Friday, November 6, 2009

Hunt For The Dark Phoenix (part 14) [Friday Fiction]

This week's friday fiction is hosted by the wonderfully talented Rick "Hoomi" at his blog, Pod Tales and Ponderings. Click here to read and share more great fiction!

Author's Ramblings: As some of you may know, this month is NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and I've been having quite a bit of fun with this year's project, a Christian Fantasy work, titled "Faceless". An excerpt is now up in the novel area, if you'd care to read a piece (click here to read the Faceless Excerpt) and I've managed to also crank out a little something for Eira and DP this week. Not very long-as I've had other things to type, lol, but do enjoy and have a great weekend!


“These aren’t my boots.”
“I don’t care if they’re yours or not. Put them on. We need to go.”
“But these aren’t mine! You should care! Someone stole my boots!”
“Why are you assuming they have been stolen?” He asked, mildly.
“B-because that’s the only way they could’ve been-!” She stopped. Her face heated to a point where she felt her temper dangerously sparking. “You took my boots!” She snapped. “You! Give them back, right now!”
“Or what?”
Eira blinked. She hadn’t been expecting that reply, at least not from him. “I-I…”
“Those are your boots, as of now. Put them on, we need to go.”
“What did you do with them?”
“Put them on, we need to go.” He repeated, bored.
“I want to know what you did with my boots!” Eira refused to move, standing stubbornly, arms crossed over her chest. This was more than just a simple matter of boots, Dara had given those to her-with money her mother had scrimped and saved outside of her father’s budget to allow her a pair of special boots. The boots were very special. Quite special. And she had promised to never let them out of her sight. Her stomach churned. This wasn’t good and it wouldn’t be pretty.
“The boots are safe and I will give them back to you when you can properly use them, until then, you will not see them.” He fixed her with a deliberate stare. “We are not going to argue about this.”
She opened her mouth and he pantomimed zipping it shut. Her mouth clamped shut, lips pressed together. It took a half-second to realize that he had closed her mouth for her…and wasn’t going to open it any time soon.
For that reason, Eira didn’t dare argue about the boots.
To her complete surprise, however, once her feet were securely encased within the standard black boots, her feet relaxed at once. Her toes gave an experimental wiggle and she struggled to keep from smiling.
It felt so good!
“Better?” He inquired, politely.
Eira bobbed her head, not wanting to let him see he’d won this round. It wasn’t exactly fair of him to switch boots on her…and not tell her that the new ones were very, very comfortable. And to take her voice so he couldn’t argue about it.
“Good.” He started for the pathway again. “We’re going to cover more ground again than the last time.”
“MMmmmmMMmm!” Eira charged after him, pointing to her mouth.
His mouth twitched. “I know. I didn’t forget.”
Eira stared after him as he continued up the path and then she hurried after him. This was going to be a longer day than she had in mind. Her stomach churned again and she winced. This was going to be very bad.
To his credit however, he did not make her walk very far on an empty stomach. At seemingly the next clearing, they took another break for meditations and breakfast preparations. When they reached that point, he reluctantly returned her voice, ignoring her protests that spilled out upon their sudden release.
Once the words were out in the open, her mind emptied itself and her head cleared as the end result. With a deliberate tilt of her head, she sat down facing opposite of him. In the time that it took for her to fill her stomach, he finished and washed his dishes, counting the steps for her.
When finished, the trip continued again and she began to understand what he meant about traveling more quickly. She didn’t recall her feet walking any faster, but the boots seemed to have something inside of them, or at least they were doing something, because she was able to keep up, easily, with hardly any effort at all.
“How are you doing?” He asked, when they reached a hilltop, pausing to catch a breath. Without really waiting for an answer, he dropped to the ground, motioning for her to do the same.
“What?”
“Sit.” He tapped one booted foot with his hand. “Now, please.”
Eira did.
“Look that way.” He pointed. “Out of the corner of your eye, not directly, or they will see you.”
It took more thought to do as he said, than to figure out what he had actually meant. “Who will see what?” She hissed between her teeth, straining to see the landscape out of the corner of her eye. “Where?”
“The city to the left, you’ll see it when you stop trying so hard. That’s where we’re heading.”
“Really?”
“Mmmmhmmm.” He shifted to the side.
“Doesn’t look so far away now.” Eria observed.
“It isn’t really.”
“So how far away are we? When will we get there? We’ve been traveling forever!”
“Not quite forever. We’ll get there soon and we aren’t that far away.”
“That’s not the kind of answer I was looking for.”
“Answer or answers?”
“Stop doing that!”
“What?”
“That!”
“I am sure when I know what it is you speak of, I shall do my best not to-”
“I thought you said it only took a week to make this trip! We’ve been traveling for at least a week, haven’t we?”
“It would take a week, if I was traveling by myself, at the very limits of my energies.” He frowned. “With you tagging along, with you as an apprentice, with having to pace my energies and every single factor of this trip on your account-” His brow furrowed. “This could take a year, maybe more.”
“A year?” Eira didn’t trust the word that had left her mouth. Her head was spinning and her stomach was not happy-again. This was news to her. She had counted on returning to the cozy little house and taking lessons on the evergreen hill when the sunlight dared to touch it. The dreams were quickly shattered. This was not how it was supposed to be.
“Yes. Maybe more.” He turned sideways. “Yes, I think more. At least for you.”
“This is the test?” Eira knew she sounded pathetic, but for once, she didn’t care.
“Is there something wrong?”
“Yeah, there’s something wrong! I don’t wanna tramp through the mountain for a year!”
“Who said anything about tramping through the mountains?”
“That’s all we’ve been doing and…and!” Eira was sure if she could stand to laugh, or bear to cry. As it was, everything had become so muddled at that point, she did neither.
Her apparently clueless master, watched this all happen with a look of interest on his face, and when she finally dared to meet his gaze, he was smiling.
“It’s not that bad.”
“It is too!” Eira wailed. “I hate the outdoors!”
“You’re doing quite fine in it.”
“But I don’t like it!”
“One does not always have to like where they are placed.”
“But I wasn’t placed here! You dragged me here!”
“And you had the opportunity to accept or refuse. The choice was entirely yours.”
“But you didn’t tell me this was what we’d be doing!”
“Did I have to?”
“Yes!”
There was a loud sigh. “I suppose this is where the year is going to add on a few months.”
“What?”
“I was showing you how close we were to where we needed to be, however you need to change a few things before we reach there, so we’ll be wandering around a bit, until you can reach that point.”
“I don’t want to wander around!”
“Then tell me what you’ve forgotten.”
“How can I tell you what I’ve forgotten if I can’t remember?”
“How do you know you can’t remember!”
“That’s a trick question!”
“How?”
“Stop that!”
“Eira.”
“What?”
There was another long sigh and he rolled up to his feet, offering her a hand. “We are going to be wandering.” His face bore an expression of martyrdom. “For days.”
© Sara Harricharan

