So, I had this great idea, although I’m not sure if it was my great idea or not. But, my mind is telling me that I’m original, so whatever.
I love writing, as anyone around me knows. I would love to be an author one day and I’ve already finished two novels: The Shape that Breaks and The Unlikelihood of Nostalgia. (Although I’m not sure you could call them finished, since the first is in an intensive rewrite and the second is in the beginning stages of editing.)
So, I’ve decided that on Wednesdays, I shall post an excerpt from whatever I was working on that week or maybe a short story that I’ve written. For this week, here’s an excerpt from Truthseer, a fantasy novel about a girl who has the ability to see the future but refuses to and a boy who has a spider tattooed on his hand. Feel free to give me any constructive criticism that you feel necessary; I always enjoy making my work better!
Spring smelled like green and wet leaves and endless blue skies. To Finn, this smell was freedom. This was when she saddled up Caro and plodded through the woods, her bow strapped to her back, in a ruse that she was going hunting when she was really just making her way to the lake. She’d slip off her boots and bruise her feet on the rocks, breathing in the freshwater air and remembering when she’d fished here with her father before their boat had sunk, before he’d died. If her mother noticed that her chores went undone, she never said anything, because Finn always came back with a duck or a rabbit, something to feed the family.
Her mother had tired eyes and a bad knee from the days when she’d been a soldier. She didn’t care that her daughter went hunting because she’d snuck into the King’s Army and impersonated her dead brother for four years before she’d gotten caught. She always prepared the duck or the rabbit or the wild turkey with careful movements and always thanked Finn. She said a prayer at the beginning of every meal to the Old Gods, quick and under her breath, and most of the time Finn just thought she was saying her father’s name, over and over and over, “Bear, Bear, Bear,” like a plea to the heavens.
The eighth day of spring, when Finn was sure that winter was over and there were no more biting frosts to surprise them over the Starry Mountains, she and Caro made the journey to the lake. It was still chilly out and she wore her father’s cloak, the one with eighteen pockets that she still seemed to find things in: a perfectly smooth stone, a sewing needle, a crushed snail shell. Sometimes she pushed her face into the cloak and could swear she breathed in her father’s scent: woods and ash and tangy metal.
A fine mist lay over everything, obscuring even the surface of the lake; the snowy tops of the mountains to the north had long disappeared from sight. She should’ve been afraid, with the clouds this close to the ground, but the cabin fever in her bones had been aching, aching, aching. She climbed from Caro’s back and her boots hit the stones, clacking them together. The edge of the lake, the beginning of the mountains, was shrouded by the fog, and she stared so long into the whiteness that it seemed to billow and make impossible shapes before her eyes.
She didn’t do anything but breathe and close her eyes, standing on the cold rocks, for a long time. A birdcall woke her from her trance and she opened her eyes, blinking, and stared at the muted rays of sun shining through the thin layer of cloud. She should’ve been afraid, but she wasn’t. She’d become bolder and bolder in the past few months; especially that time she’d gone out in the snowstorm to collect firewood. But no precipitation had touched her eyes and she hadn’t had any visions. So there she stood, eyes raised to the almost-certain rainclouds, without fear in her heart.
She and Caro returned home in the afternoon with another wild turkey. The turkey had definitely earned its name; it’d take two arrows to shoot and another slash with her knife to finally kill it. Caro knew the way home without needing any guidance from the reins, so she let them drop and leaned against the horse’s mane, breathing in her dusky skin. Caro was old – her father had gotten her at the market just after Finn turned five, and she’d already been broken by that time – but she was still lively enough to carry Finn on her hunting missions and to carry her mother’s wares to Market Day a day’s journey away.
A familiar bay was grazing in the pasture when she opened the gate and let Caro inside. Caro trotted over, her ears pricked up in welcome of the new horse, and Finn leaned on the fence, watching the two. She suddenly felt very lonely. The only friends she’d ever made were her cousin James and the girls in the stalls next to her mother’s at Market Day. James was an obligatory friend, of course, because he was family, and the girls had begun to shun her since her father died. Maybe for her changed eyes or maybe because she kept her head down, unwilling to meet the gazes of people who would judge. She was not a shy girl, but she did not talk overmuch. She liked to let conversation flow around her and over her but never from her.