Sixth Sample of On the Run
8 August 15
[from the 7th chapter when Pillar is on her way to the Bittermounts to learn more about her mysterious father.]
Pillar groaned as her eyes fluttered open and snapped shut. The Vent had been a big mistake. Her mouth felt like a wad of cat fur. She sucked the insides of her mouth, but no moisture came. The rising sun beat against Pillar’s face through the bus window, but she lacked the energy to move to the aisle side.
Bummer. Only three beers, and I got hangover mouth.
Feeling disgusted with herself, Pillar rested her aching head against the seat back as the bus fumes and swaying bus made her stomach churn. Last night she had pushed by the two packs of kids to sit in the back. Her head threatened to explode every time the bus met a bump in the road. She tightened her eyelids, but the morning light penetrated them with a rosy glow. The bus filled with hushed murmurs as people woke up. Both mothers were shushing kids as they handed out food.
She cracked open her lids. Coral clouds dotted the green-tinted sky, promising a pleasant day. Rolling hills and copses of broad-leafed trees filling the dips speeding by the window. With each waking blink, horror pulsed through her. She had slept through the western mountains and was on the eastern side of the Inner Sea. Pillar groaned. She had missed her transfer point to the Seasedge terminal.
“Well, well. The Sleeping Beauty awakens.” The dry voice across the aisle cackled. “If you hadn’t moaned so much, I’d’ve thought you dead.”
Pillar glared at the gray-haired woman with an elaborate topknot sitting like a hat on her head. A gnarled finger pointed towards her chest as the hag shifted her weight around to face Pillar. A couple curious passengers glanced back but didn’t stare. The woman’s body looked as soft as an over-sized pillow and as welcoming as a grandmother with milk and cookies. Alarms in Pillar’s head went ding, ding, ding. Her eyes blinked slowly as she tried to understand how the friendly woman could threaten her. The woman, with her greenish aura, barely showing on the surface of her skin, felt like a complete null.
The fervent gleam in the woman’s eyes made Pillar feel as vulnerable as a vole with an owl overhead. The woman’s mouth twisted into a half-smile, giving her look of triumph. She licked her lips with a tongue that seemed too long. After a scowl, Pillar crossed her arms across her chest and slunk down to face the window. Her eyes shut against the streaming light.
Seventh Sample: On the Run
3 September 2015
[Pillar has arrived at the Bittermounts bus station in hopes of catching another bus to the Beccon Academy.]
As she left the restrooms, Pillar shook her head. I thought the Taddledon station was loud? Live and learn, girl.
Pillar did her best to block out the turmoil. With hopes she wouldn’t have to wait too long for the next bus, she sought the schedule board. Springsboro near where her unknown kin, Thelma, lived was a county seat and should have bus service at least a couple times of day.
After a short debate, Pillar decided not to contact the Beccon Academy. Calling them from the local station should be soon enough. Hope they don’t get too upset when I don’t show up at the southern terminal like I’m supposed to.
“Need some help finding where you’re going, little miss snippety?”
At the sound of the snide raspy voice, Pillar shivered, but she concentrated on the schedule boards ahead of her as if she hadn’t heard a thing. Holding her suitcase tight, she hitched her pack to scurry around a circle of travelers shouting at each other with many hand gestures.
A gnarled hand grabbed hers in a surprisingly strong grip. “There are places that can help teens on their own,” said the woman she had hoped to avoid.
“Whoever said I was alone or needed help.” Pillar struggled to keep her voice cold and firm.
“Doesn’t matter. You’re coming with me whether you want to or not.”
“Go away.” Pillar’s breath hitched.
The woman’s face shifted beneath her skin. She snarled, revealing nasty, misaligned teeth that Pillar had never seen in a human mouth. The woman reached out a finger, ending in a sharp claw rather than a nail, and scraped it across the hand she held. Little beads of blood rose along the line she traced. Pillar pulled to snatch her hand away, but the women held her tight. Her thin tongue flicked out to lick her lips. Pillar’s stomach lurched. No one around Pillar seemed to notice anything unusual.
Are they blind?
Welcome to My Magical, Supernatural Worlds
Magic and fantasy have been part of my life since I can remember. Only difference: today, I share the fantasy stories I make up with others. I hope you like the samples of my Andor and Far Isles Half-Elven tales and buy one or more.
