My apologies for this being posted so late.  It has been a busy weekend for me trying to prepare for the hardest thing to do in this economy; finding a job.  Rather than picking out an excerpt to post, I decided to grace you with a short, short, story about Easter Sunday.

Dawn had passed.  The sun’s rising brought on a day that started cloudy with rain threatening to ruin the special occasion.  The bountiful colors were missed, but as the rays of light pierced the morning gloom, they awoke a small child from her sleep.

With a yawn and a stretch, she rubbed at her sleep crusted eyed and pushed back her long ears.  Fur and hair were mussed, but her bright blue eyes were wide open and gazing at wide wonder out her window at the beauty the night’s rain had given to her yard.  She squealed in delight then scrambled out of bed and into the living room where she found a huge basket filled with colored eggs, candy, a chocolate rabbit, a rag doll that looked just like her hanging onto the handle of the basket.  Her laughter said it all, she was pleased with her new gifts.

From out of the kitchen, her mother’s voice called for her to come and eat before digging into her basket full of goodies.  The older rabbit smiled as she peeked around the corner to watch her child grab the doll then skip on over to the table to wait patiently for the morning meal.

Eggs and ham, fresh toast and a bowl of fresh fruit were devoured quickly by the excited little girl.  She chatted happily with her mother while she ate, telling her about her dreams from the night before.  All was pleasant and fun until she was finally shooed off to get a bath and get dressed in her new clothes.

In the course of an hour, both mother and child were ready.  Hand in hand, they left together to go with the others to listen to the morning sermon.  Other children were there, sitting with their parents.  She, our little bunny girl, only had her mother but she saw nothing wrong at all with the picture.  Looking up at her mother, she saw a single tear fall and leave a trail through the gray and white fur of her cheek.

After seeing the tear, she snuggled up against her mother’s side and held her close while she listened to the story their pastor gave.

He spoke of a man long ago who left his home to tell others about  the one and only God and how loving and powerful he was.  The old ram’s voice was strong and clear though his wool was thinning and his head balding with age while he told about the Last Meal this man had with his disciples, how he broke bread with them and called it his body, then drank wine with them, calling it his blood.  His voice wavered as he told of the man’s humiliation as he carried his cross through town and how one of his own disciples denied knowing him.

Then, his tone changed, turning sad but so loving as he spoke of how the man was lifted up onto the cross and the spectators screamed and threw things at him.  Two others were also crucified with him, thieves who had gone too far in their deeds.  One spat mean words at him and the other only asked him to forgive him before they died.  All the special man did was accept the forgiveness then called out, asking his glorious father to forgive them all, for they did not know what they were doing.

Soon, the man and the thieves died and the earth began to shake.  In the temple, the curtain fell, revealing the most holy of holy places in the church.  In the morning, all three were taken to be buried.  The special man was placed in a tomb meant for a rich man, wrapped in linen, then a heavy rock placed over the opening so nothing could enter.

It seemed the ram’s voice soften when he paused, smiling at his awe struck congregation.  That fateful day had happened only a few days before.  Three days after the burial, three women went to end to the body and found the rock was moved and two brilliant white beings waiting for them.  They listened in awe as they told them their special man had risen to be with his father.  He had left to help everyone find their way into Heaven to be among their families that had gone before them.

The little girl blinked, enjoying the story.  She hugged her mother again and saw more tears had fallen.  As the congregation was asked to pray, the old ram asked them all to include the girl and her mother in their prayers.  The girl’s father had been buried just the week before.  He had followed the special man but losing him was still so fresh and new to their small family.

Easter, even to them, was a special time for hope and new beginnings.  But it was also a time to remember those who had gone on before to wait for them in Heaven.  As the sermon came to a close, the little girl looked up at the carved cross above the ram and smiled; seeing a warm glow coming from the center where the pieces crossed.  It was the glow of hope and promise to her and the rest of the congregation.

With a bright smile, she skipped along side her mothers as they left to go back to their home and enjoy a simple dinner together and a day that became a warm and wondrous time spent in sunshine and new spring grass.

