That's Charming: Curse of the Beast

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That's Charming: Curse of the Beast

Postby TeeVee » July 31st, 2014, 3:10 pm

Originally conceived in 2008, written in 2011, short listed for an award in 2012 and now being rewritten in 2014, I think it's safe to say that this has been a long labour of love for me and this novel. I'm planning on entering it into another competition in October and want to know if my first chapter really grabs interest and makes you want to continue reading. Any and all comments are greatly appreciated :)

Chapter One

A hush fell over the crowd in the auditorium as the headmaster walked across the stage. His footsteps echoed on the wooden floor as he stepped up to the podium in the centre.
“Good morning, students.” The headmaster was a rather short man. A silver beard, that was longer than he was, wound down his front and curled like a snake on the floor. “Today we announce those select few who have been chosen to tackle special quests.”
Call my name, Charles silently begged. Pick me.
“Christopher Charming, task seven-eight-two. Curt Charming, task seven-eight-three. Jules Fair, task seven-eight-four. Larissa Fair, task seven-eight-five. Finally…”
He glanced around the room for a moment, watching those whose names he had already called coming down the aisles. Charles hovered an inch above his chair, willing the headmaster to say his name.
“Clay Charming, task seven-eight-six.”
Charles groaned, watching Clay triumphantly rise. There’s nothing special about him. Clay was the class favourite; thirteen, brilliant jet black hair tied back in a ponytail, pale blue eyes and a smile that made the girls melt. They found him ‘dreamy’.
Charles waited until the auditorium was on their feet, applauding the elite group, before he slipped out of the room. Taking a deep breath, he walked away from the auditorium.
He stopped by a battered brown door, down a little corridor beside the main stairs and knocked. Someone shuffled closer on the other side, and a small panel slid open. Tired, wrinkled eyes darted about before settling on Charles. He smiled and waved before the panel slid shut again. A few moments later, the lock on the door clicked open.
“Good morning, Burt,” Charles said as he entered the room.
Burt moved about in the far corner, fiddling with jars and trinkets while he muttered to himself. Burt was something of the school janitor, except no one had ever seen him actually do anything other than shuffle about in his room.
“Thieves! You’re all thieves!” Burt shouted, spinning to face Charles.
Thinning white hair stuck out at odd angles from the old man’s head, he raised a hand to flatten one side whilst licking the end of a spoon. Charles raised a brow, but stayed silent; this was nothing new for Burt.
“Yes, yes we are.” Charles knew better than to argue. “Is it ready yet?”
Burt paused. “Ready?”
“Yes, remember I asked you to do me a favour?”
“Oh, yes, the favour…”
Burt slinked into another corner, disappearing into the shadows for a few moments. Charles hovered where he was. It’s so creepy in here. It was dark, smelled funny, and was full of all sorts of objects that he hadn’t the faintest idea of what they could even be. Burt reappeared with a tall cylinder filled with a glowing, putrid pink liquid. He stepped over to Charles and placed the vial in his hands.
“Is this it?” Charles looked at the liquid, uncertain. “This will help me?”
“Help? Oh, yes!” Burt nodded to himself and went back to looking at his trinkets again.
“Thank you, Burt.”
Burt mumbled something and waved a hand in Charles’ direction. Charles took it as a hint, thinking it best to leave the old man to his devices. He tucked the vial into his bag and left the room. Heading back down the small corridor, he paused at the bottom of the staircase. The wall opposite held a large sign.
The school was top of its league, teaching both young Prince Charmings and aspiring Fairy Godmothers and rivalled only by the Villainous Academy, where the evil in the world started, or at least in Charles’ opinion. The Villainous Academy was as far from Old Darlingdeen – the town which housed his Academy – as it was possible to be without leaving Lelantium, nestled in the middle of Torbank, a small town enclosed by Fallenbark Forest.
When Charles finally reached his room, he threw his bag down on the bed and sank to the floor beneath the window. It should have been me. I’m just as good as Clay. They were in the same year; their third at the Academy, which meant they would be graduating once they had completed their quests.
He opened his window for some fresh air, trying to clear his head. Goldenbrire Forest swayed in the wind, ever vigilant as it stood guard around the city walls. Old Darlingdeen was already bustling with activity; kids running to school, carts plodding up and down the streets, and on the other side of town dark shapes flew through the sky above the farm that housed his favourite creatures. He leaned on the ledge of the window, watching the people milling about the market.
A faint tapping made him turn. He watched as the door handle turned and a thin face poked around the door to peer into the room. The librarian.
“Ah, Charles.” She opened the door further upon seeing him. “The headmaster is requesting your presence in his office.”
She pushed her thick-rimmed glasses further up her nose, leaving the room before Charles could reply.
“Probably wants to tell me I’m not good enough for a normal quest,” he mumbled.
Charles flicked at pieces of fluff on the floor. As he glanced up, something in his bag reflected the light. He shuffled from his spot and retrieved the tall vial Burt had given to him, holding it carefully as he looked it over. He asked Burt a week ago to brew him a potion that would, hopefully, help him to succeed in his classes.
The liquid shimmered in the light; it seemed innocent enough. There’s no choice in the matter really. Drink it, or carry on being ordinary.
“Bottom’s up.”
Charles removed the cork from the top of the vial and closed his eyes, tipping the contents down his throat. It tasted strange, like dirt mixed with butter. He gagged a little as the liquid worked its way into his system. Sticking his tongue out, his face contorted as the aftertaste hit him.
He waited. Nothing happened.
He was beginning to question whether the potion had worked when a strange pulsing sensation started in his abdomen… faintly at first, then growing steadily more powerful until it felt like a fist punching the inside of his stomach. Charles gingerly lifted his shirt to inspect the area causing the pain. His eyes widened as he saw an actual fist attempting to push its way out. It was small, but growing larger with each passing moment.
Charles wanted to scream, but only small choking noises, like a cat trying to cough up a fur ball, left him. All he could do was watch, wide eyed and open mouthed, as a third arm continued to grow. The pulsing sensation dulled as the arm grew fully, the fingers flexing and moving of their own accord. Charles felt light-headed as the arm waved at him. It was too much.
He fainted.
Thank you everyone who voted!
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Re: That's Charming: Curse of the Beast

Postby simsterlyrock » September 9th, 2014, 8:54 am

This is really good! I want to read the rest of it. ;)
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Re: That's Charming: Curse of the Beast

Postby Ath » September 9th, 2014, 11:18 am

I was definitely intrigued!

Thanks for the sig Christie :D
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Re: That's Charming: Curse of the Beast

Postby TeeVee » September 9th, 2014, 12:32 pm

Thank you so much guys! It's always great to be reassured that my story isn't as crappy as I sometimes think :lol:

If you guys want, I'm looking for beta readers for when I finish this rewrite (hopefully this month) so that I can get some opinions before I send it into a competition at the end of October. PM me if you'd be interested in reading the whole thing once I'm finished :)
Thank you everyone who voted!
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