Hey all. It’s been a looooong day! Seems like a good time to kick back with some fiction in Reader Art of the Week, hmm?
I figure it’s also time to check in on the novel-in-progress blog reader Nicole sent me way back in September. (It’s called Peratants: Year 1. Click here and here to to read the first two parts I posted.) So that’s what we’re going to do!
Note: last time we saw Emma Williams, our narrator and protagonist, it was the middle of the night and she was chasing after her friend Derek. They are headed to investigate a river that Derek saw in a mysterious dream.
Chapter 1 (continued)
“Figure you’d show up!” Derek teased.
“Or were you just too scared to go wading in a river by yourself?” I retorted.
“Nope.” He hopped in, the water rising up to his knees. “C’mon in!” he added.
“I’m still in my nightdress!” I protested.
“Nightdress? What year are you from? Eighteen fifty-three?”
“We’re in the twenty-first century, you dope!”
“Dope is a term I’ll go by.”
I gave up, smiling. Derek, in jeans and T-shirt, could easily roll up his pants and wade, but I had on a nightdress, something you could not easily splash in. Yet, the water didn’t seem too deep, so I bent over and dipped my legs in.
“This is crazy,” I muttered.
“Ah well.” Derek had come alongside me. “When am I ever not crazy?”
“True to that,” I said, grinning. We continued in silence for a bit, our feet scratching along the rocks at the bottom, occasionally spooking a fish or two. All around us, crickets chirped and bullfrogs bellowed, reminding me inexplicably of the dream.
“Last night, when I was asleep, I had a vision thingy, too.”
“What was it about? Was it the same one?”
“No, no, no, it was different. It was about this baby…”
“Well, there was this man, and this eclipse happened, when he and a woman sang, and then they disappeared.”
“Disappeared? Are you sure they just didn’t walk away?”
“Pretty sure…” I was beginning to sound weird. “What do you think it means?”
Derek took a long, deep breath. “I don’t know, Emma,” he said, without looking up.
“What do you know?” I asked him carefully.
“All I know is that we both had dreams, or visions, about really weird things. Right now, we’re following my vision. Maybe it will tell you something about yours.”
I stared at him in amazement. Derek had always been the kind of person who seemed oblivious to what was going on around him, and only cared about things that he liked to do. I was so deep in thought about that that I didn’t even notice when the river reached a bend… and dropped about five feet!
“Emma!” Derek dove into the water after me. By now, I was completely submerged, and, as I sank, I noticed a golden light up ahead. But now, strong arms were pulling me up, and pushing me onto the side of the bank, where I collapsed, panting.
“You all right?”
I managed a grin. “I grew up in the most brutal orphanage ever. Do you think a little thing like falling five feet in freezing cold water is going to stop me?”
“And mud,” he added, picking ruefully at the brown gunk covering himself.
“When I was underwater, I saw a golden light,” I blurted out.
Derek raised an eyebrow. “Well, given all that’s happened tonight, I wouldn’t have been surprised if you did.” He stood up. “Only one way to check.”
“What, dive back into this death trap?” I asked.
“Yep.” Derek dove in. A few seconds later, he popped back up, gasping for air, as I helped him clamber back up the shore.
“Was it over by that big willow?” he asked. When I nodded, he continued, “There’s definitely something. What do you say?”
I took a deep breath. “I say we continue.” I tried to muster up some courage in my voice, but it ended up sounding shaky and unsure.
“All right.” Derek, I could tell, was also trying to sound more courageous than he actually was. “Let’s go.”
And that’s that! This part adds a lot to the story. Emma discovers a newfound appreciation for Derek… and the two of them discover a new mysterious object. What is the golden light? Will they have to swim underwater to find out? I’m eager to read more. If we’re lucky, maybe Nicole will keep sending us parts to the story. (Hint, hint…!)
Many thanks to Nicole for sending in her story. If you would like YOUR story, poem, photo, drawing, comic, or whatever else published on the blog, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!