Hunted Dreams: Chapter 2, scene 1
|The two most important ingredients for writing: |
A keyboard and a support system
My sister, Lauri J Owen, whose seven more years have cemented her in my brain as Older-Sis-Who-Knows-Everything, tells me I should post scenes from my book so peeps can catch the flavor of my writing. Little sister shero worship requires me to comply. Below is the scene in Hunted Dreams where our shero first meets our hero, although they don't technically speak to one another for at least another chapter. Happy reading!
The first thing she noticed was the heat. It felt almost like a living thing, crawling along her body and sizzling the words from her mouth. Her lungs drew in grateful gasps of air, even as they seared her tongue.
Flames surrounded her. Not literally—or, not exactly. She simply saw flames everywhere she looked. They didn’t seem to burn anything; they simply appeared—in clumps, walls, and towers, as far as she could see. The sky, or whatever it was, curved in a black bowl above her, and the ground beneath her feet shone with the same opaque blackness.
The sound was shockingly loud. How could fire, not even a solid substance, hiss and crackle so noisily? And if nothing fed the flames, why did they sizzle?
The woman took a few steps, wondering if the flames would follow or surround her. They merely continued burning, emanating gross amounts of heat, singeing the hairs on her arms. Her mouth had dried and her lungs begged for cooler air. She walked steadily, hoping to find an end to this nightmarish landscape.
Where—? She stopped, because she wasn’t so sure she really wanted to know.
Waves of air, as hot and sulfuric as the breath of Cerberus, blew her long brown hair into her eyes. As she walked, or, more realistically, proceeded forward in tiny steps, she wondered briefly about taking off her clothes to avoid catching on fire. Looking down, she saw bare, white breasts and the soft rolls of her belly. Oh, good.
She didn’t worry about her hair attracting the flames. That just wouldn’t happen.
The woman waited for the landscape to resolve itself, to begin forming into discernible objects. It never happened. She wondered about the ground beneath her feet, which should have burned her but felt pleasantly warm against her soles. Around her, never more than three or four feet from her body, bodies of flame snapped and lurched.
She tried to distract herself from the thought, but it kept wriggling back into her brain: Where were the demons? When would they be back?
Don’t think it! Thinking calls to It!
Sure enough, to her right, she heard a sudden hoarse, groaning noise, different than the papery sounds of flame. They’d come.
Her head swiveled and her eyes darted in their sockets, trying to soak in every visual detail possible. Her legs trembled with the need to run, to move, to carry her far away, but what would she be running to?
She noticed she had taken two steps back. Not only was she uncomfortably close to a campfire-sized blaze, but she didn’t want to retreat. Legs wobbling only a little, she reclaimed those two steps.
After a few moments, she’d finally grown tired and strained enough to end the standoff. “Who are you?” she yelled.
“Come and get me!” she called. Oh my god, was she insane? “I’m right here!” Crazy, without a doubt.
Suddenly, no more than twenty feet from her, staring at her over the winding ribbons of fire, she spied a face. A human face. Broad, light brown, and handsome. The flames obscured much of his body below his naked chest, but he looked tall and wide, like some kind of athlete—maybe a football player. The man stared back at her for a long, silent moment.
“Who are you?” she demanded again, as loudly and fiercely as a naked woman amid flames can be.
The man moved his mouth, but no sounds emerged. He continued staring at her, eyes dark and intense.
She bared her teeth at him and growled—actually growled. “I won’t let you hurt me,” she hissed at him.
With a snap, the man’s head swiveled on his shoulders until he looked behind himself. The darkness, the pure, smooth blackness of sky and ground, had begun closing in on them. One by one, the flames extinguished as the darkness claimed them.
The woman watched the black wall move with blank, silent speed toward the two humans. Her companion looked as startled as she felt, but she couldn’t believe him. She turned to run and even moved a few feet before deciding once again not to let herself fall victim to the terrors of this place, wherever it was.
She halted, turned back to the man, whose eyes had widened. The shadow, as tall and impersonal as the heavens, swept toward them. She bowed to him.
Gobbling up fires and leaving only darkness and absence in its wake, the blackness continued toward them. It drew closer and closer to the man. His mouth worked furiously, silently spitting out words, as the dark wall swallowed him whole.
Reed jerked awake. Man, crazy dream. As he lurched over onto his left side, thumping his pillow into a feathered brick, he heard himself mutter, “Gotta find her.”