“Why am I here?”
The young man looked at his hands, then pressed them to his face. Then his stomach.
“That is for you to answer,” came the reply from the woman seated across from him.
The man looked around for the first time. The two of them were in a dark room, with a single light providing a circle of illumination on a white marble floor. There was only one chair, in which the unfamiliar woman all but lounged as she gazed at him with a superior smile. On the ground between them was something that looked like a wooden dollhouse.
He put a hand to his head again. Sensations flashed through his mind: a dim hallway, a cold wind…a gunshot. Each melted as soon as he tried to hold on to them, much like trying to remember a dream.
“Think of it as a chance, then,” said the woman, settling back into the chair. She waved a hand languidly. “A chance to understand. After all, the deaths were in my domain.”
Faces began to flash into his mind. An old woman, with white hair. Another man, about his age, with an impish grin. A couple in casually professional attire. A young woman with an anxious expression, wearing the uniform of a hotel housekeeper. A middle-aged woman whose normally kind features had hardened—and the young man felt a pang in his heart.
Almost as an afterthought, he remembered where he had seen the face of the woman across from him.
Who shrugged. “From the top, then,” she said, and snapped her fingers.
In a flash of bluish-purple, the dollhouse was no longer made of wood. Somehow, it had become a perfect scale model of a real building, one with a peculiar, unbalanced shape. A tiny human figure stepped outside and carefully clipped a few flowers into a bouquet before going back in.
Curious, and drawn by something he didn’t entirely understand, the young man knelt down for a better look.
“Watch closely,” said the Lady of Morning Glory. She snapped her fingers a second time and a tiny car appeared in the distance—
It’s Day 4 of NaCreSoMo 2018, and what you’ve just read is the never-before-seen prologue to Morning Glory, my NaNoWriMo 2016 story that I’ve mentioned a few times before. I’ve been working on editing this story on and off for the past year, and specifically I’ve been taking it in to the writing group that I’m part of, one 5000ish-word chunk at a time. The group’s been super helpful in letting me know what is and isn’t working, and I’ve almost caught up in incorporating all their feedback so far (they’ve seen through chapter 5 of 9).
This piece is “never-before-seen” because the original prologue (a) didn’t fit the way the story ended up ending, and (b) was really bad. I rewrote it near the end of last year, but haven’t posted it until now. Still, you may recognize echoes of “The Rules”, which was written independently of Morning Glory but which could have been the prologue to a similar-but-different NaNoWriMo 2016. (As a NaCreSoMo entry, it stands in for having done some minor editing today and also having a meeting with the previously mentioned writing group.)
The rest of the story is more concrete and less fantasy, but/so if you’re interested in reading it let me know. I’m not quite ready to share it with people yet, but soon! (One reason to keep waiting is so that I can get more feedback from my writing group, but do I really want to wait for my turn to come around enough times that they get to the end?)
There’s another piece of this, which goes back to one of last year’s NaCreSoMo posts. I’ll talk more about that later.
P.S. As I’ve mentioned before, the primary inspiration for Morning Glory is the visual novel Umineko no Naku Koro ni, so if you’re dying to read something that feels kind of like this prologue, go start that instead.
Part of NaCreSoMo 2018. Join us!