Monday, 7 March 2011

Catch me if you can!

I found this blogfest @ KayKay's Corner and couldn't resist!

Here's the first 550 words (or so) of (one of my) WIPs.... Let me know what you think, if it works as a beginning or not, if it's rubbish (quite possible)....

EDIT: as response to Mara's comment, the (provisional) title is Shadow Council, and it's definately about werewolves.

(it's actually the start of a prologue, which I've considered scrapping entirely -  your reaction will help my decision!)

The moon was bright and beautiful and filled the night with a world of shadows. The trees stood silent watch, warmed by thick blankets of snow. The sky was clear and the air crisp with cold. A slight breeze blowing in from the north carried the smell of more snow to come, telling all who knew how to listen that, soon, shelter should to be sought. 
A lone wolf’s haunting cry startled one of the more resilient creatures of the forest into activity, rocking one of the snow-laden branches. The brief noise made the silence that followed seem all the more deafening. Then, as if the eerie howl had been the signal, life entered the forest. 
There, just behind the trunk of an ancient Canadian oak, rather modest in winter with its monochrome cover of snow, to the left of a frozen brook, something moved. Further back, almost vanishing between the trees, a glimps of fur. The soft swish of something moving over the snow nearby. Something silent, threatening. Something skilled at the hunt, skilled at the hide-and-seek, the catch-me-if-you-can game, the result of which could mean life or death in this wilderness. 
These hunters knew all the rules. They hunted, they killed. But they were also part of the great scheme of things, that great picture seen by so few. Their prey consisted of those too old or too weak to avoid them. They never hunted just for the sake of it. They hunted in order to survive. They knew it. Their prey knew it, also. 
The wolves who had gathered at the lone cry calling the hunt were almost completely silent. Those who didn’t know what to listen for, just like those who didn’t know where to look, would be easy prey. Even those who did know better were not safe. By the time the snow-white rabbit saw the amber eyes glittering in the shadows, they both knew it was too late. 
The rabbit saw its death. Instinct let him know that this was not a lone hunter, that there was not only this one black form detaching itself from the shadows. He knew that there would be others waiting, no matter where he ran. Adhering to the rules of the hunt, he tried to get away despite the knowledge of the death awaiting him. There was always a chance. That particular rabbit, however, did not make it. It breathed its last between the fangs of the youngest of the pack. 
The hunt was over almost before it began. Silently the rest of the wolves padded out of their hiding places, standing around the young hunter and his catch. Proudly the youngster offered the rabbit to the pack’s alpha pair. The young wolf whined a little, then wagged his tail, the equivalent of a smile. 
It wasn’t one of the pack’s own young, this wolf. He had come to them that summer, from one of the packs further north. He’d been little more than a pup at the time. This hunt was the last in a series of tests they put him through, to make sure he would fit into their pack. To be certain he would defer to the authority of the alpha pair, not start a fight for dominance. The young wolf, disconcerted by the scrutiny he was under, ducked his head down, offering his neck to the leaders of the pack. 

Right! I thought it strangely appropriate given the title of this blogfest... Watcha think?

Let me know what you then hop on over to KayKay's to find all the other entries you can read!


ps. if you'd like to see the first 550-odd words of the first chapter rather than the prologue, let me know.


here's the first bit of chapter 1:

The first time he managed to catch a rabbit all by himself was a day he would never be able to forget. It happened not long after his sixth birthday. Although it was only early spring, the weather had been beautiful, the sun shining all week. It was just warm enough to give a hint of the summer to come. The ground was beginning to thaw out, releasing the rich smell of fertile earth, and the fresh scent of green mingled with the sharp cleanness of the winter cold. The first spring flowers had already fought their way to the surface, defying the remaining snow with their bright little faces. Their soft pastels spotted the meadow surrounding the small log cabin, their colour not quite as bright as that of their summer cousins, but all the more sweet because of it. His mother had opened all the windows to their cabin, clearing out the stuffy smell of winter. The faint scent of lemon drifted out through the window, evidence of a morning spent cleaning the winter out of the house. They had eaten their breakfast outside on a rickety pick nick table, mother, father and child. The boy’s high-spirited laughter echoed through the woods. 

A sparrow was startled off its perch, its flight shaking snow off the trees. Their branches bounced back up towards the clear spring sky once they’d been freed of their burdens. It was by far too nice a day for one energetic little boy to remain home. So he snuck off into the woods without his parents’ permission. The scent of the rabbit that had been tantalising his nose all morning had, in the end, been too tempting. The big bad black wolf was on the prowl, off to catch that sneaky red riding hood. 

There it was, disguised as a juicy little bunny rabbit, but it didn’t fool an experienced hunter like him, oh no. Silent stalking, that was his talent, him the great experienced hunter of world-renown. A silent pad through the bushes, a quick huddle behind the thorny brambles and pow! Little red riding hood of the rabbit persuasion was history, and the great black wolf had triumphed again. 

He was so very proud when he managed to catch the little thing all by himself. He carried it home, intent on showing off his new-found skill to his parents. Certain that his hunting prowess would be enough to offset his running away without telling his parents, he felt no fear of reprimand. He was just about to run – no, make that saunter, with dignity, since he was now a veteran of the hunt -  into the clearing that surrounded their little wooden home when it hit him. 

Something was not as it should be. 

Something was very, very wrong. 

There was the coppery scent of blood and other, darker, things, hanging about the cabin. The air in the clearing was rich, almost heavy, with the scent of death. It wasn’t the rabbit he had only just dropped. There was too much of it to be caused by his prey. Something larger had died there, only a very short time ago. Scared, the boy changed as fast as he could and stumbled into the cabin, afraid of what he would find, of what his nose had already found. 

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