Though I have been getting back into my writing groove, it’s been short stories and bits and pieces, nothing I can really post an excerpt from. So today I’m offering a snippet from my first complete NaNo novel. And by complete I mean I completed the NaNo challenge with it, not that the novel itself is complete. There’s a couple of plot holes to fill and a massive amount of editing. But one of these days ...
In the meantime, this excerpt is from near the beginning. Our heroine has crashed on a planet and decided to do a bit of exploring a bit of exploring while her ship’s energy stores re-charge. In this scene she meets the man who will be the hero of the story. I was going to post a picture of my inspiration for his character, but it was NSFW, so you’re getting the cover I came up with instead. ;-)
The water fell from a height of about twenty feet, hitting the rocks framing it before tumbling into the river, which had widened into a pool at this point. A flat, stone slab formed part of the bank and Trez knelt on it to test the water. It was cool, but not as cold as she expected.
Sitting back on her haunches, she debated about going for a swim. Unlike most spacers, she knew how to swim and enjoyed it whenever she got the chance. She glanced around the sunlit glade. It seemed harmless enough.
Colourful butterflies flitted from one exotic bloom to the next. There was just a hint of a warm breeze causing the leafy fronds above to sway gently. The water was clear enough to see a handful of small, silvery fish darting after each other. The pond beckoned and she couldn’t resist any longer.
Standing up, she peeled off the ship suit and folded it neatly of the rock. Completely naked she eased herself into the water, gasping at the cool temperature. Taking a deep breath, she ducked under and swam out into the center of the pond.
Her head broke above water with a gasp. This was wonderful! Trez swam a few laps and then floated on her back, letting the current carry her away from the waterfall and the sun warm her up. Somersaulting in the water, she swam back over to the waterfall and climbed up on the rocks.
The rocks were a bit slippery, but she managed to find a fairly flat surface. She stood up and held her arms out, letting the water pound into her. Laughing, she turned in a circle. It was like getting a water massage.
When she grew tired of being pummeled by the waterfall she turned and took a running leap off the rocks. With a loud whoop that startled the nearby birds from the trees she landed with a splash in the center of the pond. She broke the surface with a laugh; she couldn’t remember the last time she’d had this much fun.
Trez started swimming laps again and when she grew tired she pulled herself out onto the sun drenched rock. She lay on her back and dozed, letting the sun dry her off. After about an hour she started to get an itchy feeling, like she was being watched.
She sighed, and stretched, then sat up and reluctantly pulled on her clothing. Taking her time, she surreptitiously glanced around, trying to locate the source of her feeling. Whatever was watching her, she didn’t think it was an animal. An animal would have attacked by now or moved on. It was probably some kind of humanoid, hopefully not an aggressive one.
“Okay,” she said in a loud voice. “You’ve had your fun. I know you’re out there, you might as well come out and show yourself.”
Turning, she faced the jungle. A rustling came from the place she was watching. It was lower to the ground than she expected, as though it was either a small person or someone low to the ground.
“It’s all right,” she said, crouching down. “I’m not going to hurt you. I enjoy making friends on new worlds.”
The voice came from the direction of the rustling and was definitely male. And if she was reading the nuances right, he was a very frightened male.
“It’s okay, really,” she cajoled. “There’s nothing to be afraid of.”
The brush parted and slowly the creature approached. He was hunched over and moved with a shuffling gait, using both hands and feet, allowing him to stay close to the ground. Definitely humanoid, he was naked except for a thick collar around his neck. His long, blonde hair was matted and filthy, but the face he raised to her was the face of an angel.
“Do you have a name?” she asked gently.
He ducked his head. “Ape,” he said. “Me Ape.”
“It’s nice to meet you Ape. My name is Trez.”
“Close enough,” she smiled. “Are you all alone here Ape?”
Shaking his head vigorously, he didn’t answer. He darted a look at her, then hesitantly held out his hand. His offering was a large red blossom.
Trez smiled and took the flower from him. “Thank you, Ape. It’s beautiful.” She brought it up to her nose and gave a sniff. “Oh! The scent is–” she smelled it again. “I’ve never smelled anything like it in my life. It’s amazing.”
There was a flash of white teeth as Ape grinned at her before ducking his head again. Trez studied him curiously. She’d bet her last cargo he was human, but what happened to him? Had he been stranded here? Hurt? How long had he been like this?
Suddenly, he tensed as a woman’s voice was heard calling his name.
“Ape! Damn your worthless hide, where are you hiding?”
“Friend go. Friend hide,” he said emphatically, pointing away from the voice.
“Who’s that calling?” Trez asked. He seemed frightened; perhaps he’d strayed away and was afraid of getting into trouble. If that were the case she should stay to smooth things over. “Is she your friend too?”
If anything, he seemed even more agitated. “No friend. Bad!” He rocked back and forth in place. “Friend go!”
With that he pushed off with his hands and vanished back into the jungle moving surprisingly fast for someone who kept so close to the ground.
Trez rose to her feet. “Well that was – bizarre.” She gave the flower one last sniff and then tucked it in her hair. Gazing thoughtfully at the spot Ape had disappeared, she finally shrugged and turned away to put her shoes on.