Introducing "Synphesiser", my debut novel!
by, 29th March 2013 at 11:16 AM (10969 Views)
Anyone who knows anything about me will know that for the past few years, I've been working on a novel. Today, I am proud to announce that me debut novel Synphesiser is now available to purchase on Amazon, for the low price of 99p (UK), $1.51 (U.S.), 99¢ (Europe) or ¥150. (I'm not sure why Amazon added that extra cent on the end, but I'm working on it).
For those of you interested, here is the official synopsis:
And if that still hasn't won you over, here's the full first chapter, for free:"To synthesise is to create distortion. To synphesise is to correct distortion."
Do you know what it's like to have your whole life twisted and turned upside down in a single night? To be called a witch or worse for something you thought was normal? If so, you might be able to understand Lake Havard - he was just a young boy living in a small village, the only thing making him any different to you or me being Laura, the red frog-like "synph", an intelligent creature attuned to nature, that lived with him. Laura had been a part of Lake's family since before he was born, so it was only natural that one day they would perform the ceremonial pact - she would become his synph and he would become her "synphesiser", a promise that they will help each other "become better attuned" with the world.
All it took was one night. One night for his village to be reduced to fire and rubble, one night for him, Laura and a childhood friend to be kidnapped by armed mercenaries and one night for the image of his mother's body lifelessly falling into shallow waters to forever be burned into his memory.
It was only after two years of unspeakable "experiments" that Lake and Laura found themselves rescued from an off-shore facility by HOPE - an organisation seeking to help promote the relationship between synphs and synphesisers, as well as to stand up for those who have their rights denied by others. It wasn't long before the boy had warmed up to the organisation's colourful members, such as the bubbly, dramatic Lukas and the kind, maternal Hannah and he was accepted into their fold. His first mission? To bring down Montgomery Carino, the organised crime boss responsible for the night that turned his life upside down.
If you're super cool and wish to take the plunge and buy my book on any Kindle-compatible device, then here are the following links:“To synthesise is to create distortion.
To synphesise is to correct distortion;
The distortion between humans and the world...
Prelude Stage: Synphesiser
“Are you sure you want to do this?” Mother asked in her usual soft maternal voice, except this time it also contained a hint of concern. Normally, I would have spent a long time pondering such a small question, but this time my mind had been made up long ago.
“Why wouldn’t I?” I replied confidently.
At the time, I was only fifteen years old. I wasn’t known for being particularly tall or muscular, hence why I had to stand firm to make sure I wasn’t underestimated. I was in my living room; the majority of the furniture was either wooden or coloured dark brown. It was pitch black outside, so a candle was at each corner of the room; the flickering flames bringing a majestic feel to the plain white robes I was wearing.
“Very well” Mother said as she sat down on the floor and opened up an ancient looking tome; turning each page carefully as if it could crumble to dust at any moment. I was stood on a rug in the centre of the room, whereas Mother was sat at the side. Such an occasion should have been filling her with joy but she had an uncertain look on her face, as if she felt that something wasn’t right. She decided to work through those feelings however and resumed the ceremony.
“Laura, you may enter.” She announced. The thin door that separated the front room and the kitchen opened; the light from the other room surrounding Laura, giving her a powerful, almost angelic aura as she slowly walked into the room
The first thing people would notice about Laura is that she isn’t human - she’s an Erythrosynph Aquaticus; a ‘synph’ with an appearance similar to a waist-high bipedal frog. Her skin was dark red which was contrasted by her large, beady, sapphire eyes. A lure with a small sky blue light on top extended from the top of her head and a thin whip-like tail extended from her rear, with an end shaped like an axe. Laura was wearing a robe identical to mine (Except with an extra hole for her tail) which she wore with pride. She took a couple of steps forward, stopping when she was standing in front of me. She cleared her throat before addressing me in a tone that, for her, was unusually formal.
