Memorial to my fallen darling.

In obedience to Faulkner’s advice to kill my darlings, I wish to bid adieu to one of my darlings.

Farewell, dear snippet. I’ve fought to include you in my draft for months, and can no longer stay the executioner’s blade.  You were a treat to write, but far too serious for middle grade high fantasy. Maybe I can find another home for you some other where, some other time. For now though, my sweet, rest well here, and know that you are loved.

Arti’s Lament – a murdered snippet from the Watchlings.

            My love, I dreamt you came to me last night.

            In my dream, I went to bed alone and afraid. The sheets whispered as your body slid next to mine. Your elusive, subtle scent, I love it so.

            Your familiar rumble pulled me further from sleep. “What are you doing all the way over there? Come here, silly.”

            A chuckle, as you drew me to you, turned me around and folded me into your arms. My chilled skin tingled against yours. I luxuriated in your warmth. I put my arms around you, every part of me, greedy for you. For the touch of your skin. The gentle exhalations of your sweet breath. The pressure of your chin on the crown of my head.

            I knew then it was a dream. But a fleeting dream of you is worth more than an eternity without you.

            I’d spend my life dreaming of you, if I could.  

            I gave the sweet hollow of your neck an equally sweet kiss. Your salt on my tongue. Like the salt of our mingled tears. Do you remember?

            Living silk – wasn’t that how you described my skin? I pressed my ear to your chest. The strong, steady beat of your heart lulled me deeper into slumber.

            That was how we were. All our lives, until now. Two separate individuals, inextricably entwined. Our bodies, a perfect match, in perfect harmony. Two imperfect halves of a perfect whole.

            I opened my eyes, and found myself alone. My heart was broken anew.  

            My love, I dreamt you came to me last night.

            What will I do without you?

It’s done! Kind of….

I’m sorry for pulling the submarine act on you. I’ve been rushing to finish the first draft of my science fiction experiment. My test-tube baby weighs in at just shy of twenty nine thousand words. I know she is small, but at this point in time, she is still just a novella. I am debating whether I should free her from the tubes, polish her, and then let her run free as the short, sleek, tiny tale she is. Or if I should extend the plotline and let her mature into a full-grown novel. Thoughts?

Anyway, here is one of the final scenes of Burning Bridges. I apologize for its rough state, but little Cleo wants to play 🙂

In Luna’s holding station the Lady Diana, it was time for the hunt. Lilliane had been hunting with Becca and Cleo for about a week. She quickly grew accustomed to her specialized gear and mastered her gauntlet’s non-verbal, fine motor controls. She’s even memorized the ritual words Lemon insisted they use prior to each kill.

They soon found their quarry. He was in the shadows, bent over his victim, his blade still dripping with blood. The three of them stepped into the pool of flickering fluorescent light. Lilliane caught Hecuba’s gaze, grinned and cleared her throat to get the quarry’s attention. Only the decent thing to do. He’s already dead and doesn’t even know it.

He jerked his head up at the sound. 

“You know, murder is frowned upon by civilized society,” Hecuba said in her low, mellow voice.

“The slaughter of innocents is traditionally considered especially heinous.” Lilliane stretched her arms and yawned. The work is stimulating and highly rewarding. But the hours are terrible.

“And who will stop me?” He rose and stepped into the light. “Three little girls?” He scoffed. An ugly leer snaked its way across his pock-marked face. “I must’ve been a very good boy. I’ve got me three little lambs for the slaughter.”

“You should be afraid. Sweating bullets.” Hecuba flexed her arm, a humorless smile on her face. A glowing scorpion flail slipped out of her gauntlet.

“Pissing in your boots—” Lilliane made a similar movement, with similar effects.

“And in your pants, you’d—” Cleo stopped short and stomped her foot. “Scat, I’ve messed it up.”

“It’s okay, Cleo,” Lilliane said. The head scorpion on her flail twined around her form. “I think he’s got the idea.”

“Can I have him, please?” Cleo practically vibrated in her excitement.

Hecuba bent her head, lines of hesitation on her face. “Cleo—”

“You had the last one. I should have this one. I won’t mess it up. I’ll even say the words right. Pleeeease?” Her voice rose in a whine.

Hecuba caught Lilliane’s gaze, eyebrow arched in silent enquiry. Lilliane shrugged. Why not?

Cleo giggled and flicked her gaze back to their quarry.

“You should fear us because we are vengeance incarnate,” Cleo chanted the ritual words in her piping child’s voice. She flexed her arm. The electronic scorpion flail slipped out of her gauntlet and hovered to her eye level, weaving back and forth like something truly alive. She cocked her head at him, a beatific smile on her face. “You’ve victimized innocents.” The smile dropped away. Her dark eyes glittered with cold fury. “We claim a blood-debt on their behalf.” She flicked her wrist. The flail snaked forward, landed on his cheek with the gentleness of a lover’s caress, and bestowed on him its lethal kiss.

Cleo watched his death throes for a few moments in rapt attention before turning back to Lilliane and Hecuba. “That’s the last, right? I’m hungry. Can we get something to eat?”

Lilliane reached out and ruffled the dark curls on the little girl’s head. “Sure, Cleo. Let’s go.”