I’ve decided I’m going to start sharing some more pieces of my work – keeps me motivated! Sunday Snippets will be from work I’ve already done, and Tuesday Trials will be from newer bits of writing where I will be working on a new challenge each time.
Today’s snippet is from my current WIP – Dust Bound. I hope you enjoy it 🙂
The dust was lighter today and she found herself grateful for that as they came to the bottom of a slope covered in scree like stones and little else. Why did he have to take the hard route? She paused at the bottom and Ryder moved up beside her, casting a glance upwards and then at her.
“Fraid so. Don’t blame me, blame the foundling”
She settled her pack more firmly on her back and started to walk up, placing her feet on an angle like a duck’s to stop sliding down a ground that slid and skittered with every step.
They were nearing the top when she felt it. Like a jagged line down her core. It was as if all her senses were suddenly pulled tight and released.
She threw herself forward on the scree, dragging Ryder down with her. Or at least she attempted to. The man was like rock and just as immovable.
“Down!’ She hissed. He crouched down and eyed her.
“I don’t see anything. What is it?”
“You won’t see anything. That’s the point. Get down!”
He raised his eyebrows and grimaced but lay down next to her, rifle out.
“Going to tell me what’s going on?”
“Fae tracker. They’ll be looking for Pye, but they prey on anyone out in the dead lands.”
She nodded and pulled her scarf up over her mouth. This close to the dust covered earth it was hard to not breathe it in. She jerked her head forward and began the slow crawl up the slope. Ryder grunted behind her but he kept up. He could be as sceptical as he liked as long as he didn’t make them into a target. It would be easier if she could tell him how she knew the faery was there but that was never going to happen.
The scree slope was hard going and she was sweating from the effort of moving only just enough to go forward and not enough to dislodge the slippery stones and skid downwards. Ryder’s breath was harsh behind her and she figured he’d be having a harder time than her as he was so much bigger.
At the top of the slope she held out her hand behind her and he moved up to join her and stopped, panting harshly.
“If you made me do that for no reason Lark, I swear to god I’ll skin you.”
She frowned at him and directed his eyes outwards. The slope ended in a small plateau. The dead skeletons of trees stood in a semicircle that reminded her of something. The dust was heavy here but more as if it hadn’t been disturbed for a very long time.
“A picnic spot. The view must have been great once”
She turned her head to Ryder and then looked back to the plateau. He was right. That was what it reminded her of. Somewhere under that dust there would be the remains of picnic tables. If she looked hard she’d be able to see the signpost no doubt. But there were other things to look at.
“Can you see it?” She kept her voice quiet and barely breathed. Her heart was racing and her fingers itched to grab her knife.
“Look towards the last tree on the right. See the spot where your eyes want to slide past, and then keep staring at it.”
She knew when he’d seen it. He went completely still beside her. Understandable. The faery was in black, long draping black that emphasised the silky silver of its wings. This one had black hair too, and the raven feather strands swirled around its head like a halo even though there was no wind.
“What are we still doing here?”
His voice was nearly inaudible but she still wished he hadn’t spoken. She reached carefully out with her hand that still lay beside her hip and touched his leg gently, feeling the tension that ran through him. His eyes flicked to hers and she tried to indicate that he shouldn’t say anything. His brows contracted but he pressed his lips together.
Her eyes went back to the tracker. It was risky to take your eyes off them for too long. The faery was standing motionless at the edge of the trees but its head suddenly bent at an angle and she tried to control her racing heart beat. Its wings spread out and despite herself she felt their beauty strike deep in her heart.
The dust at the faery’s feet barely swirled as it rose steadily into the air, wheeling around and heading out over the dead lands to the east. She waited for a good few moments before she sat up. She tugged the scarf down, her gulping breath catching in her throat. Her arms burned.