Friday, July 27, 2007

It's the little highs that sustain me

Guess what?

I'm alone, ALONE, I tell you, in my office. I'm at my computer, and I've been writing for a whole hour. I've finished a scene, at least the first draft of it, and I'm feeling good. And hey, I've earned it.

I have a talk-to-me face. I know I do, because people really do talk to me. Take today, for instance. I know about a father's cholesterol and leg difficulties. I know about a pregnancy scare. I know about a girl in Texas who has come through her surgery all right. I know about a private little beach someone found in our neighborhood. A malignant tumor, gone now, thank heavens, and aren't epidurals wonderful. (Yes!) $100 worth of impatiens that drowned in all that rain back in June. And it's what, 2 o'clock?

Edited at 2:40 to add:
I now have the Complete Scoop on the relationship between sleep apnea and high blood pressure. Apparently, there's a machine that hooks to oxygen tubes that go up your nose. It costs $1800, but insurance covers it. It's a noisy machine, and you might need a chin strap to keep your mouth closed.

I don't work in a hospital. For Chrissakes, I work in a computer shop.

I can see I'm going to have to work on my "I Like You, But I'd Rather Be Writing" expression.

Just for fun, and because I've never posted my writing yet, here's my scene. Is the hocus-pocus stuff tiresome? It's our first scene with this character.

From THE WITCH OF BADENOCH, copyright Cindy D, 2007

Gwynnedd drifted reluctantly back to herself, condensing slowly out of the ether, back into the warm dimensions of her waiting body. The plodding beat of her heart, the restricting rhythm of her breathing were at first strange to her, and her soul fluttered in panic and dismay. It took a few moments' deep concentration to will it back into the confines of her flesh. Gradually, she became accustomed, aware of the soft evening breeze on her hair, the light twittering of the birds in the forest canopy above, and the ache in her hips from sitting too long. Only when she could feel the shapes of her fingertips resting on her knees did she open her eyes.

The setting sun cast fire on the pool before her and she blinked, stretching. Her body was stiff, but her spirit was refreshed, renewed. She stripped off her clothes and waded into the cool, glittering water, whispering the words of a prayer to the Goddess as she bathed her long, pale body.

The sun was nearly set when she left the shelter of the forest, walking alone up the long slope to where the walls of Glamorgan Castle reared, glowing on the summit of the hill. The traffic that normally flowed to and from its main gate was mostly absent at this time of day, there were only a few people on foot headed toward the village, and a man with a handcart crossing beneath the ramparts.

Nobody spoke to her as she passed through the bailey into the great hall, and from there into the corridor beyond. The few people she met on the narrow, winding stair quickly cast their eyes away and shrank against the stones to let her pass. At the top, up where only servants and children dwelt, she followed the corridor to the west until it ended amidst chill and cobwebs, dusty things abandoned, and a faint whiff of decay.

She had disturbed the darkness with her passing and it spun slowly around her as she paused, curling damp musty fingers around her neck and shoulders. The recess before her was invisible without a light, less than the width of a man, set into an angle of the wall near a chimney. Only when she was certain there was nobody near did she slip through, silent feet finding each of the thirteen narrow steps that led to her room beneath the eaves.

Closing the door behind her and shedding her clothing again, she bent to build a fire in her tiny brazier. She rummaged in her kist, nimble fingers plucking up the things she would need. Sage, pennyroyal, a small tub of death-scented grease, and the powdered bark of an elm tree. Mixing the herbs, bark and grease into a paste with her fingers, she sank down before the fire, closing her eyes and filling her lungs with air.

Something was afoot. She could feel a displacement in the balance of power; it was drawn outward, stretched thinner. New forms were shifting, waking, just outside of her perception. Waiting, breathing, it came to her that there would be both an opportunity, and an adversary, though she knew not what, or who. Yet.

Tonight, she would perform the ritual to heighten her ability, to ready herself for the Coming.

The grease hissed over the fire, melting almost instantly. She pressed three fingers of each hand into the hot, fragrant oil, and made the sacred gestures, touching them to her temples, lips, the bottoms of her breasts, and between her legs. Turning toward where the rising moon was framed in her tiny window, she supplicated once, twice, three times. Then she dressed in fresh clothing and went to find the last thing she needed to complete the rite.

The stables were located at the back of the castle, built into the wall just inside the eastern gate. It was full night now, and nobody saw Gwynnedd where she paused in the deeper shadow cast by a towering woodpile. A curious piglet nosed about in the straw by her foot and she pushed it away with a soft hiss, careful not to make it squeal.

Across from her, the open half-doors of the horses' stalls were only just visible, but in a nearby room above an open window glowed. From it tumbled the rowdy laughter and jovial cursing of men at drink and cards. Once in a while, one of them would come down to piss, and she would lean out, hopeful, only to withdraw with a pout. Only one man would do, and it was nearly midnight before she saw him.

He paused at the bottom of the stair, blocking out the light with his height and broad shoulders. Gwynnedd whispered a spell and stepped out into the open.

He saw her immediately, with her blonde hair and light gown she would be an easy mark. He crossed toward her.

His voice came out of the darkness like a caress on her skin as the hulking shape of him drew near. "Can I be helpin' ye, Miss? Ye shouldna be aboot, the lads are deep in their cups, the night." He glanced over his shoulder to where the card game continued without him.

"Just taking the air," Gwynnedd replied. She saw him hesitate and stepped around him, trailing a fingertip as quick as lightning along the curve of his ribs. His expression was lost to the shadows, but she could feel his heat, and smell the sharp tang of his surprise mingling with the whisky on his breath. "Too bad I don't have an escort. You never know what harm might come to a girl, all alone out here at night." Coming round to the front of him again, she pressed close, smiling, and pressed her palm to the front of his breeks.

"Um," he said, stepping back and catching her by the wrist. He cleared his throat. "Where are your rooms, Miss, and I'll see ye safely there."

"No. I want you. I've been waiting."

For just a moment he hesitated, and she laughed softly. Rising on her toes, she wrapped one arm around his neck and whispered against his throat.

"Come with me to the forest. Now." Again, her hand closed over him, and he groaned softly. Her voice was silky moonlight. "Ye willna regret it, I promise."


Carol A Spradling said...

Hi Cindy,
Isn't it nice when you get time at work? My boss left early today, but I didn't have my power cord with me. Oh, well.

You have a face that makes people want to open up to you? Lucky you. I always get asked why I'm angry. Not fun.

This is the first snip of yours I've read. What a hook to leave us on! Nicely done.

Cindy said...

Thanks, Carol!

Work time is about all I get with two little ones at home. (G)

Too bad about the power cord, better luck next week!

Susan Adrian said...


Very nice snip! Not too much hocus-pocus at all. :)

Cindy said...

Hi Suze:

Thanks! I think it still needs a few things, the setting could be more in focus, and I could extend the play between them for better character development.

Looking forward to hearing more about Jenna!

Anonymous said...

Ok, I'm way far away... right? Which means that anything I say is honest and truthful, and I'm not blowing smoke.

I have to tell you that that gave me goosebumps. The first and second paragraphs... Wow... Well done :)

Anonymous said...

See, this is why you don't write comments at 1am... The whole piece is wonderful. I recieved the goosebumps after reading the first and second paragraphs... just to clarify.