Nothing particularly moved me today, but instead I'm going to do something I should have done years ago. Here's a free snippet from my novelization of Earthbound. I've mentioned it a decent amount lately, so why not give a free taste to see if you'd like to take the plunge?
This is a section from the opening chapter:
Ness started to walk back to town. He knew Frank. Not personally, but he knew who he was. He was the leader of the Sharks, and Ness had been shaken down a few times by those punks. He knew they pretty well ran the arcade, which is where Ness and many other kids ran into them. They were probably also the reason that the pizza place by the arcade had never opened after they built it. Maybe Ness would check with the mayor first before dealing with Frank. He was in no hurry to deal with the Sharks.
City Hall was right in the middle of town. A few people were walking around. It was a really nice day out. Ness would’ve liked to be walking around without a care, but those days were apparently behind him. Ness went into City Hall, and he could hear a lot of the conversations going on around him. Apparently nobody much cared for the mayor, and nobody seemed to think the mayor liked them very much. Additionally, nobody liked the Sharks very much, but that wasn’t really news. Ness started to head up the steps to the mayor’s office, but was stopped by the secretary. “Excuse me, boy, but nobody is allowed to see the mayor without an appointment, and I don’t have anybody down for right now.”
“I just wanted to see if maybe he would unlock the shack outside of town. The entertainers just want to go home,” Ness pleaded.
“Go up if you want, but I’m not promising anything,” she answered.
Ness did go up the stairs, but was greeted by a policeman. “Hey, nobody is allowed to see the mayor. Turn around now if you don’t want any trouble.”
Ness opened his mouth, but nothing came out. He just turned around and went back down the stairs. “I tried to tell you,” the secretary helpfully added. Ness shot her a glare and went back outside. Plan B, Ness thought. He was going to have to talk to Frank. Ness frowned. He really didn’t want to deal with the Sharks, but if he can’t deal with some local punks, how was he going to deal with Giygas?
Ness headed towards the arcade and, sure enough, had a Shark approach him on a skateboard. “What are you doing, kid?”
“I just need to talk to Frank,” Ness nervously replied.
“I don’t think so,” the Shark replied. He lunged forward at Ness.
Ness surprised himself. He’d been carrying around his bat, and his reflexes were quick. He swung and connected right the side of the skater’s head. There was a thunderous crack, and the punk dropped to the ground like a sack of rocks. He didn’t get back up. Ness then saw the head of his bat lying next to the skater. That explains the crack, Ness told himself, mostly to reassure himself that he didn’t kill the guy. Ness picked up the broken part of his bat when the Shark stirred. He seemed groggy, not real sure of where he was. He held his head and stumbled to his feet. Without a word, he shakily made his way back towards the arcade. Ness wasn’t really sure what to do. He heard some footsteps behind him.
“We saw what you did,” a voice coldly stated.
Ness turned. There were about five Sharks now, a couple on skateboards, a few with hula hoops, and at least one with a pogo stick. And there was Ness, now without a bat.
“Do you want to join the Sharks?” one of the gang asked.
“No, of course not,” Ness responded in a small voice.
“Well, we gave you your chance. And now you don’t have your bat,” another responded. The group jumped Ness, knocking him to the ground. Ness was getting pummeled by the pogo sticks and skateboards and fists and things were starting to go fuzzy.
Ness suddenly felt as if his head had ripped open. A sharp, sharp pain that went from the crown of his skull all the way down his nose and then tore open wide, his eyes could see nothing but a flashing array of colors, like fireworks. Ness closed his eyes to try to soothe the pain, but nothing could dull it. This is it, he thought. They’ve split my skull and I’ve died. Some hero I’ve turned out to be. See, the blows have stopped, everything’s gone silent. My body has had enough.
Ness opened his eyes and, surprisingly, was on his feet outside the arcade. The Sharks were lying all around him, out cold. Breathing, but not moving the slightest bit. Ness looked around, there was nobody or nothing else around. Did he do that? Were the fireworks, well, him? He was badly bruised, but had won the fight with some pretty uneven odds, which put as much spring in his step as his confusion and wounds would allow. He was going to need a new bat. Ness had a plan now. He was going to head home, rest up, and talk to Frank tomorrow. He’d stop by the drugstore on his way back home to pick up a new bat. Hopefully Dad had put enough money in his account for a new one. Ness limped back towards his bed.
He lurched into the drugstore and went to the ATM. He slid his card through the reader and punched in his PIN. The ATM graciously greeted him and asked what he wished to do. First things first, Ness thought. He pushed the “Account Balance” option. The ATM took a moment before spitting out a receipt. $1354, it read. Ness nearly fainted. Thanks, Dad! I’ll put it to good use. He took out $300 for now and was able to buy the nicest bat Onett had to offer.
He exited the shop, the news of his bank account making him even happier and feeling even better. He turned the corner by the burger joint and realized he was very hungry. He hadn’t eaten a thing all day, and between the fighting and walking, was pretty drained. He also noticed there was a mostly untouched and still wrapped burger right on top of the trash. Ness took a quick look around. Nobody was there. Should he?
Ness walked back into his home, and Mom was happy to see him. “Oh, Ness, honey, what happened? Are you okay?”
“Yeah, I’m fine. I just need to rest up a little.” Ness started to make his way up to bed.
“Are you hungry, honey? I can whip up some pasta for you,” Mom almost pleaded with him to eat.
“No, I, uh, grabbed a burger on the way home.”
“Oh, well, okay. I see you got a new bat, too, your dad must have remembered to put some money into your account. Well, go rest up, you’ve got a lot to do I hear.”
Ness started to ask what she’d heard, but then decided better of it. The burger incident need never come up again, and it seemed like he would just tempting fate.
Ness awoke the next morning refreshed. Sore, sure, but he wasn’t too bruised, his head wasn’t throbbing, and he was feeling very confident. He sprung out of bed, grabbed his new bat and trusty backpack, pulled on the good old red hat, and headed back out. One mission today, he thought. See Frank.