“Lake, before we continue, are you sure you understand the purpose of making a pact?” she asked sharply. I was nervous but I didn’t want anyone to know it. Besides, I had made my mind up long ago so there was no turning back now, so I gave a slight nod. She looked deep into my eyes; I was embarrassed to say the least. Having studied the scriptures for so long, it was like rehearsing a play; you can remember all your lines until you’re standing on stage before a crowded audience. I turned to Mother, who smiled reassuringly. It was then when I remembered.
“A pact between a Synph and a human is a vow,” I began, looking up nervously for a sign of approval; the smiles on Mother and Laura’s faces confirmed that I was on the right track. “To respect the world which we have been given and to regain the connection to its soul that the impure desires of our ancestors so cruelly severed.” I continued, forcing my shyness back with fierce resolve. Laura nodded approvingly. The look in her eyes however, had become a concerned glare.
“As for the conditions of the pact; in exchange for helping restore this connection, the synphesiser - the human who forms the pact, is given access to a synph’s power. What is the purpose of this?” she asked. At this point, my nervousness was over and I was confident that I had remembered the rest of the ancient script. Looking around the dark room, my attention was drawn to one of the flickering flames in the corner; fire is something that is essential for improving life, but can also be instrumental in ending it. Fire is a powerful symbol of the responsibilities that one takes on when becoming a synphesiser, hence why even in a time of electricity and light switches, the more traditional candles are used. Remembering that, I took a deep breath as I continued.
“We are given strength in the hope that we can cast aside the sins of those who came before us to overcome temptation and to defend this truth against those who would deny it to us.” I recited. At this point, it was becoming mundane so I started to fidget; something that Laura instantly caught on to. She smiled as she looked at me, probably thinking about how the boy she had seen grow up from a mere baby was now standing in front of her like this. She hesitated before proudly presenting me with her webbed hand.
“Even after understanding all of that do you, Lake Havard, still wish to form a pact with me, Laura, the Red Synph of the Water?” I surprised her by firmly grabbing her hand; a smile beaming across my face. This was something I had decided long ago; there was no point in asking me it and deep down, Laura knew that.
“Without a doubt” I answered. Laura lowered her head and closed her eyes reflectively.
“Very well. As of now, I am your synph and you are my synphesiser.” She said as her body began to glow bright red before it shrank into a red ball of light; her robes falling to the floor. “This may sting a bit.” She warned as the ball thrust itself into my chest.
My chest was burning; the force pressing against me was painful but bearable. I had to take a few steps back due to the recoil.
“That’s my boy.” Mother said proudly.
A light breeze blew down the slightly sloped hill as me and Daisy walked up its pavement. Daisy was the same age as me, although with her dark green-tinted hair that grew down her back and her curvy body, she certainly looked older. I was holding my school bag tight, while Daisy was carrying hers loosely with one hand as she walked. She was always adamant that she had to walk in front; apparently she wouldn’t trust me in the face of danger. Despite that though, I always wanted to walk by her side; doing so always gave me such a warm feeling, like snuggling up in a warm blanket during a cold day.
Me and Daisy were on our way to school, which was in the more urbanised part of the village. The base of the hill, where me and my family lived was mostly fields. At the top of the hill though is where the aforementioned school is, as well as the shops and the majority of the houses. Families tended to live in the more rural section, while workers from either the local area or the bigger city lived in the urban part.
I was always interested in the relationship between Daisy and Kennedy, a synph she lived with that despite looking more like a hedgehog, was closer to the size of a porcupine. I had only recently become Laura’s synphesiser so I was even more curious.
“So, have you and Kennedy made a pact yet?” I asked. Without answering, Daisy hastened her pace and went on ahead, although I quickly caught up with her.
“What’s the big deal about becoming a synphesiser anyway?” she stubbornly asked. “These days, it just means we’ll be sent to war.”
While that wasn’t necessarily true it was the most prominent public opinion. After all, synphesisers were apparently drafted into service during the last war; they were effective, but that had left a permanent stain on how the world sees synphs and the humans they make pacts with. Still though, why do some synphesisers get persecuted against when they weren’t even alive during the war?
