As of this minute, I have 14 days, 1 hour and 8 minutes to finish my first draft of my current manuscript. It's been slow going, and by that I mean, it's been at a stand still for the last week or so... mostly because my kids started a new online school this week and I've been working on a script for a short play my church is putting on... Details. I am focused and really want to finish this.
If you would like to read any of the other snippets, please click here and here.
In this snippet we find our hero, Dee, after her first day of school and her run-ins with Dane, the One she has been training to protect, which have left her feeling inadequate and confused, exhausted and angry. And what does a 15 year old weapons expert do when she's angry? Whip out a bo staff and beat the sap out of trees, of course. Enjoy ;)
As I jabbed, smacked and swiped at my 'opponents', pine needles scattered to the barren ground beneath the trees, sounding like bird seed or rice being thrown at a wedding. I was in full demolition mode now, striking out with deadly precision at the branches around me. I could feel my frustrations work their way out of my body, through my arms, down my staff and into the poor trees around me. Each blow released a thought piercing at my brain. Why did we have to move to Alaska? Why didn’t M decide to give me some warning, choosing instead to leave me unprepared and looking like an idiot when I met my charge today? Does said charge know who he is? If I found him to day, in McKinley High School, what exactly am I going to be facing my senior year. And to think, I thought the required state testing was going to be the most dreaded thing this year. Why... can I not... break. this. branch. Crack, smash, crack. There. I cracked the branch, satisfied with the crunch it made and immediately turned to do the same to the tree behind me. My staff didn’t meet tree. It met the staff of my trainer, my Paladin, M. Between the sound of dropping needles, swishing branches and my grunting and heavy breathing, I hadn’t heard his footsteps. Who am I kidding? I rarely hear his footsteps anyway. He could simply appear and disappear as he chose.
I first met M when I was three. We had just moved to Russia and I was in the market with my mother. I was starving and my mother was desperately trying to negotiate for my dinner in with her English-to-Russian dictionary in hand. I reached out to grab a plump, deep red apple that was right at my eye level and a hand gently grabbed mine. Electric blue eyes came down right in front of mine. Even back then his hair was gray. His thick peppery eye brows raised as he said, “Don’t you know better than to take things that don’t belong to you? A hero must not steal, even when they are starving.” He released my hand, smiled at me and left. For the next few years, he popped in and out, keeping me out of trouble and encouraging me to continue learning to handle weapons and to learn to fight. It was when I was seven and getting my butt kicked by those boys in Estonia that he finally told me he was sent to help me and offered to help me learn to defend myself. Shortly after that, he told me who I was and why he was training me. He’s been training me ever since, showing up when and how he chooses to.
Now those same electric eyes were locked on mine, his now more salty brows furrowed. “And what is it that these defenseless trees have done to warrant your wrath?”
I had wanted to seek his guidance, but his arrogance was too much to bear. My recently released frustration rushed back full force. “Good,” I replied, speaking to him for the first time ever without a drop of respect in my voice, “Think of the devil and he appears.” I jabbed my staff at his middle. He blocked my blow and held me at bay.
“So,” he said, a slight smile on his lips, “the protector is angry with me,” his voice was light, he was enjoying this too much. “And why would that be? As if I could do anything worthy of reproach.”
I stepped back and relaxed my stance and I sighed, feigning defeat. “You know why. Don’t pretend you don’t always know what I’m doing, don’t know every little detail of my life; it’s insulting.”
Just as I’d hoped, he relaxed his stance too, bringing his staff down to his side and leaning on it. “You wish I would have warned you.” It was a statement, not a question.
“Yes.” I spun, swiping my staff behind his knees and knocking him to the ground, making sure I made my point.