Wayward One - Teaser

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

A short preview of what will eventually become my second book, Wayward One. I'm not sure how far off it is, but this is just a bit of a sneak peek as to what it'll be like. It's going to be darker and more fantasy based than my first book, Neon.

The fairly large gathering of hooded peasants carelessly gossiped amongst themselves in the grand, crumbling room. A regal, red carpet effectively split the room in two. From the entrance, all the way down to the far wall on the opposite side. The end of the carpet held nothing more than a large, stone chair. Its back was broken on one side, and the edges were lined with strange glyphs, all framing an embossed design in the centre. The old building exuded an indisputable air of authority and power, despite its extremely worn condition. The crimson sun beamed a cruel, yet comforting light through the missing roof, bouncing a soft orange glow off the cracked stone pillars. Delicate, pink flowers dotted the floor, sprouting from various crevices in the stone. Cheaply dressed children hopped across the giant chunks of rubble and fallen pillars littered about, creating their own little games. They quickly darted all around, enjoying their playtime. For most, it was not their first time being here.
However, one particular little girl had never seen this place before. She was not playing with the other children, and was instead picking some of the flowers. She seemed to have amassed quite a collection, before the crowd of peasants suddenly shifted around, and became relatively quiet. The rest of the children were already back near their parents in a mere moment. She didn’t know where her mother was. On the left side of the carpet, she spun around. Her eyes darted everywhere, only to realize the entire crowd was glaring at her with fear in their eyes. A woman that was presumably her mother, suddenly pushed her way through the crowd on the right side. She rushed across the red carpet and took the child’s hand, being particularly careful not to take too many steps on the way there.
“Come now, little one,” she said in a panic, “get out of there!”
In the commotion of her mother grabbing her hand and tugging her away so quickly, the little girl accidentally dropped all of the flowers. They had become scattered about, next to the carpet.
All but one.
The last flower fell right in the middle of the red carpet. The mother only realized this after she had already taken her place with the other peasants along the right side, forming a perfect line to complement the left. With her hand on her daughter’s shoulder to keep her in place, she began to panic. It was too late to run back and get it now. The other peasants quietly whispered to each other for a few more minutes, though their gaze would always end up landing back on that single flower.
A well dressed man quickly marched through the entrance doorway, and stopped.
“The bearer of power approaches,” he shouted, “know your place!”
The peasants became dead silent, and stood up straight.
“Stand up straight, dear,” the mother whispered, tapping her daughter’s shoulder. The little girl did as she was told.
The well dressed man stepped aside, and two guards in dark metal armor began walking along the outside edges of the carpet, razor-sharp spears in hand. Not far behind them, another man was following. He, however, was actually walking on the carpet. This fact alone was enough to instill fear in the little girl.
The man seemed awfully old, with long gray hair, and was wearing dark armor that looked otherworldly. Glowing, red veins snaked along the metal surface of his outfit, coming to a head at the centre of his chest. His upper arms were armored as well, but he wore only one gauntlet on his right hand, while his left hand was oddly exposed. He slowly stomped forward in his heavy armor, glancing to his left and right, eyeing the peasants. His long, black cape waved behind him as he crept along the path without saying a word. Two more armed guards followed behind him, maintaining their distance in the same way the first two had.
Eventually, he reached the flower, and stopped.
A few of the peasants had become so nervous that they looked away, fearing potential eye contact.
The old man slowly knelt down, and picked up the flower with his right hand. The soft coloration of the flower was a stark contrast to his gauntlet.
He furrowed his brow and spoke, “Who dares taint my path?”
The man’s voice alone was incredibly intimidating. Deep, raspy, and strongly commanding.
None of the peasants said a word. The mother only looked down, silently hoping the moment would pass as soon as possible.
The old man looked around at the crowd on both sides of the carpet, and let out a sigh.
“What a bunch of ungrateful miscreants,” he mumbled.
The little girl swallowed, nervously.
“You know, your lives are a lot like this flower,” he said, observing it. “Mere circumstance allowed you to sprout, you’re awfully fragile, and there are way too many of you...”
He was silent for a moment, inspecting every detail on the petals.
“Your children are your gifts in this dying world,” he said.
He passed the flower to his other, unarmored hand.
Before everyone’s eyes, it instantly began to wilt and darken. After merely a few seconds, it had already dried and began to flake away. He closed his fist to crush it into powder, then rubbed his thumb and fingers together. After a moment, he released his grip, causing any remaining dust to disperse in the air. There was nothing left.
“I can rob you of those gifts as easily as I tread on this path,” he spoke, sternly. “Remember that.”
He continued walking down the path unhindered, and sat comfortably in the massive stone chair.
“Let us begin.”

Submitted: October 22, 2021

© Copyright 2021 Spyke. All rights reserved.

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