I’m going to be unusually prolific with my blog posts this week.
One of the reasons for this is the end of NaNoWriMo (my first NaNoWriMo, from which I emerge a glorious winner!) and what feels like an excess of free time. Another reason is my novella sale that’s coming up, and about which I will be posting later in the week.
The final reason is because I was challenged…yea, challenged, and I have taken up the gauntlet!
The challenge came via Musings/Traumereien/Devaneios over on Booklikes (who had it from a friend), and it was as follows: To write something based on the picture below. It was meant to be something about 1000 words or so, but it was such a lovely pic and it gave me such a good idea that I couldn’t contain it in 1000 words. Currently my challenge project is 3300 words, and is looking like being a 10, 000 word novelette, so…
…with that being said, I’ll only be sharing about 700 words of it with you guys. When it’s done I’ll make it available to my email list as a perk, so if you like it, sign up!
I believe the photo is by Henri Cartier-Bresson, but correct me if you know better…
Excerpt from Currently Untitled Novelette
I teetered on the edge of the grassy curb with frantically windmilling arms. Cold panic came to my rescue: I fiercely stabbed at the grass with the point of my parasol and caught myself just in time. My reflection in the shallow water below was open-mouthed and wide-eyed.
I’d almost fallen in. Back into Underland. Back into madness. Back into danger.
And if I wasn’t very careful I could still end up in Underland: the puddle was massive. Icy at the edges, snowy all around, and impinging upon the road to fully half way. I’d jumped bigger, but never in heeled shoes, and never in the snow. There was a good chance I’d break my ankle—or worse, my neck—if I made it across. On the other hand, broken ankle or not, at least I wouldn’t be in Underland. That had its advantages– especially since someone was trying very hard to make sure I did fall through again.
A wild look over my shoulder showed only danger: card sharks behind me; massive, impassable sheets of water to the left; police sprinting up the hill from the right. I had to jump. The puddle in the gutter was big, but it was smaller than the shallow oceans to my left. I threw another look around, my breath misting the air, and leaped.
I saw the pale golden flash of winter sun on slurried water, felt the bite of the wind on my cheeks. My parasol snatched at the air behind me, slowing me, but I saw my right foot splash down safely in snowy slurry. I slipped, and someone caught me tightly around the waist, warm and strong. I grabbed desperately for his waist with my free hand, sequins scratched against red velvet.
Red velvet. A splashing of slurry. A splashing.
“Got you!” said Jack.
“Hope I stood on your toe,” I panted, conscious that my skirt was less than decent and that I was showing at least one row of lace from my lace undershorts.
“You did,” Jack said. “I didn’t think heels were your style, Mab. I must say, I really approve. What a delightful dress!”
“What do you want?”
“Far too nice to wear out for a casual stroll, and those stockings— you’re on a date!”
“What do you want, Jack?”
“I want to know who you’re dating, for starters! You’re engaged to me!”
“I’m not engaged to you,” I said. “I was kidnapped by your mad-as-a-loon mother when I was three and she made us trade drops of blood. I had nothing to do with it.”
“I see you liked the birthday present I sent you,” he said, shrugging off the question for later. And it would come up later. It always did, with Jack. He just liked to make sure that he held all the aces when he brought it back up.
“What birthday—oh.” The parasol. I should have realised. It was far too beautiful for someone to simply leave in the street. And it had matched the dress so perfectly. Suspiciously, I added: “Did you know what I was going to wear today?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about. Why didn’t you come when I sent you the card?”
“I didn’t want to be stuck in Underland again. You sent card sharks after me!”
Jack’s brows snapped together. “Card sharks? No.”
“Then who– oh.”
“Mother dearest, I presume,” said Jack, nodding. He still looked worried. “I was hoping she wouldn’t find out.”
I stared at him even more suspiciously. “Find out what? What have you done?”
Was it my imagination, or did he look guilty? “I may or may not have incited rebellion.”
“I didn’t mean to,” he said, looking away.
“What do you mean you didn’t mean to?”
“It all happened so suddenly! There were rebels, and people dying, and–”
My mouth must have dropped open at some stage, because he looked at me and away again quickly, and added uncomfortably: “Do shut your mouth, Mab. You’ll catch flies.”
“There are no flies in Underland. Do you mean to say that you’ve done something noble for the first time in your spoiled little life?”
“I wouldn’t call it noble exactly. It was more of an accident.”