The End


After many long weeks, I am finally posting an excerpt.  I know I made an excerpt post a couple of weeks ago, but that, doesn’t count.  Still, it must have good.  A few of you liked it enough to hit the like button.  =^.^=

This week’s excerpt is coming out of my next novel, Society of Night and Lies.  This comes from the end of chapter eight when Jason finds out why Sabrina has him trapped in the bedroom of the apartment she and her associate Mindy are using as a safe house.

“Who would guess that I would love growing things and seeing what they could do together or on their own.  My studies showed me how to mix teas and powders to make people well or sick.  I learned which plants could harm, and which could kill.  He encouraged me to learn everything I could and experiment.  He went so far as to make a rooftop garden for me and set aside one of the unused rooms so I could experiment with the different plants.”  A long sigh escaped her as she slowly turned to face him, her eyes sad and filled with unshed tears.  “Little did I know that he would use what I learned to get rid of a few people.”

Jason’s ears stood straight up, straining toward the feline while she spoke.  He could hear the excitement still in her voice when she first started her tail.  He could hear how much she loved studying plants and their properties.  But, he wasn’t prepared for the sense of betrayal he saw in her eyes and the tears resonating in her voice.  His heart went out to her in that moment when she looked at him.  “Who is this man you’re talking about, Ree?  What did he do to you?”  Other than give her an easy life where she could spend time doing what she loved.

Blinking several times, Sabrina stared at him.  Though it never showed, she hated the very person she mentioned.  However much she regretted her decision to follow him into the lap of luxury and learning, she couldn’t deny that she did have a few moments when the silver lining could be seen clearly through the training.  Still, the tight control in her voice could not be hidden when she spoke.  “The man who ordered me to kill you, Gerin van Houne.”

To say he was stunned would have been an understatement.  His jaw hung open and his eyes seemed to bulge out of their sockets as he leaned forward in his chair.  The grip he had on the arms of the chair had his knuckles as white as his teeth.  Little more than stuttered gibberish was uttered in his astoundment.    “No fucking way!  THE Gerin van Houne took you in and taught you all you know?”  He just managed to speak around the sputtering and spit.

She watched his Adam’s apple bob up and down as he worked his jaw and went into a tizzy over what she just told him.  In fact, she was strangely calm while she watched him pace the few steps between the bed and the window.  All she did was watch him, waiting for him to make a wrong move toward her and wondering if she could hurt a friend.

“That would be him.”  She narrowed her eyes slightly when he came a little too close with his wildly flailing hands.  “The philanthropist everyone fawns over when he decides to step out of the shadows.  The public doesn’t see the darker side his students get to see.  He’s… to put it simply, not what he makes himself out to be.”

He stopped the moment she spoke and stared at her.  All he knew about Gerin van Houne he heard in the news and from the few dealings his parents had with him before they died.  “I can’t believe that.  There’s no way.”  He looked at her, seeing the grim determination written in the tilt of her ears and the slow swish of her tail, even the creases of her expression held same seriousness.  “And yet, you were taught by him?”

With a slow shake of her head, she relaxed and motioned for him to sit again.  “He didn’t teach me, per sé.  He paid to have me taught.  Gerin has in his employment several high ranking teachers to show his ‘children’ how to fight, kill, and dig up any kind of information on anyone.  If there was anything we needed, we had the contacts to get it and as quickly as we wanted it all because of him.”

Sunday Excerpt #fiction #fantasy #amwriting #excerpt

What a long and eventful weekend this has been.  I barely spent any time at home.  In my defense, it was to get out and away from the sick child and boyfriend.  Dave was fine with the beginnings of symptoms and Colin was finally recovering from his bout with the flu.

If anyone was wondering why there were three posts so close together, then this one, it’s because I was catching up.  Friday has been just one of those tiring days and I ended up making dinner.  Saturday, I was out of the house most of the day then today, I spent my free time working on these posts.

Onto the excerpt!  This one is taken from the very clean version of How the Kiyrie Got Their Wings.  I chose a small section where StormCloud, a Kiyrie, and Drake, a dragon master hunter (also called hyunitarrii in the Kiyrie language) finally come together to bring about the first evolution in the Kiyrie species.  They are mortal enemies.  He could easily kill her and yet, the Fates decided they were the perfect candidates for their experiments.  There is no dialog in this story.  Just the thoughts of some omniscient being showing the story.

