I'm at my grandmother's tonight, and it's cold, and the Internet and phones are screwy, I broke a nail beneath the meat, and I miss the babs, and they're likely very mad at me for not being in my bed two nights in a row... Damn. But I'll be back tonight, I swear! That's one thing in my power to control.
Life is all sorts of screwy, really, but it goes on whether you like it or not. I'm trying to find my place in the world, and the world is wobbling, and I have this fear of being on unstable surfaces, as some of you are painfully aware. Instead of a long, weird ramble tonight, I have for you a sample of what I'm currently working on for the book.
If you don't want spoilers, do not venture below. You've been warned!
Thail had thought he had seen the last of his sister. He hadn’t even banked on holding onto a photograph of them together, not for the rest of his darkened life. Now, thanks to Zack and Dakota, he had both in his grasp. The photograph was sitting prettily near his bedding in Anabik’s cave, while Yaminella was cheerily singing a tune and braiding Cordy’s hair with her long, slender fingers. It was all so peaceful, if not for Zack’s constant pacing about at the entrance of the cave.
Anabik arched their brow at their guest’s insistence on wearing a rut in his flooring. “Must you keep that up, Ezrael?”
“It’s Zack…” the god of Death said off-handedly, chewing on his lower lip.
“Look, give the girl some space. You’re bound to run her off if you always stay glued to her side,” Anabik insisted. “Come help me with breakfast.”
Shaking himself vigorously, Zack turned to eye Cordy and Yaminella. “Where’s Quelli and Sel?”
Cordy blushed. “I’m sure their enjoying their time alone…”
“Eh? What about Dani?” Thail wondered, blinking. Was she the type to spend the night out hunting? He didn’t know her well enough to know the answer.
“I… don’t think she’s home. She’d have come to check on me, I think, if she were…” Cordy murmured, embarrassed. “I was a little nervous about leaving on my own…”
“Something ain’t right,” contended Zack after more pacing. “Dakota would’ve at least warned me…”
“She did warn you,” Anabik returned. They were about to become cross with the fretful young man. They hardly feared the reaper at this stage in their life. “Now help me with breakfast before I brain you.”
Mindlessly Zack dragged his feet out of his repetitive path and towards the nice little cauldron on the fire. “Do you think she’s okay?”
“Only one thing in existence can harm her… well, maybe two,” Anabik reminded him, giving him a curious stare. “And she’s not near you and not likely to wander from her path. Stop fretting like an old maid.”
“But it’s not like her—”
“I’m sure she has her reasons and she’ll be more than happy to disclose them to you upon her return,” said the odd-haired guardian with a groan. “Stir. It’s a mindless enough activity for someone like you.”
Yaminella ceased her singing to smile serenely at the fitful pair at the fire. “Trust her, Zack. Trust is powerful. She trusts you.”
Thail snorted as a bright red flared to life on Zack’s neck and zoomed up across his face. “Y-yeah, I gotcha. Okay.” That seemed to flummox him greatly, because he finally stopped fidgeting and kept quiet.
“How do you like your hair, Cordy?” Yaminella asked sweetly, gently fluffing at the many-pleated braids she had made through her new friend’s burgundy mane.
“It’s very different from what I’m used to, but I think I like it!” Cordy exclaimed in surprise. She couldn’t help but submit to Yaminella’s suggestion earlier, despite not being a fan of change (at least, when it involved her own image). Yaminella was such a peaceful, agreeable being, that it was hard not to succumb to her whims. But the look was actually suitable! Cordy beamed brightly at the elder woman. “Thank you!”
“Not a problem, not a problem!” the redhead sang back.
Inspired, Cordy glanced around the cave. “I wonder if there’s anything I could do…”
“Biki, why don’t you ask Cordy to fashion you a bit of lighting?”
“A lantern and a fire’s been good enough for me…” the shape-shifter admitted as they sliced up an onion.
“Well, it’s not just you here anymore is it?” Thail countered, trying his best to sound assertive. “And I know my eyes have been absolutely killing me in here! I’m sure everyone else’s are too.”
“I can see quite fine,” Yaminella tittered.
“Same. I think light actually hurts my eyes now,” Zack admitted, scratching his cheek.
Thail looked to Cordy in desperation. She smiled and turned to Anabik. “Honestly, my eyes hurt a bit. Would it be all right to… maybe create you a few more lanterns, inset into the walls? Just a bit brighter, really!”
“Have at it,” Anabik muttered with a wave of their knife. “Just don’t bring the cave down on us all in the process.”
Turning to Thail, Cordy blushed. “The first one should be where it’d benefit you most. Any ideas?” she asked, tugging on one of her braids.
“Ah! All right…” Thail cried, hopping up onto his feet to join her in studying the wall near his bedding.
Zack watched as the pair began their task. Cordy had taken to the Romsteads rather nicely, which he hadn’t expected. Cordy had a slightly difficult persona, and the Romsteads seemed to have spent their years in familial isolation. That their paths were intersecting in such a pleasant way was… refreshing, to say the least. Not everyone would get along swimmingly, Zack knew, but it’d help their cause greatly if at least the first few explorers of Neitoph did, right?
Anabik was right, of course. Zack needed to grant Dakota some space. But something in the air was… different. Suddenly, something struck a chord within the raven-haired male. Gesturing quietly to Anabik to follow him, Zack slipped outside. “Can you tell me something?” he asked the other. “You’re a guardian, so ya would know if somethin’ was changin’ on us, yeah?”
With a smirk, Anabik sighed, his emerald eyes suddenly dull. “You’re not wrong. But there’s no use worrying about your girlfriend; she’s more than capable of defending herself and knows better than to walk into the hornet’s nest.”
“What’s goin’ on, then?” Zack inquired, folding his arms over his chest and shifting all his weight onto his right leg.
At this, Anabik’s small nose scrunched up. “Time. The air. It’s like everything’s becoming soupy.”
“Soupy?” Zack repeated, blinking.
With a grimace, the icy-eyed god-mod asked, “So what do ya think I should do?”
Anabik reached out with their fist and rapped it against Zack’s chest. “Wait. Sometimes, it’s all one can do.”
And that's it! It's a self-contained first draft piece somewhat after the first 50k of the book. Now, if'n ya don't mind, I need to get back to it!
HIT THE HEART YO~~