“The war ended years ago and we have a peace treaty now.” I tried to explain, but I was cut off; Daisy was obviously angry that I tried to contradict her.
“A peace treaty is nothing but a piece of paper!” she shouted, stopping in her tracks and turning to me. She was crying; but I couldn’t tell if they were tears of sadness or anger - was it possible that they were a mixture of both?
“Sorry.” Was all I could say, trying to sound as humble as possible. It was never my intention to make anyone cry, let alone her. It was only when I looked back at her that I saw a small smirk emerge.
“You did it again!” I called out. I can never be sure of when Daisy is being serious or not. She stuck her tongue out like a small child and ran up the hill.
“You’re just too sentimental!” she shouted as she ran. Not wanting to risk any more confrontations, I decided to shrug it off and join her. I tried to smile, but all hope of that was lost when we reached the top of the hill.
Standing on the other side of the road was a large statue of a soldier on his knees cupping an orb in his hands, holding it against his chest; a powerful image; an eternal reminder of the bond shared by both a synph and synphesiser and the sacrifices both made during the war. Utterly awestruck, We approached the large memorial. At its base was a plaque decorated to look like a bronze European Union flag with the names of the numerous servicemen, women and synphs engraved upon it. Just below it was a collection of poppy-wreaths.
“Can’t really call me sentimental now, can you?” I asked, noting the sad look on her face.
“No...I can’t.” Daisy replied solemnly. She bent down and shuffled through her bag before producing a small plastic cross with a replica poppy attached to it; underneath was a small piece of folded paper stuck on with tape. Daisy trembled as she carefully placed it down amongst the wreaths. Holding her hands together, she quietly prayed. Not wanting to cause offence, I held my hands together and silently prayed as well. As I was finishing I heard the faint sound of sobbing. I opened my eyes to see Daisy trying to hold back her tears. I had no idea what to do, so for once I decided to go with my gut instinct - I quickly hugged her from behind as if protecting her; the tears suddenly stopped.
“Don’t worry, I’m fine.” She said as she opened her eyes and moved my arms away. As she got up, her eyes were fixed on the plaque. “Without them, we’d have fallen to the Empire. They sacrificed themselves for us.” She said sincerely. She turned around and walked by me. “We better hurry, or we’ll be late.” She said, forcing a light hearted tone through her trembling lips.
It wasn’t long after that when we continued our journey. We were walking down the central street of what was once a bustling village but now seemed more akin to a seaside town during the winter, with the buildings looking as worn as an old pier. As we continued our slightly hurried pace, I noticed that since we were at the memorial, Daisy was more withdrawn than before. I had a feeling of what was wrong, but what if I was wrong? Was it something best left alone, or not? Daisy wasn’t usually like this; by now she’d be pulling on my cheeks teasing me or something to that effect.
“What’s wrong?” I finally asked, but she just turned her head away.
“N-nothing.” She replied unconvincingly as her face turned into a faint shade of embarrassed pink. I walked around her so that we met eye to eye.
“Come on, you can tell me.” I said warmly.
“You’ve always been one to butt into other peoples’ problems.” She sighed, knowing that once I had decided on something, I tended to stick to it. “I was just wondering...does synphesising hurt?” she asked with a trembling fear in her voice like a terrified young child.
“Does it hurt?” I asked aloud, raising my finger to my chin. Well, it wasn’t unbearable, but I did feel something.
“Ow...” I was obviously thinking about the question for too long, as Daisy smacked me on the head; she looked rather irritated.
“Never mind. Asking you was a stupid idea...you can never make up your mind.” She said disappointingly before walking away, leaving me to rub my head.
“It doesn’t hurt as much as that!” I shouted to her.
“Good to know.” Daisy replied with a reassured smile. “So, will you and your parents officiate my ceremony?” she asked with a childlike excitement. Once again, I raised my finger to my chin. “Yes or no?!” she called out impatiently.
“Sure, why not?” I replied happily.
