PDA

View Full Version : The Pit, chapter 2



Mat
December 20th, 2013, 07:08 AM
It has been ages since I've been on here, I've barely had time to read let alone write anything. This is a follow on to something I put up way back in April while I was on paternity leave, hence a bit of spare time!





Tergen marched along the dark corridor, breath ragged in his chest. The sound of his boots on the wooden floor echoed off whitewashed stone that was blackened every few yards by a torch burning fiercely in its sconce. Tergen avoided them, weaving across the narrow hall. He hated fire, ever since he had been a boy. He wasn't sure why; it was just an instinctive fear of naked flame.

Apparently in Argor they had gas lamps that burnt blue, flame trapped safely in a glass globe. Tergen knew he’d never see them- his family was too poor, and by recent accounts Argor would soon be too much of a wasteland.

Tergen halted abruptly at a door and gingerly eased it open. The room was gloomy; shutters along the walls closed. A crack of light filtered from each one letting in just enough for Tergen to see the dark shape of his father in bed.

His father was motionless, breathing inaudible. At least he’s not drunk, Tergen reflected sullenly. Ever since the death of his wife a year ago, Tergen’s father lurched through life either drunk, sleeping or both, the only way to distinguish between them being how much he snored.

Tergen reached out a tentative hand, laid it on his Fathers broad shoulder. ‘Father.’

Nothing. A gentle shake. ‘Father, wake up.’

‘He won’t wake.’ A female voice pierced the gloom. Tergen started, then had to shield his eyes as light flooded the room, every massive shutter clattering open against the dark stone walls.

Blood was glistening black across the bed. Tergen’s father lay in the centre, a great wound yawning across his throat. Tergen dragged his horrified eyes from it to his sister curled up in their father’s chair, bare knees drawn to her chin as she twirled black hair between red stained fingers.

She giggled like a child, tossed her black hair over her bare shoulders. It cascaded down her pretty white dress. The epitome of innocence, spattered by the blood that reached her elbows.

Tergen sank slowly to his knees, his chest was tight. A tear breached his cheek, swiftly followed by another. Morgana shrieked with delight, clapped her hands together. ‘I knew you’d be cross! Daddy always thought you hated him but I knew you didn't!’

Tergen knew to try and hide his emotions when the demon inside her was awake; getting angry only stirred its mischief. He managed to stand, and quell the threatening flood of tears. He walked stiffly towards the girl in the chair who watched him come with gleeful eyes.

He came close, laid long hands on both her shoulders. Gently. ‘Why, Morgana?’ He deliberately made his voice calm, quiet.

Morgana grinned at him showing small white teeth. ‘Because...’ she whispered like a child giving away a secret, ‘... now you can be Chief of Setura. He was already dead. Ever since Mummy died, he died. I could see it. You couldn't, Torrhen couldn't.’
She threw up her hands to hide her eyes and peeked through her red fingers. ‘I saw it!’ A bare foot lashed out and kicked Tergen hard in the stomach. A dull ache spread through his torso and a familiar fire erupted behind his eyes as he jerked away.

Morgana saw his eyes flash orange, just for a second before he quenched the flames in his head and her infantile smile faltered. ‘You’re angry with me.’ Her voice was quiet, edged with stone.

‘No.’ Tergen stayed still, hands outstretched. ‘It’s not your fault. Where is Shamler?’

‘Not here. Gone away.’

‘Where to?’

She was frowning now. ‘Don’t know.’ She shoved a hand behind her back and left it there. Tergen turned slowly for the door. ‘Stay there, sister. I’ll find him for you.’

‘I love you, brother.’ Her voice was meek. She had never said that before. Tergen began to smile. After all, he was chief. Until he felt the bullet tear through his back. A split second later came the deafening explosion, a second after that a gout of smoke.



He had fallen on his back, she didn't know how, so the blood oozed from underneath him. He was making these little noises; mewing sounds from the back of his throat, and his fingers were twitching. Morgana crept out of the chair, knocking the heavy pistol clattering to the floor, and gripped tight the knife she had slit her fathers throat with. She stole over to her brother, tiny feet picking their way daintily between the rivulets of blood following the gaps in the floorboards.

