This blog follows how a romance novel set in the Borders of medieval Scotland is researched, written and hopefully *hopefully* published.

Join me on the writing journey and get inspired to try writing a little romance into your own life!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

A "Sunday Scribblings" Prompt: Slippery

Sunday Scribblings had a post last week that prompted writers to write something "slippery." I haven't had much time to write anything new (other than working through a touch more of Hollow Hearts and Hollow Hills), but I realized this morning I had something I had written recently (relatively speaking) that had that "slippery" sort of feel about it... So this is a brief excerpt from something I've been playing with...

Something tugged at her line and she sat straight up. She felt the string grow taut. The rod vibrated and danced, and with a shout of joy that was totally inappropriate for a young woman avoiding church service on the Sabbath, she tightened her grip on the rod's end and gave it a determined snap. The hook set, and she tugged to pull the fish to shore. But try as she did, the fish seemed heavy as lead--nearly immovable.

She gritted her teeth, dug in her heels and began to sing a sea chantey she had heard sailors working to once. The fish began to move towards her, first at a creep and then at a crawl... She scurried further up the bank, dragging the pole with her. It must be a huge one, she thought with excitement. She froze. And what will I do with a giant fish if I catch it? Surely then mother will catch me in a lie! She gulped at the thought of it, but then she dug in her heels again and yanked with all her might. All good things must come to an end, she thought, and, What a tale I’ll have to tell! So she grunted and pulled still harder.

There was a snapping sound as the line tossed off a spray of water and quivered, arrow straight before her.

Something raised from the lake's depths then, something with a dorsal fin that split the line's wake in two and grew larger as it sped towards the shore, and the stunned girl.

Astridr stood transfixed as the thing continued on its rigid path towards her. The song died on her lips and as desperately as instinct told her to run, still her feet were like lead, holding her still as a statue. Breath caught in her throat, she watched a monstrous head emerge from the now-foaming water and she fell backwards as it rose up on a serpentine neck and peered down at her with great, unblinking eyes.

Water flowed down its scaled and shimmering back in great rivulets, dropping like falling stars into the rippling lake. Soft spines extended from its face like an awkward mustache, and it tilted its ox-sized head to one side as if considering her for dinner.

That was when Asta screamed and found her feet again.

She scrambled backwards up the slippery bank, dropping the rod. She flopped onto her back for a moment, hands grappling for purchase on the yet dewy grass.

The beast looked at her, its mouth opening, long streaks of drool falling with thick-sounding splashes into the water at the lake's edge. The great maw widened and Asta was certain an entire horse could fit between its slathering jaws. It peeled back its rubbery lips and showed row after row of sharply serrated teeth, each one the size of Asta's quivering hand.

Surely the Devil himself was before her, coming to make her pay for her indiscretion by escorting her immediately to the immortal realm. Feet flailing as she kicked and tugged her way up the brief incline, she found her voice again and let loose with a scream so shrill and loud that the beast snapped its mouth shut and tilted its head to look at her quizzically.

Mounting the hillock, she got her feet beneath her and spun around, glimpsing the small village and just beyond that, the promised safety of her family's estate. With a focus born of terror, she raced away from the creature as fast as she could.

The beast lumbered out of the water, parting its mouth with a "mew" of surprise. With only its clumsy flippers, it pushed its body up the hill to follow the fleeing girl. It undulated along, face close to the ground, eagerly whuffling up her scent through flaps that vibrated open and then trembled shut over mist-blowing nostrils.

Astridr’s fear gave her feet wings. It wasn’t long before she was far from the lumbering wyrm.

The beast stopped in the midst of its own slick trail, head swinging from side to side. It could no longer smell its quarry, and she had stopped her bawdy song well before her scent had faded. No sound, no scent... It swung back around and slipped and slithered its way back to the lake, finally sliding into the water’s blue depths. And so it disappeared, only a set of rippling circles and a long slick trail showed anything had passed that way.

Maybe that gives a "slippery" sort of sensation... There are so many more clever
ways I might have written something slippery (like a criminal evading the law,
or a half-dozen sensually-based scenes...;-) but I've had no time!


Hope you're writing!

~Saoirse

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