Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Lady Lost

This scene takes place in real time just before the last one I posted about Damie and the Luck of Eden Hall.
The relationship between John and Damie develops slowly over the course of the series.

John scooped up Damie's hat from the verge, smoothed the ribbons and looked around.
No answer but a faint caw-caw from distant crows.
He waited, a little impatient.
He heard only the sound of an occasional vehicle on the village streets.
She wouldn't go too far, surely.
Perhaps she'd gone in search of a washroom.
He headed down the path to the village. He'd catch up with her.
He didn't.
He emerged between two houses at the first street. No sign of her.
He was puzzled. He hadn't been that long locking up the car.
He went back and asked the woman weeding her immaculate garden if she had seen a lady with long fair hair and wearing a white dress pass up the lane just now.
She hadn't.
In the past hour, she informed him, there had been a young scamp on a bicycle - Jeramy Thistlewaite - likely not his own, a young couple with raquets - they were headed for the Waltons, a sweating man with a walking stick - too much flesh, heart attack before he's fifty, two slinking, stinking foreigners with fishing rods and gear, and himself. No lady. She was perfectly unyielding about it.
John turned on his heel and strode back to the church.
A foreigner to that old hen was as likely anyone from north of the Wall or south of the Dales. Policing the waterways wasn't his duty, and it wasn't his bailiwick. If Damie hadn't heard him and they missed each other she'd go back to the car and wait, he figured.
She wasn't by the car.
She wasn't anywhere around the church.
John hunched on the old bench with his elbows on his knees and fiddled with the ribbons on her hat.
She wouldn't run off.
No one, no abductor, could take Damie unawares and without a squeak. Not Damie. He hadn't been that far away. He hadn't been gone long. In fact the church blocked his line of sight for bare minutes only. He'd have heard a scuffle, surely. He'd have seen evidence of it.
He sat there a long time.
He didn't know what to do.
That shook him.
He always knew what to do. He was trained to know what to do.
But this was Damie.
Reluctantly, he faced what he feared in the dark and deadly reaches of his mind.
She was lost again.
Swept into, swallowed by, one of those warps in time.
He hadn't really accepted it.
No, that wasn't true. He believed its impossibility. He couldn't deny his own senses, his own experience. He'd been through it. Once. But he had thought it was a kind of one-off thing - related to the Falchion.
He just hadn't thought it would really happen again.
And not without him.
He scrubbed a hand over his face.
She had vanished somewhere along the path.
Why was he sitting here?


Carla said...

I always wondered how Damie's time-travelling played out in this world, whether people noticed her absence or whether she was gone and back in an instant as in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
John must feel unusually helpless, because there's literally nothing he can do.
Out of interest, I hadn't realised he also travelled back in time. How did that happen, as I thought Damie's time-travelling was genetic? Was it related to the falchion somehow?

Bernita said...

Time spent moves at the same rate in both zones in my approach, Carla.
Happens in the second book, which is concerned alternately with the acquistion of the falchion and al Zaim's jail break.
John is also a Conyers descendant. His cadet branch breaks off sometime in the 17th c. (over religious grounds, presumeably) and the name altered or corrupted to Connors.

S. W. Vaughn said...

Oh, this is so well done! I adore the bit with the lady in the garden. And John has my sympathy here, completely.

Wonderful, Bernita!

Sela Carsen said...

Very cleanly done, Bernita! I like the details and the great portrayal of John coming up against something that his mind tells him simply can't be true, yet there it is.

Loved it.

Bernita said...

Thank you, Sonya.
John has been avoiding a few facts.

Sela, thank you. Am concerned I'm too scant with the details sometimes.

Ric said...

Truly lovely, as always.

What's so good about this, is that every line rings true, nothing to ease the dread that builds, and the lady in the garden sounds so familiar.

Bernita said...

Thank you, Ric.
You are such a comfort.
The male pov on a male pov is absolutely vital.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

"She was lost again"...don't leave me stuck here...where'd she go...more please!

Savannah Jordan said...

Nice, Bernita. You capture his quandries well with the short sentences.

Makes me wonder where she is, too :)

MissWrite said...

