If you remember, I had six different story ideas for NaNoWriMo, and you, my lovely readers, voted.
The Train to Belkuah was an easy winner, having five more votes than any of the other projects. And I am happy (OK, relieved) to say that I finished the entire first draft during NaNoWriMo!
To celebrate and to thank you all, I am sharing snippets today!
Quick synopsis: When Zebedee Delray is abducted from his train car on the way to Cambridge, he thinks it is a terrible mistake, no more. Laid up with a broken arm, he is forced to stay in Wales at the home of his rescuer, an Indian baker who holds an odd sway over four young men who hang around the bakery too much to be a coincidence.
When he realizes that his cloudy memories of his abduction don’t match anything in this world, things get strange. But they swiftly turn dangerous when he realizes he is being followed, and that the bakery is a disguise for something much bigger….
And now for the snippets!
He held the umbrella over the both of them as if the closeness beneath its canvas expanse would keep them together longer, shut out the inevitable parting.
“Do not forget, Tamar,” he whispered.
“How could I ever?” She slipped off her left glove to show a thin silver band upon her slim ring finger. “I am yours, Delray. Yours to be forever, and I will not put it off again, even if the trousseau isn’t finished until July.”
A sudden burst of outdoor light and the whip of rain spray revived Delray a little—enough to see the racing of the trees, the boulders as they rushed past.
“Go,” said a voice clearly in his ear, as if speaking to him, and the world ceased its racing as the ground tumbled upwards and he crashed to the piney heather.
“He would have fallen asleep immediately if you had,” said a voice with scorn.
“And maybe never woke up,” said the first voice, taking on a bulldoggish tone.
“He’s stirring, give him another dose.”
The bitter taste of silver knocked against his teeth, and something smooth and bitterly silky slipped down his throat.
The darkness swam and swirled, but he heard many other things, as if in a dream, before it took him over again.
He cleared his throat. “This is a mistake.”
“A what?” asked the same woman, a tall, ivory-skinned beauty with jet black hair and bright lavender eyes.
“A mistake. You have the wrong man, because I haven’t the slightest what is going on here.”
One of the fellows laughed as if he had made a joke.
“What do you suggest we do then, Mistake?”
“Morning,” he greeted, coming through the door and seeing Jeremy perched on a table. “Don’t you think you should get down?”
Jeremy slid down sheepishly as Shay turned from his rolls with a stern look.
“What did I tell you, Jeremy?”
“Sorry, I forget. Besides, aren’t I older than you?”
“It’s not your bakery,” returned Shay, chopping nuts with a large knife and not looking up.
“Perfect weather—a little sun. They won’t be out in fair weather.”
“Belkuans. Dark Belkuans in general. We don’t want to be seen with the cola.”
Tash grinned, a brief burst of sun in the dark ice his face had taken on since the day before. “You’ll see. Hazelthorne has a very particular weakness.”
The Little Man still looked reluctant, but nevertheless he unbuttoned his shirt, slipped his right arm out of its sleeve, and displayed his upper arm, on which, tied with a tight leather band, was a small red jewel.
Tash looked at it closely. “A fine thing,” he answered quietly.
“You lie, you know what it is. I see it in your eyes,” said The Little Man.
They left the last door, the Little Man setting the blue bird’s-egg stone just so, and they started making their way up the hill.
They had not gone a quarter of a mile from the place when there came on the wind a high sound, both eerie and beautiful. It was as if a dog could sing, or a woman could be a beast. Every one of them froze.
“We’ve been betrayed,” whispered Shay, going pale.
“Thank you, Staghorn,” said one of the women, as Delray was led before their half-moon of chairs.
Staghorn smiled that clear, amused smile and tapped his chest with his fist before flinging his arm wide. “My greatest, most beloved pleasure.”
Then he was gone, almost as if he had vanished into the misty light, and Delray was alone, facing the row of strangers.
“I forgot to give Mrs. Patterson the rent,” said Jeremy sadly. “I wanted her to remember me fondly.”
“She will. No one bakes pies for people they don’t like,” Bryn said in an uncommon show of goodwill.
It wasn’t on the shelf where it always sat. Odd. He stepped forward and then almost fell in a mess of oil and glass.
The lamp had been shattered on the ground, as if flung from its place.
Blast. Now he would have to look for a candle. His foot hit more glass, more than it should have from just the lamp, and scuffed against paper.
Then something, he didn’t know what, perhaps just a creak of the shutter, made noise across the room and suddenly he was full of the feeling of danger.
He had to get out of here.
“You must trust what I do. It is not right that five should die for one.”
“But you are ten times the rest of us.”
“In knowledge, perhaps. But in lives, no.”
What was your favorite snippet? Did you participate in NaNoWriMo? Feel free to share or link to any snippets posts you’ve done; I’d love to see them!