Thursday, February 20, 2014

Thursday Tasters!

It's time for Thursday Tasters -- a creative meme for writers who want to show short excerpts of their work. I'm offering a small sampling from my shape-shifting paranormal ~  The Witchy Wolf and the Wendigo (book1) ~ a story based upon the ancient history of Mound Builder culture of the American Great Lakes region and a creepy urban legend. See details below.

 My Taster:
Cherise chuckled and handed over the bungee cords that would secure the plastic cover. “You know it’s going to be near one hundred again tomorrow. High humidity like today too. We should start earlier, huh?”

Cora let her breath out slowly, deciding what to do. Coming in early was the last thing she wanted because John was taking her out on their bimonthly rain-or-shine date tonight. Good judgment won the internal debate. “Okay. We’ll come in early and finish this pile before the heat of the day. Jerking her thumb to the small stand of oaks, she added, “We’ll bag and catalog under the fly in the shade over there. I’ll finish up here. Go home and cool off.”

“Will do.”

Cora called to the others, “See you in the morning guys. We’re starting at six to beat the heat. Don’t forget to drink water tonight to rehydrate, and eat a pretzel or something like that. You’ll need the salt.” Her words were met with nods and good byes. Alone now, Cora crouched beside the opened mound and carefully unrolled the last sheet of plastic canvas. Before she turned and walked away she spoke softly, as if the bones could hear. “I’m so sorry we’re disturbing your peace. I wish I could have stopped all this, but I’m powerless.” With that, she left.

A large curious field mouse scurried over the top of the burial mound. He watched the people, his gaze pulling time and again first to the fire-haired young woman leaving with the others, then to the slightly older woman who’d stayed behind to spread a blue covering over the soil with obvious care.

Sensing the people were gone, the mouse drew a deep breath. Suddenly his form changed from mouse to rabbit, from rabbit to fox, and then from fox into a wolf with unusual black markings on its face. This higher vantage allowed him to check the area before continuing. Confident he was alone, his legs lengthened as he slowly shifted from wolf on four legs to a wolf on two. His muzzle shortened, as did his ears. A moment later he stood as a man.

His throat tightened as he walked amongst the tables and pails. A small bone caught his eye and he bent to pick it up. He stared a long while, seeing but not seeing the hand it belonged to so long ago. It was his task to watch over this resting place, and his task alone. Coming here later than usual today, there was nothing he could do to stop the white man’s destruction. His eyes filled with tears as his fist closed around the finger bone. Slumping to the ground, he sobbed in anguished sorrow.

There was no sense to this. What kind of people disturb the dead? Couldn’t they see this was sacred ground, a resting place? Composing himself, he wiped the tears from his eyes before reverently setting the small bone back in the opened mound.

Twilight fast approaching, he faced the setting sun, his palms held up to the sky. He hadn’t spoken for a very long time and doing so now, his voice sounded dry and strange to his ears. “Sky Father I have failed, I beg your forgiveness!”

Kneeling, he pressed his hands to the ground. “Earth Mother, I beg forgiveness. I have failed in my task…”

Rising, he turned his back to the sun and held his arms out wide. “Wind Spirits of the East, I beg forgiveness for this failure.” Turning, he croaked, “Wind Spirits of the South, I beg...”

He rasped his plea to the remaining directions and the spirits who dwelled there, and then addressed the mound and the body that lay within, “Aiyanna my love, my heart. I have watched over you through time but I can watch no longer. Please forgive me, I have failed you….” His throat choked close. Swallowing hard, he whispered to the earth that half-covered his wife, “Again.”

Kneeling beside the dirt-encrusted bones, he pulled the cover away to expose them fully. The small bones of the baby he knew laid with its mother had dissolved in the acids of the soil. Gently digging through the loam between the exposed rib bones, his fingers found the bird stone, its cord long since returned to the earth. Holding it now, he remembered...

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  1. Wonderfully portrayed taster. Even down to the detail of a field mouse scurrying; I felt right there. I so want to read the whole book

  2. Love the way you chose to do shifting! Unique.

  3. The transitions from mouse to man transcended well with the depth of your story, all in vivid detail. I always like local legends and you have me very interested in your book. Beautifully written.

    1. It's a fascinating story Pablo. The eyewitnesses are people you normally wouldn't doubt. It compelled me to weave it in to my story.

  4. Love the imagination here, Rose, and the craft. The 'human' sequence is in sharp contrast to the more fantastical pov that follows. Very insightful.

    1. :) Thanks Jake. I was going for contrast. I'm happy you noticed that.

  5. Moving and sad. Beautiful imagery. Nicely written. Want more!

    1. Thanks Diane. The story is told in two books and I have plans for another.

  6. A very beautifully written and touching Taster, Leave one yearning to read even more.


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