Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Paula's Prompt: Crossed Paths

Here's my response to Paula Wyant's Wednesday Words! Check out her excellent prompts at . Last week's was a card, whittling, and a backpack.

The result was the Tale of Navel, 'Crossed Paths'. Here's a sample containing not too many spoilers, I hope! :) I'll share the rest once all of 'Waiting for Rebirth' has been posted at

Damian Ashelocke wasn’t used to whittling. He preferred clay. Somehow the knife ended up in his hands, a small, silvery blade. Its edges fluted out, looking like a spade. Spade or blade? When did the blade become a spade?

Gabrielle would have preferred spades, a shovel she could use to plant a garden, rather than a sword to cut down her enemies. No matter how well a sword suited her. 

Ah, well, it had been an old, sour argument. One he’d left behind in the Navel, along with everything else. Not to mention everyone else. 

Damian closed his eyes against the sudden surge of pain. Violet blue eyes with traces of rose, purple, and other forgotten colors swimming in their irises met his, filled with liquid pain. 

He forced his own to open, fighting against the sticky wetness which swelled beneath his eyelashes. He scratched the blade with especial gentleness against the wood, feeling for the grooves within rough material. Finding the boy’s limbs, his arms, and his legs. 

Why couldn’t he stop thinking about Christopher?

“May I sit?” 

Damian looked up to see a girl with shaggy golden hair, cropped short, wearing a loose tunic which could have been from any number of worlds and time periods. The backpack she slung over one shoulder limited those possibilities. 

All serious dreamers ended up in the Shadow Forest, sooner or later. 

“Why ask?” Damian asked, lifting one hand to shade his eyes from a sunbeam, coming through the trees. Once more, it was sunset. Not that time was measurable by any standard of reality here. “You’re already walking my path. Why not simply take a spot in my resting place?”

“Once inconsiderate, courtesy is considered the second time around.” For all her fancy words, the girl plopped from herself down right against tree trunk next to Damian. “I wanted to talk to you, Damian Ashelocke.”

“You’re assuming I want to talk to you.” Damian cursed himself for the defensiveness in his own voice. It was a sign of weakness. He didn’t inch away from the girl, although her proximity made his skin crawl. “Did my aunt sent you?”

“No, Duessa isn’t our mutual acquaintance, unless my path crossed with hers and I didn’t realize it.” The girl unzipped her backpack and started pulling out items. Rumpled shirts and tunics from differing time periods, stinky underwear, ripped bloomers, a battered flashlight, and several small sachets. “It’s someone else. Ah ha!”

She flourished an intricately carved wooded box with a pattern of flowers and vines upon it. Carefully, she popped open a drawer on the side. 

“The Fool!” She withdrew a card and displayed it. “Looks like our minds are on the same boy.”

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