Welcome to my first post for the Weekend Writer's Retreat.
I noticed that my wonderful blog friend Susan mentioned this meme on her blog, and when I popped over to check it out, I discovered a few more blog friends hanging out over there, as well.
I can't resist the lure of a writer's retreat. And I've been enjoying some serialized flash fiction on several blogs, so I've decided to throw my own hat in the ring.
I'm not sure if my posts will qualify as flash fiction. Hopefully as I do more of them, they will. Flash fiction follows the requirements of a longer piece of fiction, containing conflict and resolution for the characters, however brief.
My pieces are going to be much more like vignettes, scenes that focus on an idea or an impression.
I've decided to begin this feature with my Scorpius character. He came to me during a real life writers' retreat a few years ago. I've got about a quarter of his story written so far.
Scorpius is the Chamberlain of the Keep for Lady Elysande in a world that combines a medieval-type slave-owning society with sophisticated technology and political intrigue. For my Weekend Writer's Retreat scene, I'm going back to Scorpius' boyhood. The stories I share here will be backstory, taking place well before the events of the novel I'm working on. Or will be working on - I'm currently working on my vampire story, and after that I'll be finishing my gardener story. And then I can get back to my Scorpius story.
The falconer strode silently ahead of him. Hurrying to keep pace, Scorpius kept sneaking looks back at the home he’d shared with the other fostered boys and girls until the road turned and there was nothing more to see.
His new master didn’t bother to check to see if he was being followed. For one long moment, Scorpus stood in the road, unwilling to leave his hopes behind.
The distance stretched between himself and the falconer. All the moments when he’d shrugged away from Nurse’s embrace, wished for quiet when the babies shrieked, or when he’d sighed with boredom during chores came rushing back. He’d take it all again gladly if only he didn’t have to go with this man.
He gazed with longing at the turn that concealed the high stone wall and the manor where he’d grown to boyhood. Glancing ahead of him, the empty road cautioned speed, speed.
He could run.
He could run off into the wilds. The scraggly brush could conceal him. The rough boulders could cradle him.
Scorpius listened, but he couldn’t even hear the footsteps of the falconer against the gravelly road. Gaze roaming over the landscape, Scorpius felt the patient breath of unseen predators upon his neck. Just daring to glance up, he saw clouds and sky but no shadow marring the blue.
He knew what it felt like to see that dwarfing wingspan, to scramble for cover only to see his dear friend disappear in a screech of flame. His chest seized horribly with dread.
Scorpius ran, sickly sweat congealing along his spine. He ran till the sight of the scarred man ahead of him made his heart swell with relief. He caught up, his breath loud and ragged in the late morning air. Still the falconer walked, not turning to see who panted and puffed behind him.
Falling into step with his new master, Scorpius fought the urge to look back. What was there to see? Nurse no longer needed him, and the falconer had need of a boy. He’d best get it through his head that no one had come to claim him, and now no one ever would.
© Julia Smith, 2010
Travis says You've packed quite a bit of insight into the character here.
Alice Audrey says That last line is very strong. Well done. Welcome to the Retreat!
Nessa says I like the third paragraph from the end. It is riddled with the tug and anxiety of a frightening yet appealing relationship.