Friday, November 25, 2011

Grey (1/2)

I started writing this as my novel for this year's NaNoWriMo.  A few days into the writing, however, I felt the need to go back to work on another project I've had on my plate for over a year.  I promised that I would post what I had written, however, so here it goes.  I actually quite like this and hope to be able to come back to it.  It had been on my mind for a while.  I must warn you, though, that like any good NaNo novel this hasn't been edited.  It's still November, after all ;)



It’s the worst way for a Grey Assassin to die. They warn you about it in training.

Never get hurt alone. Never lie bleeding by the side of the road.

The reason was tacitly clear if not explicitely said. You couldn’t ever expect help from anyone but your brothers and sisters, because no one would ever dare. What we Greys did was legal of course. We were color-coded weren’t we? But we were one of the most mysterious colors. One of the deadliest.

Was the Grey lying in the gutter really dying, or was she on assignment waiting for her assigned Target to walk by? Better not to find out.

I wish they would. Because I’m not on assignment. I’m not on anyone’s time but my own. And my brothers and sisters… They’re probably wishing me to a wretched painful hell anyway.

What good is being a Colored Person, with a House and Name and Family if even they are going leave you to run out on the side of the road like Clear Water?

I was just looking for my kin.
Chapter 1: Forgotten

Hauled to her feet by a two pairs of strong hands, she cried out in agony.

“Oh lay off, you big baby,” the redhaired woman said, tossing back the deep red mass that somehow blended with the medium gray of her uniform. “What is that? A knife wound to your gut? Janelle!”

“Looks like to me,” said the other woman. She was taller than her friend and sister, dark hair pulled back in a utilitarian ponytaile that only served to emphasize her cheekbones and sharp, angular jaw. She shifted the weight she was sharing so she could examine the wounded woman between them. “Any longer and you’d’ve poisoned yourself, assuming you didn’t bleed out first.”

The younger woman gasped as she was gently poked and prodded. “Less examining. More… Holy Mother of--! Home! Just take me home!” Trying to get away from the long fingers at her side, she leaned ever the more heavily on the redhead.

“Hey! Watch it. I’m not a tree. And aren’t we not supposed to draw attention?”

The black-haired woman shrugged. “Like anyone’s paying us any mind any way. They know better, don’t they? Plus three Greys together?” She made a dismissive sound

“They only look like they’re not minding us, but just you watch. We’ll be the talk of this entire rinky-dink town tonight. C’mon, we can examiner her in the shuttle. Let’s just get out of here. It’s a long way home.”

The younger woman nodded as fervently as she could.

“Hmm, she’s broken out in a sweat. Maybe we should take her back,” the black-haired woman said as she retook her share of their sister’s weight.

“Was I even talking at all? Seriously Mona, when you get philosophical—”

Their friend and sister would have yelled at them to stop arguing and take her back to the shuttle already, but it was all she could do to remain conscious. The last thing she wanted to do was to have Iris or Mona, probably Mona, have to carry her back in. This was bad enough.

Finally they were on their way. They did little to hide where or how they were going. They were, in fact, walking against the flow of foot traffic. But people parted around them like water around a rock—better since there was no contact at all. It was if there was an impenetrable barrier between the three women and the people of the small city.

Their Grey uniforms.

The only danger to them now was from someone absolutely insane—like the person who had dared cause this incident in the first place—and another Grey Assassin.

“Did you make your Target?” Iris asked conversationally.

Janelle nodded, unable to speak.

Iris leaned over to kiss her damp forehead. “Good girl. And holy cow you’re hot! Let’s put this party in gear. Mona, maybe you should just pick her up?”


But up she went anyway. “I hate you,” she muttered before passing out.

“Only for a little while, hun,” Mona said even though her friend and sister Grey couldn’t hear her. “Then you’ll be happy that I bothered. Just watch.”

“She can’t watch,” Iris said. “She’s unconscious.”

“Details, details.”


Down in a squat so that she was eye level with the very low bed, Mona helped Janelle find a comfortable sitting position with one hand and dabbed at the younger woman’s forehead with the other. “See, all better now, babe.”

