
“You care more about the house than you do yourself?” He snorts, amused by my choices. “I could hurt you out here just as easily as I could inside there.”
“Yeah… well, I ain’t worried none about myself. See, my momma and sister are in here. You can put a hurting on me out there, but if I let you in here, you could hurt them, too. Now. Back. Down. The. Walk,” I icily order.
The boy walks backwards down the walk with his hands held out. He’s smirking to himself, apparently he finds me funny. When his feet hit the sidewalk, I quickly slip out the door and it automatically locks behind me.
I stand on the porch with my arms crossed over my chest, glaring at the interloper who won’t tell me what he wants. He’s eying me over and I don’t like it one drop. I do the same right back at him. I could take him. He’s not that big. I’ve protected my house at least a dozen times in the week since Daddy went to jail.
“You remind me of a rabid Chihuahua that thinks it’s a Pitbull,” the boy relentlessly teases me as if I’m amusing. “You actually think you can guard your house and yourself against me,” he incredulously murmurs, shaking his head to and fro.
“I don’t think,” I growl, “I know.” My chin juts out farther and my shoulders go back. Even my feet prepare for attack. He ain’t the first boy I’ll fight dirty against. Hand-to-hand, he will kick my ass. But who said I had to fight fair. I’ll twist his nuts while he cries like an infant.
He calms himself after silently laughing for a solid minute, and says, “Are you sure you’re Fate?” He scrutinizes me, not believing my claim.
“As sure as I’ll ever be,” I drawl with a scowl on my face. “Who are you, JJ’s son? What do you want with Fate Simpson?”
“I can’t say until you confirm your identity.” His voice cracks a bit and he tries to cover it with a cough. I smile when I hear it. “You’re not what I expected.” He does a double-take, and then a triple-take, his eyes burning into my flesh- and the grimace on his lips screams he don’t like what he sees. “You’re a kid. You don’t look nineteen and you talk funny.”
“Well, now, that’s not nice with the name calling,” I drawl, anger simmering just beneath the surface of my voice. It’s like a broken record- it makes me want to move back to West Virginia. “I can assure you that Fate Simpson is in fact nineteen. She’s fair of hair and skin, and has blue eyes. She’s short, real short. Doesn’t that sound just like me?” I challenge, attitude twisting my tone. I fist my hands on my hips and look down on him.
“That would be the description I was given. But… I was also told that she was an adult, and that her baby sister looks just like her.” He looks me over some more with a smirk on his face. He doesn’t believe that I’m Fate.
“Well, my sister is the spitting image of me, I’ll give you that,” I drawl, looking him square in the eyes. The trick to lying is about skirting as close to the truth as you can go without actually telling the truth. I’m a very good liar.
“Are you really Fate? If you lie to me I’ll hurt your mom and sister,” he quietly and easily threatens me, drawing a step closer. “I need to know for sure.”
“Damned fool,” I grumble under my breath, pulling an Id out of the front pocket of my worn-in jeans. “It’s a good thing I tested today, or this wouldn’t be on my person.”
I hand him the Id, saying I am, in fact, Fate Simpson. I smile sweetly as he examines the Id, and then me, trying to authenticate us- me and the Id. It’s the real deal. Not a fake. He’ll find no issue with it.
“Wow,” he murmurs, shaking his head. “You look ten or twelve. You can drive? You graduated?” he mutters to himself in disbelief.
“That’s what it says, don’t it?” I snatch the Id back and retreat to the front stoop. “I’m finished with you funning me. You’re extremely rude.” I pout out my bottom lip, and turn to go back inside. Without fail, men react to a woman’s retreat- words will spill that were previously stuck.
“I… I just… I don’t… get it,” he growls, rubbing a hand over his shaved head. His head fuzz looks real soft. I bet it feels like microfiber. “You don’t act like you’re from around here.”