In the evening, the sky was a mixture of bright pinks and steel greys as the sun was slowly setting in the west. The vibrant light shone through the window and into my dining room. I was busy helping Mother wash up the plates from dinner, while Laura and Father sat at the table. Mother always said that me and Father looked alike, except that he had blue eyes, a bulkier frame and being older than me, he was also taller. As I placed some of the cleaned plates onto the draining board, I couldn’t help but think back to what Daisy had said earlier:
'What’s the big deal about becoming a Synphesiser anyway? These days, it just means we’ll be sent to war.'
The only details I knew about the war were what I was taught at school; however, I never could understand why so much hatred was centred on just the synphs and synphesisers.
“Father, what did synphesisers do during the war?” I asked as I turned to my father. Although he himself was too young to have served on the front lines, some of his older friends and relatives had. Laura instantly turned away, whereas my father wore a nostalgic face.
“Just as the European forces were losing, synphesisers were called in as heavily artillery.” He said proudly.
“The problem with that is,” Mother interjected, drawing my attention to her. “As they were so effective, these days we’re stereotyped as soldiers or mercenaries for hire - even if we weren’t involved in the war.” She explained with a hint of loneliness.
“What brought this on anyway?” Father asked, looking at me with his sharp, enquiring eyes. He knew I didn’t like confrontations like that, as they make me nervous. I knew that despite him not having been involved personality, my Father took a lot of pride in the role synphesisers played in the conflict.
“Daisy said that without them, we’d be ruled by the Empire. So I was wondering why they didn’t get the respect they deserve.” I said, somewhat sincerely and somewhat knowing that I was treading on egg shells.
Laura was growing more uncomfortable with the direction the conversation was going and made her feelings known by pushing her chair out and standing on the floor with her head hung low. Mother saw this and quickly changed the subject.
“Speaking of Daisy, she wants us to officiate her ceremony, right?” she asked light-heartedly. I nodded in response. “Well, when is it?” she asked as she took her apron off and folded it.
“Tomorrow.” I said matter-of-factly. Mother instantly started to panic; throwing the neatly folded apron into the air.
“What?!” she shouted as she frantically pulled open the drawers and shuffled through their contents.
“What the hell are you doing now?” Father enquired in a voice that reflected how sudden outbursts like these were a regular occurrence. Mother’s hands finally emerged from a drawer, with a tape measure being held in one and a pair of scissors in the other.
“I have to measure up Daisy and Kennedy.” She beamed excitedly as she ran into another room. Both me and my Father couldn’t do anything but let out a deep sigh.
Mother left shortly afterwards. When she returned, she excitedly told us how she arrived just in time to stop Daisy and Kennedy erupting into a fight; apparently Daisy had been pricked by one of the synph’s spines, which she claimed was deliberate (although apparently, it was clearly an accident). Daisy and Kennedy have known each other for so long that they know exactly how to annoy the other - apparently the tension started to build up when Kennedy refused to get Daisy a plaster, saying how she was a ‘big girl’ and should get it herself. However, once Mother had persuaded the two to allow them to be measured, they seemed to have had great fun.
While Mother was busy at Daisy’s, me and Father were sat down watching the television; he was channel hopping as always; however, when the news came on, he placed the remote on the arm nearest to him. A reporter was standing in front of a destroyed building; in the background people were huddled together and crying. The headline at the bottom informed the viewers that the nearby village had been attacked and known synphesisers were missing. Needless to say, I was shocked - especially considering our discussion earlier. My Father however, sunk his head into his hands.
“Father?” I asked, concerned.
“Don’t worry.” He replied without moving an inch. “I doubt they’d come here. We’re just a small village in the middle of nowhere.” He said solemnly.
The following day went by in a flash. It was already early evening when me and my family made our way up the various flights of stairs in the old looking apartment building. The lifts were constantly under maintenance due to vandalism, which meant that Laura, who wasn’t particularly keen on walking up so many stairs with her small frame, was receiving a piggyback ride from Father, who unlike me and Mother, didn’t look very excited.
