zachbissett

WRITERLY WEDNESDAY: Two fiction excerpts

In fiction, writing on 09/05/2012 at 17:45

First of all please suggest something with more of a ring to it than “Writerly Wednesday.”

Anyways, as a writer of fiction I enjoy both the speculative genres and the more literary efforts. With that in mind, here are two excerpts from projects I’m working on. The first is the introduction to a brief novelette, “Osterville.” The second is part of a short story functioning in a much larger fantasy creation I’m trying to get a hold of. Feedback is greatly appreciated.

Osterville – Prologue
It was Labor Day and a woman was walking down Bay Street with no shoes on. She cut a thin, lavender figure under the rising sun. No disembodied sneakers kicked off in her wake—girls from the college sometimes left their shoes in mailboxes while they swam North Bay—and no little black sandals pinched between her fingers like a certain teenager who liked to walk the line where pavement devolved into the cool, white sand that snowed Osterville’s western shore.
Bells were ringing at the Baptist church downtown and on boats in Ishem Harbor and over screen doors at Wimpy’s Market. They rang on the bikes of newspaper boys depressed between the end of summer and the start of high school. That morning the Osterville Press ran another article about the girl who’d been kidnapped. A shorter article, not bold and centered like when the parents were pleading for her return (the wife, daughter of a mid-Western coal mining magnate, raised the tag to a quarter million dollars before Halloween); not waxing poetic, winding from the front page to B7…somber reflections on the haunted playgrounds of Osterville where parents allowed their kids to explore no longer. Today’s was a harmless passage, tucked between a flier for the Garden show and a profile of a tennis prodigy at the college.
A young boy, maybe too old to be at the college, pushed past her up Bay Street. He held a cherry board over his head and wore a wild expression. He murmured something about men in gray suits.
What would she do when she reached the water? Despite lacking the essentials for a walk, she’d only planned her day as far as this moment, reaching the water, waiting for lonely skiffs to fly out of Ishem into the warm, pink morning.

A Boy and His Machine – short story excerpt
Aida drew the javelin like a snake from a charmer’s basket, notching it gently, and looked along its long gossamer body to the balance protruding three feet off the front of the bow. Instinctively her fingers played the bowstring, her shoulders squared and waist angled until the body, the balance and the board made a perfect line. Orion’s belt. Normally she’d spy along the scope for several minutes, allowing her breath to subsist to a whisper before loosing her shot, but the morning was so fresh and inviting in the cool, wooded court…the first, gray light of day rained down through a dense canopy, bird songs and bullfrogs—she let it fly.
The shot soared the short length of the court—half the distance of a competitive range, but that shot would have hit a bulls-eye on the other side of the island. It would have flew through mountains. The entire board thudded against the base of the great tree. Aida grinned, an imperceptible curve at the edges of her stolid mouth. “Diez.”
Aida was as you’d envision an amateur shooter: long-limbed, balanced, driven…she had a tenuous grasp of everything—faces, names, feelings—ready to let go at a moment’s notice. As for being a Love, the fit was not so idyllic: too tall, freckled, wiry hair bordering on red…it’s not that Aida was unpretty, but that the Loves were generally so much more; magnetic, to die for. But that’s what she’d come to Arcadia for, was it not? No one around to remind her of who she wasn’t.
She stepped across the yard to retrieve the javelin—CRACK! A second javelin erupted from the heart of the great tree, bursting through the hitting board along the eye of the bull, splitting Aida’s shaft in two as it reared to full length, shivering violently. Aida was horrified. “What….”
“I hate starting the day with a ten.” Roma, Aida’s younger, surlier sister, strode from the mist. “You can only go down.” She was small and red-skinned, like a Love ought to be…unforgiving, green eyed naiad.

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