Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tough Act to Follow

So, for the last two weeks I have been wracking my brain trying to figure out what was going to happen when the Rube Goldberg project came to it's spectacular yet humane end. Now that I had set my reader's expectation so high, how was I possibly going to maintain that level of masterful suspense and excellence in programming?
I'll let you know just as soon as I figure it out. In the meantime, our month of literary abandon is more than half over and it has not been so much a question of literary abandon as it has been one of the abandonment of all else. Cooking, laundry and vacuuming top the list.
Now that I have passed the 50k milestone and come up for air, I am noticing the swirling vortex of cat hair by the stairs and the ever growing stack of empty pot pie tins in the kitchen. My family needs me.
So, if for the next couple of weeks there is nothing but snow on this particular blog channel, it's because I am trying to reclaim the house before the health department steps in.

But first, for your reading pleasure (*snicker*), I give you the opening scene to my new book, Stone Song:

The village of Bascom lay in a valley between the foothills of the great mountain range of Gneiss and the sand hills that marked the beginning of the wasteland of the Arkosian desert. Except for the occasional mischief cause by wandering packs of wild dogs or a neighbor’s wandering cow, all was peaceful. The climate allowed for year round crops and gardening. Six Festivals that spread across the seasons marked the times when all of the surrounding communities gathered in fellowship and celebration. After work was completed for the day, evenings were spent with family and friends, in song and reading and laughter. Quiet and comfort had been a way of life for generations. One summer night all of that changed.

That night fire rained down from the night sky. In moments the peaceful rhythm of the community erupted into chaos as sleeping villagers woke to terror. Some of them fled while others sought out loved ones and neighbors. As the stars poured down upon them, some of the young people stumbled into the town square. Their eyes followed the flames that streaked across the heavens and in unison they had chosen to investigate.

Rutile and Corundine had gone back to gather torches and lanterns while Breccian and Chert had helped the girls Argenta and Niccoli through the darkness to first hill. When Rutile and Corundine caught up with them they had run together over the hills and out into the sands on the edge of the Arkosian. Behind them, the villagers struggled to put out flames and bind wounds as the star storm slowed. The six stumbled out into the dunes, some of the burning rubble falling very close to them. They reached a large crater formed by the falling debris. Flames still burned hot around the rim of the crater and the sand had fused together in charred masses.

As they explored, one last meteorite crashed into the sand near Breccian. The others looked on frozen in horror as the young man was engulfed in a cloud of steam and light. The air glittered with vaporized particles of sand and Breccian’s screams carried across the dunes. Rutile snapped to his senses first and shouted for the others to help. He jumped forward and snatched Breccian from the smoke by his arm. The young man’s appearance made them step back, afraid to touch him. Most of his clothing was black and had melted to his skin, which was covered with streaks of soot and blood. Exploding pieces of stone had gashed him in several places and smaller rocks were embedded in his flesh. Blood trickled from his ears, eyes and nose. More shocking, however, was the glow, as from hot coals that came from each of his joints.

The young man’s shrieks slowly died off and he lay on his back in the sand writhing in pain. The air in his lungs felt like flames and he struggled to breathe. Each gasp of breath drew more of the sand filled steam into his lungs and he could feel it spreading throughout his body like white hot needles. The pain surged over him like a flood and he finally surrendered to the rising tide. Just before the light fled completely from his eyes, Breccian thought he saw a swarm of glowing creatures fly off into the darkness of the desert. Unconsciousness descended.

It was then decided that Chert and Niccoli would stay and watch over Breccian while the other three returned to the village to get help. Expecting it to be some time before help reached them, Chert took the first watch and let Niccoli rest in the shelter of some scrub trees a little distance from the craters. After several hours, he came to wake her. When she arrived at the spot where Breccian had been lying, he was nowhere to be found. The two of them searched until Rutile returned with some of the men from the village. Hoping to find him still alive, the search continued for several days.

The rescuers eventually returned from the Arkosian empty handed. Bascom grieved their losses and began to rebuild. Crops were replanted. The first of the Festivals was celebrated among cottages still under repair. Life moved forward. Quiet returned.

And thirty years passed....

1 comment:

  1. Thus the naked, starving writer leaves her devoted readers choking in house dust . . . well, cat dander . . . for 30 years.

    It's okay.



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