Good news. My flash fictioneering with Friday Fictioneers and the encouragement I’ve received from fellow FF’ers has encouraged me to take up the dusty manuscript of my novel again. I am so relieved; I have long been consumed with guilt over my abandonment of my crisis-stricken characters. Follows is the first scene. I’d welcome any constructive feedback. (I promise it’s the only full scene I’ll ever inflict).
The Laurel Grove Mysteries (Book One)
Flint & Feather
“Sweet to tongue and sound to eye …”.
She was motionless outside Trocadéro metro station, looking up the steps towards the entrance to the musée de l’Homme. How had she landed up here? She should have been on the Left Bank, heading towards the gallery. She was weary to her bones.
… bone, wood, horn, feather, thread of gut …
Again, the peculiar sensation of being outside herself, her sosie – Laurel Two looking into Laurel One. This time Laurel Two was seeing, reflected back from the blackness of her twin’s pupil, a halo. On the halo’s inner rim was a web from which tiny random drops of light were suspended.
She recognised and remembered. They weren’t fils d’araignée – not spider silk – and the drops of light were beads. It was a web made, not spun – made to trap dreams, bad dreams. In the dark of the night they would lose their way, bewildered by and then ensnared, in the web’s intricate cyclic pattern, condemned to execution by the touch of the first ray of light at daybreak. They kept dreamers safe. Only good dreams could pass through the hole at the centre of a dreamcatcher.
This dreamcatcher, nightmare snatcher, hung above the door to Le Café de l’Homme, the restaurant inside the museum in front of which she found herself. Feathers – symbols of spirit and thought – in four bouquets – dangled from the bottom of the wooden hoop around which was woven the dreamcatcher’s web. The whole swayed hypnotically in an air-conditioned breeze. A pendulum, to remind that her time was running out? Was that the message of the sudden image, her presence here?
The sun flooded her eyes. A flock of birds emerged from a dark stale mouth, flew into her face. She flinched, expecting impact, but the flock became a lunchtime crowd, in flight from the station exit. There was a fluttering dispersal as it circumnavigated the unexpected island of her body, regrouping on the other side to move onwards as a single host once more.
And then mauve, white and green, a flag flapping. And then the image resolved, into the dress of a small child, wrestling fiercely with the grip of a scolding mother.
“Sweet to tongue and sound to eye …”
The words were dusted across the fine blonde hairs on the back of her neck. She didn’t react, didn’t turn to seek the owner of the voice. She knew there’d be no-one there.
End of Scene One