StormCloud wanted to be alone and in silence. She didn’t want anyone to know what she was thinking. As much as it hurt her to do so, she wrenched her mind free of the communal link her people, the Kiyrie, shared.  Immediately she felt an upwelling of sorrow fill her soul and imagined a heart wrenching scream as the depressive shock rise.

For many weeks, she lived alone in the deepest, darkest parts of the northern forests; hunting and gathering her own meals while avoiding the hunters. With each successive week she kept herself apart from the others and the mental link severed, she grew weaker and her hunts less successful.

During self-enforced exile, she couldn’t stop thinking of Drake. He was hyunitarri, the best hunters in all the realms and he was dangerous to her and the rest of her kind. The very thought that some higher force wanted her to mate with him made her shudder in fear and dread.  She’d rather fall from a mountain cliff than be close to a hyunitarri of any kind.

Two months passed without either Drake or StormCloud spotting one or another. It was chance brought them together again and not a moment too soon. The Kiyrie, weak from hunger and the loss of her mental link with her people, lay unconscious on the forest floor, sprawled as if she had fainted in mid-leap. The Earth, always caring for the creatures she created, covered her with the underbrush and leaves until StormCloud awakened.

Drake, tracking a deer for his own meal, stumbled upon her. At first, all he could see was a single paw and the tip of her tail among the leaves and underbrush, laying unnaturally still. Curious, he moved the leaves and forest litter aside and gazed at her sleeping form. Her fur was dull; it no longer had that healthy glow that made the Kiyrie so prized, and she was thin, her breathing very shallow. Once again his hunter’s oath and his heart warred with each other. He could kill her so easily and collect a smaller reward for a less than perfect Kiyrie. But his own honor wouldn’t let either side win. She was too weak for his heart to follow through with what it wanted, and taking a defenseless prey brought no honor or challenge.

He lived for the thrill of the hunt.  This elusive prey was in no condition for any kind of hunt.  Though he wanted to turn and leave her to the forest predators, something made him stop and look at her longer.  Drake couldn’t deny the pounding of his heart was of a different kind of fear.  For someone who has been alone all his adult life, he couldn’t stand the idea of not having this gentle and vulnerable creature near him.

The very thought was interrupted by the darker, more carnal, side of his being, telling him that the Kiyrie was nothing more than prey and a few gold coins at the Temple in any condition.  He shook his head to rid himself of the thoughts of kindness, but they would not be silenced.  Their voices grew louder until he was shouting at the forest and holding his hands to the sides of his head as if to block the turmoil in his thoughts.

Panting, he fell to his knees and stared through unwelcome tears at the slowly dying feline.  He was life was slipping away and he knew it.  He could feel the hope of a brilliant future fading quickly and the eyes of his ancestors boring into his mind and whispering of the honor he would lose if he didn’t help her and fulfill his destiny.  After a long, drawn out sigh, he looked around to see if anyone else was there who could take care of her. Seeing no one, he gently picked her up, tilting his head at the soft, weak, whimper as she was lifted.

He carefully carried her to a clearing then spread his wings and took to the air. The flight was short, a slow glide over the tree tops to where his own hidden oasis was located.  He landed many miles away in a rocky area at the border of the kingdom where the rocky foothills began.  During his short flight, he debated with himself to drop her and let the denizens of the forest finish her off.  But as the idea started to take root, something else pushed the idea away and left in its place thoughts of something far better in the near future.

While he was opening the portal to his lair, StormCloud awakened, dull gray eyes gazing up at him. At first, she didn’t recognize who he was. When realized who was holding her she thought surely her life was going to end right there.  Weak as she was, she shivered and a soft mewl escaped her parted lips.

When he looked down at her, her head rolled against his shoulder and he could see the fear in her eyes as well as her soul giving up and trying to stay alive. Their eyes met again. Time stood still as the universe and to a halt and their souls met once again.  His bright and strong spirit reached out to her, bolstering the growing weakness in her and pausing the slow slide into eternal darkness.

