My head is so deep in my WIP right now, I don’t want to think about anything else. I love this feeling. Even when I’m dealing with Real Life – and life’s currently throwing some meaty challenges my way – Alexis is in the background, ready to grab my attention as soon as I have a moment to spare.
After weeks of spinning my wheels, I feel as though I’ve found some traction again. Yay! I hope it lasts, but just in case, I’m spending as much time as I can buried in my laptop. So instead of writing another progress report, this week I thought I’d share a snippet instead.
I hope you enjoy it!
“I still think we should wait until the morning to try this,” Kierce said.
We stood barefoot in the moonlight on the damp grass in front of his house on the northern boundary of the farm. The farm ran all the way from the river to the no-man’s land surrounding the city walls, gaining altitude as it approached Caldermor. From Kierce’s home high on the hillside the family’s entire property and the road that approached it lay before us like a child’s toy farm.
“We don’t have to do it now, Alexis,” he added when I didn’t reply.
“I don’t want to wait.” I was done with arguing. “I’d rather try while I’m tired. It will slow me down a fraction if I try to hurt you.”
“I’m not afraid of that,” Kierce recited patiently for maybe the tenth time.
“Also, I’ll find it easier if I don’t have anyone else around, particularly your father.”
He nodded. “I’m not worried about Dad either, but I understand you might be.”
“And I don’t know how much longer I have,” I said. “Judging by the Commander’s reaction, there’s no time to lose.”
“Fair enough.” He knew I was right. “Let’s go, then.”
“Where do you want to stand? Behind me?”
He actually smiled, teeth gleaming white in his shadowed face. “I’ve seen what happens to people who stand behind you. I’m staying where you can see me.”
“You’re not close enough,” I said. He stood lightly balanced, just out of reach, too far away to be effective no matter how fast he was. “You have no chance of stopping me from there.”
“You do your job. I’ll take care of mine.” He put one hand on his heart and looked me directly in the eye. “I promise.” His eyes were crystalline in the moonlight, wholly focused on me. “If you can’t do it, stop. Don’t push. If we repeat this afternoon’s disaster Dad will never forgive me.”
Even if it was because he needed me, he cared what happened to me. I was one hundred per cent certain he believed he could keep me, himself and everyone else safe from harm, and it made me believe too.
I put my hand on my heart, which was trying to hammer its way out of my chest. “I promise.”
He nodded once. “Ready?”
For the second time in one day I closed my eyes and flexed my bare feet in the wet grass. The night air was cool on my skin and I spread my arms wide and lifted my face, imagining myself outlined by the shimmering moonlight. I could smell the damp turf where my feet had crushed the stems. I heard a bird call down by the river, soft and liquid.
I pictured energy flowing through my body and out of my feet, cool and easy, and when the pressure built I let it take charge and eventually, like water, it found its course, first a trickle but quickly gaining strength. Somewhere in my head a voice said I thought this was supposed to hurt?
“Alexis.” The voice came from far away, low and persuasive. “Stop.”
I ignored it and it came again. “Alexis. Stop now. If you can, stop.”
Stop? I hadn’t even started. I could feel the wave inside me building, gathering momentum, ready to crash down the newly opened pathway that was becoming better established with every passing second.
“Alexis. If you can’t stop I’ll have to do it for you.”
I knew that voice, calm, reassuring.
“You know I won’t hurt you.” Pause. “You know you don’t want to hurt me.”
That was true. I felt a presence, but no danger.
“I’m going to touch you now. There is nothing to be afraid of. Don’t be afraid.”
A gentle touch on my arm. The smell of leather and pine. Hands on my neck. And then darkness.