WIP – The Path

Sooo, I’ve been thinking…

A couple of elements of great importance to the storyline of my book are ruminating in my head.

At the moment the MC is alone when she enters world B. The more I think of it, the more I think she needs a friend or acquaintance to go with her. The MC will make friends in this new world so it isn’t about needing sidekicks. But what I’m realizing is she needs someone to share the shock and ultimately, adjustment of the experience with. A touchstone from her old world with whom she can commiserate, and share the loss then resolve of going home.

As I read what I just wrote, I realize it’s already a done deal in my head. I just had to let it simmer in my head and reading it was the cementing point. Rewrite here I come!

Ok, that’s settled. Next, there’s the issue of the dragon.

I’m a huge dragon fan. Good dragons, bad dragons, shapeshifters, ones that if you touch their scales you die, you name it, I’ve read about them. So, of course, I had to put them in my first book. However, in working through the magic system, and even the culture, it’s almost like I’m forcing dragons in there. The dragon concept isn’t laying itself out as easy as I’d like. I will say, I’m not done trying and for now dragons stay. But the possibility of taking them out is now on the table.

Now that I’ve made a choice on partnering the MC, the current chapter that introduces her will be rewritten. So I thought I’d include an excerpt from it before it’s changed.

Hope you enjoy! Cheers!

—- From The Path

…Sweat dripping from her temple, Liv snapped out of her reverie. As expected, it was hot in Pula Croatia during August, exceedingly hot. The cool ocean water was maybe a hundred yards away; she was tempted to dip her feet.  But it was the opposite direction and her friends waited for her. The toilets had been far away from the stage and she’d been gone a while now. She began slipping through the crowds. Being petite made it hard for her to see above their heads, however, her lithe body slid between the sweaty groups almost undetected. The heavy bass beat coming from the main stage was easy to follow, even in her inebriated state. Half skipping, half shuffling to the music, protectively holding her lit cigarette, she worked her way in what Liv was sure was the right direction.

She was sure she knew where they had last been. Kiki and Lori had been wearing bright colors. They weren’t hard to miss. Jack had a bright red t-shirt with white block letters that read “Drinks well with others,” which was also easy to see in the crowd. Kiki and Lori were from Newcastle in the UK, and Jack with his impeccable English was a Bosnian from Sarajevo. Kiki had long straight strawberry hair with corresponding freckles that seemed compulsory on redheads. While Lori was a dirty blonde and liked to put her hair in braids. The braids, easy to burn complexion, along with a large toothy smile, made her look like a Swiss Miss cover girl. Liv snorted as she pictured Lori in lederhosen.

Having all become friends in an online game many months ago, yesterday had been the first time they had met in person. Liv had made other friends in the game, but this group had naturally gelled because of their passion for electronic music. Jack had suggested this festival and Kiki had known of it, as it was largely attended by Britains. Apparently, Croatia was inexpensive and easy to get to from western Europe. And ultimately, being on the pristinely beautiful Adriatic Sea – the same sea as Venice, was part of the attraction in attending the festival. Liv had wanted to travel to Europe, this had been the perfect opportunity. Last night’s initial meeting had gone quite well, like old friends reuniting after a long absence. The group had made their way to the opening concert where they had a good view of the main stage with just enough room to jump around and dance. Weed had been passed to them by other groups around them and someone was always running to get more Red Bull and vodka, thanks to the bar which was strategically nearby. When it ended, many moved to the beach and the partying continued into the morning where many had simply laid on the sand and fallen asleep. Liv had eventually made it to her tent around mid-morning and managed to get a few hours of undisturbed sleep before their group began a similar day again. Find stage (there were multiple venues), get drinks, find a good viewing spot, dance. They socialized with concert-goers around them and often drugs of different shapes and colors were offered. She guessed most were variations of Mollies. But having only experimented with ecstasy once, Liv had kept to the liquor and weed.

The sun bore down on her head and exposed shoulders as Liv made her way to her friends. The smell of body sweat and weed permeated the air. She realized she was slick with her own sweat, but most of it from others as she had no choice but to make contact as she passed through the mass of humanity. She desperately wished she had taken the extra minute to put her hair up earlier, as deep brown tendrils clung to skin wherever there was contact. Liv flashed a grin thinking that she should have stuck to tequila because the salty sweat making it past her lips was clashing with the slight sweetness of the Red Bull and vodka. Her grin quickly turned to a grimace as Liv realized that the drink and its quickly disappearing ice weren’t helping her thirst and increasingly dry throat at all.

Amidst a thirst that was beginning to make her head throb, Liv made haste of her search and decided that her friends had gone to another stage. Thinking that they might have also wanted to escape the heat, she headed to the dungeon.  The dungeon was another venue that lay in the depths of the stone within the ancient coliseum. The lush overgrowth and tall walls of stone and marble displaying fading roman patterns teased her with a promise of shade and chill air. In her fuzzy, vodka-soaked, overheated mind, she was suddenly absolutely sure her friends were there and she would find them.

As she made her way, Liv looked around for water and didn’t like her prospects. The line at the bar was long, and the volunteers that had seemed to be everywhere earlier handing out bottled water were conspicuously missing. She didn’t dare touch the bathroom water, even so, the lines were long there too. Turning in frustration, she considered and rejected looking for another bar or volunteer at the risk of being deterred from getting to her group. Brightening, she spotted a nearby pop-up table that looked to be laid out with bottled water. Liv ran over and sighed with relief – clear glorious bottled water! The crowd had seemed to notice the water at the same time and had descended like vultures, she was already being pushed away from the end of the table. Grabbing the nearest bottle, she picked one without noticing that it had been by itself at the very edge of the table. Liv also didn’t notice that it wasn’t quite full and that the cap didn’t look fully closed. Face pressed against the thin plastic, the coolness of the liquid and the anticipation of getting back to her task had her full attention. She pushed her way back to the main walkway leading to the dungeon.

Liv could feel the chill of the water as it worked its way down her parched throat, and into her stomach, dousing the heat raging within. The bottle was almost empty when she pulled it away from her lips. Chilled subterranean breezes began teasing the little hairs on her arms as Liv entered the shade of the grand structure. Like warm and cold currents of the ocean converging, the cold air spiked through the remorselessly heated air as she walked down the cracked and ancient stone steps of the Coliseum. Catching the trail of a chilled current, Liv began concentrating on staying within its stream as she worked her way down, stubbornly pushing past other festival attendees. It became hypnotic, reminding her of an old silly game she called the don’t-step-on-the-crack game when walking down a sidewalk. The lull of the steady stepping, and the concentration of stepping on a solid stone while avoiding any cracks soon became hypnotic. All became pinpoint, the rest blurring away to the edges where her vision darkened into a vignette.

Liv didn’t notice when the path became unkempt.

Liv didn’t notice when the lighting ended, leaving only filtered light to show her way.

Liv didn’t notice when a wispy fog had sprung up around her, tendrils thick and opaque.

Olivia finally noticed when a great stone wall barred her way.