StormCloud shook as she looked into Drake’s eyes then fainted once more, unable to cope with the strong feelings growing inside her. Concerned, the dragon carried her into his lair and placed her gently on the simple bed he had. Drake made sure she was comfortable before lighting a fire. There was little he could do. He was a hunter after all, not a doctor or healer. While she slept, he ventured out to hunt.

Sunday Excerpt #amwriting #fiction #fantasy #excerpt

If you thought the previous post would take the place of my Sunday Excerpts, you thought wrong.  This one comes a bit in the evening (or night as the case may be), but it is still considered part of my Sunday postings.

Tonight’s excerpt comes from the end of Changing Times: A Vampire’s Tale.  Clarissa survived the Great Change and traveled the entire world after the human race was abolished and those who remained were turned into the first furs.  She witnessed many things and helped start the first Bard Hall where musicians would learn the art of diplomacy, music, and entertaining.  Think of it as a version of the Harper Hall from Anne McCaffrey’s books.  This whole story was written in a diary format so you see how she saw things as she wrote them down.

Personally, I consider this one of my better death scenes but we get to see her feelings before she does the deed.  I hope you enjoy this one.

I sit here now on my balcony, looking out over the forest with nothing more than the moon, and a single candle lighting the darkness around me. This paper, and this quill I use are but pale memories of what I once had. For the last several hundred years, I have sat in this very chair, contemplating the night sky and wondering if Adam did make it through that long sleep, or if any other I once knew survived as well.

The town this castle was built near has grown since I first made this my home. It was once a tiny village with barely a single street running through the middle of it. Now, its a bustling community. Once in a great while, I go down and walk among the mortals, watching them go on with their lives and adding a bit of musical entertainment. Just as in my younger days, I became well known, and my infrequent visits became a celebration for these people.

Their joy became my joy, but it was pale compared to what I had once known. This unlife of mine was becoming boring regardless of what I tried to do. The years brought me many good friends among the mortals. Mages and nobles alike were among my friends. Only one, an orphaned fox captured my attention. He had a talent that rivaled my own, and under my care, he blossomed into a great bard.

It is to him that I gave my final instructions. Before he left to travel the world and make a name for himself, I made him promise to return to this castle once in a while to make sure I was still around. If he ever returned and found that I had finally given myself to the sun’s rays, he was to take this journal to the only mage I trusted so that a preservation spell could be cast on it.

Yes, my dear reader, I am planning for my last days. This existence no longer holds anything for me, and my closest and dearest friend and childe knows it. He’s been watching me closely for about a year now. He and I have both lived for well over two thousand years now, and have watched the world change.

I’m trying to hang on long enough to see three thousand years, but I don’t know. That’s an awful long way off. Maybe a nap, but I doubt a long torpor induced sleep would do any good. I miss my family and friends, the life I had when I was just a simple singer trying to make it big, and the adoration of fans that would run up out of nowhere just to ask for my autograph.

There is only one question I have that I cannot answer. Maybe, you, dear reader, can answer this for me after you’ve finished reading this journal. The fame I have earned before the world was remade, and the fame I earned after, was it all due to my own natural talent as a singer and songwriter, or was it because of ability of mine after I became a vampire? Or could it, by perchance, been the result of my sire’s work behind the scenes? It is something I would like to know, but the answers elude me even now. Maybe I am just too tired with living to try to answer them myself.

The castle is finally quiet, dear reader. My only surviving childe is resting, and everyone else is either asleep or gone. Just so that you what it looks like on this last evening of my life, I’ll describe what I see now. This castle looks out over a valley, there’s a river down there, reflecting the starlight as each star winks out for the night. There’s a forest in my immediate vicinity, concealing this castle from the town sleeping below. The eastern horizon is just beginning to color with the rising sun.

Sunday Excerpt #fiction #fantasy #amwriting #excerpt

Tonight, I decided to blend two posts into one.  Since I post an excerpt of random stories on Sundays and this is also the day I talk a little about Black Friday and/or Black Friday 2, I figure I may as well make them the same post this time.  Makes sense and I can sit back to watch Food Network or maybe get a quick role-play in before bedtime.  Either way, it’s much easier for me.  Don’t expect this to happen every week.  I don’t want to give away too much of the story.

With this being my last day of vacation, I thought I would make things simpler for you, my readers and friends.

