The Lil Gods and the Rise of the Giants

Lieutenant Abner stood somberly in front of the kids for a good moment. “Children of Argos, listen carefully,” he said, breaking his silence. “By some miracle in heaven, you’ve escaped that dreadful explosion alive, and for that we’re eternally grateful. However, you should know that your so-called Winter Wars have opened the door to an infiltrator who wished to inflict grave harm upon us today. Our laws exist to protect us from the enemy. Yet, today our security was breached by someone among us. It pains me to say this but one of you is a traitor.”

“What? Who could it be?” the children murmured among themselves.

The lieutenant signaled his corporal, Vorenus, to take charge.

“Everyone form a straight line,” said Vorenus. “Now stretch both palms wide open—and don’t move unless you’re told.”

Vorenus opened his hand and white dust drifted out and passed over each boys’ and girls’ hands, but settled abruptly on the palms of one very young boy whose face was still pitch black from the smoke of the blast. His name was Simon.

Simon was a small, scrawny boy with dark, ruffled hair and heavy eyes that gave the impression that he hadn’t had much sleep in days.

Lieutenant Abner marched directly toward Simon. “Your name, age—and why can’t you stand up straight like the others?”

“I’m Simon of Argos, thirteen, Sir. Um…it’s my left leg…I can’t stand on it too long without my cane.” Simon tried to stand upright but his leg failed him each time.
“Obviously, but why hasn’t it healed?” said Lieutenant Abner, gawking at Simon as though he were a contagious disease.

“He was born that way,” said Gadi. “They’ve tried to heal him but—”

“Silence!” roared Lieutenant Abner. He unsheathed his sword and pointed it between Gadi’s eyes, which had become crossed-sided. “You will address me as Lieutenant or Sir and will speak only when spoken to. Is that clear, boy?”

Gadi’s round face froze as stiff as an icicle, and he dared not utter another word.

“Now would be a good time to speak, boy,” said the lieutenant, shaking his head.
“Ye…ye…yes, Sir. Sorry…Sir,” said Gadi. But Lieutenant Abner’s sword remained drawn, nudging the tip of Gadi’s pink nose.

“Lieutenant Abner, Sir—?” said Simon, cautiously. “Please excuse my friend’s poor manners. I assure you he meant nothing by it. A few minutes ago, we thought we might not make it out alive from that bottomless pit. I’m sure his brain is just now catching up to him.”

“I loathe small boys with big mouths,” groaned Lieutenant Abner, finally lowering his sword.

Gadi breathed a sigh of relief.

“Simon of Argos,” said the lieutenant, “our test revealed that your hands are covered with radioactivity—extremely harmful energy—capable of unspeakable destruction. When did you decide to betray your own kind?”

Simon felt weak at the knees and wished that the explosion had swallowed him up alive rather than face Lieutenant Abner’s fury.

“But I’ve done nothing—”

“Silence! arrest him at once!” he commanded.

“What about his friend, with the big mouth, Sir?” asked Vorenus, while dragging iron shackles out of his chariot.

“He looks rather suspicious, doesn’t he? Place him in custody, too.”

So off went Simon and Gadi, taken away to a secluded area behind a large boulder, their hands and feet bound.

Simon could hear his mom’s voice nagging him inside his mind, and the mere thought of it made his head spin. Even if I ever got out of prison—she’d ground me for life anyway—so what’s the use, he thought.

But he had forgotten all about his mom when he and Gadi witnessed something that made their jaws drop. A soldier drew his sword and tapped on a giant boulder next to them. It fractured in half from top to bottom. Green fire shot up from its core, melting the large stone and morphing it into a fortress with four white pillars in front and two giant doors that seemed impenetrable, torches burning on each side of the building.

“Epic,” said Simon and Gadi.