“I’m not… not really. I went to school back in West Virginia, where my Daddy grew up. I lived with Aunt Amelia. I came here during vacations and for Hillbrook Prep. Momma and Daddy wouldn’t allow me to miss that.”
“Why didn’t you live with your parents?” He sounds extremely curious as he stays on the sidewalk, leaving a good twenty feet between us. So much for the putting a hurting on me.
“Didn’t wanna.” I roll my eyes at the boy. It’s none of his dang business that my momma didn’t want me living around here. “What’s your name?”
“Doesn’t matter,” he brusquely says.
“Yeah, it sure does matter. You come to my home to bother me. You make me produce an Id just so you’ll talk to me. Mr. JJ’s son, what do you want with Fate Simpson?”
“Will,” the boy softly says.
“Well, William, it’s a pleasure to meet ya,” I cordially say, extending my hand for a shake. The rule here and where I was raised is the same. It’s rudeness to shake a lady’s hand if she doesn’t do the offering first.
It’s even ruder when they don’t shake your hand. I let my empty hand fall to my side. I try to keep the rejection off my face. My lip quivers a little bit, but we ain’t making friends out here, now are we? After all, he said he’d hurt my family.
“My name isn’t William. It’s Wil with one L,” he stresses.
“Well, don’t get all pissy on me, mister. How was I supposed to know that? Mr. Wil with one L,” I drawl. “Ain’t my problem that you hate your own name. What’s that short for, anyway?”
“It’s short for none of your business,” Wil barks out, showing the first signs that I’m getting to him. He calms himself down before he speaks again. Deep breaths saw in and out between his clenched lips, moving his well-formed manly chest. “This is not going to go well, is it?”
“Depends on what the it is? How ‘bout you start by telling me what you’re doing here?”
“Are you really Fate?” He walks a few feet towards me, all suspicious like. If Wil thinks he’s gonna intimidate me, he’s got another thing coming. I walk towards the boy and his feet freeze in surprise. I smirk at him. He don’t know me from Adam. I ain’t my sister, my daddy raised me different. I walk right up him and get into his personal space.
“Didn’t we already prove that? Pretty sure we did.” I cop an attitude that seems to confuse him more.
“Fine,” Wil dramatically sighs, fighting his urge to strangle me. “Your daddy was in business with my father. I’m not at liberty to discuss what this entails, but you’re going to do as you’re told,” he threatens me.
“Or what?” I get on my tippy-toes and say it in his face. “Whatcha gonna do to me that ain’t already been done before?”
“Not you, pixy. Your momma and that sister of yours will be the ones to pay, if you don’t do as you’re told. If you’re this tiny, it wouldn’t take anything to hurt your baby sister. What’s her name?” He puts a slender finger to his temple and taps. A malicious smirk twists his lips. “Does Faith have faith in her big sister to keep her safe? Your daddy can’t protect his darling daughters from a jail cell, now can he?”
I snort. No, Faith does not have faith that her big sister will keep her safe, or else she wouldn’t be out her protecting all of us.
“What’d we do to you?” A whine battles with the attitude in my voice.
“Nothing. You don’t have to do anything. Your daddy did this to you, little girl. You better be telling the truth that you’re Fate. I’m not paying for your lies.” A coldness enters his voice that spreads a chill down my spine. I fight the need to shudder and fail.
“Why pay at all?” My attitude deflates, making my shoulders slump.
“I’m sure this is a difficult concept for the spoiled, entitled little bitch of a scamming, con-artist embezzler,” pure hatred spews from his perfect lips. Wil sneers at me like I’m dog shit on the bottom of his shoe. Ain’t nothing I haven’t seen before, so it don’t hurt my feelings none. “You can hide in that huge house, but I’ll come in looking for you. You better hope Lara and Faith Simpson don’t cross my path before you do. You following me, here?”
A light brown eyebrow pops in question. The movement captures my interests, stalling my response. Wil’s snide sigh snaps me out of it.