“I wonder if you and Laura forming your pact is what convinced Daisy and Kennedy to do so?” Mother said to me with a nudge and a wink. I’m guessing she was hinting at something, but I didn’t know what, so I smiled nervously.
“You think so?” I asked.
“Without a doubt. You two have always been that way - one has something, so the other has to have it.” she answered jokingly.
“At least this one doesn’t hit the bank as hard.” Father said, although from his voice it was obvious that his mind was on something else.
We finally reached the seventh floor. I wasted no time in happily running towards apartment 7-2. As I bashed on the door, the others slowly made their way to join me. During which, I could see Mother leaning onto Father’s shoulder; a worried look was on her face. Even from that distance, I could hear their conversion.
“So, what are the chances?” she asked cryptically. Father quickly looked away; choosing to look at the graffiti covered wall instead.
“I don’t know.” He said reluctantly as he increased his pace. Mother looked at Laura, who just shrugged.
By the time they had reached the apartment, Daisy had already let me in, so they just followed. Daisy and Kennedy were wearing robes similar to those me and Laura had worn during our ceremony, except for some reason, I thought they looked a lot better on Daisy than myself. Daisy must have thought I was staring at her, so she looked back at me.
“You better not get any ideas, got it?” Daisy said condescendingly to me. I couldn’t understand why she said that with such a tone, so I decided to remain silent.
“Got that?!” Daisy shouted again, causing me to jump.
“Y-Yes.” I timidly answered; although I really didn’t understand.
“Follow me.” Daisy said as she led us through the cramped corridor into the small kitchen, which only had just enough room for a counter, cooker, fridge and a table. Numerous small plates and bowls with various ‘party foods’ were dotted around a delicious looking chicken; having lived with only Kennedy for such a long time, Daisy had become quite the chef.
“Wow, this looks delicious!” Mother exclaimed like a small girl, her jaw dropped in astonishment. I couldn’t agree more and I guess Daisy realised this too, pointing out the drool coming out of my mouth. I reached my hand out to touch some of the snacks that were on side plates, but she quickly tapped my hand, resulting in me withdrawing it.
“Wait until after the ceremony.” She said sternly. Mother chuckled as she leant into Father.
“They’re like a married couple.” She whispered.
“We are not!” me and Daisy replied in unison; both flustered.
“Can we just get the ceremony over with?” an embarrassed Daisy asked in a mumbled voice.
The apartment’s front room was only slightly larger than the tiny kitchen. The small amount of furniture it contained was moved to the side, leaving an open space. Like with mine and Laura’s ceremony, the lights had been turned off, with candles placed at each corner; the flickering flames giving a ‘warmer’ feeling. Daisy and Kennedy were stood in the centre, facing each other. Me and Father were stood at the outer wall, on either side of the window, while Laura was on the wall opposite stood beside Mother, who was sat on the floor with her ancient-looking book. There was little space, but we were all trying our best to not take notice of that.
“Daisy, before we continue, are you sure you understand the purpose of making a pact?” Mother asked as she looked at the young girl, who let out a small laugh, as if overly confident in her answer.
“It’s a promise between a human and Synph to forget greed and become friends with the world again.” The girl replied bluntly. Kennedy let out a deep sigh.
“Please stick to the script.” He pleaded.
“Why should I? This makes things more personal.” Daisy asked stubbornly.
“Tradition.” Kennedy replied sternly as he raised his spine-collar; offended by the disregard to such a significant ceremony. Daisy placed her hands behind her head and leaned back slightly, showing her carefree nature. Her face suddenly shown one of boredom as she recalled the lines in a monotone voice.
“A pact between a synph and a human is a vow to respect the world which we have been given and to regain the connection to its soul that the impure desires of our ancestors so cruelly severed.” Both Mother and Kennedy smiled and nodded approvingly to Daisy before continuing.
