Mar 6, 2009

For Better or For Worse, It's Creative Friday

I wasn’t feeling poetical enough to write a poem for today, so instead you’re getting an excerpt from my WIP, Magic. The main character, Annaliese, has had a run of bad luck which ended with her being homeless, so she’s temporarily living in her grandmother’s cabin in the woods while she writes the novel she’s always dreamed of writing.

* * * * * * * * * *

Annaliese sat down in front of the typewriter.

“Okay,” she said, pulling its cover off. “I’m here to write, now what should I write?”

Glancing around for inspiration, she found none. The view outside the window showed trees and underbrush. Not so much as a deer or a rabbit wandered into the picture.

“Maybe I should try a romance. I like romance novels and they seem easy enough.”

Tapping her finger thoughtfully on the desk she thought about the last time she’d been in a book store. The lack of noise distracted her from her purpose. Okay, honestly, it was creeping her out. No cars, no buses, no sirens screaming; how did people live like this?

“What about a paranormal romance?” she mused. “They’re pretty popular these days.”

She’d just finished reading a whole series of romances about werewolves. Werewolves were hot. She glanced out at the darkening day. “Guess I only have to look out there for inspiration. These woods are the perfect backdrop for a werewolf. A werewolf has definite romantic possibilities.”

The staccato rhythm of the typewriter could be heard, broken only by the occasional curse, followed by the sound of a page being ripped out. The stars began to show and the moon rose, beginning its journey across the sky.

Annaliese sat back and admitted that writing romance might be just a little harder than she thought. The light of the full moon beckoned her through the window. Maybe some fresh air would help. She promised herself she wouldn’t go far, surely a short walk in the woods couldn’t hurt?

As the cabin door shut behind her she breathed deeply. Now this was something she could definitely get used to, clean, fresh air. The moonlight was so bright she had no trouble picking her way along the path down to the lake.

She sat down on the short dock, arms around her knees, absorbing the nuances of the night. The silence no longer seemed absolute. Bullfrogs called to each other from the shallows while crickets chirped with wild abandon. Waves lapped soothingly against the shore. The wind caressed the leaves of the trees.

Annaliese wondered if she was the only one her grandmother had ever told about Elliot. She thought so, but didn’t want to upset Grams by asking. What a terrible secret to have carried all these years.

Her father must have known. He was the oldest and didn’t look anything like his brother or sisters. And Gramps, he must have known. He must have loved Grams very much to marry her when she was carrying another man’s child. One day she hoped to find a love like that.

The shriek of some animal dying rent the night. Like a switch being thrown, the night was suddenly still. The quiet lasted for several seconds and then the crickets began chirping again followed by the bull frogs.

The night lost its magic. Annaliese scrambled to her feet, suddenly chilled to the bone. She stumbled on the path back to the cabin. The moon was behind her now, casting ominous shadows. There was a rustling in the woods beside her. She halted, staring blindly into the underbrush.

The brush rustled again but she couldn’t tell which side of the path. She had the strangest feeling of being watched.

“Hello? Is someone there?”

A bird shot out of the brush, right across the path in front of her. Annaliese gave a shaky laugh. Just a bird, nothing to get nervous about. She took another step up the path, stopping when she heard a growl.

“Whoever this is, this isn’t funny!”

Glowing, yellow eyes stared at her from the underbrush.

Annaliese backed away a step, then another. Again she heard a low growl. The breeze shifted and the growl became something else. A cloud slid across the face of the moon, taking what little light there was with it.

More movement in the brush, coming closer. Almost before she realized what she was doing, Annaliese turned and fled up the path towards the cabin. She could hear something behind her but was too terrified to look back to see what it was.

Sobbing with relief, she saw the cabin, just ahead. She was almost there when she tripped on a protruding root. Before she could scramble to her feet, whatever had been chasing her caught up to her. It landed on her back, planting her face in the dirt again. Her breath left her in a whoosh. Whatever it was it was large and heavy. It snuffled the side of her face and neck.

Rapid fire thoughts shot through her as she lay there, waiting to be torn apart. This was it, she was going to die. They’d find what was left of her body eventually and Grams would blame herself for sending her up here in the first place when really it was her own stupid fault for not being more careful. Or maybe the creature was going to drag her off and they’d never find her body and they’d always wonder what happened to her.

The creature, however, did not tear her apart but continued to snuffle her face, her hair. It’s breath blew out in harsh huffs. Her knees and hands started to sting where she’d tried to break her fall, she shifted minutely. The creature growled, low in its throat, but shifted as well.

Any relief she felt when its weight left her was short-lived as she felt herself being flipped over onto her back. No sooner had it done this than it was on her again. Though she struggled, he held her down easily. She could tell it was a man now, laying his full length on her to keep her still.

“What do you want?” she sobbed. “Why are you doing this?”

The moon slipped from behind the cloud and in that instant she could see the glowing yellow eyes and the long, furry muzzle with sharp, white fangs reaching for her. Annaliese opened her mouth to scream.

She woke with a start, heart still pounding as though she really had been chased through the woods.

“I can’t believe I fell asleep at the typewriter.” She took a deep breath and let it out again.

Covering the typewriter for the night, she glanced at the pages she’d typed out earlier. Gathering them up, she tossed them into the fireplace.

“I’m thinking werewolves are just a little too paranormal for my taste,” she said with a shiver.

After double checking the lock on the door, she headed up to bed.

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