6 comments:

Joanne Sher said...

Ooooh - good stuff! Made me think of the children of Israel and their 40 years in the desert. Gonna go read your NaNo excerpt too! Awesome, sweet SAWA!
JJ

Sara Harricharan @ Fiction Fusion said...

That's exactly what I had in mind, JJ. lol. Eira is being a brat and not quite letting the seriousness of what's going on, sink in yet. I thought that would be a hilarious way to get DP's point across, but apparently, Eira still hasn't got it yet. ^_^

J.H. said...

__I smiled huge when I noticed I had a follower and it went clown-style when I saw you’d commented on everything I had posted so far. I know how you must feel now. Thank you very much Sara, it really ‘is’ encouraging! I’m working hard to post again so my blog will fulfill its intended purpose; wish I could crank out pieces as fast as you, that’d move things along. Pray that I’d write toward my strengths so my weaknesses can be clearly identified and addressed.
= Well, my perception of this story has been drastically altered—really don’t know how I should feel about it at this point. So far, I’ve understood the plot like this: student (Eira) wants to be trained by the master (D.Phe.), master has some other business to attend to first but lets student accompany, while on the journey the master trains the student, by the end the student helps the master accomplish his business more effectively and now the real training can begin. This line flipped everything, “…however you need to change a few things before we reach there…” [par.67/tenth from the end]. The story is about changing Eira’s character now, not teaching her how to be Dark Phoenix number 2. So you figure you’d use Israel’s forty-years-in-the-wilderness method to bring this change about, ok. I’ll read how this plays out before I say whether or not this sudden plot refocusing works.

J.H. said...

__For now I’m going to focus on your sentence mechanics, also known as clunky sentences. Perhaps this discussion won’t excite you as much; it doesn’t excite me when my writing peers point out my poor sentences, yet you’ve already admitted you ramble in your writing and it shows. If I can simply make you more aware, then I’m sure you’ll better resist your tendencies and your writing can be clearer and the pace more even.
- Paragraph 7, “Eira blinked. She hadn’t been expecting that reply, at least not from him.” As opposed to…whom…Darth Vader or Jesus Christ standing behind him? There have only been two characters involved in this forest setting so far. Additionally, Eira’s dialogue explains enough of how she’s feeling--shorten. “Eira blinked. "I-I…" ”
- Paragraphs 13 and 14, “She opened her mouth and he pantomimed zipping it shut. Her mouth clamped shut, lips pressed together. It took a half-second to realize that he had closed her mouth for her…and wasn’t going to open it any time soon.