Today’s excerpt comes from the last half what I’ve written for chapter nine in book 2 of Black Friday.  They have just found the place both Karina and others have seen in dreams and visions.  As tired as what they are, there is still work to do and Karina, her husband, adopted son, and their group’s ‘healer’, they prepare to weather out the coming storm.

Marcus’ look of surprised couldn’t be hidden. He stared at me, swallowed then started to ask, but I stopped him with a nod. “Yes, she did. Let’s go, now.”

“Okay everybody!” He clapped his hands together as he turned to face the group of weary shifters. “I need you to bear with us. Shelter has been found and it is a short distance from here. We can all rest there and avoid any other weather that is heading for us.” He then motioned to the building clouds then motioned to me. “Lead the way, my love. You know where this shelter is.”

I smiled at him then licked his cheek before giving my attention to everyone. “It’s only a couple of miles from here. If we support each other, we get there in no time. It’s all downhill, into a valley, and the path looks reasonably clear from what I can tell. Just stick close and don’t wander off without telling someone. If you get lost, we may not be able to find you before the storm gets here.”

There was a lot of grumbling and moaning as tired therians got to their feet. They only had a short rest and that didn’t do much for them. But, knowing they were going to be in a decent shelter, not some cold cave, they didn’t gripe too much.

Getting everyone moving, even the injured on their stretchers, wasn’t easy. Finding the path down into the valley wasn’t easy. It was an overgrown trail almost completely hidden by new growth from the years of neglect, but a few markers showed us the way.

The path wound about, seeming to go nowhere except to give glimpses of the compound below and how close we were getting. With skeletal branches intertwining over us, we could barely see the gray clouds blotting out the paler clouds above and what little sunlight we were getting. It felt like the trek down was taking forever and everyone was starting to mutter and growl their displeasure until at long last, we found the end of the trail leading out into the wide pasture.

It was open land, no trees to take cover in or to break the wind that was starting to whistle through the trees. Anything would be able to see us as we traversed the wide space of snow.

Marcus, Nahana, and I went first to make sure it was all clear. We kept low to the ground, moving on all fours as we were meant to be and keeping our bellies close to the ground. We split up to sniff the air and see if anyone was around before we stood and beckoned the rest to follow. The place was abandoned, not a sound or scent to be found that was recent except for wild creatures stopping by to make use of the pasture or the shelter of the buildings.

I kept an eye on the line of tired wolves, deer, and other therians behind us; making sure no one fell behind. Those that did fall, I rushed back to help Nahana get them back on their feet and offer words of encouragement. They didn’t have much further to go. They can rest inside and we’ll have a fire roaring to keep us warm.

Worry for them filled my heart as they all stumbled toward the building. It seemed so very far away at that point. But, I had to stay strong for them and keep them moving.

As I turned my attention to the building clouds, snow started to fall and the wind became colder. The shiver than ran down my spine raised fur and set my teeth to chattering against my will. Not wanting to leave anyone behind, I plunged through the snow to get the last two, both deer-kin, and helped them get to our new home. The last several feet, I was carrying them, both too exhausted to take another step.

Inside, it was cold. We could feel drafts coming from under the door and around the windows. There was debris all over the place that blew in from a storm sometime in the past. As cold as what it was, it was better than being out in the cold.

“Marcus, Nahana, Nick, we need to gather up wood for a fire and try to fix those drafts.” I looked from one to the other as I rested my hands on their shoulders. “Nahana, you and Nick go gather some firewood and kindling. Marcus and I will start working on plugging the drafts.”

“What about Takesha, Karina?” Nick looked, his eyes questioning and filled with worry for this rag-tag group of therians.

I shook my head and offered a little smile. “She’s tired. Let her rest for now and help tend to the injured. If she needs help, Marcus and I can lend a hand. Don’t worry about her, or anyone else. Just get us that wood and quickly. It’s already started to snow.”

Nick sighed then nodded. “Okay. We won’t be long.”

As I grasped his shoulder, I smiled at him, showing my approval. “Just hurry, son. We’re all tired and we need you to help lead.”

He hugged me; something he hadn’t done since we left First Home, then gave Nahana a gentle shove toward the door. It’ll warm up with all the bodies in there, but a fire will help keep the rest of the cold at bay.

