Write On Wednesdays Exercise 17: This week, we are going with Karen's idea for an open choice week. So take a look at the old writing exercises (you can find them listed in my sidebar: WoW Writing Exercises), find one you'd like to try (or retry!) and link it up to the linky below. Short and simple instructions this week. If time is an issue perhaps you would like to try one of the 5 minute stream of consciousness exercises.
I was very excited to see a free topic this week as I've been wanting to get back to the story about Svava. I had previously written this piece about the mother of my Hidden manuscript protagonist Lily. Svava's [as yet untitled] story is a prequel to Hidden. People wanted to read more. Here's more.
As Svava zipped up the jeans and laced the desert boots she’d found in the surface clothing storeroom, she tried to focus on slowing her breath to give her heart a chance to return to it’s normal pace. She’d been to the surface many times in recent months and after being seen by Jack, she’d even interacted with a human and used her voice. It had been hoarse and whispery at first and felt wrong as it vibrated it’s way up through her throat and out of her mouth. The sound it had startled her, so much less musical than her minds voice. She didn’t like it.
Tonight she would meet another human, Jack’s wife Sarah. Svava would be introduced as an arts student from the city. It was forbidden for Hidden to reveal their hiddenness to humans in this land. Human-hidden intermingling was strictly on a need to know basis in the old country, but here there was no understanding of hidden-kind and so there would never be a need to know.
Svava had been surprised that her parents agreed to this adventure at all. Her father had wanted to say no, she could tell, but her mother had left her natural curiosity out to play and suggested it might help the colony understand the nature of these new humans better.
You’re ready, Svava? Her mother’s voice fluttered into Svava’s mind like a brightly coloured butterfly in the spring sunshine.
I think so. Svava wanted to say more, to thank her mother again, but sensed doing that might result in permission being withdrawn if her mother felt she was too eager, too excited, perhaps not wary enough.
Be mindful while speaking with these humans. It concerns me that Jack knows of us.
I trust Jack, mother. He said he has told no-one about the Hidden and I believe him.
You have always had good instincts about these matters, so I trust your judgement about Jack, but you haven’t met Sarah yet. Be very careful with what you say.
Svava’s mother kissed her on the forehead before leaving the room. Svava closed her eyes and focused on shifting. She felt her body lighten and rise, up, up, up until the warmth of the night air mingled with her cells and she drew them closer together, growing heavier at once. As she opened her eyes and blinked against the brightness of the full moon, she stepped out from the body of the tree finally shifting to full density and cleared her throat in preparation for speaking.
‘Svava, there you are,’ Jack said with warmth in his voice, ‘The car is over here. Sarah is excited to meet you, I hope you’re hungry.’
‘I’m too nervous to be hungry.’
‘Sarah’s cooking will remedy that. She’s a great cook.’
The drive to Jack’s house didn’t take long, though it still took considerably longer than if Svava had been able to shift there. Human transport was quaint, noisy and smelly, but quaint. Svava’s heartbeat raced along with the car engine as they drove through the night.
Jack showed Svava into the house and called Sarah out from the kitchen. Sarah was short, slim woman in her late forties. She seemed quiet, but not shy. Her bright hazel eyes scanned over Svava quickly before she smiled.
‘Hello dear, I’ve been looking forward to meeting you. Jack says you’re quite a good painter.’
Svava smiled. She felt unsure how to answer, it wasn’t the Hidden way to boast about skillfulness. Jack came to her rescue.
‘Now, now, Sarah, don’t put her on the spot like that,’ he said as he put his arm around Sarah’s shoulder, he was head and shoulders taller than her, ‘ Svava is very modest about her ability, which is a good thing for an artist to be, I think.
‘Well, if Jack says you’re good, then you must be good.’ Sarah said with a laugh and grasped Svava’s hand, patting it as if to reassure her.
‘Are we ready to eat?’ Jack asked Sarah.
‘Yes, we’re just waiting on Charlie and Tom.’
Jack’s brow furrowed in a look of confusion and concern. ‘Oh are they coming as well? I don’t want to overwhelm the poor girl on her first visit here.’
‘You don’t mind, do you Svava?’ Sarah said with a smile and a playful sparkle in her eyes.
‘Me? No, I’d love to meet more hu-, more people around here.’ Svava swallowed hard. Her mother had been right about staying mindful.
‘That’s the spirit!’ Sarah didn’t seem to have notice Svava’s stumble. ‘I think I can hear them now.’
Two young men came into the small lounge room. One was tall with fair hair and Jack’s eyes. Svava thought that would have to be Charlie. The other was also tall but not as tall as Charlie and had very dark hair; almost black except for deep auburn highlights here and there. His eyes were dark golden brown and he seemed shy. Svava thought this must be Tom. She liked Tom already.
© Sif Dal 2011