This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.
My name is Leon Black. I am fifteen years old and I have killed seven people. It’s all because of a boy called Carl Harper and something in my head that I called the Projector.
In the beginning, when I was very young and knew little about the evil ways of Man, I used what I had - my special powers for good. I had no idea back then that I was special. As far as I was concerned, I was a normal boy absorbing what was going on around me. The very fact that I could use what was inside my head for the benefit of others meant that it was a good thing. Everything was natural and right.
I think I had just turned five when the Projector turned itself on. It introduced itself to me on a cold December evening on the streets of Edinburgh. My memory is cloudy but I do recall my hands being white from the deep winter chill. I was wearing my green duffle coat and a red knitted hat. I had lost my mittens and stuffed my left hand into my pocket to try to warm it. My right hand was stinging with pain as my mum held onto it tightly so that I wouldn’t be sucked into the traffic.
My legs were tired and aching. My small body had been yanked here and there as my mother explored every department store and side street emporium in search of the elusive something to buy my dad and my three aunts for Christmas.
To my relief she had given up and announced that we should be heading off to catch the bus. We’d just turned the corner to go to the bus stop when we hit a crowd of people at a police barricade. The road was blocked and we couldn’t move for bodies. People were shouting all around us. Some were pointing to the top of the multi-storey car park. I looked up. There was a man sitting on the wall. His legs were dangling over the side. I saw him silhouetted against the deep blue sky.
‘What’s that man doing?’ I asked mum.
I could only make out some of her reply. She had her hand against her mouth.
‘Err... What? Nothing sweetheart, don’t look. I’d better get you away from here, I think. It’s not something a five year old should see.’
She poked and prodded at the slender gaps in between the people to make one big enough for us to get through. It didn’t work. The bodies formed a solid mass.
She turned me around and we started back the way we had come, only to find that we couldn’t move in that direction either. More people had appeared, distracted from their last minute Christmas shopping by the impending tragedy. We were trapped.
The police were trying to hold everyone back, but with little success. They were getting prepared for the worst to happen. My mum kept putting her hands in front of my eyes, even though I was too short to see anything much, and I kept pushing them away. I heard mum talking to a woman standing next to us. When she found out who the man was mum became even more anxious and upset. She’d recognized the name. She’d been in school with him. His name was Jake. Mum remembered him being a nice boy. He’d always done what was asked of him, was polite to everybody, turned up on time and got on with his school work. He hadn’t been very confident, but he’d done his best from a discreet distance. Jake had been shy with girls, even though he was good looking. Unfortunately, nobody told him this, so he didn’t ask anybody out.
When he’d finally met someone she was the love of his life. Her name was Christine and he’d met her on a works night out while he was working at Rogerson’s Bank. Eventually they married and had two children, a boy and a girl.
I looked up at him, somehow managing to shut out all of the madness that was going on around me. Jake was extremely sad. I could feel that as clearly as if the feelings were coming from my own being. I focused on him hard, and I saw his life. I saw him at the church on their wedding day, nervously anticipating Christine’s arrival. I felt his happiness when his children were born and the fun they’d had on their holidays. I saw Christine. I saw her the most because Jake was thinking about her. It had been a whole year since she had been taken by an illness that I didn’t understand, but I knew it had been bad. He was missing her. He wasn’t complete without her. I could feel that, too. Part of me was there on the roof with him, looking through his eyes, seeing the crowds gathered below. The emergency services would do their best, but I knew who he needed to talk to.
Suddenly Christine was there on the car park roof behind him. Jake’s heart thumped in his chest, then lightened slightly as he heard the lilt of her voice again.
‘What are you doing, my love? This isn’t you at all.’
This was the first time that I knew that I could go inside people’s heads and make them see what I wanted them to see.
Jake turned around very slowly.
‘Chris! How?’ Tears started to roll down his face. He sobbed, his body shaking.
Christine reached out towards him. She wanted him to take her hands.
‘Come away from there, Jake.’
‘I can’t do it, I can’t go on. It’s so hard, Chris. I can’t do anything. It’s Christmas and everyone’s laughing and having a good time. I can’t do that. You were everything.’
‘I’m gone now,’ said Christine. ‘I’m with Jesus in Heaven.’
Through his tears Jake looked puzzled.
‘What? Is there one?’
‘Of course there is, you silly thing, where else would a ghost go?’
Jake’s brows furrowed. ‘I want to be with you again, Christine.’
‘I want to be with you, too, Jake, but this isn’t right. When you are dead you must be an old man.’
‘Why are you talking like this? This doesn’t sound like you.’
‘What do you mean, Jake?’
Jake spoke hesitantly. ‘I can see it’s you and I can hear your voice, but the words don’t seem like yours at all.’
‘What do you mean?’
‘I’m with Jesus in Heaven? You must be an old man when you are dead? You’re talking like a five year old.’
I was startled by this, but Jake was right. I tried to find Christine’s words in his memory and to use them.
‘You mean like Michael?’ said Christine. ‘He was five this year, wasn’t he?’
‘Yes,’ said Jake.
