It's been a hard-fought week, for some reason... I'm currently behind on my word count--but I'm hoping to find my stride soon! Enjoy a couple excerpts that I've written so far!
Excerpt From THE LAST INKWEAVER
The Pit was exactly that, a wide hole in the ground about as wide across as one of the Academy lecture halls. Worry, confusion, and my mind's absolute refusal to acknowledge our current predicament drove me into a frenzy. I paced back and forth across the small patch of open ground we occupied. When I collided with a wall, I would reach as high as I could, digging my fingers into the hardened clay and kicking the toes of my boots against it for a foothold.
"Callista," Matthias cautioned, "calm down!"
"I can't calm down!" I snarled at him, pacing to the far wall and trying again. I could see a sort of walkway dug into the side, barely wide enough to walk on and definitely leading at least halfway up to the top... but how could I reach it? I kept rambling as I wandered around, probably searching for an access point to the walkway. "It's a Pit, Matthias! We are in a Pit, and the only way out is farther than any of us can reach!" I stopped clambering and turned to jab a finger at him. "All because you can't help yourself when it comes to damsels in distress!"
I heard whispering, murmuring voices. From somewhere in the shadows on the other side of the pit, people seemed to emerge out of the walls. Most of them were old and frail, and none of them looked very well nourished or clean.
Matthias caught my shoulder as if he was afraid I would take off again. "My fault?" He demanded. "You're the one who's been acting strangely this whole time! I've felt like there was something you've been hiding from me ever since we left the forest where you found me?"
"And if I hadn't," I retorted, yanking my arm out of his grasp, "You'd be dead, strangled and smothered by blackrope by now! But are you grateful?" I let out a bitter chuckle. "Not even a little! You're right, you don't know everything about this journey, but that hasn't stopped you from trying to take charge, now has it? First the sword, then Morgianna, now Ronni--you just don't know when to stop, do you?"
"Callista..." whispered a gentle voice beside me. I looked over at Rowinna, and she handed a bundle of dirty cloth to me: the satchel that Ronni had called useless and empty. I heard the hissing whisper of a few words issuing form the Tapestry's Tale--but what good would they do for us now? We weren't free to go anywhere of our own volition.
The other prisoners of the Pit drew closer around us. I could hear them asking questions like "Is she all right?" and "What is the problem?" and I saw the pity in their glassy eyes as they stared right at me. The heavy weight in my chest returned, making it difficult to draw a breath. Amazingly, my body seemed to find moisture yet through which to vent my raging emotions, and the tears resurfaced, clouding my vision. I sagged heavily against the wall of the pit, holding the satchel in both arms.
"We're dead... This is it," I whimpered, "we're all done for."
Excerpt from THE SHERIFF'S SHOWDOWN
In the list of everything I ever wanted to do in my life, even just the once, for the sake of "experiential writing research", walk through a desert in the blazing sun alone dressed in nothing but a synthetic jumpsuit did not even show up anywhere at all. And yet, thanks to a quirky typewriter, an impossible challenge, and goodness knows what other substance I may or may not have ingested to bring me here--this is exactly where I found myself in this moment.
The thing that irritated me most was the fact that there didn't seem to be any trees or means of actual shade under the clear blue sky and the blazing sun. My only relief came from the fact that the futuristic jumpsuit from the Phantessan space ship possessed some kind of super-wicking ability, evaporating any moisture on contact, so that even my sweat didn't cause any problems. Of course, I still lost those copious amounts of moisture, so I felt the dehydration settle over me at a much faster rate. The bright sunlight reflecting off the pale sand didn't help the dizzy factor, either. I kept my eyes down, watching my shadow as I shambled over the ground. Gradually, I came to more or less of a flat, packed surface, instead of loose gravel and soil, and the track seemed to follow more of a direction, like a road rather than just open scrubland.
I walked until my legs began to feel heavy, and still, I was the only thing in the desert that moved. To avoid getting caught up in my own misery, I did the unthinkable: I let my mind wander as I walked in this foreign location.
The last two adventures I'd experienced had been places I distinctly remembered starting to write about, and abandoning not long after. What, then, could this be? I didn't recall ever writing about a barren desert. I hated this feeling of overheating, of alone-ness. Certainly I would never inflict it upon my characters. Whenever I wrote a story, I would always start it with the people who lived there--so what was the point of having so much empty space in this place?
"It just doesn't make sense!" I said aloud. What did anyone care? I didn't, and besides, thinking my thoughts while dehydrated caused them to stop in the middle or twist in strange and obscure directions while I was still trying to think them. Speaking the words out loud helped me keep them in order.
"I've been walking far enough," I said through cracked lips, my voice croaking out of a dry throat. I looked back over my shoulder. "I can't even see the Phantessan ship anymore. This world is just too big!" My wandering eyes caught something, a slight change in the road I followed: long, deep, cracked furrows running parallel to each other, spanning just wider than the reach of my arms.
"Wagon ruts!" I identified them out loud. "Now there's something that fits! Where there are wagon ruts, there are wagons, and where there are wagons, there are people, and where there are people, there's a town!" I shuffled down the road with renewed (if still very much depleted) energy.