She crouched and stared at him intently. His eyes were glassy but his chest rose and fell in shallow breaths. She reached out a fastidious hand and caressed his pale forehead. He gasped a gurgling breath and she snatched her hand away, then dragged the blade carefully across his neck. She had been surprised how hard it was the first time, but this time she was ready and gouged the knife deep.

Tergen’s hands splayed and his boots beat a morbid tattoo on the floor, then he lay still. Morgana glanced at his face. His eyes seemed fixed on hers, sad, accusing. She felt a stab of remorse, shrugged it away. The demon was in charge today. Remorse was for tomorrow.

Morgana turned to look in the vast mirror dominating half the wall. She saw a pretty woman of roughly twenty, black hair curling loosely about her shoulders. She saw the blood drying black on her white dress.

And she laughed, not a laugh of a grown woman, but of a child. And why not? Today she was a child. Tomorrow she would be a woman again, and who knew when she would be able to giggle, or scream, or kick?

She heard feet outside, swung the door open. Two guards, one old, one young, looked at her arms sticky red, glanced nervously past her at the two corpses sprawled on the floor, then stopped looking altogether as they stared doggedly and blindly just above her head, in the way that only guards can when they see something they don’t want to.

‘Kill Torrhen and throw his body to the pigs,’ she sounded like a grown up still, ‘them too.’ She gestured vaguely behind her, flicking blood across the mirror.

The guards turned abruptly and left, the older one wearing a concerned expression on his haggard face as he loosened his sword noisily in its scabbard.

Morgana weaved past her Father and Brother to the window, it smashed open. Glass fell like diamonds in the sun across the bodies, and Morgana breathed deep the smell of fresh air. She never knew how much blood smelt-it was sweet; cloyed the nostrils. She didn’t like it.

She gazed out of the window, down at perfectly manicured grounds hemmed in by a monstrous grey wall, hiding the town below. To her, the town was shrouded in mystery- Father neer let her go there, at least not without Shamler, and he made her stick to the Main street, which was boring.

Morgana smiled. She could go where she liked, now, and there was nothing Shamler could do about it. She had considered killing him too, but he kept her secrets, and now he had a big one to keep.

Breila
December 23rd, 2013, 09:39 PM
I like where you're going with this and I really only have a few minor comments. Otherwise, it is a promising start!

-Why a gun? It seems incongruous with the rest of the setting which comes across as a middle ages fantasy type of place

-Is Morgan using magic? I gather that she is, since things seem to happen (all of the shutters opening, the glass smashing), but then again, there's no indication really that it is her either. It doesn't need to be stated outright obviously, but an implication would be helpful to the reader.

-I'm not familiar with this word in this context, is it a typo?

a gout of smoke

Mat
December 24th, 2013, 06:50 AM
Hello, thank you for your feedback! I added a gun because I just find them more interesting to write about. A bow and arrow is all very well, but there's no noise, no smoke and Morgana couldn't hide one behind her back! I was going to set the story a little before the industrial revolution, so muskets, cannon, steam engines as well as the usual horse and carts, candles and swords etc. Admittedly I'm not sure about the whole gas lamp thing in chapter 1 history wise, but I figured it was fantasy anyway so I could probably get away with it.

Morgana is using magic, I felt I should have some magic but I didn't want anything to do with wands, spells, witches and the like, so I tried to make it a little more subtle. I'll go back and try and word it a little clearer.

The word gout is usually used for blood, e.g A gout of blood erupted from the wound. Looking at it, I'm not sure it's right for smoke, I'll try something else! Thanks, Mat

Breila
December 24th, 2013, 04:28 PM
That's the nice thing about fantasy, you can get away with all sorts of things! Do you plan to go a little in the steampunk direction? I only ask because of the time you seem to have chosen.

I'm interested in seeing what happens next!

Mat
December 24th, 2013, 07:55 PM
I honestly hadn't really thought about that, although I might have to read some more steampunk for inspiration!