A Tiny Update and Not So Tiny Excerpt (BEASTS: Chapter One)

I’m facing an interesting dilemma.

I feel good. I feel great.  I’m no longer alone. I’m living in a wonderful home with a loving family. Everything’s fantastic!

And I’m hardly getting any writing done because of it.

I’ve read it before how comfort can be deadly. I’m seeing first hand how that can be true. I’m also realizing just how much visualizing and fantasying your dream coming true is also dangerous.

Because feeling like I already have everything I wanted means I don’t feel any urge to do anything to get it, because in my head I already have it. Tricky, eh?

That said, I’m not giving in without a fight. I may have missed a week of blog posts, but I finally finished the first draft of the first chapter of my YA novel, BEASTS, which I’ve been working on since early February.

Needless to say, this is a cause for celebration.

So since today is Monday and that means Excerpt day, in order to make up for my unannounced absence, here is the entire chapter in all its flawed glory.

Who knows how much it’ll change when I finally send it off to agents (hopefully within a decade), but I’m not going to touch it again until the rest of the book is written.

Meanwhile, I’m going to contemplate about the actual benefits of suffering.

At least some amount of suffering. I finished reading War of Art by Steven Pressfield, which was amazing and related to what I’m talking about  so there’s a post in me on what I’ve learned from that book as well.

Until then…

Here is Chapter One of my YA Fantasy novel: BEASTS.

 

Warning: The following is over 3k words long. So take a bathroom break, get your mug of hot coffee and a cookie, sit back, relax and enjoy.

 

Continue reading “A Tiny Update and Not So Tiny Excerpt (BEASTS: Chapter One)”

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The Last — A Beasts Flash Fic

Celeste makes an appearance once again and comes to the rescue, saving me from writer’s block!