I also blog about books, mostly various forms of fantasy, at Lessons from My Reading, and I waste time on a variety of social media.
Opening: On the Run
New Beginning: 8-1 -15
The sliding doors of the bus station sighed behind Pillar Beccon as the cacophony of milling passengers clattered in her ears as loud as the noise of the city streets outside. Motionless, Pillar scanned the travelers. The tightness from watching her back throughout the day slid from her shoulders, leaving only the comfortable weight of her backpack. Pillar watched her two friends trot towards the diner counter. Her growling stomach broke the spell.
Now’s not the time to relax, idiot. Bus stations are more dangerous than the streets.
The waitress chewed a wad of gum so large her white-coated tongue appeared each time her jaw moved. Pillar Beccon lowered her eyes at the sight. “I’d like extra cheese.”
“Cost you extra.”
Pillar almost rolled her eyes, but she was learning to contain her reactions, much to her foster mother/mentor’s relief. “So add it to my bill.”
Her friend, Mari, sitting on her right, giggled. As the waitress clomped towards the kitchen window of the bus station grill, she whispered, “Townspeople have such bad habits. Mom would be tsking like mad. You know how she dislikes vulgar displays.”
Catching the wistful note in her friend’s voice, Pillar raised her eyebrows, waiting for Mari to complain about her mother’s persnickety ways.
Her words were just loud of enough for Tally, sitting on her other side, to hear. “Ssssh. The waitress might hear you. We don’t want to call attention to ourselves.”
The inane comments irritated Pillar almost as bad as when Mari flirted with guys. She took a deep breath. For the last year, the three girls had stuck together, the only nulls left in the senior class of their isolated community of free mages. Even the boys graduating in their class could flash more magic than they could. Pillar tuned out her friends’ comments as the friends turned to people watch the people in the bus station as they waited for their food. Mari’s whispers noted each cute guy with Tally agreeing or finding fault.
Pillar kept as silent as if she heard her foster mother saying, “You always learn more by listening than you do talking.”
Delia’s sayings haunted her worst than any ghost could. The elder refused to give up hope that Pillar would become a mage in due time. Pillar had given up hope though she could now see auras when someone got emotional.
Second Sample of On the Run
[The girls are still in the bus station.]
One woman, dressed in a crisp pants suit, grabbed Pillar’s attention as she stood near a clump of people by the street doors. The calm woman stuck out like an orchid in a weed patch. Pillar dismissed her as just another woman and no danger anyone. The groomed lady looked around the room with enough force to make her long blond hair swing.
Pillar felt a moment of envy. Her own fine blond hair never grew much longer than a few inches. She worked hard to keep it touching her ears. Her friends envied her that she never had to cut or style it, but it made her nervous. Once when she had had a stomping fit because it didn’t grow like other girls, her mother had broken her silence about her father. The words still rang in Pillar’s memory. “Your father had similar soft feathery hair, only his turned to fuzz that grew down over his shoulders. Be glad you don’t have to shave like he did to look normal.”
Dismissing the memory, Pillar sauntered down the middle of the aisle of the station with her friends behind her like bodyguards, not that they’d be of much good in a fight. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw the well-dressed lady moving down in the cross aisle towards when the teen stood. A glow of muddy color undulated above the woman’s head and shoulders. In contrast, the girl’s aura shimmered with rainbow hues of a potential healer.
A stalker. They’re not some fairy tale.
Picking up speed, Pillar tried to focus on both the nervous girl and the woman, who had started to stroll in her direction. The girl stared at the schedule hanging from the ceiling in the middle of the room. The woman’s gaze now centered on the girl. Pillar judged the distance; glad she had started closer than the woman whose spiking colors showed murky greens and dull browns, far from the rich shades of mother earth. Pillar steeled her nerves that screamed at her to run the other direction.
Pillar Beccon watched most of her classmates from the Free Mage community of Osseran develop develop abilities to manipulate magic while she and her two best friends remained nulls.She had reconciled herself, but just before graduating from high school she began seeing auras. But greater problems loom in Pillars future. The mage community that her mother ran away from wants Pillar back.
Read Past Snippets of My Current Andor Story in Progress Below
A couple times a month I post bits of my rough draft--after my critique group has roasted my chapters. I'd be too embarrassed to display my raw drafts in public. Some things are best edited before they see the light of day.