Hi there, Bernita. I do love how you show his reactions to her being gone. While I realize you were trying to get the urgency to show, I think some parts were a bit too choppy. As you feared in the above comment about being to sparse with the details. I think that may be the case in some of the short, rapid-fire lines.

In some little instances it came off a little dry like in the 'woman weeding her immaculant garden'... (here however, may be a case of disloged section, and not seeing what came before).

Overall, though, I like the concept of the scene a lot.

Bernita said...

Thank you, Bonnie, Savannah.
Same place.
At St. Cuthbert's Well, in the village of Eden Hall, Cumbria - sometime around 1400.
I avoid being precise about the exact year.
For one thing, Damie doesn't know, for another, the period the Luck came into the possession of the Musgraves is not known, as far as I have been able to ascertain.

Bernita said...

Thank you, Tami. Gives me something to ponder.
It's not urgency, exactly, I want to show, but a bewilderment,as his policeman's mind tries to grapple and sort through this unexpected situation.

Robyn said...

Really well done. I would have liked to hear the gardener's take on the people she'd seen in dialogue, though. Might be a good opportunity to rachet up John's tension as she dishes on all these people he doesn't care about.

Bernita said...

That's a thought, Robyn, thank you.
Think I avoided it because it would distract from John's tight POV.

kmfrontain said...

Hey, Bernita. I agree with Tami on the choppy effect of too many wee lines. You got the perplexity there, for sure. It's the wee lines, however. They kinda create little jolts in the ride. There is a fix: to put some of them in bigger paragraphs to create more of a flow and reduce the chop. You can still end up with key sentences at para openings or closings to provide the punch you need.

Bernita said...

Damn! And they yap about wanting "white space."
Thank you Karen. Easily fixed.

kmfrontain said...

What the...!

White space is like a very clean sheet, right? Or a TV on the fritz. A tub of mayo. Sure, I can put a tub of mayo in my writing. Sure.

Bernita said...

Something Konrath was going on about as I remember.
I just probably took it too far.

kmfrontain said...

Konrath. I shall look up this name. It's familiar. Did you or someone mention it on your blog before?

Bernita said...

He's the Newbie's Guide guy on my side bar.
Big on promotion. Very.

Erik Ivan James said...

I'm inclined to agree a bit with Robyn. Dialouge with the woman in the garden would add more flavor. Maybe show John as becoming agitated in the dialogue. If I were John, I'd be quite agitated with the circumstances at that point.

James Goodman said...

Nicely done, Bernita.

Bernita said...

He's a cop, Erik.
They don't show their agitation that much.
Not those I've met anyway, especially not those with an intelligence resume.
Still, thank you.
I will try out dialogue and see how it goes.

EA Monroe said...

Hi Bernita! Maybe when you finish your "rewrites" you can post this snippet again and let us see how you've changed everything? Please, pretty please? Also, maybe when you're writing the old lady's dialogue you can "italize" some of John's internal thoughts, like "old hen!...", especially if you're working John's tight POV (or elsewhere in the narrative). ;-) kmfrontain's right, "punch" is important. I love your story and I want to know what happens next!

Bernita said...

Thank you, James.

Thing is, EA, am not sure dialogue would add much except for a comic effect and might diffuse.
John has no reason to be anything but slightly impatient at this point.
You know and I know that something extraordinary has happened. He doesn't.
But I will consider the dialogue suggestion.

Later parts of La Belle Dame, a couple I think, were posted earlier.
If you can find them might give you a loose idea of the plot line.
Very glad you like it.

Gabriele C. said...

Lol, those accumulations of short sentences are our bane, Bernita.

I have to fight their use in the frenzy of fighting scenes, and I admit, the rewrite often sounds better.

Bernita said...

Donno, Gabriele, I like to read fight scenes that way, instead of long paragraphs.Think it increases the pace.
This, however, is not a fight scene.

Dakota Knight said...

Good job, Bernita. It sounds as if you are going to do some rewrites. Will you re-post when you do?

Bernita said...

Thank you, Dakota.
Doubtful I'll re-post, unless after a long while or with mega changes. Be pretty boring for readers.

cyn said...

i need to delve into your archives
if i'm missing out on previously posted gems like this!