Enjoy?

~~~

 

The Last

 

Celeste ran as fast as her aching  legs could carry her, the forest a green blur streaking past. Branches whipped across her arms, her skin slick with blood and sweat. She tripped on a root and fell hard against the ground. The skin of her palms bled and her ankle throbbed, but she barely felt any of it.

Dead.

She gritted her teeth as tears ran down her cheeks.

Dead, all dead. The thought repeated itself over and over; banging like a bell  inside  her head. She clutched her fists, barely able to see through her tears and white hair that had fallen into her face. She wanted to sob, but now was not the time.

Her head snapped up as a shadow passed overhead. A chance!

Celeste rose to her feet, still bleeding. She followed the moving shadow even if it meant her death. Revenge would be worth it. The face of her mother, dead on the ground, was burned vividly into her mind.

The forest abruptly ended  and  she found herself on open ground. Her eyes—on the sky—were blinded by the  harsh sunlight. She looked away just  in time to  see  the large dark shape in front of her.

She stumbled onto the moist grass directly in front of it.  Looking up, her face burned with rage.

“Dragon,” she snarled.

It was one of the largest she has ever seen, its body stretched across the field. Its scales were a mix of black and dark crimson with a streak of bright red down its spine. She grinned at the sight of the gashes across its body and left eye, knowing it was the work of her clan. At least they  hadn’t died without a fight.

Neither would she.

She tried to rise, but a violent gust of wind pushed her back down. The ground trembled  as  another dragon landed behind her.

It was a black dragon and much smaller than the other. It too was injured, but less severely.

The black dragon laughed at her, displaying his blood strained, sharp teeth.

“The last one, Zander. You have the honor of finally ending this miserable war.”

There was nothing she could do. She didn’t even have the strength to transform. All the anger in the world wasn’t enough to avenge her family. She still refused to look away from the larger dragon`s eyes boring into her gaze.

“The last one.”  Its  voice was deep and powerful. “Has it really come down to this?”

“What are you muttering about?” The black dragon’s  voice  pitched high with annoyance.

Sweat ran down Celeste’s temple, but she continued to meet Zander’s stare. If she was going to die, she would at least die with dignity.

He smirked at her.

Furious, Celeste reached for the last once of her strength to wipe the smirk off its face, but before she could move, Zander moved first. It unfurled its wings and Celeste shut her eyes against the gust of wind as it took to the air. It was a brief flight and it landed between her and the other dragon.

“Traitor! What are you doing!!” the black dragon roared.

“It’s over, Nox.. Whether she lives or dies, it’s over.”

“It’s not over till they’re all dead! Don’t you want revenge for our kin? Revenge for our families?”

“It won’t bring them back.”

“Get out of my way!!”

The black dragon dove around the Zander. Celeste dashed for the nearest tree, but had gone only a few feet when a deafening roar stopped her. The sound was like honey to her ears –the sound of a dragon in pain.

Spinning around, she watched Zander on top of the black dragon, clawing and biting its neck. Breaking apart its scales, it inhaled deeply and let out its flame against the exposed flesh of its own kind.  The black dragon  died cursing Zander’s name. When it was over, Zander collapsed too, and its body melted away, leaving in its place the tattered body of a  human.

Celeste found her feet taking her closer to him.  In  his human shape, blood  spilled freely from his wounds, sluggishly  soaking  his knees. It was her chance!

With a burst of energy, she grabbed a large rock from the ground and raised it high. Before she could bring it down on his head, he turned his ruined face to her.

She froze, rock held high.

He smirked at her again.

“What’s the matter?” he asked. “I’m powerless. Exact your revenge as you see fit.  That’s what Nox was about to do to you. It’s fitting.”

Even in the body of a weak human, close to death, he had a deep, powerful voice. His dark hair was damp with blood and his bare chest  was striped with gashes from both friend and foe.

Celeste dropped the rock.

Her entire body trembled with fury, her nails digging into her palms until they bled.

“You think you get to decide how this will end? …How dare you!”

In an outburst of rage, she found the strength to transform. Her tall, blond human form was replaced with that of a majestic unicorn.

The dragon made no move as Celeste snorted in anger in his face. She could kill him with the slight flick of her horn, or kick him around until his every bone broke and all her frustration, rage and grief were extinguished.

His body remained stock still, accepting death without as much as a shiver. Celeste neighed loudly and reared up on her hind legs. Still, Zander did not move.

“I don’t understand!!” she screamed in his mind. “Why! Why did you kill your brother?! Wouldn’t it been easier to kill me?! I am the last! My clan was the last! If you wanted it to be over, why not just kill me?!”

She bucked and kicked and circled around him, kicking up clumps of earth and grass until she had spent all her energies and collapsed onto the ground, back in her human form. Her shoulders heaved with each breath she took.

“The last thing I wanted,” she cried, her voice muffled against the earth. “…was to be spared by the likes of you.”

There was stillness in the air, the silence only broken by her stifled sobs.

She felt a hand on her head and she stopped crying at once.  Celeste froze. She couldn’t even breathe. What was this?

The dragon gave a heavy sigh. “I deserve to die. I killed the last of my family to preserve the last real beauty of this ugly world. I will be waiting for you to finish this. Till then…”

She watched him walk away, unable to grasp the conflicted emotions raging inside. It was only until he was almost gone from her sight that she realized the millennium war was over and no side had won.

Celeste felt empty. A passing breeze felt as cold as the arctic wind..

By a power greater than her own pride, the last unicorn found herself following the last dragon.

 

Unicorn Flash Fiction!

After a brief hiatus of sorts (*nervous laughter*), here is some Flash Fiction prompted by Chuck Wendig’s weekly flash challenge.

 

 

Sparkly

Celeste knew she was in for some pain when the word “sparkly” was mentioned. She had lost her roommates in the mass mob that was the Holidays shoppers at the Shopping Center. She had wandered into a bookstore, attracted by the CLOSING SALE ad on its large front windows. Somehow she had ended up in the children’s section. The colorful covers might be something her roommate Li would be interested in. She was a bit birdbrained. Celeste wasn’t even sure she could read, despite being a thousand-year old mythological shapeshifter.

While she flipped through a picture book titled “Angry Birds: A Tale of Vengeance,” she heard it.

“Look at the unicorns, mommy! They’re so sparkly!”

A vein above Celeste’s eye twitched. Her head turned towards the voice as if against her will. In a corner of the colorful, but cluttered, preschool section was a whole display of glittery books with glittery unicorns and stuffed unicorn toys. It was surrounded by little girls squealing excitedly to their mothers.

Celeste’s feet took her to the shrine of sparkle and rainbow colors. She picked up a unicorn doll. It was pink. A pink unicorn! With silver tinsel in its mane and tail. There was also a strange tattoo on its butt of a vanilla frosted cake. The image was scented.

She wanted to puke. Is THIS how everyone saw unicorns? The toy’s plastic horns weren’t even sharp! It wasn’t even worth its $1.99 sale price tag. The books were just as bad. “My Little Unicorn” featured anthropomorphic unicorns involved in various humiliating activities, such as tea parties and frolicking in meadows.

Celeste glanced at the mothers, hoping maybe they would see what an atrocity this was. Nope. The female adults beamed and actually encouraged their children, looking just as excited as they picked up an armful of the horrendous toys and books to buy.

They were all human, but still. Had unicorn lore really fallen this low?

Celeste replaced the sacrilegious artifacts and was about to make a swift retreat when a scream pierced the air.

The crowd broke apart as a large rhinoceros charged through the window, showering the terrified customers in glass.

Humans! Your foul stench has tormented me for the last time! Celeste heard the telepathic message loud and clear, as well as any other shapeshifter in the area.

She figured Christmas shopping amidst hundreds of humans didn’t sit well with this one. Still, it was no reason to break a perfectly good window.

The rhino went berserk, destroying bookshelves and trampling over any poor human who didn’t run away quickly enough.

Celeste glanced at the cowering children behind her and grinned. It was the perfect opportunity to show what a real unicorn looked like.

Breaking one of her sacred rules, she stepped into the rhino’s path and shifted into her animal form.

A real unicorn appeared in the middle of the closing Books N Things. She was just as large as the raging rhinoceros, but still majestic — ivory white body, platinum blond mane and tail, three foot long horn as hard as diamond. Celeste made sure the long battle scars across her flank and along her neck were clearly visible by the children.

Not a single patch of pink or glitter to be seen anywhere.

The rhino stopped for a brief second by this dramatic and unexpected appearance. But his rage took over as it charged straight for her. Celeste’s warrior heart raced as she kicked up the floorboards and met his charge with her own.

The impact sent the intruder flying back through the window and into a pretzel stand outside.

Everyone stared. Celeste stood proudly. She had held back, knowing she could have well kicked the nuisance all the way to the parking lot outside, but felt the effect was dramatic enough. There was a minute of shocked silence and Celeste felt pretty good.

“OH MY GOSH!

She blinked. High pitched squeals threatened to rupture her brain. A flood of children from inside and outside of the store surrounded her. Small, dirty, smelly hands petted every inch of her beautiful body

She felt violated

“A real unicorn!!

“It’s so pretty!”

“Mommy, mommy, can we take it home!? Please, please, please!!”

Their voices made her queasy. Dizzy, she knelt down. A mistake. The tiny humans climbed on top of her as if she was an average pony, laughing, tugging on her hair.

Celeste’s last coherent thought was that next year her roommates were getting e-books.

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