Thursday February 6th, 2014

The exercise:

Today we return to the Random Book prompt. Take the first line from any book, chosen as randomly as you wish, and use it as your opening line before taking things in a direction of your choosing. Credit goes where it is due, as always.

I have yet to read the book I borrowed my line from, but I plan on getting to it soon.

Once again I am caught up on comments. Perhaps one day I will get back to replying to them every day, like I used to do.

You know, back before I became a father.


The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

It was only a duck pond, out at the back of the farm. Not very large, not many ducks, but I loved it all the same. A sense of belonging would come over me every time I sat on its shore, my back resting against the cool bark of the weeping willow.

Time seemed to slow down while I stared into the still water, contemplating whatever happened to be troubling me at the time. And something was always troubling me. Sometimes the answer would come to me while the sun paused in its journey toward the horizon, sometimes it did not.

No matter to me. Just being there was often help enough.

But of course time did not change its pace for little old me. Angry shouts from the kitchen would eventually draw me back to the house for lunch, or dinner, or even bedtime. Mumbled apologies were never acknowledged, though I harbored no resentment over that.

It's not like I meant any of them. They were just part of the routine and I never failed to play my part.

My very last day on the farm was spent by that pond, from sunrise to sunset. I planned ahead, packing enough food to ensure that my family would leave me be. When I'd left the house in the burgeoning light of morning I'd promised to be back before night overtook our land.

And I'd honestly intended to do just that. Truly.

Sometimes, however, life-changing adventures arrive at the most inopportune moments...


Greg said...

I spotted that you were commenting up yesterday (probably in the morning, your time); well done on making the time! And for finding things to say about nearly 20 haikus! If everyone sticks around (and I hope so!) you're going to need even more time for the comments :)
I've not read that book either, but Neil Gaiman tends to be pretty good. I think you've taken in a nice direction, though the ending does leave me wondering what's going to happen next. You're good at teasing the reader!

For mine, I picked a classic; the three books of this trilogy are well worth reading and re-reading.
Duaghter of the Empire by Raymond Keene and Janny Wurts.

The priest struck the gong. The pale gold disc shimmered with the blow, reflecting the candle-light across the ceiling of the chapel like a million crazed fire-flies trying to hide from the sight of the Gods, but the gong itself was utterly silent.
The priest raised the hammer again, to strike another blow, perhaps to beat a sound out of the gong, but the Hierophant laid a hand on his arm and stopped him. The priest turned his head, delicate grey eyebrows raising in question, blue lips parting as though to speak, but no words emerged. The priest swallowed, startled, and tried again, but still the silence prevailed. The Hierophant smiled.
Steadily the silence worked its way beyond the stone walls of the chapel and out into the building beyond. As it stole the noise of machines working, the idle chatter from people's lips, the singing of the birds and the sighing of the wind people stopped what they were doing and looked around them. Consternation slowly -- and silently -- grew.
When the silence reached the walls of the Tower of the Banshee the guards at the door has already spotted its approach and summoned the witches from their chambers. They stood in front of the door, sweat pearling on their foreheads and hands trembling; if the wards of the tower failed, then they were bound by geas to sacrifice themselves to stop it.
The silence washed up against the stone of the walls like a wave breaking into surf against the shore, and the two magics, both ancient, both more malevolent than their wielders understood, reacted.

Marc said...

Greg - very true, but so far it appears to have been a one off comment invasion, unfortunately.

You call it teasing the reader, I call it stopping when I either feel like mine is getting too long or I can't think of what comes next :P

I haven't read those, but will add them to my reading list based on your recommendation.

Fantastically described scene. Love all the interesting details you've slipped in there, as well as that intriguing ending. Really great work here.