Sunday Excerpt #fiction #fantasy #amwriting #excerpt

Where did the week go?  I swear I had just written last Sunday’s post a couple of days ago.  Here it is, Sunday, yet again, and I never made a Wednesday post, let alone any other posts through the week.  Between workouts and work, time got away from me.

Well, onward to today’s excerpt.  Today, you are seeing the opening of chapter ten to Way of the Comet.  Larana has just awakened and found herself not only imprisoned, but force shifted to her feral cat form.  She’s been bound and muzzled to prevent her from escaping or trying to make any attempts at calling for help.  Who ever captured her knew they needed to put some  powerful binding magic on her or they would find themselves in a load of trouble.  But, she isn’t without friends, as she quickly finds out.

When I awoke again, the pain in my head was gone and I couldn’t open my eyes without cringing, but I noticed something else terribly wrong. At first, I noticed the cramp in my back, just between the shoulder blades and something jabbing me in the ribs. When I went to move, I discovered why I the cramp was there and the jab in my side. How it happened, I didn’t know.

What I found was that I had been made to shift into a full cat then all four of my feet were bound together, even my tail, with thick leather thongs. The way I was tied up was what was giving me the cramp between my shoulders. When I tried to speak, I couldn’t move my jaws enough to get more than a few muffled grunts because of a muzzle. To add insult to injury, I felt the cold sting of metal around my neck, as well as a band on my tail near the base. Needless to say, I was very uncomfortable with my current situation.

The pain in my side was coming from the very sharp end of a long spear held by a creature that looked oddly like a hyena but far more ugly. He was cackling while he jabbed my side with that spear, a sound that resonated behind my eyes in pain. “Such a pretty little kitty you are. Yes. Yes! Very pretty you are. Ha, ha, HA!”

There was no way I could answer. Every try was only a grunt or a growl. No amount of speech could come through. Whatever it was they did to me, made it so I was an actual cat. In my mind, I screamed in frustration because I could not break free of whatever it was that was holding me in this form. Adding to that frustration was the pain of the spear poking at my ribs and the insane cackle of my torturer.

As my vision began to clear, I saw more and more of my new surroundings. The hyena that was prodding me had on old worn armor that looked like it saw better days without him touching it. Even his fur was matted and dingy where it showed. Only his teeth looked viciously sharp when he’d curl his lips back with his maniacal laughter. He looked as bad as he smelled.

Beyond him, I saw cages. Lots of cages; each with an occupant that was lying down, sitting, or pacing the inner dimensions of their prison. None of them, as far as I could tell, resembled my torturer. They were animals, chained and muzzled like I was, which made me begin to wonder, between the pain of being jabbed and the grind of the hyena’s voice, if they were like me, or were they simply what they looked like. Unable to do anything, I could only take the abuse ad wish that help would arrive.

“Kisu! Leave our new prize alone. We need her healthy for the auction.” The voice was strong, deep, and harsh. It carried the authority that made the hyena stop his prodding and turn to face the tall, lean figure that approached him.

That voice belonged to canine dressed in rich robes. His grizzled fur was mostly gray with shadings of black and brown where I could see it. The robes he wore were deep red with golden trimming and draped over his lean body. Deep brown eyes remained hard though the smile that stretched across his muzzle looked genuine enough. He looked handsome, but to me, he was another to have to deal with. Little did I know then that he was just the first of many I was going to have to fight before I could reach the castle and my friends.

The hyena turned as soon as his name was called then cowered down before the clear leader and cackled at him. “The pretty one has awakened, Master.”  He heaved as though he had been running instead of laughing.  Watching the crazed minion made me feel sick inside.

“So I have noticed, Kisu. Leave her alone and go tend to the horses,” the wolf gestured abruptly to Kisu as he stepped close to my cage then looked down at me with a sneer on his face. “She will bring us plenty of gold at the auction and every other one after that.” The low laugh that followed made me cringe inwardly and outwardly with the greed and evil that I could feel resonating in his voice. Right then, I wished that Kirin and the rest were there to take me away from there.