‘Is he happy?’
‘And May,’ said Christine, ‘how is she doing? Did that tooth ever come out?’
‘It did,’ Jake said, sniffling, ‘but only when she fell over and she hit her chin on the coffee table.’
‘Oops!’ Christine laughed. ‘We had some good times, didn’t we? You, me and the two wee monsters.’
Jake smiled awkwardly. ‘We did!’
I dipped further into Jakes memories and found Christine’s words again.
‘Well, then,’ said Christine, ‘are you really going to throw that all away? If you die the memories will die too.’
‘I suppose they will.’
‘Go home and keep them happy and healthy until the time when we are together again.’
‘Together?’ said Jake.
‘I’ll be waiting for you,’ said Christine, ‘in Heaven. I promise.’
Jake sat there for another few seconds and then stepped off the wall into the car park to safety. As he was being escorted away by the police Christine blew him a kiss and told him to remember.
The excitement died out and the crowd dispersed. Some of us waited to see Jake come down, to the waiting ambulance. The police spoke to the ambulance crew for a while. Jake said something to a policewoman and she nodded and came over to us.
‘Do you know that gentleman?’ she asked mum.
‘Vaguely,’ she replied. ‘We were in school together. It was years ago.’
‘He wanted to come over, but I’m sure you can appreciate he’s in an emotional state, so I wouldn’t advise it.’
‘What does he want?’ said mum.
‘He says he wants to thank your son,’ said the WPC, ‘for saving him. Have you any idea why he’d say that?’
My mum shook her head and looked at me strangely. I gazed back at her with innocent eyes.
‘Don’t worry about it,’ said the WPC. ‘Like I said, he’s in a bit of a state.’ She walked off.
From that moment I knew I had something special inside me, something that could be good for the world. Ten years later it all went horribly wrong.
Diane April: Really liked the concept of this story. The beginning had a great explanation about how things worked in the real world that people tend to overlook. It was a nice change from the usual zombie story that just makes things up as they go along and actual facts don't matter.
Alex Rushmer: I like the intrigue that you introduce from the very beginning of the story. The idea of the girl waking up in the alley with no memory of how she got there and with injuries is very interesting. It was very well done. There were a lot of grammatical errors that need to be fixed though. I think t...
John Reed: Seadrias masterfully captures the impressiveness and complex scope that a science fiction novel should provide while carefully crafting an entire universe that will leave a reader in awe from start to finish. The only flaw I could find is that I wish I could have read more. This book is certainly...
hypaalicious: This story follows two main characters, Zoey and Derek, on a winding adventure that sucks you in from the beginning. It was easy to get into and get a feel for the world that the author is projecting, as well as all of the warring factions and difference of ideals that would otherwise be very co...
Leah Brown: This was an amazing read! I was hooked from the very first chapter, holding my breadth to see what would happen next. The characters are rich and vibrant, and the world Danielle has created is fascinating. If you love YA, you MUST read this book. Such a smart, brilliant debut novel. I loved it!
Angel S. Adames Corraliza: Sensational! As a fan of superheroes, I have to say, you have a real winner of a story so far. I like that you made Allison a Wonder Woman expy, but kept her likable and relate-able in this first chapter. You showed us the Mother while also glancing at the Superhero, which I think is important to...
Roger A. Fauble: Excellent read, the only thing not to like is that I could only read it at home on my computer. I'm a character reader, I get into the characters, their story, who/what they are. In this story characters are introduced and developed allowing you to really get into them. Next the story is develop...
Kastril Nomenclature: This is a very clever story in the style of 19th century (and turn of the century) Gothic writing, very reminiscent of Stevenson's The Body Snatchers or even of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (less so of Frankenstein itself, since the author is more minimalist than Shelley's florid, Romantic rhetoric). ...
_JosephJacobson_: I don't understand why this has such low ratings. I really enjoyed it!I think that the whole idea behind the plot had something very special and that was something that I really enjoyed. It was new, unique. I think that some of the writing was a little strange in places but overall it made sense ...
pikagirl311: Katie Masters has definite skill when it comes to plot work and characters. The story is well-paced and pulls you along with the tide, keeping you hooked until the very end. The only reason I did not give it five stars across the board is due to a few minor quibbles with misspellings and such lik...
cassandrab: Delightful SciFi (for a change)! I am not a SciFi fan: mostly the genre is far too dystopic for me. This book (written by a high-school friend) is, on the other hand, generally upbeat. Yes, Earth's future is threatened. But Earth has a chance to plan a response. And (spoiler alert) ultimately win...
Steve Lang: I thought this story was imaginative, and well thought out. I also think it was an original piece, and not a rehash of previous scifi stories I've read in the past.Thank you for the effort put into this tale, and I look forward to reading more of your work!
FreakyPoet: "you made me laugh, made me cry, both are hard to do. I spent most of the night reading your story, captivated. This is why you get full stars from me. Thanks for the great story!"
Sara Joy Bailey: "Full of depth and life. The plot was thrilling. The author's style flows naturally and the reader can easily slip into the pages of the story. Very well done."