Not much to say about today’s efforts.Thanks to the discovery of an excellent vegan restaurant downtown and the lack of parking for same among other reasons (some to do with watching Tom Hiddleston play Prince Hal in 2 Henry IV), I didn’t get started on writing today until much later than i had wanted to. With that being the case, I was hoping to hit the average daily goal of 1,667 words. I exceeded that, but not by very much. Ergo, i’m happy with today’s writing, though not as happy as I would be if i had broken 10,000 words. There’s always tomorrow. And there’s always an excerpt to follow:
Erica opened her eyes; or rather she opened the eyes of the body she now inhabited. Almost immediately, she closed them again. She hadn’t expected the sunlight to be so bright. The last outdoor light she could remember had been fading to a wintry dusk. Of course that was before Arbwick, before the great obsidian slab, before her death. It was only natural that the world would change in her absence from it. Now, if only she could find out just how long that absence had been.
She stretched this body’s unfamiliar too-long legs to their true height and tried to walk. Mere seconds later, she found herself face down in a slimy mixture of mud and dead leaves. Gingerly, she commanded the commandeered body to sit upright. It was an agonizingly slow process, but eventually Erica achieved something approaching balance. What manner of creature was she? Her innate unfamiliarity with the form she wore wasn’t helped by the persistent angry presence of the body’s original consciousness gnawing at the back of her mind. Whatever she now was, the original corporeal inhabitant was fighting for control back. As Erica tried to get a purchase on the unfamiliar mind sharing its head with hers, the other took control of the body for a brief instant. The result was a single shambling lurch forwards towards the setting sun.
The body’s head swiveled as she searched for a reflective surface. She needed to see the form she had taken so that she could understand it and use it as if it were her own. Asserting her will, she practiced moving the body’s fingers. Perhaps by starting small, she could build up enough control to achieve more complicated tasks, such as walking and talking. She felt like she was the largest and oldest infant in Folkestone, or even all of Harmel.
Erica stared at the wrinkled, masculine hands that she now possessed. Whomever this vessel had been, his best years were clearly far in the past. This was new to Erica. Thanks to the ministrations of She Who Watches, she had never gotten to be old. She didn’t much like it. The vision she had was rheumy, and the eyes watered constantly. At first she thought it had been her reaction to the overwhelming sensation of once again seeing sunlight after only the gods knew how long. But, no it seemed that the old man whose body she now inhabited had eyesight that was fading. Judging by the acrid taste in the mouth, the only thing that wasn’t fading about the man was his prodigious appetite for wine.
Erica had tried wine once, a spiced concoction offered by her false rescuer, and she had no desire to be reminded of that experience. She retched upon the ground leaving a gobbet of burgundy stained mucus among the leaf litter. She hoped that the redness was wine and that she had not taken a body that was dying. A return to life after so long had best not be snuffed out after so brief a time.
Testing her control, Erica slowly brought the body to its feet and tried to shamble towards where she judged the outer edge of the woodlands to be. To her eternal joy, the body complied. The air was feeling cooler and damper on her face as she walked. If she strained the ears she now used , she was almost certain that she could hear the faint stirrings of a river flowing. She hoped it was so. Whomever this old sot that she found herself within, a good cleansing bath was more than necessary to make him presentably human. Strange how those that seemed foul often ended up fairer than those who approached with honeyed tongue and promises of deliverance. The last of the tree line thinned out around Erica. She could see a thin stream of clear water flowing to the northwest. Carefully, she lowered herself to her knees and stared at the face reflected there.
It was an old face, and one that had run to fat. Erica guessed that it had seen at least fifty summers. The whiskers were a mixed white and grey like snow melting upon a spring morning. The face they framed was as ruddy as beetroot and the years had sketched lines of age all about. The countenance reminded Erica of the noble lord who used to come into the village once a year and demand three copper coins from her father and the other tradesmen as payment “for the protection the king provides.” She had never met this king, or seen so much as a picture of him. And the protection that her father paid for had proven woefully inadequate one wintry evening upon the steppes.