Monday, October 18, 2010

Two Openings

I started this blog as a "writing blog" to naively "get my work out there" and it has turned into something more (and better, I think) than that. But I have not shared much of what I am working on in some time, mostly due to life-stuff, but I would like to share two brief excerpts from (gasp!) work in progress. Both are draft zero bits, unretouched so far.

1) This is the opening to a longer story, sword-and-sorcery with some twists, currently untitled:

Her hand was so slippery with the dying man's blood that she dropped the poinard she had just pulled from between his ribs. He gasped, his rune-hemmed cloak glowing intermittently, his attempts to command it interrupted by the silvery poison traveling through his body. She grunted and fell to her knees, watched him writhe with her remaining eye. She felt the pain of assorted burns and cuts, and the stab wound just beneath her heart that was already closing. She swallowed the blood running from her chewed-apart lip; she had bitten into it desperately to release the healing spells inside the tiny crystals planted beneath it. Many times she had not bitten hard enough and nearly lost her life to a dagger in the liver. What an embarassing way to die, she thought.

The cloak stopped glowing, and the man stiffened. She tried to reach into one of her bandolier pouches but her arm wouldn't work immediately. She lifted it slowly and saw that it was not just the blood that has caused her to drop the blade; the shoulder was swollen and impeded by her armor. She moved it slowly, grimacing and cursing, until she found the packet she wanted. She took it with her good hand, shifting the blackburr wand it already held into the crock of her thumb, put the packet to her mouth, and tore it open, tossing the contents over the body.

Her timing was good; some of the salt settled on a form in the air over the corpse. The form shuddered, then shrieked as the salt dissolved it. The noise made her close her remaining eye and bow before it. Then, with a sizzle, it ended, and the remaining salts fell onto the corpse, a few bits smouldering when they contacted vestiges of life-energy still present in the withering body.

"Any other tricks?" she whispered gutturally. The air in the room ticked like cooling metal. The place became darker as blades dimmed, gems lost their inner light, and dweomers dissipated. She began to feel her wounds more acutely; even with the diandsteels doing their work, she began to feel dizzy from shock and pain. The only thing that did not hurt was her eye socket; the spell that had burst her eyeball had singed the nerves and blood vessels and rendered them insensible. She got up carefully, swaying. The corpse coughed, but then unclenched and seemed to fall into itself.

She bowed her head. The moment has arrived. She stood there, unsure what to do.

The door burst open. She spun and levelled her wand at the opening, its tines unwinding and beginning to spark. In the doorway, a woman with short black hair, skin just a shade lighter, and emerald armor stood. arms crossed. Behind her was some massive creature with a head rather like that of a woolly bison, peering over the woman's shoulder. When she saw them, she dropped the wand and started to laugh, but could not finish expresing her mirth, as she collapsed and smacked her nose on the cobbled floor.

2) Short story opening, currently titled "The Zombie Menace":

Timbo was sure that this was the hottest day yet; of course the fucking zombies would choose today to go nuts. The reflective tarp was useless; in the shade you roasted, in the sun you broiled. There was no escape, not from anything out here on the border.

The fences were all down except the electrified one. They had been coming so fast this week that the repair crews were almost a month behind. Someone had tried to get Timbo's unit out there to fix some of the them but the Sergeant just whipped out his 'pad and showed them the contract. "We shoot zombies. That's it." he told the National Guard guy. The thin little shit just swallowed hard and nodded, and took off.

Back in the big town to the north the Army grunts sat in their little cubicles and watched it all unfold through their monitors. They didn't really care about the fences; they were more concerned about the automated machine guns, the tankbots (stupid name, they were about as big as a pony), and the new things, the panthers. But they always made a show of caring, as if that would make the forward positions feel better.

It didn't. Timbo could have told them that, listening to his contract-mates day after day, bitching about the pay, about the job, about the new Mark 7As always jamming, about clean-up (which WAS in their contract). About the screaming. They trained you for a lot of things at the three-week Border Legion boot camp, but not for the screaming. Zombies screamed. More than you would think.

Thoughts are very welcome.

No comments: