Friday, October 30, 2020

Sample From My Work in Progress

 I'm been struggling so much with writing over the past few years. I'm not a fast writer in any case--my first two novels took me four years each to complete.  But it has been nearly seven years now since I last finished a book. To be fair, I have been working on two at the same time, which is probably a bad idea, but I haven't been able to help myself.  Both stories have been compelling to me.

I've started to have fun again, though, which is nice. Wrote this bit this morning, and it gave me a good chuckle.


            Villem hacked and gagged on the earth choking him.  Something warm and wet rasped across his face again and again.  He spat dirt from his mouth and breathed in air sweeter than any dessert.  Gasping and panting, he tried to open his eyes, but it was too painful from the grit that filled them.  He was confused by whatever it was cleansing his face, until he heard a whine.

The dog!  She has saved my life once again.  Despite his utter misery, Villem’s heart filled with a warm glow for the poor, starving mongrel that refused to let him die.  He recalled the ridged line across the dog’s haunch from where the crossbow bolt had left its mark.  Scar!  She deserves a name.  I’ll name her Scar.

He spat and spat until his mouth was free of dirt.  Scar began licking him about the eyes, and soon Villem was able to try opening them again.  The grit was painful and filled his eyes with tears, but he could see Scar standing over him, continuing to lick away the dirt from around his face.

Villem was grateful that the lord’s men hadn’t bothered to do more than toss a thin layer of earth over his face, else he’d surely be dead now.  They had done better with his lower extremities, though—he couldn’t move them much.  He began wiggling his arms and legs the best he could, trying to gain more room.

Scar’s head jerked up and looked away, and she barked twice.  In the distance, Villem heard a voice, perhaps that of a child.  It was coming closer!

“H-help!” he cried.  “Help me!”  He heard a startled cry, then silence for a few moments.

“Back dog!” someone yelled, sounding like a young boy.

“It must belong to the witch,” came a voice from a different boy.

“No!” Villem cried.  “It’s me.  Help me!”

“Run!” yelped one of the boys, and Villem heard them scampering away.

Villem wept and laughed at the same time, while Scar began to lick his face again.  “They thought it was you, girl.  Good girl.  Good, Scar.”  He wished he had an arm free so he could pet her.  He began to wiggle his arms and legs again.

Just when he began to feel he was making some headway, he heard voices again, and Scar again looked up and barked.

“There it is, see?  Don’t get too close,” came the voice of one of the boys.

A man’s voice responded, “It’s just a mutt.  Are you daft?”

“It talked, I swear!”

“It the witch’s, I tell you.”  So the other boy was there as well.

Villem gathered his breath and called out, “It’s not the dog.  It’s me!  Help me!”

Silence reined for some time before Villem heard scuffling sounds.  Scar barked again.

“Easy, dog,” came the raspy voice of the man.  “I’ll poke you if I have to.”

“Don’t hurt her!” Villem called out.  “She’s a good dog.  The best!”

“Show yourself, whoever you are.”

“I’m here, in the ground.”

A man’s face appeared, eyes widening as he saw Villem.  The man was old, but he wore a conical steel helm on his head, so Villem assumed he must be a guard from the keep.

“What’s this then?” the man said.  “What are you doing in the ground?”

“Just help me, please!”

The man looked behind him.  “You boys, come here.  Nothing t’be affrighted of.  Just some demon digging his way out from the bowels of the earth.”  The man chuckled.