Tuesday, May 3, 2011

This TEASE is for You

I know you all were expecting another snip from SHUT UP, but sadly, I was overtaken by a bright and shiny new idea last Friday, and it just hasn't let me go yet.  Surprising enough, this SNI is planted firmly in the realm of fantasy AND in present tense, which many of you fun friends know is not at all my usual style.  BUT, that hasn't stopped me from penning a whopping 5K! yeah, impressive, I know :)

So, here is a little nibble from my as yet unnamed fantasy novel.  Hope you like it...but if you don't, for the love of god man, say something!!!!!

When the first settlers arrived, we were a little bit perplexed, a little frightened, and a whole lot overjoyed at the knowledge that we were not alone in this great and seemingly endless universe. We didn’t care why they’d come, only that they had. Curiosity overrode good judgment, and we turned a blind eye to their vague explanations and insincere promises of civility.


Now, there is no more happiness. There is only confusion and fear.

It has been two years since they first landed, since they destroyed everything that I held dear, and yet, none of us can figure out why. Why they would destroy one planet and then immediately set about killing the one they’d come to in search of salvation. Why they must take and take and take without offering up anything of themselves as payment. Why they would feign an eagerness to learn our ways, to become part of our society, if they intended from the very beginning to eradicate us.

We ask why? all the time, I more than any of us. Answers never come, just more questions. The ones that hurt me the most are the softly uttered queries that Leda shoots at me in the darkest hours of night when both of us should be deep in dreams. They are tiny bullets with unerring accuracy, punching through the thin flesh around my heart, poisoned tips lodging deep inside to spread the black disease of bitterness throughout my body, my soul.

“Thia,” she whispers, and I can’t help but cringe as I know what words will follow close behind. She always begins with the same question, the one I want more than anything not to have to answer. The one I want to cower away from. The most important question of them all. “Do you think Mama and Papa are still out there? That they’re on their way back to us right now?”

My eyes begin to burn, tears pushing their way up, but I snap my lids shut quickly, a reflex response left over from the days when I thought I had to put on a brave face. But, those days are long gone, and now, I’m not worried that Leda will see this display of emotion.

The cabin we are being held in is little more than a windowless room, crammed full of twenty other souls, and the one small opening we’d carved into the wall to let in light is nothing more than a black hole. The moons—all three of them—are hiding behind the mountains tonight. I wonder if maybe they know something that we don’t, like there is some ominous threat marching steadily towards us, and there is no escape.

“Thia?” I’ve been quiet far too long for her tastes, and she nudges me back to this unfortunate reality.

“I don’t know,” I snap out a bit too harshly.

I know the moment the words fall from my lips that I’ve hurt her feelings. Poor Leda. She’s so small, so young. I don’t think she can remember the Time Before, before those black-hearted beings came and took everything over. This harsh, painful life is the only one she’s ever really known, and Mama and Papa are little more than images from her dreams. Her memories of them are mostly stories that I told her, a happy past that she had only a sliver of but nothing concrete.

Stifling a sad sigh, I reach out to her, my open arms an invitation she’d been longing for since we lay down to sleep. She launches herself at me, burrowing deep into my body, as if she just can’t seem to get close enough. I know how she feels.

“I’m sure they are,” I tell the top of her head and hug her close. “I’m sure of it, Leda. They’ll come for us, take us away from this place. I know it.”

“Really? Promise?”

Another well-aimed bullet, this one with a hollowed-tip, like the kind that they use when they think we’ve gotten out of line…the kind that kill instantly. Slowly, I nod, and I wonder when exactly it was that I’d become so comfortable with dishonesty. Our parents are dead. This is the only explanation for their long absence. I know this, and so does Leda, but that doesn’t stop her from asking after them. And it sure doesn’t stop me from giving that same hopeful answer.

“Yes, of course. I promise.” I hate that I am the one furthering her delusions. The blow will be devastating when she finally allows herself to discover the truth we now live.

But for the moment, she remains blissfully unaware, and I cannot bring myself to be the one to shatter her dreams. It will happen soon enough, and then she will never be able to forget. Her world—the soothing bubble that shields her from the evil surrounding us—is built on lies.

Ones that I told her.

So?  What's the verdict?  I'd love to hear what you have to say in the comments, and then hop on over to Kelly's blog for her next FUN AND GAMES WITH K & K snip.