Excerpt – WIP #7 from a Collection of Short Fiction

I am working on a short fiction collection that gives canon-level stories to accompany my (at least 10-book) future fiction collection. This is an excerpt from a novelette called The Dragons of Koet’sö. I’ve also penned a novella and one short story for the collection, so I’m making good progress. Not sure of the order I’ll try to publish these, since I’ve six completed novel manuscripts, but those details can be worked through later. Anyway, here it is.

Cheers for reading.

Nora stood up, lifting herself off the ground with all the grace of a feather wafting in the breeze. “I want to get an image of this.”

Herk watched as she trotted over to her pack and pulled out an imager. She floated back to the edge of the precipice and stood on both toes, extending herself to get the shot she liked. He gasped as the saffron and sage beauty held her pose, standing on the tiptoes of her front foot and balanced en pointe on her rear one. He heard the imager’s click and realized he hadn’t exhaled until—for that brief, breathless instant—she lifted her front foot off the ground and held it a beat while she looked over the imager at the scene below. She was ballet. She was grace and more beautiful than any sunset. An instant later, her feet found the ground and the moment was over. Nora turned to leave and Herk exhaled.

“I’m going too,” said Starr. She rolled her body backward, meeting the hard rock with her head and hands, pushed off with her palms, and then cartwheeled one leg and then the next over until she was standing erect facing away. Herk sat looking at her tail swishing away and wondering how she’d managed a 180-degree turn during a cartwheeled backflip without his seeing the move. Nora was a natural ballerina, but Starr was a gymnast. She would rise from a chair and make it seem as though she’d just dismounted the balance beam. Nora as often made Herk want to take her slim waist and send her aloft, though he suspected she never heard the music he was certain she danced to. The universe—this planet included—routinely danced with both of them even though neither seemed to notice.

How am I married to these two women? Why would they choose a lunk like me? He sucked in the emotional breath they’d torn from him, again, and turned to try to lift his lanky loins from the ground. He felt awkward, clumsy, unworthy. Standing, he trotted over to Starr, who was standing near Nora. The sky had gone purple, as though it had seen Jemini and wanted to imitate her coloring. It’s in love with her too.

Precisely then, a bolt of lightning flashed horizontally across the sky and directly overhead. Moments later, it began to snow. Bash and Vash’kir held their hands aloft, catching the flakes. Vash’kir’s eyes were whiter than ever as though it had snowed within his irises. Tris and Alsu were speaking though their voices couldn’t be heard. Alsu kept shaking her head no, as though in answer to the girl’s questions.

Starr looked nervously toward Tris but said nothing.

“Well, that’s new,” said Herk, looking up in the sky.

“Snow in the mountains of Koet’sö during the summer averages one cent every three years,” said Nora.

“Is that from your book?” he asked.

“Yes, page 115.”

“I guess Mother Nature didn’t read it, then.” He pulled his collar higher and pushed himself erect, reaching down and helping Nora up. Let’s go help set up the tents so we can warm up and get a fire started.”

“I’m starting to think this mountain doesn’t like us or something,” said Nora.

“Yeah, or something,” said Starr, still looking nervously at her stepdaughter.