Posts Tagged ‘Authors’

Here’s another excerpt from my YA fantasy. I’ve been having trouble working through some of the finer plot points, and I’ve been at a stand still for a little while now. I decided it was better to write something than nothing at all, and so I wrote what may be the Prologue to the second book. (I intend for this to be a dilogy). Writing ahead isn’t something I usually do, and I was strongly advised against it. I’ve found however that this has helped me get back in the swing of things, and even gotten me excited about the possibilities the story holds. It’s just a matter of going back and finishing what I’ve started. Again, feedback is appreciated, it shouldn’t take too long to read through!


            The boy awoke frightfully, the usual nauseous unease rolling over in his stomach as his eyes adjusted once again to the darkness of the cave. He squinted, trying to make out the sickly silhouettes huddled around him. Pushing himself up on one knee, he felt a jolt of paint course through his limbs. He ran his fingers along his arm until he felt the pinprick holes at his joints. He remembered the wires and vials and glass tubes filled with glowing liquid, like molten light; and he remembered the pain.

He pushed it to the outskirts of his mind; he needed to find her. The young boy blinked as he started forward cautiously. He could hear the others drawing in their legs as he walked past, flinching at the slightest movement. He strained to hear amongst the murmurs until he finally recognized her voice.

“Teo?” she called faintly to him, her eyes already used to the dimness.

“I’m here Everyn,” he said soothingly as he knelt beside her. He could see her slender outline resting against the hard stonewall.

She smiled weakly, her breathing heavy and coarse. “They’ll be here soon.”

“No, I won’t let them take you,” he protested.

“If you see mother or father again, tell them I miss them,” she said softly lifting her face in the darkness. Teo opened his mouth but closed it again uneasily. “And I will miss you too, my brother.”

She brushed her frail hand against his cheek. Teo grasped it lightly in his own, lowering her arm back down to her side. He could feel the small punctures on her wrists beneath his fingertips.

“Do you trust me Everyn?” he whispered. She nodded lightly, trying hard to control her breathing.

Teo glanced around. The other children lay haphazardly around the damp cave, some huddled in groups, others curled up alone along the walls; most looked like they hadn’t eaten for weeks. Their torn clothes hung about them loosely, their bodies weak from exhaustion. Teo noticed a girl watching him. Her body was shaking anxiously as she cradled her hands, one in the other, her fingertips covered in blood and dirt. He could hear her some nights, scratching at the walls, searching for a way towards the light. She starred at him intensely, her eyes filled with a tempered resolve. Teo lowered his own eyes and slowly turned back towards his sister.

He leaned in to put an arm around her waist. “Come now then,” he murmured gently.

He placed an arm around her shoulder and helped her make her way in between the huddled children. They glanced up at them with open shock and fear as he lead her deeper into the cavern, where it was so dark only her hand and rasping breaths told him she was still beside him. No one dared go into the darkness of the cave. There were pitfalls only known to the others by the sudden cries of those who had ventured to far, their screams receding as they plummeted into nothingness. But Teo had been sneaking off when the others were asleep, treading the paths carefully until he found a way across.

image by: Alexandre Pouliotte ~ monsterboy.ca

He guided her slowly across narrow walkways and ledges, their eyes still blind, unable to adjust to the pitch dark that surrounded them. Everyn was shaking beside him, but she didn’t speak any protests as he led her further. Every now and then, he thought he heard something moving in the darkness, but when he stopped to listen, all he could hear was Everyn’s heavy breathing echoing down into the pits.

The darkness began to lift slightly, and he could see the outline of his hand stretched out before him. He knew then that they were close and soon his hand pressed against a sheer rock face. He felt around above him for the narrow ledge he knew was there. He hoisted himself up carefully, then turned to help Everyn clamber up. She leaned against the wall, rolling her head towards him, but she still didn’t say anything. Teo took this chance to look out into the darkness that stretched before them, but he couldn’t see or hear any thing. Sighing with relief, Teo led her to a thin fissure in the wall, nearly entirely concealed by the rock formation.

“It’s quite narrow,” he warned as he eased her into the crack. “Try to hold in your stomach and just keep moving. It’s not too far.”

“Teo, I don’t think this is a very good idea,” she panted as she squeezed herself between the rock.

“Please trust me Ever,” he said quietly.

Teo could feel the cold stone pressing down on his chest and back, the passage getting tighter the deeper they went.

“I can’t breath,” she gasped as they edged on sideways.

“We’re nearly there,” he assured her, trying his best to keep his voice calm. “Just keep moving.”

