This is kind of a long introduction, so if you are pushed for time, and you know what the Writer’s Quote Wednesday Writing Challenge is, you can jump to the good stuff below – the quote and short story!
I mentioned on Saturday that I miss my friends, and it is the absolute truth. I try my best to keep up with posts, and check in. I particularly enjoy Colleen and Ronovan’s challenges, and wish I could take part more often. When I saw that they have an awesome new format (you should check it out), and the theme this week is Romance, it got me thinking about a scene I started earlier but couldn’t quite finish.
I’m sure you’ve heard me talk about The Collective, a serialised fiction project. I begin releasing episodes in April, and you would think, at this point, I have things nailed on. You would be right – sort of. Although the first episode is ready, and just needs checking over by my editor, I still feel there is something missing. One of the main characters, a god, who is a great deal of fun to write; sardonic, egotistical, and somewhat complex, opens the episode. At the beginning, his mood is, shall we say, dark, and though readers will discover why, I can’t help wondering if I should show a snippet of the events that led to his current mood.
So, if I may, I’d like you to be my sounding board. This is the scene I wrote as an alternative beginning to the chapter, and though the romance is dark, the love shines through (I hope), so it fits the theme (I also hope!)
First, one of my favourite quotes about love –
Here is the scene, which I finished, and titled ‘Squeaky Goodness’ – it needs work, but let me know what you think.
Power shot across the lush, green-carpeted forest, scorching the grass. Orion was oblivious to the discharge of energy, or to the tears, which soaked into the earth and reformed the damaged ground. His Mohana was gone, cut down in her prime and why? Betrayal. The worst kind of injustice, because this betrayal came from a loved one – Mohana’s twin.
Orion could have saved her, had he reached her in time. Now he was impotent, unable to move for fear he would shatter into a thousand pieces. When Adara had struck the killing blow, the impact tore through his own heart and left it numb; a shrivelled, hollow organ he wanted to rip from his chest, if only so he could join Mohana.
They should never have been, and yet their pairing made more sense than his whole sorry existence. She made his immortal life bearable. Now he faced eternity alone. Even with all the power he possessed, Orion didn’t know if he had the strength for that. Mohana understood him. She had been his equal, and it mattered little he was a god. Not when they were together.
Mohana was born nine minutes before Adara, and as the first-born child, this made her the rightful heir to Clan Ignatius. She had been a powerful sorcerer, a gifted leader, and she had somehow found it in her to love Orion. Him, with an ego the size of a dominion, and too many flaws to count. He amused her, genuinely amused her. Mohana had laughed at his antics, told stories of his accomplishments and shown him how it truly felt to be a god. All his life Orion had been feared, envied and worshipped at one ridiculous alter after another. Until he met Mohana, he actually believed it was his duty to put on a show. To become the pompous jerk his followers expected, those who knew of his existence. Mohana’s strength of spirit, her goodness, humbled him and, without her, his world had no meaning.
Orion felt it building in his chest; the bitterness, the self-hatred, and he did nothing to stop it. He was weak. He hadn’t even had the courage to say his final goodbyes, to look upon her face one last time and let her go. No, he had left the veil that covered her body in place, turned away from the water and walked away. He had fallen as the first arrow whizzed through the air, knowing the archer’s aim would be true and he could not watch Mohana burn. All the atrocities he had seen, the wars he had fought – he did not have it in him to witness his love go up in flames.
Orion had no idea how long he lay sprawled in the grass, masked from sight because Adara had tried to keep the ceremony from him. In another life, he would have made her pay for the insult, she deserved to feel his wrath, and she would. Just not today. Not today.
When his tears dried up, Orion became aware of the heat he was channelling. His energy was still leaking out, poisoning the earth, and killing everything around him. He couldn’t stop it. It had built too quickly, accelerated by his turbulent thoughts.
“Forgive me,” he whispered to the ground. Orion knew, immortal or not, he could not survive the impact if his power reached critical and he lost control.
A heavy weight landed on top of him, and a familiar energy closed in tight. Lucas pushed his arms beneath Orion and the ground, attempting to contain the anger, and grief, and despair. The angel was powerful, but he was not powerful enough.
“Work with me, you son of a bitch. Pull it back. Do it now.” Lucas’ voice came out clipped. He was fighting against the pain of their connection.
“Try…ing.” Orion clenched his teeth. “Get off me.” The energy burned him, but he held tight to it, even as the angel ignored his demand and held tight to him. That was friendship for you, and Lucas seemed about ready to follow him into the abyss. Orion suspected, should Lucas have an actual halo, the thing would shine with squeaky goodness.
He could feel the Guardian’s love bearing down on him, and though he wanted to deny the reminder he was still alive, instead he embraced it. He would be no kind of god if he allowed his friend to perish. Mohana would never forgive such weakness, and besides, he kind of loved the angel too.
As Orion sucked back the power, he felt a final tear roll down his cheek and drop to the ground. Mohana had loved the earth, she would not wish for him to harm her forest. He could give her that. If he couldn’t say goodbye, he could mend what he had broken.
His last thought, as he concentrated on Lucas and the arms clamped tight around him, was that it would be a lonely eternity without her.
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