To prove I actually do this writing thing most of the time, here’s a rough excerpt of the newest rewrite of the first chapter of my fantasy novel, Prophecy of the Eternals.
The Soldier and the Boy
Anya felt the boy press tightly against her breast and prayed he didn’t wet himself as the demon stepped over them, its massive belly only a foot above their faces. She didn’t care about hygiene, but if the boy relieved himself, the smell would give them away. They were hidden inside a decaying log buried under dead leaves and loose soil. Anya could see the demon through the gaps in the wood, keeping her eyes open while the boy had his shut tight.
The colossus was an insect type, smooth, worm-like body, carried on pointy black legs. It only needed to shorten its step and they’d be skewered.
Slowly, Anya fingers crawled towards her spear that lay hidden beside her under the soil, gripping its handle.
The demon’s hind leg started to come down directly above her head.
Anya snapped the spear in half and plunged it into soft flesh above. Pale lavender blood spilled onto her arm, her scars burning on contact. The demon let out a pierced cry that made Anya’s head throb, her teeth shake.
It stumbled backwards, revealing the sun. The boy’s fear reached its peak. He scrambled away, throwing off their cover and ran for the trees.
“Nathaniel!” Anya jumped to her feet, the broken spear still in her stained hand.
She cursed the boy’s cowardice, but he stopped before he reached the thick trees that surrounded the narrow forest path. A large, looming shadow rose out of the forest until it burst forth another colossal demon, identical to the first, pushing down trees as if they were matchsticks, which barely missed the boy.
Anya noticed Nathaniel did wet himself where he stood, paralyzed in the monster’s path. But she didn’t care this time. They were saved.
The first colossus recovered and its circular rows of teeth began to spin, the sound worse than its cry, piercing her very bones, which can be grinded to dust by those jaws. It charged.
Anya tossed her useless weapon and sprinted towards Nathaniel, towards the other monster that also began to charge. She grabbed the boy and threw herself into the thick branches of a fallen tree as the monster’s legs brushed them aside.
The clearing was too small, too narrow. The demons clashed and began to consume each other. Unable to walk, the shrieking ruining their sense of balance, Anya pushed Nathaniel to crawl, their faces in the dirt.
They crawled for over a mile before the shrieking stopped.
“I don’t want to hear it,” Anya said for the fifth time.
She kept an eye on the sunlight raining down between the canopy leaves. It was reaching its peak in the sky. Noon. A whole morning lost to backtracking and wandering and still no sign of Ace.
“Please,” Nathaniel pleaded for the sixth time, picking his way through the jungle floor behind her. “It should be passing nearby. Less than an hour away, much sooner once we get Ace out on open ground.”
Anya gritted her teeth.
“It’s been a year since we’ve entered the Wilds,” the boy continued, obviously sensing he was getting on her nerves, taking advantage. “The Roads are safer.”
Anya trudged ahead without reply. The Roads are safer. What a lie. But the King needed to know the movements of his people and remind them they were was still some sort of human civilization. The Roads were for just that. The king’s soldiers offered a false sense of security, as if a handful of scouts, fresh out of training, can protect an entire caravan trail. At least in the Wilds, it was easier to hide and the monsters were tame unless provoked. On the Roads, demons went hunting.
It seems the boy figured out she was ignoring him. She distracted him by pointing ahead.
“I found Ace.”
The boy’s face lit up instantly. Proof he had been terribly worried for the animal.
Anya nodded ahead. The large stallion was grazing in a small clearing he managed to squeeze into. Nathaniel went to him, running his hands over his flank with obvious relief.
Anya never understood why the boy was so relived. Sometimes, she wished the boy was a pony. Demons never attacked animals….except on the Roads.
She bit her lip. Her hand snuck into the leather pouch on her hip. She could feel the warmth of only two vials. Two.
How long would that last here? …She needed a merchant. An Exile.
“Okay,” she said. “We’ll track down the caravan.”
She might as well as said they were going home by the look on Nathaniel’s face.
“Really?” He beamed when she nodded and threw his arms around her. “Thank you!”
God, she hated when he did that.