Monday, February 20, 2017
#SonofaPitch: Query #7: Playing God
We're Team Hera! Because here on Balancing Act, we're both bad-ass and warm and nurturing, and we'll fight to bring out the best in our crew, um, team. :-)
You can check out other teams on the other hosting blogs: Elsie Elmore (Team Droids), Elizabeth Roderick (Team Leia), Kathleen Ann Palm (Team Darkside), Rena Rocford (Team Rebels), and of course, our organizer and Grand Poobah, Katie Hamstead Teller.
Title: PLAYING GOD
Category and Genre: Adult, Contemporary Fantasy
Word Count: 106,000
Sworn off family in-fighting and rivalries, Apollo has spent the last decade in Portland, Maine, incarnated as research scientist Dr. Paul Archer. Family’s not the only thing Apollo’s sworn off — he’s also done with women (of the mortal ilk), and most of all, Pantheon, a chess-like game the gods play with human lives. So when Venus drops by unannounced, demanding that Apollo repay a debt dating back to the Trojan War by helping her pull off a move in the game, Apollo’s intention is to execute the move, wipe the slate clean, and get right back to work in the lab.
What Apollo doesn’t expect is how this game and its pawn, college senior Theresa DiPaulo, revive his long-buried feelings of guilt and failure stemming from his mother's deicide at the hands of his stepmother. Nor does he expect how compelled he feels to intervene to save Theresa from the same fate. As the game unfolds, and the parallels to that long-ago round of Pantheon mount up, Apollo gets sucked deeper and deeper in, until he can no longer run from the intrafamilial conflict he left behind when he abdicated Olympus and took refuge DownEast. Apollo’s got a plan — if only Theresa would open up and let him in, if only she’d stop trying to protect him, if only she loved him back, pulling it off would be so much easier.
First 250 Words:
“Hold still.” I closed my eyes and, my hands flat on the bare skin of the boy’s chest, forced a surge of energy into him, feeling it spread through his frail body with the beats of his heart. My strength gushed out of me, like I’d cut a major blood vessel. A minute later, when I opened my eyes, my head swam and my legs shook.
The kid was staring at me. I withdrew my hands, and disconnected the IV. Then I sat on the foot of the gurney, fighting the tunnel vision and nausea.
The door opened. The jingle of bracelets told me it was my assistant Demetria. She pressed a Gatorade into my hand and passed another to the boy. I heard the boy’s gulps. I couldn’t open mine, my fingers too weak to grip the cap and twist. Demetria extended her hand for the bottle, and opened it with the same cruel matter-of-factness with which she’d snap the neck of a lab rat.
“Good thing for Connor his parents had him transported here, instead of Maine Med.” Her dry tone belied her words. The boy would have died at the hospital. In surviving to five, he’d already beaten the odds. Demetria wasn’t happy that the boy was still alive. No, that was harsh. She wasn’t happy that I’d brought him back from the edge. It was an important distinction.
I took a couple sips of Gatorade and pressed the damp bottle to my cheek.