Welcome to WIPpet Wednesday, a weekly blog hop which encourages writers to move WIPs (works-in-progress) to publication by posting excerpts related to the date. It’s hosted by the lovely K.L. Schwengel, maven of bad boys, stock dogs, and flying monkeys!
I’m returning to Chameleon’s Dish (which may or may not become Never Doubt I Love) – to reconnect with Henry, Tisira, and Nockatee…
In the dangerously superstitious past of Shakespeare’s England, an amnesiac girl and a foundling boy must keep her strange nature hidden as they stalk the Bard’s words and Hunt her lost identity.
This month I’m sharing the opening lines from each character’s Inciting Incident, as they’re currently written in revised first draft scenes. We’ll be on vacation when this posts, so I may be slow making visits and returning comments – but I’ll get to as many as I’m able to.
Today I offer you Henry’s opening. He’s a boy on the cusp of manhood, who’s been fending for himself far longer than a child should need to. He’s currently occupied with assuring he can survive the winter…a winter that’s not going to be anything like what he expected…
Note: I’m still struggling a bit with Henry’s specific voice and language. I need to do more research; that will come before Draft 3. For now, any suggestions appreciated! He’s also likely going to be a little older by the final draft – fourteen or so.
- Today is February 18, 2015.
- Math: Adding the digits of the year: 2+0+1+5 =8. Subtract that from the date: 18-8 =10. for a total of 10 longer paragraphs.
The rutting musk of a fallow buck, blended with the sweat of his labors, were rank and unpleasant in Henry’s nose. He hastened as much as he dared, wanting to have done with this snare line. He wanted to be home before full dark, and he was thinking that he would heat a bucket from the creek over the fire, and have a good washing later, to cleanse the noisome scent, and warm his chilled bones.
Seven rabbits filled half of his hempen carrysack, their bodies stiffening with death and cold alike. It was meat for himself, and for Goody Cooper and her brood of hungry young, and their furs, so close to the coming of snow, were rich with winter growth. Spring would find him with need of the coin they would bring, to replace the supplies he used over the winter.
Thoughts of a washing, and the venison stew, cheese, and bread awaiting him, roused his spirits, and his feet, needing no trail, were lighter upon the ground beneath his snare line, despite his burden -almost too much for his body, still small for his twelve years. He smiled at the call of a winterbird, and gave back an answering whistle, pausing a few beats, head tipped, to listen for a return call. That it did not come told him that he hadn’t quite the mastery of the call.
He’d have ample time to practice, soon enough. Henry lifted his eyes to the heavens; the clouds were growing heavy and full; the air held the tang of growing chill and coming snow. He was of a mind to remain within doors, on the morrow. He could skin the rabbits, and begin his stew, and some meat for drying -he might even have one for spitting and roasting.
“Best I tend to these snares, then, while I still have the ease to walk on solid ground, and so do the rabbits.” He liked his lips, and ran a hand through his tangled curls to press them back away from his eyes.
It was an odd habit, this way he had of talking to himself, and he hoped none of Verity’s children were lurking about, ready to tell their mother all they saw and heard. Mayhap, she would think him ensorceled, or mad, to speak so where none were near enough to answer. In the foundling’s home, he had scarce spoke; to speak wrongly might gain a slap, hard labor on his knees, and, oftentimes, even worse. It were best, there, to be small, silent, and willing to do as he was bidden.
Now, he lived as he chose, and spake as he would, and wondered if that made him a madman. He sang, softly, as he walked his snare line, gauging his pace by the number of snares unchecked, and the lowering of the sun through branches and gathering clouds. Aye, there would be time enough, if he did not tarry about the tending.
Only a dozen snares between him and the pleasures of his home, now, and Henry’s mood was fine, when he came upon a sprung and empty loop of leather cord. It had not been escaped – there were broken branches, and bits of fur clinging to them that bespoke struggle, and the scent of death clung like a shadow.
The snare was unbroken; something had slipped the carcass from the loop, leaving him the cord, but no meat. And so it was with full half of the next six – the rabbit gone, unbroken snare left behind.
Ah, a mystery – and less meat than Henry expected. What or who is robbing his snares? Will he survive the winter? Catch the thief?
C’mon, you really didn’t expect me to answer, didja?
See you next week – and, hey, while you’re here, here’s the link to more delightful WIPpet Snippets; assorted genres and styles to choose from! =D