First chapter of The Witch’s Room

Thewitchsroom3If you’re interested in reading a short story set in a medieval time that involves two sisters going to a witch’s community for help then read the first chapter down below. It is currently available only on Amazon through KPD Select. From June 6 it will be available on Smashwords.

Chapter One

Turning over in bed, Daphne looked at her younger sister. Edwina looked so peaceful asleep, so unbothered by the world. Her face was so angelic. Daphne scrunched up hers. If the situation were reversed, then there would be no problem. It just wasn’t fair that the world treated them differently.

She listened to the commotion down below. Her father and brother were already up and packing for their trip to the nearest town. She listened as they exited the house. Their voices rose up into their bedroom window.

‘Hopefully, this will take us through the winter,’ her father said to their mother.

‘It always does,’ her voice was quiet and soothing.

‘Hold the fort while I’m away.’

Avoiding the floorboards that squeaked, Daphne stared out the window and down at her family. Eric was already on the cart with their father climbing onto it. Her mother was standing beside it. Then the two of them rode off through the early morning mist. It could be a week before they sold all their pelts.

‘Wake up Ed,’ Daphne said as she shook her sister’s shoulder.

‘What?’ she was annoyed and turned away.

‘I have to tell you and mother something now that Father and Eric are gone.’

‘Wha? Later,’ she pulled the thick wool sheets over her head.

‘No, now.’

The pair descended the curved wooden steps and as Edwina was about to fall asleep again at the table she heard her sister speak.

‘Mother, I have to tell you something.’ The sound of her distressed voice opened her eyes. ‘I’m with child’.

‘Oh, dear Lord!’ cried their mother after a moment. ‘How? Who? When?’

‘I haven’t received my bleeds in six weeks.’

‘It’s one of those men Eric hangs out with at the Tavern, isn’t it?’

Daphne gulped and before she could say anything her mother continued, ‘Don’t worry the women of Evelyn can get rid of it.’

‘What those damned witches?’

‘How can you even say that? Those women provide a valuable service to the community. And you need it now.’ Daphne began to tear up. ‘You should know better than to believe what comes out of the mouths of those types men.’

Then she turned to Edwina. ‘You’re not in the same boat as your sister, are you?’

‘No, I’m still a maiden.’

The look on their mother’s face was harsh. ‘I will not have a disgrace for a daughter. Damn it. No one is going to want you now. Why did you do this yourself?’ Then she calmed herself as her eldest daughter began to cry. ‘You will go to Evelyn and they will fix everything. I can’t go because it will look suspicious. Edwina, you will accompany your sister. If people ask, say she’s coming down with the pox.’ Then she left through the front door. Daphne was silent as tears fell down her face.

‘Who is it?’ Edwina asked. Her sister shook her head. Why wasn’t she saying? Her stomach clenched as she thought that how the child was conceived. What type of man would hurt her sister like that? Their mother shouldn’t have blamed her if that was the case.

She couldn’t place a time when Daphne was alone with a man here. Unless it didn’t happen in the house. Maybe it happened in a few moments of stolen privacy. Maybe behind the Tavern? And Daphne was not one who could count on looks to ease her passage through life. A child out of wedlock would mark her out. At least someone can hide their lost girlhood.

Then their mother re-entered the house. ‘The mule is saddled up. You two will ride along the cliffs until you get to Evelyn. It will take you all day, so you need to leave now. Edwina, I need to talk to you. Daphne, pack some food; the women are not a charity you will be expected to do chores in exchange for their services.’

Outside the house, Edwina and her mother talked. ‘Did you know about this?’

‘No, I only just found out.’

‘Mr. Cole will not have his son to marry into a family that has a tainted daughter. Make sure your sister comes back without it.’

‘I will.’

‘Don’t let her out of your sight.’ Then her tone changed slightly. ‘I have to admit. I’m surprised that she managed to find someone to lay with. I would have thought it would be you in this position.’ Edwina knew exactly what her mother was referring to. How could two full blood sisters look so different from each other? It was almost like the Lord himself had taken the beauty that should have been halved between the two of them and gave it all to her. h seemed destined that Edwina was made divinely beautiful so that she could secure a rich man.

She thought of Eli Cole, the only son and heir of Mr. Cole the biggest landowner in the region. According to her mother, how Edwina played herself would decide how her life would turn out.

‘No, I will be with her all the time.’

‘Good. Also, find out who it is. And never speak of this outside of Evelyn.’