M. K. Theodoratus, Fantasy Writer
Fourth Sample of On the Run
18 June 15
[from the 3rd chapter from the stalking demons point of view]
Grylerrque’s fingers drummed against her desk in the quiet of her office, upstairs, away from the rest of her household. Her venture into the city of Taddledon had yielded more questions than answers.
The blond girl with the short feathery hair intrigued her the most. Power pulsed along her nerves in a subtle dance few would detect. But she had fought Angeli since before Prince Vetis' the great feint attacked the world containing Andor. Grylerrque had to resist the temptation to embrace her and sip from the warm well.
That girl smelled of Angeli. I could almost taste the power dripping from her.
One of her host’s fingernails gave way. Looking down at her slender human fingers, she felt a moment of shock. Grylerrque splayed both hands on either side of the keyboard embedded in the polished wood and grimaced in disgust.
Humans wear out much to soon, even when treated gently.
Human aging was winning over her attempts to preserve the body she had worn for years. Though the skin of her face only wrinkled around the eyes, the knuckles and veins of her host’s hands had grown larger. Inside she could feel the organs of her host slowing, but didn’t dare repair them. Grylerrque licked her lips. She was caught in a dilemma, to age or find a new host. Grylerrque nodded her head just enough for the long blond hair to brush along her cheeks. Her constant hair color had been easy to hide. Everyone at Court assumed she dyed it. A dry chuckle escaped her.
If you've read this far, you now know about Pillar than she does herself. Hope you visit often to learn more about Pillar's journey of discovery.
Fifth Sample of On the Run
18 June 15
[from the 4th chapter, after Pillar returned home}
After an unwelcome meal, made miserable by Mari’s mother’s cooing and flattering the visiting elder, Pillar dumped her backpack on the counter. The woman had gushed so much, it was a wonder Delia hadn’t thrown up. Sometimes Delia’s status as Chief Councilor of the Osseran community was a bore. Pillar took a deep breath of mixed herbs, hanging from their racks on the ceiling, and sunk into the quiet comfort of Delia’s kitchen. The old-fashion arrangement contrasted with the gleaming metal of the appliances and counters.
What a suck-up.
The fussy woman had insisted on treating the Delia to dinner after her foster mother had picked up the teens rides back from the local bus station. Mari’s mother had insisted. Her eyes had hungered for the honor of hosting the elder as much as Pillar’s growling stomach.
Pillar could hear her breathless voice. “But you made the long trip to Osseran.”
Trip to her house took less than a half hour.Keeping her “good manners” intact had tortured Pillar, but she didn’t want to create any problems for Delia. The old men of the Council had elected her because they couldn’t agree among themselves who should lead, thinking Delia soft, yielding, and easily manipulated. Pillar could have told them Delia had a steel backbone, not that they asked her or would have listened to a teen without a cit badge.
1 June 15
After putting her purse on the counter by the kitchen sink, her foster mother turned, rotating her shoulders. After stretching her clasped hands to the ceiling, Delia scratched under the bun at the nape of her neck. “I’m going to enjoy a cup of cocoa on the patio. Care to join me?”
With a shrug, Pillar concentrated on slicing an apple to go with the potted cheese she had pulled from the fridge.
“I’ll make enough for two. It’s obvious you’re still hungry.” Delia reached for a pan hanging from a hook on the wall. “Then, you can tell me what really happened today.”
Glad that her foster mother’s piecing gaze focused elsewhere, Pillar grumbled under her breath.
“Said nothing much.”
“Nothing much can cover a lot of territory when teens are let loose for a day.”
“Why the third degree? We got home safely, didn’t we? Isn’t that proof we can handle ourselves on our own.”
Dread filled Pillar as she imaged being confined for the summer to the small community of free mages tucked into the narrow valleys around Osseran. One word from Delia, and she wouldn’t travel farther than the berry fields all summer. Still, Pillar didn’t resent her strict rules. Thoughts of the other couples, who had offered to take her in after her mother’s death, made Pillar shudder.
“Pill. Don’t give me a bunch of guff. I’m tired.” Delia smiled as she shook her head. “But, I can wait until we’re settled to hear it. I’ve got news of my own to share.”
“Did my cit badge come?” Pillar jerked around to face her. “Nothing was said at dinner.”
“You’ll just have to wait.” Delia chuckled at Pillar’s stormy expression. “It’s called tit for tat, kid.”