Saturday, 30 March 2013

Fiction Extract


And this is a more serious extract, again from Christabel. 

Breath. Life-giving, end-of-life fearing, ragged breath. The only sound that filled her ears as she crouched in the undergrowth, poised for flight. The only sound. But she knew from the shift in the silence that she was not alone. The breath leaving her body froze the instant it touched the air, like an eerie portent of a soul breaking free from its mortal prison. Not that she'd been in time to see this. Their souls were long at peace by the time she'd got back. No, not at peace. Their glassy stares and twisted expressions of pain and fear belied that. What soul could rest in peace once it had seen...

Movement. Before her senses could even acknowledge it, it was over. The thrown blade cut through the air in perfect kilter with the line of the horizon as the sun rose deep crimson, so that she never even saw it. But she felt it. Looking down, she almost lazily pulled her now scarlet hand away from her chest. Drops of scarlet pattered silently to white earth, glowing, the only form of colour against the snow covered landscape and the gray trees. The flow increased, the first few drops of rain giving way to the thunderstorm in summer. The blood was pouring now, her eyes rolled this way and that, frantic to catch sight of her attacker, desperate to intercept him before he...

Struck. A heavy blow caught her on the chin and she was down. She couldn't move at all now as the silent world became loud with the pounding in her head and her heart. How strange that her heart should pound so loud, right when it was about to cease from pounding all together. She didn't have this thought though. As the blood from her temple streamed down to mingle with the rest in the snow, she could think only one thing. She was not done. She needed to finish this. Raising her face with a dying man' s effort, every muscle trembling as its life source drained from it, finally she met the gaze of her attacker. The gaze of the being that had instilled those grotesque, transfixed affectations of horror on everyone she's known. And she smiled. A twisted little curve in the corner of her mouth that said one thing. I'm coming for you. I may be going now, but live in fear, wait for me, know this, one day I'll be...

Awakened. By what. A dream. No, the dream. Always the same one, though how she knew it was the same was beyond her, because she could never recall its words, its details, its events. Except the striking image of red on white. Blood on snow. She stretched the sleep away. There was no snow here. This was a land of sand, and heat, and, right now, drought. She reached out to pick up the empty water vessels as her muscles readied themselves for the ache of another day. With the uneasy feeling the dream always left still upon her, she walked backwards out of the hut, feeling almost like she had forgotten something...

'Duck!' A child's wooden frisbee whizzed past, missing her by inches. Her sharp intake of breath turned to the laughter of relief as one of the boys raced after it, his muttered apology flying back to her in the wake of his dash. Tolos, the man attached to the warning cry, followed swiftly after him, but gave it up as a bad job when he reached her, and, deciding his curses were quicker, sent them after the boy instead. 'I'm sorry my love, I've told him a thousand times...'

Silenced. But by her smile, not her words. He stood there with the punch-drunk look of a man in love. She smiled wider. 'Boys have to get rid of their energy somehow. At least he’s sticking to the new restrictions. It’s hard on them, now they've got nowhere to play.' She stopped talking, as his unchanged look of heady intoxication belied the fact he wasn't hearing a word. 'Are we still meeting for dinner later?'

'Dinner? Yes. Of course.' She smiled again and pushed past him playfully, as she went to start her work. Life was fine right now. She could hardly complain. There was always the threat of hunger and thirst but that was nothing new. Tolos was a new development and he was utterly devoted to her. Someone like him was all she could have hoped for. But the remnants of the dream tugged at her mind, and rather than fading, they expanded, like bread in a puddle, soaking up her thoughts, throwing her into a dull panic. Always the same dream. Always the same day following it, a day of sick unease. But everything was normal, better than normal even. Good. Then why should she feel this way. Why did she feel so...

Haunted.