A to Z Challenge 2013

Friday, June 26, 2009

A Small Excerpt

Since I had a burst of inspiration this morning, I'm going to post a small excerpt of a story I've been working on for some time. If you look back through some of my earlier posts (or you've been reading all along), you may recognize the character Kris. This is first draft stuff, so please keep that in mind. I like the way the story is going however, so I thought I'd share.

Mara sat across from him once more, her legs hidden beneath the pale robe. Her emerald eyes were hidden behind closed lids while her ruby lips tightened.

“Will you at least try to concentrate?” He jolted out of his examination of her with a sheepish grin.

“Sorry.” She pretended not to notice the flush that filled his face.

“Kris, you cannot perform your duties if you don’t know where these rifts are going to appear. You have to concentrate.” Her eyes were now open, boring into him with their usual fire.

“I don’t even know what it is I’m really doing. How about a better explanation than that last metaphysical crap you tried to throw my way?” The last few weeks had been filled with endless sessions of them sitting across from one another. He was supposed to be learning to control himself, put up walls around his mind to keep her out. He didn’t know why he needed to keep everything out, but she insisted on it, so he kept trying. Mara was too powerful however, and she would cut through his flimsy barriers like paper.

“We’ve been over this. You must begin with a thread, weave it around your thoughts until it becomes a blanket of steel.”

“I’m not a seamstress, Mara.” It came out harsher than he intended. “I’m sorry, but you’re too powerful. And what does all this have to do with black furry nightmares and holes in the universe anyway?” Kris jumped up and stalked outside, his frustration with himself boiling over. The whole thing made no sense, and Mara was holding back something important. He didn’t know what it was, but there were too many gaps in her explanations.

Her light touch on the back of his arm made him jump. “Do you think knowing everything all at once will teach you control?” Her voice was quiet, soothing his anger as if by magic.

“No Mara. I know what you’re trying to teach me is important. I get that. But if we’re running out of time, don’t you think you ought to tell me what’s coming down the pipe? And why do you go stare at those poles every morning? Why do I feel lines of power crisscrossing all over this place?” He turned to look down at her, his blue eyes demanding an answer.

Mara looked him over, searching for something in his face. “You are not ready, but I can see I have no choice.” She grasped his arm and led him to a nearby pole, unintelligible markings running down its length. “You do not know this language.” Not waiting for confirmation, she began to trace the characters with an index finger. “These markings are written in the tongue of the Kazak’Tun. The beast that attacked us was one of their minions. These poles are here for our protection, and these words prohibit any intrusions.”

She turned to face him, arms outstretched in front of her. “The ley lines you feel beneath your feet form a net I learned to craft very long ago, and they tie the poles together. It is a prison, Kris, designed to keep us safely inside.” Her eyes hardened to steel as she told him, “You cannot pass these borders Kris – not until I decide you are ready.”

The implications quickly sunk in, and Kris could feel his anger igniting. “Lady, I agreed to come with you because you were supposed to be teaching me something, not making me a prisoner. You ain’t turning me into some hermit so I can end up like you, hiding from the world behind invisible bars.”

“I’m protecting the world from you, boy. I’m protecting you from yourself. You have power beyond imagining, but you can’t control any of it. If that means I have to chain you inside a tiny box, you better believe I will do so.” The fire in her voice was echoed in her eyes. “And the Kazak’Tun will not stop their attempts to break through the rifts, so cease your childish tantrums. We do not have time for this.”

Kris watched her walk away, her stride quick and full of fury. Damn her. He had trusted her, and look where it got him. He didn’t care if she did know things. Nobody was gonna cage him up. He turned on his heel and strode purposefully towards the strangely marked pole. He was going to walk right out of here, and there was nothing that little lady could do about it.

Steeling himself, he built a wall of invisible force around himself. The hum of its power vibrated along his bones with aching familiarity. With effort, he took a step towards the border.

“Kris, don’t move!” Mara came running back out of the hut, terror in her voice.

“Adios, Master Yoda”, he grinned at her. “Don’t wait up.” As he took a step, time slowed to a crawl. Lightning raced through his body, every nerve firing in agonizing pain. His skull was ablaze, a migraine of catastrophic proportions. He barely noticed the familiar dance along his spine as the rift opened before him. Silver tipped claws shot out from behind the purple curtain and grasped his shoulders, pulling him violently forward into the gaping maw. Mara’s scream was the last thing Kris heard before the rift closed tightly behind him.


Jamie D. said...

Wow! Interesting excerpt, great cliffhanger.

*(mutters under breath while trying not to beg for next part...)

Andrea Cremer said...

Very nice, Eric. I'm intrigued by the story!

wordver: nessness - Locals' pet name for the Loch Ness monster

Glynis said...

Powerful work, gosh and it is the first draft too!

Kori said...

Very interesting excerpt. I don't know if it's just me, and my natural inclination to edit (other people's things; editing my own work is like pulling teeth out of a hippo) or if it's just blazingly obvious that this is a first draft, but I definitely saw places where the wording was a little rough, or could be changed slightly to be better. Still, that's what first drafts are for.

Eric said...

Jamie - hmmm, maybe I'll have to give you most later. I'd hate to be responsible for begging :)

Andrea - Thank you. This has been an interesting journey for me, because the story is very much writing itself.

Glynis - Wow, thank you very much. Hopefully the final draft will elicit as much praise.

Kori - It's probably blazingly obvious this is a first draft. That's okay though if you feel the editor in you creeping forward. I do it all the time.