Well my commitment to blog everyday is starting to falter, so I dug deep into my vault of unfinished stories for today’s post. I stopped writing fiction … 15 years ago? and have only started to dabble in it again with a few flash fictions in the last 2 years. At that time (i.e when I started writing again), I tried to pick up the pieces of where I left off, but I couldn’t make head or tails of all the different versions in my old hard drive. So I stuck an arbitrary title on all the pieces (this one is titled with the supremely unoriginal “Prophecy”) and labelled each of the drafts with a word count. I have no idea which draft I wrote first or why I have 11 of them. I suspect that the stories are slightly different in each – enough that I couldn’t just continue writing in the same document, as I likely re-structured and rewrote everything. Take a look:
If you’re baffled why one version would have 40,000 words while another has 400, you’re not alone. Amusingly, the one I picked today WAS titled with the incredibly suitable “The Fulcrum of Chaos.” I picked a draft at random for today as I couldn’t bring myself to open up all 11 drafts at this point. I’m reminded of a tangle of wires or strings that I know needs to be untangled, but I’m going to let them sit in the box, put away neatly in my closet, pretending everything is neat and orderly. The following is the first page of a 30 page document. It’s essentially unaltered (although I couldn’t bring myself to let the grammar mistakes stand. The copy-editor in me cringes that I didn’t know the difference between things like ‘then’ and ‘than.’). In any case, enjoy! …..?
From the Chronicles of the Mages’ Guild
She heard screaming. The smell of burnt flesh. She froze in horror, looking down at the girl writhing in pain on the ground. Amber flames licked across the other girl’s skin, torching her hair. She reached a hand out toward her when the screaming cut off abruptly. Her senses were screaming at her to run. To flee.
Dropping her bag, she sprinted in the direct of the closet tree, looking for cover. The grass went up in flames behind her. She didn’t look. Kept running, dashing across the street towards the protection of the forest. She should’ve run the other way. Towards more people. But it was dark out, made darker by the new moon. There would be few people still on campus. No one to hear her scream. And whoever was after her didn’t care about harming others.
She tripped, her high heels catching on a tree root as she muttered to herself. Her breath left her in a rush as she went down hard, her knees scraping where her skirt rode up. Scrambling up, she abandoned her heels, running over the hard dirt of the path barefoot. Should she leave the path? Where would she hide? Adrenaline gave her speed, but fear robbed her of breath. She could feel her heart pounding, her chest tight. Pain exploded in her head, and she fell screaming to the floor. She wasn’t on fire. Where was the pain coming from? She couldn’t see! She patted the earth, trying to find her missing eyeglasses while she chocked for air.
Her attacker was on top of her instantly. She couldn’t see him. Her. Was it even human? Her vision was greying at the edges. The figure before her a shadow. She gasped in a breath before his fingers clawed around her throat.
Damned if she’d go without a fight! Drawing in the last of her energy, she focused on her hand, punching him in the stomach. She could smell the now familiar scent of burnt flesh, and he screamed in pain. He reared back, giving her enough space to knee him between the legs. Outraged, he drew up a knife, lashing out with a scream of rage. Searing heat speared through her chest. Her eyes blurred in pain. Movement flickered before her. A wolf. There was a wolf standing by the tree.
Then all she knew was darkness.