The two towering doors opened in front of the boys and the guard. They walked inside toward the west side of the fortress, crossing a long, narrow hallway until they got to a large bolted door with heavy locks on each side. The soldier reached for his sword again and tapped on the door; one by one, its locks unlatched, and each time Simon and Gadi winced at the deafening noise. When the door opened, the floor shaped into an underground stairway, Simon and Gadi’s eyes wooed in dismay.

“What’s the matter with you two?” said the soldier. “Never seen code breaking before?”

“Just the soldiers at the summer carnivals,” said Simon.

“The best shows ever,” said Gadi. “They’d move all sorts of things without touching them, and once they even turned a lizard into a giant three-headed dragon.”

“Then why the dumb look on your faces?” asked the soldier.

The boys shrugged their shoulders.

“Do your kids like code breaking?” Simon asked the soldier.

“That’s all they talk about, and with that same dumb look on their faces.”

The soldier carried a torch, leading Simon and Gadi through a steep stairway to an underground dungeon inside the fortress, and slammed the cell door on them as soon as they walked inside.

“It’s freezing cold in here,” said Gadi. “Do you have blankets?”

“Blankets?” said the soldier, sniggering as he climbed up the curved stairway.

“Wait,” yelled Simon.

The soldier halted.

Simon pulled a quill pen from under his belt and jotted a brief note on a small scroll and stretched his hand outside the cell bars.

“Please give this to Lieutenant Abner…please.”

The soldier walked back to the cell out of mere curiosity.

“And why would I do such a thing?” he said.

Gadi shrugged his shoulders at the soldier, looking just as befuddled.

9 thoughts on “The Lil Gods and the Rise of the Giants

  1. Manolo Guillen says:

    Hey everyone, I’m not sure if it was an oversight on my part or a glitch in the system but my submission was incomplete. Below is how the scene ends for those who wish to finish reading it. Thanks for your feedback!

    • Ellen_Brock says:

      I deleted the additional text provided in your comment. Only the first 1,000 words are allowed in this workshop so I edited your submission to the appropriate word count to keep it fair for everyone participating. Thanks!

  2. Blake says:

    More questions than answers are given. What are Winter Wars? What explosion? Where is this all taking place? etc. The kid being accused of betraying his own kind (as well as his friend) seem to be taking the possibility of life in prison way too serenely. I’m not sure if that is simply part of their personality, but either way it was a bit confusing. Perhaps you should start the story before this event and slowly explain the world, as well as introduce the main characters.

  3. Matt says:

    There is a lot of action here. A lot. I’m honestly not sure where they are or why they are there or what anyone is doing besides the two boys being arrested for sabotage. I think it’s good to leave the reader questioning what’s going on but I would like a little more info about the scene and the background. Maybe through dialogue between the kids or guards making jokes about the kids. Could also have the lieutenant provide more context. Something more is needed to provide a compass so the reader can get bearings. It sounds like these boys are in for a fast paced ride. MG’s will love that

  4. Flavia says:

    I liked the fast pace and the detailed descriptions. I believe this plot has a lot of potential for middle grade, but first you need to clear some information to the reader. I agree with the previous comment that a better dialogue could improve the chapter and give the reader more answers.

  5. flavialabre says:

    I liked it a lot, it’s fast paced and has very delailed descriptions. Perfect for middle grade. I just think that you could improve dialogue, to answer some important questions. For example, where does it take place?

  6. Bjorn Schievers says:

    It’s cool that paragraph one immediately tells us there’s a traitor. So we know this is a whodunnit. It’s also interesting they may have the wrong boys in custody. This flows very nicely and it was easy to read.

    The Winter Wars seem very important in your world, but you don’t explain what they are at all. The time and setting are not entirely clear either. Are we in Ancient Greece? I feel like I’m not getting a proper context to understand things in your opening. I agree with Blake that the boys seems to take their sentence rather lightly, shouldn’t they be kicking and screaming?

    Overall this is a fun read and I’d really like to find out if Simon had anything to do with it. And what’s the message at the end? 🙂

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