They went back inside, and the two sisters got dressed in their winter garments. It was always windy along the coast no matter what time of the year. So just like their father and brother, the pair set off, but in the opposite direction. They carried with them food in a knapsack, a knife for defence and the order to follow the white stone path and not stop for anyone. Their mother made sure to mark Daphne’s skin to give credence to their story. After all, a person infected with pox needs to look like they are contagious.

The woods gave way to open plains and they turned to travel parallel to the cliffs of Evelyn. Their trip along the most well-known but seldom travelled path was uneventful.

‘How much longer?’ Daphne whined. Edwina rolled her eyes, a lot sooner than seven, eight months, she thought. ‘You can see it in the distance,’ she pointed ahead of her to the singular stubby mountain that was highlighted by blue skies.

‘Really? We’re only halfway there.’

‘It’s going to be sunset when we arrive remember?’ Her sister’s hands tightened around her waist. ‘This wouldn’t be an issue if you didn’t get yourself into this mess.’ She added.

‘You think I wanted to be in this position?’

‘Well, why did you sleep with a man you’re not married to?’

‘I didn’t think,’ her voice stopped, ‘I didn’t think that you could become pregnant on the first time.’ Then Daphne hugged her sister, ‘I didn’t think it’d happen to me. Not like this. You’re not going to tell Father, are you?’

‘No, this is women’s business.’

Draft 3 of my next short story

I did another draft of my next short story. I’m still trying to pick a name, but that can come later. I’m beyond the structural edits and now just onto line edits. Maybe two more drafts and it might be ready for publication.

It is now 6,277 words and five chapters long. It involves two sisters going to a witch’s commune seeking help and while there they discover the magical room created by the founder that has been closed off for generations. The genre is YA and a bit of semi-medieval fiction. It’s set in a medieval type world, but no exact time and location are given (think some time ago).

witch3

New short story complete

My last post about writing up a new short story idea is already done. I wrote 5,000 words yesterday around my split shifts and today I completed another 1,400. I’m really impressed with myself. It’s nice to know that I might have another story out in a few months.

I think I already have a cover image of what I want to use, but I’ll see how I am later down the track. I’m still messing around with the title, but I think I might have already found it. My story is about sisterly bonds and witches. I’ve set it in an undisclosed fictional medieval setting. I know roughly what I want to change/improve in the next draft but I’m going to let it sit for a week.

This entire story pretty much came about because I thought up this one scene less than seven days ago that I didn’t want to let go of. Jesus, my brain impresses me so much 🙂

First Chapter of Feet or Fins

Feet or Fins ebook cover

Prologue

 

Unwittingly the town of Blue Bottle Bay held witness to the triennial migration of a family of Mira. A self-appointed term that describes the inhabitants of certain oceanic regions, like individuals in a country. To land dwellers they would simply be known as mermaids.

Because there are no records, it is not exactly known for how long or how many times the Mira have been migrating past this place. But their oral history indicates that it has been occurring since before the presence of land dwellers.

The initial attraction had been the bountiful coral reefs, followed by the rocky coastline and the isolation. Their migration routes regularly intersected with places like these. Whether they liked or not, Mira were not suited to a continuous life in open and deep waters. They were shallow water creatures that needed to live periods of their life on land. These migration stops were oases in a desolate world.

Before the arrival of land dwellers, Blue Bottle Bay was a paradise. Mira could come and go from the land without fear. But that is no more and there are too many chances of being seen. They can no longer afford to linger in the area. Their traditional lifestyle of vaulting from places living off the land and sea following the path created by their ancestors was becoming less viable.

To compensate they adjusted their habitation times at the other remaining places, ensuring that they kept to the rigid seasonal schedule. If they arrived too early or too late at certain places then they ran the risk of arriving during an infertile season. Furthermore, while Blue Bottle Bay was acceptable, it was not the best of places. It only had one cave for protection and even that was difficult to access. So now the Mira swim past the town out in the open sea.

*          *          *          *          *

It was during one of these migrations that Emaleah’s curiosity took her closer than she had ever been before. Myliah, her twin sister held her back.

I want to see them close up, Ema communicated in her and the rest of her family in their groups’ sign language. Their reluctance showed. She was still young, having only left the nursery island a hundred or so lunar cycles ago. They hadn’t anticipated that she would want to leave so soon.

But there comes a time for most Mira when they need to venture on land in search of a mate. But Myli didn’t want to accompany her sister and for the first time in their lives they were going to be apart from each other.

You’re younger than most, she signed, trying to dissuade Ema.