I could hear more laughter after I closed my eyes and whimpered. The Master found something amusing about my reaction. When I opened my eyes again, he was walking away and Kisu was already gone after the order he was given. The feeling of hopelessness began to well up inside me so strongly, I wanted to cry but the panther body I was in would not allow that action to happen.

*Be calm my child. All is not lost.* Came a voice in my head; ancient, wise, gentle, they sounded so close and yet so far away at the same time. *You must be strong or they will quickly break your spirit.*

Out of habit, I looked around, darting my eyes everywhere at once before I started moving my head. All I could see were the other cages surrounding the cart I was chained up in, some straw, and a few trees that were scattered throughout the camp. Only vaguely could I make out the peaks of the tents that were being used and what I assumed was the flag belonging to the Master. Nothing else stood out that could send me those thoughts. Yet, they felt different as well as unfamiliar.

Movement in the cage closest to my wagon drew my attention. It was a large bird looking creature from what I could see. The head was that of a hawk with tufts of feathers laying back like ears and great yellow beak. Gold-yellow eyes were peering at me from amid a sea of tawny black tipped feathers. Somehow, it looked strange with how it was standing; not like a bird, but more like a cat or dog. Because I was laying down, I could not see anything but the bird’s front and the harness of leather and a chain secured to a halter that was keeping its head from pulling up and the wings tied in place.

*Who? What?  Where?* I projected the thought back though it seemed loud even to my own ears. Others in the area looked my way and made noises that begged for my attention.  The noise was gradually growing, threatening to draw attention to me, or us, once again. *Where are you? What are you?  Who are you?*  The questions were forced from my thoughts as I tried to find the one who was speaking to me.

The bird creature across from me dipped its head, but made no sound. His gaze never wavered from me for a moment as he dipped his head. *I called to you, white one. Do not fear. We are all on the same side as you are.  We have all felt the sting of Kisu’s spear and the lash of the Captain’s whip when we were first captured.*

Whip?  I saw no whip on the wolf, but then he was dressed in a robe.  That could hide anything as loose as what it looked.  *But, who are you? Are you the bird I’m looking at?* My mental voice was frantic and filled with frustration of not knowing.  I didn’t want to believe what my own senses were telling me and hoped that this was some sort of cruel nightmare.

*I am the one you are looking at. Yes.* The bird’s mental voice gained a tired note as it looked at me.  I could almost feel the years of abuse he had endured.  Yes, I felt that this old bird was definitely male as well as old despite the plumage of a younger bird. *My name has long since been forgotten, but you may call me Hawk.* He stood while still looking at me then lowered his head to push his beak through the bars and call to me in a softer warbled screech belonging to a hawk.

Sunday Excerpt #fiction #fantasy #amwriting #excerpt

I’m sorry there was no excerpt last week.  With it being so close to Christmas, I thought everyone would be paying more attention to the last minute business of getting the shopping done, gifts wrapped, or, like me, getting the tree up and decorated.  At least it was for a good reason and I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday that was as quiet and easy going as what mine was.  🙂

Tonight’s excerpt comes from one of the stories in my compilation, Trysts of the Hearts.  In Wish of the Heart, Anuket finds what she has been longing for, someone strong and just wild enough to keep things interesting, but someone who would love her for her, not because she worked in the Temple of Bast or that her parents were well known in the kingdom of Belleau.  Little did she know that the wish she made while polishing one of the statue avatars would be granted.

Anuket was a beautiful woman but had no idea just how pretty she actually was. Like her mother, she had fur as black as night , long black hair she kept tied back into a braid, and crystal blue eyes that looked off into nothing. Her slender body had curves that made many women jealous with a firm bosom and wide hips to match. While not tall, she certainly wasn’t short by any meaning of the word with a long tail she could use like another appendage. Although she was a mix of both panther and wolf, she took after her mother. It took a trained eye to notice the few wolfish features like the shape of her ears and the extra fluff along her tail, and the way her muzzle looked. It didn’t matter to her, she never saw her own image except through shared mental contact with certain priests.

