Saturday, May 29, 2021

Deleted Scene from SPELL OF THE SHADOW DRAGON


 

Sometimes it's fun to read a deleted scene. This one was the opening scene to SPELL OF THE SHADOW DRAGON until I took it out:


“YOU BETTER GO,” Gus whispers. “That’s the third time she’s come down to the lake and yelled your name, Presley. She must know this is where you come.”

I grumble an “all right” as low—and sweetly—as I can, my eye following her as she hurries off. I don’t want to leave Gus yet. We’re perched high in a cloby tree, straddling the thickest branch, enjoying the fresh smells away from the village. Our secret alone spot. It’s a great place to hide from my mother because she would never look up. She’s superstitious about raising her eyes. Bad things are up, she says. I guess that’s why she throws rubbish on our roof.

 But I suppose the sooner I submit to the pre-journey preparations, the sooner we’ll all be on our way. A whole bunch of us are headed to Vicretia, herded there by our fathers. And we have to walk. No one can spare the wagons for a week or the woollies to pull them. We won’t all marry strangers, though. Two of us have a plan to avoid the mandatory matings.

As soon as my mom heads off, I lean toward Gus and he grabs my arm to steady me as I heave myself over and down. I don’t want to scrape my stomach on the sharp bark and have my mom notice. She expects to bathe me before I leave.

Gus jumps down and we walk up the path past the Irvings’ hut which definitely changes the scents on the wind. There are caracal guts hanging from a crude stick-built structure. At least that’s better than when William Irving makes his twin sons stand with their arms out, mutely enduring hours and hours of holding out the stringy intestines until they dry.

“I heard they’re coming with us.” Gus says.

“Really? That’ll make nine. You, me, them, little Danny, Nardig, Garyn, Stella, and Aliya.”

“And with the oldun and our fathers that’s eighteen.”

I smile at him. He’s showing off his adding skills. He’s good at so many other things, too, like fishing and weaving and gathering fruit from the highest trees.

And storytelling.

“You’re not afraid, are you, Presley?”

The journey means trekking across some pretty wild terrain and cutting through a sliver of the Boggian Empire. I am not looking forward to sleeping outside, and I’m just a little bit afraid. “No,” I say.

“Good. And let’s not get separated. There are tales that time passes at a different rate in Vicretia. Extra days, lost days.”

“Hey, that reminds me,” I say, “tomorrow night, at the campfire, you should tell that old tale you’ve been practicing. I bet Oldun Findlay won’t let you finish.”

***

SPELL OF THE SHADOW DRAGON is available HERE. The story starts at the campfire.

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