I have started writing about seven different blogs in the past weeks but haven’t posted any of them because nothing really feels worth saying. I’m making slow progress on the second draft. Slow, but steady at least. I could get a lot more done if I didn’t have to work full time and if I wasn’t plagued by chronic illness. But I can’t just wish either of those inconveniences away unfortunately.
So I guess I’m just saying, hey, I’m still writing. In fact, maybe I’ll post a little snippet just to prove it.
The sand dunes of Dawnstar loom over us, an ever-shifting mountain range of golden spires and silver valleys. We begin the arduous climb to the highest peak. Each step forward slides half a step backwards in the soft sand. I don’t know how I’m going to have any strength left to fight but the time I reach the top.
Tori is waiting for us, arms folded. “You’re late. And I told you to come alone.”
“Sorry.” I’m out of breath from the climb. “I haven’t been in many midnight fights so I wasn’t sure how strict we were meant to be on the rules.”
Tori isn’t amused. She makes a fist and punches against her other hand. “Ready?”
I take a deep breath and try to speak as calmly as possible. “Listen, Tori. We don’t have to do this. I know I humiliated you today and I’m really, really sorry about that. But surely violence is not the answer. I know there must be more to you than this. All this anger you carry around, you don’t have to let it define you.” I give her my widest, warmest smile. “Let the real Tori shine through! I’m sure she’s a beautiful person. I’m sure she’s better than this.” I hold my hand out to her. “So what do you say?”
Tori looks at my hand, mouth scrunched to one side. Then she looks up at me. I keep smiling.
She punches me square in the face.
Lights explode behind my eyes. My head snaps back and I topple down the dune in a shower of sand. I hear Fei and Jenna scream and scramble after me. I can’t tell if my head is spinning from the blow or if I’m still rolling down the dune until they help me to my feet. I press my hand against my throbbing lip and my fingers come away red with blood.
“I’m okay, I’m okay,” I mumble, swaying back and forth between Fei and Jenna.
“I told you talking wouldn’t work!” Fei shrieks, trying to brush sand off me.
Above us, Tori is laughing so hard she almost rolls down the dune too.
The shock of the blow fades and anger takes hold. My blood is boiling. I shake Fei’s hands away and climb back up the dune, panting with rage.
“You took that hit pretty well, kid,” Tori says.
I march right up to Tori, staring daggers through her. “Well I won’t take another. Not from you.” I spit blood at her feet. “We’re even now, so leave me and my friends alone.”
Tori’s smile fades. “Alright. That’s fair.”
Above us, the clouds swirl. A gust of wind blows stinging sand against us.
Fei puts her arm around me. “Come on, let’s get out of here before the storm hits.”
I look up as a flash of lighting skips across the sky. The clouds are churning in a spiral directly above us. I’ve never seen clouds so low before.
Jenna huddles close. “I don’t think that’s an ordinary storm.”