As the ceremony carried on, I couldn’t help but notice that every so often, Father would gaze out the window. By now, despite it being so dark that you could hardly see anything, he had an apprehensive look on his face as his eyes scanned every speck of darkness. He leant his head against the window as he tried to drown out the sound around him. Why was he doing that though? Could it be because of what was on the news yesterday? Was that what Mother and Father were talking about earlier?
After a while, I noticed my Father’s ears twitch. I turned to look out of the window, following his eyes as they scanned the area - it was then when his eyes widened and he took a couple of steps back - small flickering lights were advancing towards us. In a furious hurry, he pulled the curtains shut.
“Father...what’s wrong?” I asked worryingly, holding onto his sleeve for some sort of reassurance. By this time, everyone else in the room had become aware of my Father’s concern.
“Is it?” Mother asked, shaking. Her eyes were resonating with a deep fear, like someone being confronted with a violently shocking truth.
“Probably.” Was all Father could say. By now, trying to comfort her was futile. “I’m sorry, but we’ll have to stop the ceremony.” He said as he turned his attention to Laura and Kennedy.
“Not happening.” Kennedy said fiercely as he puffed up the spines around his collar. Father looked like he was ready to blitz the synph with a barrage of words, however this time, Laura decided to get involved. She walked between the two and slammed her tail into the ground, striking a pose screaming of the authority she felt she had.
“Seriously Ken, why do you have to get so hung up over tradition?” she asked angrily. “People from the laboratory have hit neighbouring villages and now it seems they’re here...for us.” She explained sternly. “If you and her enter a pact, you’ll be putting her in danger.” Her eyes drifted towards me; they looked sad. “It’s bad enough that we’ve put Lake in danger.” She said regretfully.
Kennedy was still being stubborn; he was always known to have been. However, what he did next was something shocking to everyone who knew him. The synph turned himself into a shining white orb and shot into Daisy’s chest. As the young girl hadn’t braced herself for it, the impact pushed her to the floor.
“Kennedy!” Mother shouted in horror. It took Daisy a moment to sit up and process what had just happened.
“Heh. Now if any danger does come, she can protect herself.” Kennedy stated smugly; his voice emanating from within the young girl. Father sighed heavily, obviously trying to draw the attention towards him.
“Anyway, we’ll discuss the implications of Kennedy’s actions later. For now, we need to get out here.” He instructed. Everyone in the room was in agreement.
The sound of rapid gunshots and the scrambling of feet ripped through the air; striking us all deep at our cores, like we were waking up from a beautiful dream into a world of nightmare.
“What’s happening?” Daisy cried out, worried, clinging to Mother. Father quickly ran to the window and peeked through the curtains.
“Well, isn’t that excessive?” he said with gritted teeth.
“What is?” I asked; however, he swung his arm out gesturing for my silence. I looked back at Father’s arm, which was spread out before me; it was then when I noticed that his thumb and two of his fingers were being held out.
“On the count of three, we run.” He said as sweat rolled down his face. No one was questioning what he was seeing, we all trusted him and his judgement. We all watched carefully as one finger was brought down, then another. As each one returned to being huddled up to the palm of his band, we braced ourselves. Then, when his fist became clenched, Father ran out of the room, leading the rest of us out.
It was after we left Daisy’s apartment when we saw what we had heard just now - surrounding apartments were in flames and residents were all scrambling for the stairs, not even taking care to avoid stepping on those that had fallen to the bullets. We were all repulsed at the unimaginable horror we were made to witness. Father tried unsuccessfully to shield my eyes, as Mother did with Daisy as soon as we saw a figure at the far end of the corridor - dressed as though it was a soldier. It flung its arm out high, having thrown something into the air. The next few seconds seemed to drag on for hours, as Daisy pushed through my parents, perhaps being controlled by Kennedy, as each strand of hair on her body rose up and hardened, turning a pure white, resembling a spiked armour. The girl’s arms were spread out wide in front of us, trying to shield us.
It was then when the explosion tore through the building and the floor caved in.
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