“I ain’t slow,” I grumble, cheeks pinking from embarrassment- and if that doesn’t just piss me off. “You’re coercing me. What am I supposed to do?” I whine. “You’re threating to hurt my family, but you won’t say why or how. I don’t even know who you are.”
“Go ask your daddy,” he snidely says.
“Quit being an assmunch and twisting his name like I’m a moron for my diction. You can’t have me an entitled princess and then make fun of the way I talk. And… and I will be asking my daddy about you,” I threaten without heat.
“You’ve been notified. I will be contacting you shortly with your first assignment. Fail me and I’ll flail you, understood?”
“Yes, sir, Mr. Wil with on L, sir,” I salute. “I won’t be waiting on ya, though. You best tell me when you’ll be coming around. And you ain’t coming in my house.”
“I think I’d prefer if she just killed me.” He dramatically sighs. His feet turn towards the sidewalk like they have a mind of their own to walk away from me. His face stays rooted in my direction. His icy cold stare bores into my eyes. He don’t like me much.
“You sound like a moron. Learn to speak proper English or don’t speak at all.” I wince, tears stinging my eyes. “It’s the first thing I’m asking of you. Don’t speak unless I speak to you and give concise answers. I doubt your intelligence at this point.”
“You’re mean,” I cry, bottom lip trembling, my teeth snare it before it goes all out quiver.
“Second lesson: no shit. I ain’t your daddy or your buddy. I’m your enforcer, and you’re going to behave or I’m going to cut your tongue out to save my hearing and sanity. Save the tears for someone who gives a shit, sweetheart. You better toughen up or I’ll do it for you.”
I stare up at him, holding my eyes wide so the tears won’t fall. He just took me by surprise, is all. I saw a kid about my age and saw him as a kid, not this machine-like Wil that demands I obey him. I just want to tell him that I ain’t dumb or ignorant or a moron. I want to tell him that I’m silent all the time, but for some reason I thought I could talk to him. He ain’t telling me nothing I don’t already know.
I am tough.
I can take direction.
Wil ain’t worth my tears.
“Good, I see you’re a fast learner,” Wil doesn’t sound pleased, just relieved. “I wasn’t kidding about hurting Lara and Faith, and your father is easy to get to, so behave and do as you’re told. Repeat after me: Notice received.”
“Notice received,” I grumble under my breath, not wanting my voice to hurt his ears. His answering growl has me speaking up. “Notice received,” I mimic my sister’s voice, trying to sound smart and ladylike.
“Sign this,” he pulls a piece of paper out of the inner pocket of his leather jacket. “Full birth name and date it.”
I quickly sign Fate Marjorie Simpson without reading a single word on the contract. I’m not Fate anyway, so what do I care. I just want Wil to leave so I can put myself back together again.
“You will meet me two nights from tonight at ten p.m.” He hands me a business card that has an address written on the back. The front simply says Wil with a phone number listed. “It will give you enough time to speak with your father.”
“Yes, sir,” I say, properly cowed. I’d like to keep my tongue affixed in my mouth.
“Yes, Wil, not sir. We’re the same age, pixy. I’m younger, actually. No way will I listen to that drawl mixed with that sir shit,” he hisses. “Be there at that time. Be on time. Not early. Not late. If you don’t show up, I show up here with some perverts that like little girls- particularly blonde-haired dolls with big blue eyes that are only fifteen. Think of Faith, and behave.”
“Yes, Wil. I will be there. I’ll do anything to keep my sister safe and I mean anything,” I vow.
“That’s what they count on,” he murmurs to himself. Wil’s face twists in pain for a split-second before he masks it.
“Be a good girl, now. You speak of this with no one, except for your father and me. Understood?”
“Yes, Wil.” I promise, staring deep into his blue gaze that’s so pale it’s nearly white. Wil’s eyes remind me of a Husky pup. A Husky that’s been beaten until it turned mean.