The Wisp (excerpt), Flower Photography, Art, Reading, and Fiction
The weather is changing and the leaves are turning. This is my favorite time of year. Halloween, Thanksgiving, and soon the Winter holiday season. Time to snuggle up and read a good book or if you are me time to get a good cup of coffee and get penning. Currently I am working on another instalment of the Windfall, Slip Treaders series.
The Wisp was the first in that series and it was followed by the Tall Man. I have been posting segments from both books along with some original new photography.Been so pleased that many of you have expressed interest and even found their way to Amazon to pick up a copy. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
Given what is the start of the new year for me. I feel inspired to start again from the beginning. Some of you will be familiar with parts of the story; so to keep it fresh, I will continue with new photos and also offer up some commentary/blog with each excerpt. Maybe a funny observation or two. Today feature photos are some cool night lens flares that achieved some other-wordly perspective.
Please feel free to share and spread the word. And comment, comment, comment. I tip the best ones:)
So what you are about to read or listen to is the first few pages of Part One (The Enemy Within), Chapter One of the Wisp. You will note from the beginning that even though it is an ideal setting Bara finds herself in, something isn't quite solid and soon turns surreal and spooky.
Enjoy and remember; like life, It's only a dream-waking.
Let's Begin ...
Gentle gusts blew through layers of whispering leaves. Those with the lightest grip let go and cut red and gold traces through the air. They settled soundlessly on the pavement below. Above a low-hanging sun shared the sky with a pale crescent that had just crested the horizon. A morning moon at dusk, her mother called it. It was a lovely evening but Bara walked alone. Not another living soul, an empty town at a time when the residents of Windfall were usually rushing home for dinner. How strange?
But then there was an insistent tug on her sleeve. Not alone after all. She looked down. A girl of four or five years old looked back up. She wore a red pea coat with a matching beret. Curls not far off the shade of Bara’s own strawberry blonde scooped down and brushed her collar. Dark glasses with white frames—heart shaped—hid her eyes. She said nothing, but a tear escaped from below a plastic rim and trailed down a plump cheek.
“Are you lost?” Bara asked. “Do you want me to help find your mommy?”
The girl nodded and held out her chubby hand. Bara reached out but was jostled from behind before her fingers could take hold. The street was full now. Where had they all come from? A steady stream of men and women pushed and shoved as they passed. Halloween was over. Yet they were all dressed in costumes from the past and wore dark glasses.
Bara looked down again. The girl had gone … but not far. She now stood under the shade of an oak tree a few meters away. A tall man, made even taller by a black top hat, had her by the arm. She struggled to get free. Something told Bara he wasn’t her father. A protective spirit surged in her. She fought her way through the crowd and threw her slight, sixteen-year-old body at his massive frame. The man merely stepped back, but he did let go of the girl.
“Run!” Bara told her. The girl didn’t hesitate. Her short legs took flight and she disappeared into the crowd. There’d be no escape for Bara. Dark gloved hands reached out and took hold of her shoulders. She looked up, opened her mouth to protest, but never uttered a word. Sudden terror had squeezed her throat shut. Under the brim of the man’s top hat were two empty black holes where his eyes should have been. His eyelids quivered and something—something that shouldn’t be there—rolled inside his skull in waves of oily black and silver.
The man gave a wry smile and let out a chuckle that cracked with charge. His hands moved up from her shoulders and took hold of her throat. His fingers stiffened. The realization hit. He’s going to kill me.
Bara struggled. Her flailing arms made contact with no one and nothing. His smile grew wider. His grip tightened and closed off her windpipe. He lifted her from her feet. Her toes just grazed the asphalt below and she was in the air … only for a moment. His hands loosened from her throat. She fell to her knees. The man then left the ground.
With her face hidden under an abundance of red-gold curls, a girl about Bara’s own shape and size held him aloft with only one arm. Odd. She also wore a red pea coat and beret.
“She is mine,” came her hissing voice.
As if he were no more than a rag doll, she tossed the man aside. Before making contact with the ground, he exploded in a burst of silver and screams. Charges trailed and sizzled through the air. When the sound and movement finally died down, a cloud of silver dust hung and then dropped with a heavy thud. The wind blew away the dust and the man was gone.
Thinking the nightmare over, Bara looked to her rescuer. Her rescuer turned to her. The nightmare wasn’t over. There stood a mirror image—same shape, size, hair, and face. A doppelgänger. Everything was the same, everything but the eyes. They were black and empty of identity, just as the man’s had been. The doppelgänger cocked her head to the side. With a hand as gentle as a venomous snake, she bent down and reached out for Bara’s cheek.
“Hush, hush,” she cooed and stroked.
Her youthful mouth turned down. Two heavy folds grew from her nose, dragging her cheeks until they sagged below her chin. Crow’s feet formed around her black eyes and spread until they reached a now grey hairline. Deep crevasses pocked and ran across a once-smooth forehead.
Bara stared at herself as an old woman.
“I am here now,” her demented double reassured. “Everything is just fine.”
Everything wasn’t just fine, not even close. The doppelgänger smiled a wide smile that grew wider still. Wrinkles bent and twisted under the strain of an ever-increasing black hole of a mouth, a mouth that threatened to erase its face … but in the next instant, it closed and returned to normal. She turned her head as though at a sound and then back at Bara.
“Soon,” she whispered and then disappeared in a storm of silver and electricity.
The doppelgänger was gone. The man was gone. All the other passersby had disappeared too. But Bara wasn’t alone. A solitary form approached. The dark-haired boy!
Everything was alright now. This boy she knew. He was tall and lean with broad shoulders, his strides long. His hair, dark and wavy, shown copper in a sun setting too rapidly to be real. The sun slipped below the horizon like a coin into a slot. The sky disappeared into night and the world dimmed to darkness. Bara heard her own breathing, fast and shallow. His breath was strong and even. He was so close now. Her fingers found his warm cheek. She stepped closer and he opened his arms. Like someone had thrown a switch, the moon lit up the night sky. Stars burst through the black. His eyes, vibrantly blue, smiled down at her. His lips brushed her mouth. She returned the kiss, wishing it would go on forever. It didn’t.
Words and Images are my own. The Wisp and its sequel, the Tall Man, is available in paperback or digital through Amazon or your local libraries and bookstores. Click on any title below to further explore and support my writing.