Summer for her meant extra cleaning during the day and long walks in the evening with her brother or parents. There was always somebody with her to make sure she didn’t get lost with all the reconstruction going on around their home. Summer also meant, for her, that the garden was in bloom and the scents of flowers and fresh grass called to her constantly. Many times, she’d be out there sitting on a bench just enjoying the warmth of the sun on her face and scenting the breeze beneath her favorite willow tree.

Life was good for her and she longed for nothing more than someone to share her days with. Just after the summer solstice passed, she started having dreams. Dreams about a young man who would sweep her off her feet and show her things she had only been told about. Someone who wanted to be with her because they loved her, not because she was beautiful or worked in the temple. Though the idea never interfered with her work, she was distracted and entertained thoughts on where to find the mystery man in her dreams. She felt as though those dreams were a promise from the goddess that she wouldn’t be alone forever.

Anuket’s brother already had a mate, a sweet canine woman who adored him and gave him three boys and had another on the way. She was happy for him and always enjoyed her little nephews, but she wanted a family of her own and felt the pangs of loneliness more often than not.

One morning, while in the main chapel polishing the avatar statues, she was talking to them. She was all alone in there, knowing it was just her and the two living statues, which were currently asleep. Or so she thought.

“Oh Darkwing,” she sighed, “sometimes I wonder why I have to be alone. Why can’t I have someone to live out my life with? You and my brother are so lucky to have mates who adore you and have given you children. Someday, I would love to see my dream come true.”

She paused in her cleaning as if to admire her work and held the cloth in her paws gently. “The man in my dreams is so daring and kind, you know. So very handsome.” A soft, wistful sighed slipped through her lips while she turned her thoughts inward. “I know I will never be able to see him, but I know what he looks like and what his aura feels like. Is there such a man out there for me? Someone who would take me away and show me what life outside the temple is really like?”

In her heart, she wished to find the man she was dreaming about. A lion who wouldn’t take no for an answer and did more than just protect her from the world, but encouraged her to experience all that life had to offer. Once she resumed cleaning, she whispered, “I wish he were real. I don’t want to be alone any more.”
Although the avatar was sleeping, he heard the heartfelt wish and took it to his mistress, the goddess Bast. The great cat avatar looked like a feral panther with bat-like wings; fierce and strong in his own right. He looked up at the golden cat with shining yellow eyes that bore no pupils and spoke to her with a booming voice, “Mistress, your willing slave comes to you with a wish from one of your children.”

Speak, my son, and tell me this message,” the goddess said gently while she reached to pet her avatar. “Who is it that has sent me a message.”

The cat purred, pleased with the attention he received before answering. “The daughter of Kupumzika, your song mistress. Anuket has wished for a mate to spend her life with. She has grown lonely and I feel she is missing too much in her sheltered life.”

I see,” came the soft reply, “She has been promised someone who will give her what she wants and respect her every desire. I think you know just the right one to send to her.”

Tilting his head, the feline asked, “Who mistress? I know many young males who would be pleased to court a beauty such as Anuket.”

Bast smiled then motioned to the row of statues not far from her. “One of your own sons. Didn’t Amur-Re voice wanting to be like the mortal cats and live as they do?”

Darkwing looked over at the ivory statue of his son. His brow furrowed then he nodded. “Yes, but if he were to live as they, he will also die like they do and grow old.”

The goddess nodded and sighed, “Perhaps. Anuket has been blessed with longevity like her parents and brother. We can make sure your son will live as long she does and have his own talents to use.”

He walked over to the statue of his son then rubbed his cheek against the strong muzzle. “I love my son, mistress, but won’t he be difficult for her to tame? He is wild and carefree and doesn’t take much to following rules.”

I know, but I think she has what it takes to settle him down,” the golden feline said gently, “Give him this chance. If she can teach him to be less reckless and how to care for more than just himself, then he will be allowed to stay with her until she dies, then, he will be given a choice; to die with her or to return us as a full avatar.”

Darkwing nodded then nudged his sleeping son. “As you wish, mistress. I hope she can perform miracles.” He doubted that someone as calm and patient as the woman who kept him in pristine condition in the temple would be able to handle his son. “Wake up son, the avatar said sternly, “we have a mission for you.”

Last week started my campaign to help raise funds for my church, Light of the World Christian Fellowship in Tulsa, OK.  For details, go to this post,,  and follow the links provided.