Wilmington River from Bonaventure Cemetery
After wasting far too much time trying to figure out what I would blog about this week, I finally stumbled upon a possible idea. As I have been enmeshed in editing and writing the first two books in the Hallowed Treasures Saga among a few other projects, I haven’t had time to write anything else. And that made me remember that for every book that gets written, there are always those that get started and then fall by the wayside.
So, this week I offer you very short excerpts from several novels I began but have yet to finish:
All Sinful Desires
Desire of having is the sin of covetousness.
Late Spring 1105
Mortain Manor, River Rother
Sitting on a grassy bank overlooking the river, Elfled studied the water as it whispered its way past her bare feet. It was that transcendent time of morning when the deep purple of night transmuted slowly to the lavender of dawn and the first rays of the sun shivered on the horizon. Soon the birds nesting in the neighboring trees would begin their litany of praise, their song a hymn to the new day. Elfled would feel a moment of perfect peace as she inhaled deeply of the morning’s distillation of scent—oak and pine, birch and ash, river mud and forest earth. She never grew tired of it.
Yet, her tranquility lasted no longer than it might take a kingfisher to strike the Rother’s dimpled surface because she knew that she would soon be returning to the chaotic atmosphere of Mortain Manor and the myriad chores that would keep her occupied for the rest of the day until she fell, once more, into an exhausted sleep come nightfall. Her very soul screamed denial. Knowing that she would more than likely be trapped as a servant at the manor for the remainder of her days made her want to throw herself into the Rother and end it all here and now. But, suicide was a sin and she couldn’t bring herself to commit so egregious a transgression.
Sometimes I feel as old as time. It is as if I am a fallen angel or a goddess forced to spend eternity in human form, and I just never seem to get it right. And so I come back again for another attempt. Over and over and over again.
Okay, I will admit that was a bit of a disingenuous introduction. The truth is I am an angel although I think “fallen” is a bit too harsh. Maybe I “tripped” but I sure as heaven never fell. And, I could have been one of the archangels, you know. Lucifer, too, for that matter, but he just had to be on par with our Father.
Her first thought was that the alarm had sounded, and somehow she had managed to doze off again before gaining full consciousness. Yet, it must have continued to worry her or she wouldn’t be struggling to wake up now. Rahab sat up in her single bunk, pushing the covers down, heart pounding, ready to hit the shower. She couldn’t be late or she’d have to spend extra time in the lab or on the track.
Squinting groggily at the panel situated at eye level on the wall next to her bed, Rahab groaned when she finally focused on the numerals enough to see that their frigid arctic blue, which was supposed to be calming and peaceful, pulsed 0:13. Nearly six hours until the alarm went off! She’d barely been asleep two.
Then that wasn’t what set off the alarm bells, so to speak, she thought as she felt her heart begin to slow. What had awakened her? She listened, intensely with her ears, mind, all her senses, for a moment, barely breathing. But, she heard nothing. The complex was silent; not even the random snore or grunt from neighboring compartments. Their occupants were apparently sleeping deeply. A good thing, Rahab thought, grimacing. At least they would be well rested for the double training tomorrow. Or rather, today, she corrected herself.
Detail from a fountain at Greenwich Cemetery.
It Starts . . .
First let me introduce myself. My name is Pisces. Pisces Kerouac Kowalski. Yeah, yeah, I know. Heard it all before. Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt. “Stella! Stella!” OK. That’s out of the way . . .
Oh, you were questioning the Pisces Kerouac? What do you expect when your parents were a couple of Beatniks? My mother was really into astrology, Tarot cards, Ouija boards and Beat Lit, particularly an aspiring young writer named Peter Kowalski. All I can say is: Thank God I wasn’t born between June 21st and July 22nd! Cancer Kerouac Kowalski. But to her credit, my mother swore to me that if I had been born a cancer (and I ache for all you cancers out there), she would have gone with something like the birth flower or gem of those months. Oh. Gee. I could have been Rose or Pearl or even Ruby, if I had been born four months or so later, but lucky me, I got the striking and unforgettable name of Pisces. Not Violet. Not Amethyst. Pisces.
And the Kerouac. It could have been worse. I could have been Brautigan or Ginsberg. Although I have to admit, Burroughs doesn’t sound too bad. And I loved Naked Lunch. But I’m used to Kerouac and I’ve always felt a special tie to him . . . but, of course, this is all beside the point. Who am I kidding, really? It was like growing up on Dante’s fourth level of Hades with the name Pisces (and I stuck with that because it was a hell of a lot easier to pronounce on sight than Kerouac—although I prefer the latter).