Today is the one month anniversary of when I decided to begin the writing of Nevermor! I’m pleased with myself for sticking to it so far, and to celebrate, I’m going to give you another excerpt! Again, it hasn’t been edited much. I don’t intend to edit extensively until I’m done with the whole thing (which hopefully will be going on in December, and I’ll tell you a bit about my process when we get there).
This is a section where we see Wren interacting with Whisper, and you get another bonus: you also get to meet Nix! I wonder if he’s what you’d expect…
Excerpt from the upcoming novel, Nevermor
Copyright Lani Lenore 2012
The darkness settled in around her, and she felt very alone here in the middle of the woods. The shadows were thick, encroaching on her space, and she began to hear the sounds of the night beasts prowling through the brush.
I hope he will come back soon. Where did he go?
Standing here, unprotected, a strange sound began to drift into Wren’s ears – soft at first but growing louder. She felt that she had heard it before, but she didn’t recall what it was until a small light came cutting through the trees and danced erratically in front of her.
“Oh! There you are! Rifter went off looking for you.”
The light did not respond except in whispers, which Wren thought sounded rather nasty. They were of a hideous, hissing quality that she didn’t like.
“I’m very confused by you,” Wren said thoughtfully. “I’m not sure that we’re friends but I don’t know why you don’t like me. Is it because I was chasing you all over the sea before? I realize that you were trying to get away from me, but I was asleep, you see. I was dreaming.”
Wren paused a moment as she considered, but the orb kept moving about, leaving trails of light in the air as if it was on fire.
“Would you just be still a moment?” Wren asked. “I’m trying to speak with you civilly.”
The light kept drifting forward and then moving back toward her. It whispered to her as if to say: come, come. Wren was not sure she wanted to follow. She was a bit leery of Rifter, but she trusted this sprite even less.
“Rifter told me to stay here,” she said firmly, but the whispers only grew more rapid and insistent. The sound of them curled around her ears and slithered over her mind like snakes. She tried to ignore them but they wouldn’t go away. Even clamping her hands over her ears didn’t work, and then finally she couldn’t take anymore.
“Alright!” she cried finally. “What do you want to show me? But I’m not going far.”
The glowing bulb seemed pleased by that and drifted off through the trees. Wren was uncertain, but she followed it. It moved slowly ahead of her, truly making an effort to go slowly so that she would be able to keep up with it. Wren tried to keep watch around her, unsure of where she was being taken.
Not much further, and then I’m stopping, she told herself.
Just about the time she was going to say that she wouldn’t go further without Rifter, she lost sight of the light.
She wouldn’t have thought that it could to disappear as easily as that, bright as it was, but yet it had simply vanished. Wren looked around behind her, quite unsure of where she should go now or even where she had come from. The trees were very large here in this portion of the forest, and everything looked the same.
Though she had her suspicions that the little light had done this to her on purpose, she supposed she must give it the benefit of the doubt and ask nicely for it to come back.
“I lost you,” she called, but not too loudly. “Where did you go?”
At that moment, part of a nearby tree reached out to grab her.
An arm slid beneath her throat and she felt something hard pressing against her temple. A jolt ran through her and she barely had time to acknowledge her panic before there was a voice in her ear.
“You have five seconds,” it said quickly. “Who are you and what are you doing here, or I put a bullet through your pretty head.”
“Wait! Please!” She struggled against the arm, but it held her tightly.
“That’s the wrong answer.”
Near her ear, she heard the hammer of the gun click back. Her eyes grew wide with panic. It was all happening so quickly! She was going to die and this would be it? No!
“Stop!” The word echoed back to her, and she realized that she wasn’t the only one who had said it. From the corner of her eye, she could see that Rifter had found her – not a moment too soon – and thankfully not one too late.
“This yours?” the one behind her asked in his direction, and Wren was simply praying she’d get out of this.
Rifter seemed to like the sound of that, because he nodded. “Yeah, that’s right. Let her go, Nix.”
They know each other, she thought with relief. The arm holding her loosened, and once she was able to break free, she went directly to stand near Rifter. From there, she was able to look at the face of the one who had nearly killed her.
He had messy blond hair down to his chin, stringy and damp. He was not dressed in leaves, but in a brown cloak that hung over his lean body, camouflaging him. It was dirty and stained. He seemed loaded with weapons. There was the pistol in his hand, a quiver full of arrows on his back with a bow, and a sword at his hip – not to mention a knife tucked in the top of his boot. There was a streak of blood drawn under his right eye, and Wren knew what that meant now.
He’s killed someone today.
His blue eyes examined her with unrelenting scrutiny. He was around the same height and age as Rifter, and if she had her guess, she might have said they were brothers. They really did look similar, she thought, but they were both so dirty, who could say for sure?
Was there a difference between them? Was there anything warm about this one’s face? He didn’t seem at all remorseful for startling her. In fact, he was looking at her just as hard as Rifter had been when they’d first met.
“I thought we decided that a girl was a bad idea,” Nix said finally, in Rifter’s direction. He spoke as if she wasn’t there – as if she didn’t even understand his language.
“Well, you don’t decide. I decide,” Rifter told him swiftly.
Nix didn’t seem to like the sound of that. His lip drew back and his eyes got a little sharper. Then, suddenly, his mouth curled up in a snide smile.
“Of course. How silly of me. That’s how it’s always been. Why would I think this time would be any different?”
Rifter looked ready to counter that, but it was then that they all heard the whispers, and a bright light came shooting into their midst.
“There you are, Wisp,” Rifter said levelly, as if her whereabouts had never been a concern of his.
The Wisp did not seem pleased, and ranted on hatefully for a few moments, darting around him so energetically that Wren had to step back.
“Don’t talk to me that way,” Rifter scolded as if he understood her perfectly. “And where the hell were you? I was looking all over!”
She was here with me, Wren thought of saying, but then she understood.
She did it on purpose, Wren realized. She led me to this boy Nix in hopes that he’d kill me…
There is your teaser for now. I hope it was fun! That’s two excerpts so far this month, and I’m hoping to do a few more later as the book grows. I kind of slacked off yesterday with writing, but I am up to 41k. I vow to make some progress today! The world and characters are growing all the time and I’m so excited about it! Hope you are too. 😉
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