I can’t think of anything to write about this week. LARPs will do that. 🙂 Meanwhile, here’s a sample chapter from the novel I’m writing, in which my heroine is on the road with a mysterious teenager and an elven warrior. In 1989.
- * *
- The van banged into our rear bumper, rocking us sideways and forward. I caught myself on the back of the seat and bit my lip: screaming won’t help, screaming won’t help, screaming. Won’t. help.
I twisted around to look at the van. It was a decent double of the one they’d dragged me and Rose into back in Boston: fair-sized, with no markings. A guy in a suit rode shotgun, though thank God not literally that I could see. The driver was a girl younger than me, with long pale purple hair and a fan of mauve shadow over each eye, visible even through two layers of glass and a bit of distance. Even if I didn’t know Rose’s real identity, I would have recognized her. I watch TV occasionally.
“Sparcyl,” I said.
“Ohno,” said Rose. It all came out one word, under her breath.
“Guessing she’s gonna do more than play the guitar,” I said, my voice all high and brittle. We whipped around another turn. My seatbelt bit into my side, and I was sure I’d have bruises for days, but that was so not the main concern.
“They all can.” She sounded hopeless. I didn’t blame her.
There were no other cars on the road, and no houses to either side of us. The water in the quarry was black and motionless. Maybe it wasn’t hundreds of feet down, just fifty or sixty, but that would be more than enough, and the quarry walls looked steep. This was where you got maniacs in hockey masks, or you came to throw stuff off the Talahatchee Bridge. Nobody would help us.
Sathinal was a set of narrowed blue eyes, a pair of white-knuckled hands on the wheel, and a neck with the muscles corded in strain. I knew he was flooring it, or as much as he could manage under the circumstances, but the van had the inside lane. They could ride along the shoulder at ninety without killing themselves. We weren’t nearly so lucky.
Wham again, this time on the side, and our tires skidded as Sathinal yanked the wheel to the right and the car away from the railing. The landscape outside my window spun: water, fence, half-paved road. We shot forward. I clung to the door handle to try and hold myself still. Mostly I broke three nails and felt like I was pulling my shoulders out of their sockets.
Inside my head, I stopped cursing only to pray or shriek. Rose was praying aloud, though I didn’t think it was one she’d learned from Sunrise, just a whispered nopleasenopleasenopleaseno that rose and fell in the rhythm of sobs.
I wanted to reassure her. I wanted to reassure myself. Neither one was happening.
Then, as the road straightened out, the van caught up with us. In a moment it had pulled ahead. I gasped when I saw it suddenly veer left – not pulling in front of us like a normal car, but splaying itself across the road and braking, hard.
“SHIT.” I did scream then, as Sathinal slammed on our brakes. The tires squealed again, the brakes themselves screeched, and I waited to find out what death by car crash would feel like. I’d heard cars didn’t blow up as much as they did in movies. I didn’t know if that was true if you t-boned a van, or what side the gas tank was on, and I would have started crying if I’d had time.
Then we stopped. My head slammed back into the seat, I saw stars and almost lost the word Sathinal was saying.
Right. Okay. Yeah. I fumbled for the bag and handed it to him before my vision was entirely clear. We didn’t have a lot of time.