For that reason, Eira didn’t dare argue about the boots.”

Eira didn’t ‘dare’ argue? It’s more than that, she can’t, but I can see that so why are you telling me? My rewrite starts in paragraph 12 and completely eliminates paragraph 14: “He fixed her with a deliberate stare. "We are not going to argue about this" and he pantomimed zipping his mouth.

It took her a half-second to realize—lips pressing together—that he had shut her mouth…they were ‘not’ going to argue about this."

Hope I’m getting through.
- Paragraph 22, “Eira stared after him as he continued up the path and then she hurried after him. This was going to be a longer day than she had in mind. Her stomach churned again and she winced. This was going to be very bad.” ‘This was’ really ruins it here, making the narration stale. You used it twice in the same paragraph too, that should be the red alert your mind has reverted to autopilot and your writing voice is being stifled. One way to rewrite this: "Eira glared after him, but then she darted along the path to keep up. “Mmmmrrggrgrg!” She gripped both sides of her head as if to compress it. The sun felt like it hadn’t moved and her stomach churned again, birthing a wince. “Sigh.”" I don’t have to ‘this was’ anything. I just showed you exactly how Eira views the situation.
+/- Paragraph 47, "“A year?” Eira didn’t trust the word that had left her mouth." Actually, I enjoyed this sentence. The concept of ‘not trusting’ a word is unique and brilliant; thank you for sharing. It’s just those last five words that are the problem. If Eira spoke the words, where else could they have come from? Also, telling us they came from her mouth contradicts the idea of mistrust because we trust they “left her mouth.” But supposing she didn't? Suppose she simply thought them after he spoke them? Maybe she's not even sure she heard right? See how you can subtly cause the reader to feel Eira not trusting the word!?!
- Paragraph 53, "“That’s all we’ve been doing and…and!” Eira was sure if she could stand to laugh, or bear to cry. As it was, everything had become so muddled at that point, she did neither." I hope you can sense by now where you’re rambling here. It seems true, the writer’s tendency is to use more words than necessary. To use fewer begins the art of storytelling and the balancing act ‘is’ the art of storytelling. Which revision do you like better: "“That’s all we’ve been doing! And…AND….” A lift in the corners of her mouth—laugh? A watering and twitching in her eyes—cry? Her shoulders slumped and her eyes looked though him. Neither."

"“That’s all we’ve been doing and…and…but…!” Eira wasn’t sure if she could stand to laugh, or bear to cry. As it was, she did neither."

Sara Harricharan @ Fiction Fusion said...

Hi, J.H.! Yes--finally a chance to reply! LOL, I've been so busy this week, it's been driving me crazy, every time I see a comment and know that I won't have the time to reply until the weekend (and my current writing is finished). Will definitely keep you in prayer about your writings--I hope you've had a good week.

I have to laugh at how your perception has changed of the plot--most of what it in what's left of the plot was merely thrown in to amuse me. The 40-year snippet was a detail like that and a ref. to the DP to use later on. The middle drags a bit, but now that I'm nearing the end, I keep thinking of all the things I could've done to "fix it". Ah, fun. Writer's remorse is infinitely worse than writers' block. You're partially right about the ending though, I did have a similar thought in mind following that basic plot line of the student being able to help the master complete the official business. Not sure if I'll keep it yet (mainly because all my sub-plots need to be tied up and it's giving me a headache as I write in between of everything else), but I'll know by next week. Anyway, happy 4th! I can't wait to read the rest of your comments. ^_^

Sara Harricharan @ Fiction Fusion said...

I have to wince thinking you were able to read through this. It IS really rough. Thanks for pointing out the clunky sentences! (and my rambling, I am trying to work on that--usually for my edited pieces, I'm able to slice and dice it out pretty well, so first/rough pieces like this are pretty much unbearable, but it helps in emptying the words out of my head.

I completely missed the point of the "telling" with Eira and her boots/silence episode. I can see the point there--(and LOL, Darth Vader=sinister villain, that would be a hilarious plot twist). Quite a bit of tagless dialogue is used later on, so these earlier installments are very cookie cutter-ish.

I like the second revision best of Eira's indecisiveness. The extra words were only weighing the meaning down, when clipped out--it makes better reading. Thanks!

~S