So Fiction Friday seems to be the only time I post on my blog any more. For that I do apologize, but there has been a distinct lack of writing-related news lately. I wish I could be more interesting, more productive, more this, that, or the other, but I can only be what and who I am, a rather tired and not terribly coherent author-creature.
In any case, today's Fiction Friday post has possibilities. It was born on a little path into the woods at the end of one of the roads where we often walk the dogs. I stood at the beginning of that path and gazed down the hill into the trees beyond, and then I wondered... who might be looking back, and what would they think of my world?
With that, and with the musings I've often conducted on the subject of how our modern-day lives differ from the lives of people in decades, centuries, millenia past, I give you what could be the beginning of something really big. Let me know what questions you have, and I will think about possible ways to answer them. Enjoy!
Pavera stretched her neck, peering through the leaves and branches among which she perched to see the gap in the trees at the top of the hill. It was, so far as she and her friends knew, the only opening in this part of the woods which led to, not a clearing or a meadow or a trail, but that weirdest of worlds which ran in parallel with theirs, a place of mystery and wonder and strange beings with their strange doings. Not just a gap, this, but a Gap, and if one leapt or flew over that hill and between those trees while fixing one's mind hard enough on that other world—
"Move your foot," hissed Ellu, swatting at her friend's ankle. "It's in my eye!"
"Sorry." Pavera withdrew the offending appendage and returned to her ruminations, all the while keeping one ear open for trouble, although Coten was standing guard a few branches below and would surely call his friends to his aid if he saw or heard anything unusual, be that the blurps and burbles of an approaching swamper, the gathering clouds of a chillstorm, or the deepening shadows of a swarm of hope-eaters. In a moment or two, it would be her turn to stand guard, and she would climb down to take Coten's place, while Ellu climbed up to hers and Coten took the spot Ellu had vacated.
She had heard, though she could hardly credit such wild tales, that in the world beyond the Gap some places were so settled and safe that no one had to stand guard. Whether such things as swampers or hope-eaters could Mind sufficiently to pass between the worlds, she didn't know, but chillstorms blew wherever the winds took them, and winds passed through the Gap all the time. One was passing now, as a matter of fact. Leaning forward, Pavera sniffed at the mingled smell of burning and greenery, wondering for the thousandth time how big of fires the people across the Gap usually lit, for smoke or something like it to always be a part of the scent of their world—
A sharp, high-pitched sound cut through the air from the direction of the Gap. Coten, below, whirled in surprise at this intimation of attack from behind, his weapon swinging so near Ellu's head that she shrieked and dived aside, jostling Pavera's loosened grip on her branch. Pavera yelped in turn as she started to fall, and snapped open her wings to save herself—
The wind whipped around and snatched her towards the top of the hill, towards the Gap.
Pavera had just enough time to realize what was happening.
"Oh no," Ellu breathed, scrambling to her feet. Coten was already hovering in the air, staring in the direction in which Pavera had vanished. "Oh no, no, no—this is all my fault—"
"No more yours than mine, and no more mine than whatever made that noise." Coten landed beside her, folding his wings against his back. "She's gone, El. She's either dead, or she's gone Over the Hills."
"Do you really think so?" Ellu rose up on her own wings, staring doubtfully at the Gap. "Could she have managed to Mind it, all startled like she was?"
"Who knows." Coten leaned against the tree. "And we can't ask the elders. You know what they'll say."
"The purpose of life is to be happy, and concern about another only brings unhappiness," Ellu recited in a sing-song. "Live in the now and don't fret over yesterday."
"Your friend may come back tomorrow, next week, next year, or never," Coten took up the refrain. "And you can't change her fate by worrying, so why bother?" He sighed. "Maybe they're right. We can't change her fate by worrying, you know."
"No, we can't." Ellu landed on a branch and tucked her ankles together. "But we might be able to change it if we went after her."
"What?" Coten stared up at his friend. "You mean Mind the Gap ourselves? Go Over the Hills on purpose? It's forbidden!"
"Abandoning a friend is wrong, and that's worse than forbidden," Ellu retorted. "Are you coming, or do I have to go alone?"