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shadows
December 19th, 2010, 10:19 PM
I thought I'd better take the plunge and post this before I change the hell out of it.


From her hideaway in the forest, Zena could see light from the camp fire filter through the trees. She wanted to scream at her kinsfolk to heed her dream but no one believed that the large crow she saw swooping over the village with a shroud of fire in its talons was a warning. When she begged Chief Kenti to gather everyone together and lead them lower down the mountain, he scoffed and told her she must have inhaled too much white smoke. Murg, the village Shaman, had seen only winter’s approach in his casting bowl. Nothing she said convinced them of the danger. The more she tried, the crazier they thought her.

Drunken laughter ruffled the last fragments of her composure. Damn them all, she muttered. The sound of Gabe’s fiddle and Riana’s voice drifted towards her. Zena jabbed the knife she held into a twig lying on the ground. He had written that song for her and now she was singing it. .

Why wouldn’t he listen?

You know why, logic answered. Gabe chose to follow the others who thought her dreams were merely symptoms of craziness. He loved her once but she was too strange for a Chief’s son. Now he laughed with Riana, heads close together, fingers touching. Her pain was a calloused hand squeezing a seeping wound.

With a sigh she gave up and spent the day gathering provisions and herbs. She would leave alone. There was nothing for her here any more. Gabe only cared about Riana and it hurt too much to watch them together. Zena knew what she saw wasn’t merely a dream. Images were more vivid than any nightmare and left her with an unease she couldn’t shift.

Music and laughter faded into the night as Zena set off, her few possessions heavy on her back. Lost in thought, she didn’t see the tree root snaking across the path. It caught her foot, pulling her to the ground. Brambles scratched her face and arms. Leaves dusted her with dirt. Slowly, painfully, she sat up, then leant against a tree trunk. Gingerly, she probed her ankle. It throbbed but didn’t appear broken.

Looking up, she noticed hundreds of birds were taking flight, screening the starlit sky with a cloud of wings. Animals scurried through the undergrowth headed for the river. Beneath her feet, the earth trembled. Deep rumbles reverberated around her, building to an ear-wrenching explosion.

Zena ran, ignoring the pain in her ankle. A glimpse at the mountain sent a bolt of fear through her. Fire, ash and clouds of steam spewed from its peak, pouring a burning river down the hillside. She coughed, struggling to breath through acrid, sulphur smoke. Sooty sweat ran down her face. Her eyes stung and heat scorched her skin.

Gabe, she sobbed as her last meal fountained onto an ash-coated bush. The village would be a molten graveyard. Part of her wanted to rush back to find him; to join him in the afterlife but a voice inside whispered – Riana will still be at his side.

Sync
December 19th, 2010, 11:24 PM
Hello

yes, I know that feeling, and often play too much with my own pieces second-guessing changes after changes :)

I read the story first, like the character, the minor jealousy and satisfaction that her competition over her love had died...of course so did the love :) that'll teach him.

Why 'white' smoke - I wondered if you were referring to something volcanic or campfire or some sort of weed that they burnt for pleasure.


Murg, the village Seer, foreteller of all for many years, had seen only winterís approach in his casting bowl.

there seems to be a lot of visual words here.


Now he laughed with Riana, heads close together, fingers touching. Her pain was a calloused hand squeezing a seeping wound.

I like the seeping, and their fingers touching, it was the reference of comparison that brought in hand again that sort of snagged me.

there is an odd ? mark in there. when she questions about the dream's validity.

Why did leaves dust her with dirt? I know she fell but was their dirt on the leaves for a reason or was the ground so dry? even thing I think dirt rose and fell so dusted her on its own.

love the last meal projectile :) great image.

I think the last line could go. end with the thought about her 'enemy'.

***

All just thoughts, not meaning a need for change.

enjoyed

Thanks for the read

Sync

shadows
December 20th, 2010, 12:30 AM
Hi Sync

Thank you for your thoughts, appreciated. The white smoke - I had in mind some mind altering drug that is smoked.

I'm surprised there is only one stray odd punctuation, comes from fiddling and not deleting properly.

In my head the leaves on the ground were crumbling so disintegrated when she fell on them.

I'll give your other suggestions some thought.

Thanks.

caelum
December 24th, 2010, 04:19 AM
Hey, Shadows. For its length I found this quite the enjoyable read, all the elements were well presented and well formed. It played out clearly in my head.

Got a few nitpicks fer yeh.

Murg, the village Seer, foreteller of all for many years,I'm not quite feeling "foreteller of all" here.


You know why, logic answered.Not quite feeling "logic answered".


wasn’t merely a dream?This question mark seems out of place.



Music and laughter faded into the night as Zena set off; her few possessions heavy on her back.I'd replace the semi-colon with a comma.

Wow, powerful finish. Didn't see that coming. Guess they should have listened to her. Great stuff. :)
-cae

shadows
December 24th, 2010, 06:16 AM
Hi Caelum

Thanks very much for taking the time to stop here and read. A couple of things you highlighted have already been revised. I am unsure what the protocol for revisions is on this site - do you replace the original or place the revision on top, further down the thread?

caelum
December 24th, 2010, 06:32 AM
No problem, and I think people just typically edit the first one. That's what I do. Sometimes people plop their revisions after but I don't like that cause it congests the page.

shadows
December 24th, 2010, 06:42 AM
Thanks :)