Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Time Twists - the Twelfth Century

A sense of sound returned first.

The sound of distant crows indignant and derisive. A squirrel somewhere above, scolding in conntinuous alarmed tirade against a background of busy bird song. The light patter of moving leaves. The sub-harmonic roar of a river in flood.

A small breeze tugged at her hair, bringing with it the smell of leaf mold and spring things, sweet thorn and honeysuckle.

She felt like throwing up.

A furtive rustling jerked her eyes open. A brown bunny crouched about ten feet away, its nose quivering below bright button eyes. It sat up, its paws folded ecclesiastically on its chest, ears inquisitive, then turned its head sideways, dropped back to the ground and hopped away. A swarm of gnats danced a cloudy pavane and followed the rabbit.

Sprawled like a discarded doll, she was half-lying, half-sitting against a tree trunk. She moved her head carefully, left, then right. Her vision focused in blocks like an interrupted digital picture. Consciousness and coherence surged and receeded in waves to match.

She lay beside a narrow twisting path where it crossed a forest track or ride. The path disappeared between hawthorne, hazel and honeysuckle on her left. On the right, the ride angled and widened up a slight rise between beech and oak and coppice wood.

I am not where I was. This is not where I was before. I am not where I was. Panic rose like vomit.

These were her hands. This was the cream wool cloak. The costume. Everything else was different.

She felt, more than heard, steady hoofbeats reverberating through the forest floor. Horses? People? She tugged at the cloth that hampered her rising and pressed her hands against the grainy chevroned trunk, levering herself half erect...


Unbelieving, she focused on a shaft vibrating a scant inch from her nose. So close, it pinned a few strands of her hair in the gray bark. I. Do. Not. Believe. This.

"HOLD! Jesu, it's a woman!"

A male voice of command. Else a second shaft might have followed the first.

"But, my lord, it was a hind, a white doe!" That voice was rougher, younger, high with chagrin.

The white doe of Rylstone, Damie thought wildly. Wordsworth, you ass.

Them, in precipitous adrenaline rage, in fear and denial, she took hold of the arrow shaft and wrenched it by main force from the trunk. Staggering to her feet, she turned and hurled it at the feet of the riders who reined up scant yards away.

"You stupid bastards! What did you do that for? You whore mongering idiots!"


Bonnie Calhoun said...

Damie....tell us what you really think....LOL

bernita...great word picture...only one question, I think that I got that it was spring...Are there swarms of gnats in the spring? The only reason that I ask is because here in NY we don't see them till the hot part of the summer.

Bernita said...

I believe so, Bonnie.
I've seen swarms of midges in late winter.
As I understand it they appear after periods of wet weather and often disappear when it becomes too hot.
It's this sort of question that makes me wish I could post the entire book because people pick up points and questions that make you double check.

Anonymous said...

She felt like throwing up.

I really like how jarring that was after the idyllic description!

Bernita said...

Thank you, Jason, Bonnie.
The character I'm attempting to illustrate, while she has admitted flights of mental romanticism, has both feet on the ground.

Gabriele C. said...

Wouldn't she notice the language wasn't present days English, esp. with her background?

And must she swear? It's not because I don't like it, but because the combination of suddenly ending up in another time and a woman who gets attacked and reacts defiantly, and who swears, reminds me of Claire Randall from Outlander (Cross Stitch) a bit too much.

Love the descriptions, though. :-)

Bernita said...

Yes, Gabrielle,thank you, she notices.It's noted just a little later.In fact, it's partly her background -she is bilingue - that allows that point to be deferred a short time.
Re: the Outlander. Read that years ago, I think.
Having had a bullet smack into a tree just above my head once, my reaction was "sonofabitch." So her reaction, as I see it, is not particularly unique, and is consistent with her persona.

As far as similarites go and if I remember the Outlander correctly, you will be pleased to know that our girl does not snog anyone in the 12thc. and shortly returns to the present.

Gabriele C. said...

Lol, so no knight in shining mail for her? Poor girl. ;-)

You want one of my 12th century characters do a cameo? I can offer you an Anglonorman knight, a Gaelic clan leader and a really hot Norseman - or one of the secondaries. *grin*

Bernita said...

Thank you, she ...um...prefers the modern equivalent

Sela Carsen said...

Actually, I really like "whore mongering idiot." Sela wanders off contemplating a medieval romance where she can call the H a WMI.

Bernita said...

Now Sela's gotten me contemplating the potential of even more creative expressions..