But not the youngest.

I don’t want you to leave.

Sorry Myli, but I want to go ashore.

Ema’s words stung. Her sister had never wanted to leave her before. But she couldn’t stop her. If she wanted to chase after mates then there was no stopping her.

Once again Ema was given all the warnings that she had ever heard throughout her life.

Don’t let them see your tail.

You must have your feet.

You must never tell them about us.

Be prepared to kill.

Ema didn’t think of herself as stupid, or cruel. If a land dweller found out what you were then, for the protection her kind, they had to be killed. It was a brutal tradition, but it had worked since The First Mira. While she felt that there was something wrong with this blanket rule, she knew of its importance. Without it they would not exist.

But it was obvious that there were times when this rule had not been carried out. Multiple land dweller societies had myths that involved sea creatures similar to them. It could not be a coincidence and it was a topic of contention for Mira everywhere. Sirens, a feared and respected faction of Mira society, held great enmity towards this idea. Ema swam towards the shore, facing upwards skirting along the sea bed. She felt like she was about to burst; she was going to see them. A dark foreign shape glided overhead. Ema looked at it intently. Land dweller legs and feet dangled down from it. This is it.

When her head broke through the water she saw a young man on a surfboard swimming away from her, heading towards the incoming waves. Ema watched him stand up on his surfboard and then ride the wave.

It’s a surfer, she thought, male land dwellers that ride waves and water. Her family had told her in particular about these ones. When she was just a child her grandmothers had made her and Myli giggle at what they said. ‘They’re good for breeding. They strong sires for your children. If you ever come across a great water rider try not to let him get away.’

Ema wondered if her family could handle another child. She was old enough to produce one. But migrations were time and energy consuming, and there were fewer and fewer places for them to reside in. And she had to time it right too; it was dangerous to give birth in open water.

Ema saw that the now resting surfer was drifting away from her. She swam towards him and perched herself on the board. She sank it further into the water. The young man turned around looking confused.

‘Hi,’ said Ema.

The young man looked to be about seventeen or eighteen. Ema stared at his body; all the muscles were in all the right places. He had an average looking face and his brownish hair was bleached by the sun. Ema smiled. His hazel eyes were wide; he then looked towards the shore.

‘You swam all the way out here?’ he asked disbelievingly.

‘What other way could I get here,’ Ema replied coyly.

The land dweller stared at Ema again.

‘Are you naked?’ he asked with even more disbelief. He could not see her wearing a bikini top. Not even one of those strapless ones. ‘What need do I have of clothes, they only hinder me.’

His mouth was agape; he couldn’t believe what he was seeing or hearing. Ema saw this as a good sign; it meant that she had his attention.

‘I was watching you on the waves. You’re pretty good. I’d like to get to know you more.’

The young man was still speechless. He couldn’t believe what was before him. And he had never come across a girl so forward before.

‘My name’s Emaleah, but Ema for short, what’s yours?’ she asked him.

‘Uhhhh Darryl,’ he replied.

‘Would you like to get to know me?’

‘Yeah,’ Darryl said before he could stop himself.

‘Well, meet me at that lagoon tomorrow at noon, I’ll be waiting for you.’ Ema said before disappearing underwater.

Darryl couldn’t believe what he just saw. This girl was out of this world. She wasn’t too bad looking either. Though her chest looked almost non-existent. She looked like she was about his age as well. Her face was mature yet youthful. From his brief encounter Ema looked like that she might be a bit on the short side. Also he didn’t like boy hair on women, but he wasn’t about to complain. She was the first girl to ever be so forward with him. Well apart from Robyn, but she had that aggressive streak that worried him. Why couldn’t other girls be more like this one?

Feet or Fins is AVAILABLE!

Feet or Fins is AVAILABLE!

Feet or Fins ebook cover

I’m so excited. My first self-published book is now available 🙂 I first put it up on Smashwords on the 31st of May but I haven’t been promoting it so now I am. This is a synopsis of Feet or Fins;

Thirty years ago Ema barely escaped the clutches of land dwellers. Though she disobeyed the rules of her society by not carrying out her duty, she believed everything would be fine. But upon her return, her sister Myli is kidnapped and both Ema and her sister are forced to deal with the consequences from that night. With the fortuitous discovery of others of her own kind they set out to retrieve Myli and prevent the world from discovering their existence. But things are not as they appear and Ema’s deception and betrayal does not bode well for her. She knows that however she decides to act this time round, she must deal with the consequences.