“Yeah but you carried me.”

Mona rolled her eyes. “You’d rather I had carried you into the House? Because it could have come down to that. I probably still could if you want--”

“No. That’s all right.”

“Since when was Mo the philosophical one?” Iris called from the pilots chair, glancing back over her shoulder.

“Both eyes front!” Mona and Janelle snapped. Iris was an excellent pilot, generally speaking, but her self-confidence often led her to doing silly things like not watching the sky ahead of them. They were taking less traveled sky-lanes, sure, but even the highest altitude the shuttle was cleared for was a busy one. Had they been taking a more direct route, they actually might have encountered less traffic as most cities had more than adequate public ground transportation that made shuttling a much more expensive way to travel. But Iris knew what she was doing. She just didn’t always believe in giving it her full attention when she did it.

Satisfied that there weren’t going to be any head-on collisions or near misses, Mona huffed dramatically. “I’m always philosophical.”

Iris barked more than laughed. Mona turned around. “Just try not to run us into anything, will you.”

“Oh please! I could get us home with my eyes closed and driving with my feet.”

It was probably true, but neither Mona nor Janelle really wanted to find out if it was true for themselves. So Mona let it drop.

“You were going to tell us what happened?”

Sighing heavily, Janelle let her head drop back. “I was knifed by a Colorless guttersnipe who was probably trying to steal my money.”

“We don’t carry money,” Iris called out.

Janelle rolled her eyes though Iris couldn’t see it—she hoped. “Tell that to hungry, Colorless guttersnipes.”

“So you got a knife to the gut instead. Bad shakes, little sis.”

“Mother and Father are going to have many words for you,” Mona said. She nodded sagely as she rose from her crouch.

Janelle groaned. For a litle while she’d actually forgotten their House Mother and Father. “Aren’t they gone?”

“Mother, only. Father is still in residence,” Mona said with a formal air.

Janelle swore softly.

“Do you plan on kissing Father with that mouth?” Mona plopped down next to her sister.

Janelle elbowed her sister. Which pulled at her temporary stitches, making her gasp. “Why did you bother saving me if you were just going to leave me at Father’s mercy?”

Iris laughed.

Mona shrugged. “It’s more than our lives are worth to leave you with a bunch of nobody Brown Citizens.”

Janelle scoffed “That was a whole city!”

“Some city. Full of Colorless gutters rats who take knives to Grey Assassin novices.”

Janelle sat up, affronted. “Hey! I am not a novice anymore. I am a trainee, soon to make apprentice.”

Mona shook her head as Iris called out from her seat, “No way, babe. They’re gonna bump you back to novice after this. You’ll see.”

Janelle groaned, head dropping back onto the bulkhead. “Can we take the long way back to the House?”

Iris threw a quick smile over her shoulder, full of bright teeth, as bright as her hair was dark. “What do you think I’m doing?”

Janelle gave her a grateful smile in return, though the redhead could no longer see it, as Mona took her hand. “Don’t worry, kid. Crazier things have happened to Grey Assassins more seasoned than you.”


Mona nodded, tugging at her hand until Janelle fell against her shoulder. “How’s the stitches feel?”

“Okay, I guess.”

Mona ran her long gentle fingers over the patch-job she’d done. It would hold just fine until the got to the House, but she wasn’t the House’s healer. She wouldn’t have been surprised if it wasn’t exactly comfortable. On the other hand having your bile spill out into your insides wasn’t comfortable either. “How do these things happen to you anyway? Aren’t you supposed to be the reasonable one?”

Janelle’s shoulders shook with silent laughter.

continued in next part

*I don't know who to credit the picture to.  It was originally from Deviant Art, but I pulled it from the Google Imagee cache not directly from the site. 


  1. Hello love! I've come to read. What an interesting idea this is. How long was this intended to be originally? I see oneshot in your labels but had you planned more? I like how you quickly revealed your character's personalities and not just their physical traits. I can picture them all!

  2. Raine! I'm glad you liked it. I had had more planned, originally, and I'm still sort of writing in my head, but this other project will have to move first before I can come back to Grey.