Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Contest entry

Here's the contest entry that was posted on Mr. Bransford's blog. The original short story was written in November 2009, when I was figuring out whether I wanted to write in first/third/omniscient, and grasp the voice and feel of the novel. I polished it up a little bit. It will never be in the novels though, the plot wasn't ready at the time!

Chase of the fidemeles

I heard the roars and the screams, their echo inspiring me to run faster.

"No pain, no pain," I kept repeating. I looked over my shoulder, and saw Olaf was covering my retreat.

The predator always wins a voice said in my head. No matter how hard I shielded my ears, nothing could stop it. It would resonate as he willed it.

"Shut up! SHUT UP!" I screamed. The empty golden scabbard fastened on my back kept tapping against my spine as I ran, like a metronome setting the beat of the chase.

"Come on, boy, stay close to me!" I shouted at the black and yellow beast. His massive paws struck the ground in an elegant feline pace, his majesty reflecting the extent of his strength.

I reached the hill that led to the next level, and jumped butt first, sliding down the dusted stone. I looked up at the cavernous ceiling and saw all the pillars that went too high for my eyes to see, and the white flowering vines that circled them like serpents.

Run all you want, I'll catch you eventually. Now, tomorrow or in a hundred years, it doesn't matter. I'll get you.

"Keep going, Gaby, keep going. You're almost there," I said to my panting self. Olaf came running down, without pause or hesitation. I looked up and saw two black beasts on the edge of the hill.

Get him the angry voice said.

Olaf bumped me with his head and pushed me forward. I started to run again, but when I looked back, he wasn't following. I glanced at him. I could see his fierce, hazelnut colored eyes even from where I stood, and I immediately knew what they said.

"Thank you," I whispered, my eyes wet.

He turned around, and his rosettes shined at me for the last time. He roared a thunderous roar and charged. He clashed with the black beasts, and was lost in a cloud of dust.

Running and crying, I ignored everything but my breathing. The pain, the city, the temples, the green pastures, the bodies… they weren't there. There was only me and my objective.

And then I saw it. The barricade, a hundred meters in front of me. Finally.


The ringing came back. The screeching, paralyzing sound echoed in my head, like never ending pangs of invisible daggers stabbing at my brain. With blood gushing out of my ears, I fell to my knees, unable to move a muscle.

"Hello, Gaby," the cold voice said. It did not come from my head this time, but the mouth of the man who stood over me. "I'm sorry it had to come down to this. He was a beautiful jaguar."

He reached under his robe and drew out the weapon I knew so well. The pyramidal blade shined at me.

"Are you ready?" he asked, leaning over.

"Yeah, I've been ready for a long time… dad."

There was a gushing sound, and then nothing.

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