Today’s contribution from the blurb file is from my YA novel Totem: The Other Dark (It’s the first of a trilogy). It’s a dream sequence from Chapter Two.[Copyright, common decency, mine mine, don’t steal, don’t copy, link if you will, yadda yadda…]
In the center of the village a fire burned. The entirety of the tribe was gathered round for the occasion, seated or standing at the fringes to observe The Choosing. This night their bravest warrior would choose his bride from among the squaws. Running Wolf stood at the edge of the circle, waiting for the ceremony to start, a black wolf’s pelt belonging to his namesake draped around his shoulders and crowning his head. His gray gaze, a testament to the white man who had been his grandfather, was intense as he looked slowly around the gathered circle of women and girls. One looked to the fire, rather than his way.
She, the shaman’s daughter, was not like the others. She saw stories in the flames. They writhed and danced and reached always for their distant ancestors in the heavens. Higher and higher rose the flames, drunk on the fervor of life, roaring their joy. The roar called to her soul, beckoning the wildness in her spirit. Come with us and be free. She did not feel Running Wolf’s eyes upon her. The echo of drums pulsed through her, signaling the start of The Choosing.
Her eyes now moved to the lone figure bending and swaying to the throb of the drums. His lean, muscled body glistened in the firelight, shadows dancing across the planes of his chest. As the drumbeat quickened, so did his step, bare feet sending up puffs of dust as he leapt into the air, adding his voice to the drums in the sacred chant. Around the fire. And again. Again. Leaping, twisting, undulating with the same writhing grace as the flames.
With a final ululating cry he snapped to a halt before his bride.
The shaman’s daughter.
Harper was already out of her bed and rummaging through the cedar chest in which she kept her art supplies before she came fully awake. She was desperate to get the images down before they faded from memory. She grabbed charcoal first, sketching fast, with loose strokes to get the shape of his face, the play of shadow at the edges of the bonfire.
”Light, light,” she chanted. “Must have more light,” for the pale shades of dawn lightening the windows were not enough to see well by.
She flipped on the bedside lamp and snapped on the overhead light, grabbed oil pastels, sank to the floor with the pad on her knees and continued, feverishly, to draw. The head of the wolf’s pelt perched atop his head, looking for all the world like a living beast about to devour him. Fine dark hair fell in a sheet, past his shoulders, nearly as long as her own. The front sections on either side of that beautifully carved face had been braided with leather and bedecked with feathers. High cheekbones slashed on either side of an elegant, straight nose. His mouth was unsmiling, befitting the seriousness of the occasion. And his eyes. Surely that icy gray gaze belonged to the wolf and not the man? Even as he looked at her from the paper, that gaze held such intensity that she felt she was falling back into the dream.
“Harper! Wake up, Duchess!”
Her father’s shout startled her out of the spell. She looked at the clock. 7:15.
She hastily sprayed some fixative on her drawing and dashed to the shower.
She then goes on to her first day of school (senior in high school).
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