These are the first 433 words of my novel, The Good Fight, a dystopian novel set in an apocalyptic future that reflects our own time. The story introduces Lyons, a town bisected by a contaminated River, home to a people numb to its endless participation in a faceless war, and peaceful – at the surface. The townspeople put no faith in their future and have no past. Sam, an illiterate prizefighter, lives here with his brother Rigo and his sister-in-law Camila. These first words depict a flashback, where Sam recalls the root of self-awareness and the end of childhood.
Rigo made a crown of Lyon’s Mane, those little golden flowers that grew beside and despite the River, in its provision and its poison.
He tied it together, flower to stem, in a circlet to grace his head. In the breeze, the leaves stiffened like thorns, and each blossom trembled, catching the light. Sam, too young to understand its importance but captivated nonetheless by its beauty, watched his brother with great pleasure.
It was a hot spring day at the cusp of another tournament, and the boys were sun-kissed, drenched with the static and warmth of the town’s excitement.
Swirling spring dust tickled Rigo’s nose, and he sneezed mightily, explosively. He laughed at his own performance, unabashed but startled by his own strength.
Where the knots were weak, the crown came apart and crumbled at his feet. A few strands landed in his sticky hands. He laughed more, howling with all of his boyish might and throwing his face sunward. Sam grabbed the tail of that good sound, echoing and mimicking his brother’s bliss.
Rigo put the crown together again, carefully retying each knot before he set it back on his head. It was more beautiful and more real than before. Though some of…