Author Topic: The Bird Call (Prologue, 1190 words)  (Read 295 times)

Offline TK

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The Bird Call (Prologue, 1190 words)
« on: December 30, 2019, 12:02:56 AM »
I hovered above my old body for a few minutes before I left it in the Outside for safekeeping. I knew I’d want to return to such a kind host again someday, but I also knew the time for a change had come. I searched the Outside for a sign of a dark tear, a sign from the Magices that would lead me to my new host. Every host I’d taken to had been given to me by the Magices, so it was the only plan I felt I could follow.

A dark tear manifested in front of me and floated downward. I opened my consciousness and dropped through the mark. A loud bang and dark flash disoriented me for a moment, but when I got my bearings I had a body again.

My new name was Bordie Amiok.

The skin of my hands was coarse and cockled from decades of working hard as a builder for the community. A community I couldn’t recognize from Bordie’s memories. As my senses set in, I started to become more aware of my surroundings. The smell of spoiled rice floated through the cold air. The room, lit only by a candle on a table in the corner of the room, made it hard to see the young woman who spoke a few feet away.

Bordie’s middle-aged daughter, Sazzaï, spoke with words that popped and glided in a way I’d never heard before. A new language for me to experience. Drowning out the unfamiliar language, a low-pitched siren blared through the neighborhood, which signaled for everyone to hide in their homes for an upcoming or ongoing fogstorm, a common occurrence in the unfamiliar country, Maltu. I had never even heard of the country.

Sazzaï waved her hand in front of me. “Are you all right, Ma?” she asked in Maltesian.

I hurried to find my words. “Of course I’m all right,” I said. I couldn’t connect to Bordie’s memories of what was going on just before I landed, so I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. Nothing came to me.

“Can we save this talk for when I get back then?” Sazzaï asked. “If I don’t get out there and find Zhu I don’t think I could ever forgive myself.”

It came back to me. I was trying to convince Sazzaï to stay inside and avoid going out into the fog at any cost, even if it meant losing her beloved dog, Zhu, who she had had since she was in her twenties. Well, really Bordie was trying to convince her to stay inside. I would never turn down an obvious call to adventure.

The only problem I had was that all my joints were sore and it almost hurt just to move my arms and legs. I had never been in such an old body.

“Let’s say this,” I started. “If you go out looking for Zhu, then you have to take me with you.”

Sazzaï’s eyes lit up and she hugged me tight. She grabbed my jacket from the closet and hurried me to the door. But when she opened it the siren got louder by tenfold. I could barely hear anything else. And the fog was unlike any other fog I’d ever seen. It looked more like smoke, but there was too much of it for it to be anything but fog.

Sazzaï stood frozen in the doorway. I put my hand in hers and we walked into the fog together.

We walked a mile using the edge of the road as a guide. The farther into the fog we got, the harder it became to breathe. I hid my labored breathing easily in my exhaustion, but Sazzaï had a coughing fit with every other step. Finally, we got to the fork in the road. Our closest neighbor lived down the right road, and the left road led into the city.

Sazzaï let go of my hand and ran down the road on the right, coughing the whole way. I called her to come back, but she ignored me. I followed behind as closely as I could, but she quickly disappeared into the fog. I continued in the same direction, hoping nothing would separate us.

A dog barked in the distance.

“Zhu!” Sazzaï shouted. “Enu has given us sign! We must follow her or we would be foolish, yeah?”

“Enu has not given anyone a sign!” I shouted back, trying to catch up to her.

Just as we stepped into the neighbor’s yard the fog around the house shot into the sky like a glitched-out tornado. The wind pulled the air from my lungs.

Zhu ran to Sazzaï. I hurried to her side as well and grabbed her by the arm. I had to get her in the house, but she just wanted to pet her dog.

“Tell me again this isn’t Enu trying to tell us something!”

I knew my frail voice couldn’t compete with the wind in Sazzaï’s ears, so I just tugged at her sleeve. I knew whatever was going on had to be dealt with by people who actually had a connection to the Magices. She wouldn’t budge.

The ground shook, knocking us both to the ground. Zhu stood over and barked into the sky. Sazzaï held onto me and Zhu tight. I held them tight as well. The neighbor’s house caught fire and smoke billowed from inside followed by a steady stream of molten lava.

Sazzaï looked up and screamed. An enormous structure, big enough to crush the neighbor’s house and everything around it, quickly descended from the sky toward us.

Zhu ran away from Sazzaï, so Sazzaï pulled away from me. Just as she got a hold of Zhu I grabbed her wrist and shut my eyes. One deep breath in.

Waszegoni vikena essa Viðkav kot,” I said. An Old Wayan spell that opens the veil to The Outside. Sazzaï wouldn’t be able to see since she lacked the power of Sight, but I, the Traveler, would be able to see for the two of us.

Physics operated differently in The Outside. Things weighed less. Solid objects could sometimes act as liquids or gases. But above all, there was no light in The Outside and every sound was like it came from a distant tunnel.

Sazzaï screamed. I pulled her closer. The dog stayed silent and wide-eyed. I wondered if he or any dog for that matter could be born with the Sight.

I hugged Sazzaï. I knew from that moment that I needed to keep her safe, no matter the cost. She may not have been my daughter, but Bordie’s love for her daughter was so strong that I couldn’t help but absorb the memories and feelings associated with them.

“What’s going on, Ma?” she asked. I couldn’t tell her the truth, but I needed to ease her mind.

“We’ve been saved,” I said close to her ear. “Just stay close, and we’ll be okay.”

“Where’s Zhu?”

I grabbed her hand and put it on Zhu’s back. She pulled him close and kissed his nose. No matter what, I knew I had to keep them safe.

I searched the Magices for anchors into the same time I had just fled from. Five anchors jumped out right away, so I latched onto them all and hoped one would bring us where we needed to be.
~T.C.

Offline jadynm1234567

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Re: The Bird Call (Prologue, 1190 words)
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2019, 02:14:15 PM »
I really enjoyed your piece! The detail is fantastic. I especially liked those paragraphs were you deeply describe the surroundings of the house and the way the old body felt. I could almost see and feel those; a great thing to experience as a reader. Your sentence structure overall is great, but I'd be careful of how long your sentences are. Sometimes it's better to have short ones after a few long; it's easier to read. My main critique would be your beginning; it was an instant dive into the story, with a lot of new vocab right off the bat. I suggest starting with a slower, dreamier beginning. This is pretty easy because your main character is floating out of a body. Then I'd introduce the vocab a little slower and a bit more subtly; maybe you can have the dark tear appear and then give a brief description. Overall all though I loved your writing, and I'd love to see more of the story. Keep going!

Offline TK

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Re: The Bird Call (Prologue, 1190 words)
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2019, 07:51:00 PM »
I really enjoyed your piece! The detail is fantastic. I especially liked those paragraphs were you deeply describe the surroundings of the house and the way the old body felt. I could almost see and feel those; a great thing to experience as a reader. Your sentence structure overall is great, but I'd be careful of how long your sentences are. Sometimes it's better to have short ones after a few long; it's easier to read. My main critique would be your beginning; it was an instant dive into the story, with a lot of new vocab right off the bat. I suggest starting with a slower, dreamier beginning. This is pretty easy because your main character is floating out of a body. Then I'd introduce the vocab a little slower and a bit more subtly; maybe you can have the dark tear appear and then give a brief description. Overall all though I loved your writing, and I'd love to see more of the story. Keep going!

Your comments are very encouraging. Thanks for reading my work.
~T.C.