“My ankle!” she whispered. “It’s stuck.”

Teo felt panic rise in his chest at the thought of stopping, but he paused and shimmied down as low as he could. He could see faint torchlight through the other end of the passage and quickly loosened his sister’s foot. They emerged into a narrow corridor, straining as they wriggled free from the rock. Everyn sank to the ground, her chest heaving from the pressure. Teo bent down next to her and glanced down the empty corridor anxiously.

“We have to keep moving,” he urged. “The guard will be coming round in a minute.” Everyn tried to mutter something, but she couldn’t manage to form the words. Her skin was glistering with sweat and her eyes unable to keep focus. Teo lifted her onto his shoulders, grunting from the weight of her frail body. He was so tired, and hungry, and nauseous from that day’s treatment, but he didn’t think about that as he began to shuffle up the slight incline. He only thought of getting out.

Suddenly he heard heavy gasps behind him. He spun around to see an arm squirm free of the fissure, which was barely noticeable in the dim light. Soon a girl’s torso emerged, her face a mixture of panic and determination. She looked up at him, smiling eagerly when she recognized his face. She reached out her hand towards him, struggling to free herself.

“Please,” she stammered, “Please help me… I think I’m stuck.”

Teo simply starred at her in shock, his arms and legs going stiff.

“Help me!” She pleaded more urgently.

Teo could hear the guard’s measured footsteps, and he took one step back still starring with horror at the girl.

“Please,” she sobbed, her eyes tearing as the footsteps got closer. “Don’t leave me here with them.”

There were voices now, growing louder by the moment. He could feel Everyn’s harsh breath against the nape of his neck, the sweat from her skin dampening his clothes. Teo took one more step backwards and then clambered up the incline to the mouth of the cave. He could hear the girl struggling violently now, her cries becoming more desperate. As he stepped out into the fresh air, he lost his footing on the rocky ground. He struggled to keep his sister from tumbling off his back as they slid uncontrollably into the ravine below.

When the ground came up beneath him he fell face first onto the hard earth, Everyn tossed forward with a jolt. Teo turned his head slowly and bit his lip to stop from crying out in pain. He could see Everyn staring at him fixedly as she struggled to catch her breath. Teo scrambled towards her and lifted her onto one shoulder. They quickly limped behind a large boulder only a few paces away. Leaning his sister against it, he peered over the rock anxiously. They would have found her by now, she would have told them where they were. Teo strained to hear the footsteps of the guards rushing out, their heated shouts raising the alarm, but nothing came.

He slumped down next to his sister, forcing back tears as he leaned his head against the rock. He turned his face towards Everyn, who was still studying him levelly with her vivid emerald eyes. They did not say a word as he lifted her onto his shoulders again and set out through the forest. Soon they came to an open field, the yellowing grass covered in a white blanket of fog that blended into the cloudy sky. Teo pushed forward one step at a time, his head swimming, unable to ignore the throbbing pain and exhaustion creeping through his bones. He felt Everyn’s head lull against his back, her breathing growing steadier but still heavy.

Teo continued to walk until the fog had soaked his clothes straight through, his skin clammy and numb with cold. He fought to keep his eyes from closing, squinting to see through the thick haze. The sky remained the same cloudy grey long past when the sun should have set, and there was no way to know how far they had come, or how much further they’d have to go. He couldn’t see more than ten paces in any direction, and the air around him hung in dead silence. But he didn’t dare let himself stop, the exhaustion weighting on his limbs like quarry stones. Instead he tried to focus on his sister’s slow rasping breaths.

He felt one leg give out, then the other, falling to the ground with a thud. Everyn gently rolled off his back, but she did not move to him. He looked past her and saw someone walking towards them through the fog. He tried to push himself up, but he could barely lift his arms. The man who drew nearer was draped in robes of muted grey, his head shaved to show a tattoo of a thick black circle on the back of his skull. He approached Everyn, placing his fingers gently on her neck.

“She is alive,” he stated serenely, looking over at Teo. “You can rest now.”

Teo tried to drag himself towards his sister, but he could feel the exhaustion pulling at the edges of his mind until he was consumed by it.



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A blazing fire burns somewhere in the darkness;

From afar it is a beacon, brilliant orange flames licking the night sky.

But closer still the air is thick with the smell of ink and kerosene;

And atop the bed of flames pages curl like blackened wings.

All words turn to ashes and are swept away by the wind.


A free verse inspired by Ray Bradbury’s evocative novel and Neil Gaiman’s short story The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury.

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