My impressions: It will need a lot more editing than I first thought. Some sections --whole chapters even-- made me wince. And I'm not sure I should go deep into editing it now, because this is the second book in a trilogy, and I haven't yet written the first book, Greenheart. When that is written, I'll probably have more things to add in and take out of Bluewillow, to make them fit together as a series in preparation for the last book, Redtail. I have lots of work ahead of me. And this is all for just one of my trilogies. *sigh* I love writing.
So, I think I'll start planning Greenheart soon and let Bluewillow rest for a few months. However, I'll let you see a little bit of the beginning, just to tease you. :) Remember, this hasn't been edited yet. So don't holler too much if you see a typo. And of course, all text is © 2010 Rachel H. No stealing. So there.
The Flicker Chronicles Book 2
The Willow Girl
I appeared on a blue and misty morning under and old man’s willow tree. That’s the beginning for me, though I must have been at least eleven years old. The old man later told me that I had a fever so high that my lips were white and my eyes were black and shining riverstones. All I can remember is the fog on my skin— cold and blank.
Hands lifted me away from my tree and wrapped me in quilts, and I slept. Whispered conversations floated in and out of my mind, but I couldn’t understand them. I did not dream. Only darkness smothered me.
I woke with two cats on my legs. They stared at me. Light came in from a rectangular hole in the wall, high above me. It was a morning kind of light. One of the cats began to purr.
“So you’re awake?” The sudden voice of a man made me sit up straight, scattering the cats.
There in the doorway, silhouetted by the brilliant outdoor light, stood an old man. He leaned on a twisted staff, and a bush of hair stuck out from under his cap. Behind him crowded several curious heads, all hoping to get a glimpse of me.
I rubbed my throat.
“You thirsty?” asked the man. He swung into the room and poured water from a pitcher into a wooden mug, which he held out.
I took a sip and looked up again. “Where am I?”
The old man looked back at the others, still in the doorway. No one spoke. His eyes glowed gray in the windowlight when he looked my way again. “Begging your pardon, miss, but who are you?”
And that’s when I knew. Or rather, I didn’t know. That was the problem. My memory was as clean as the waters in the willow-pond. I set the mug on the bedpost and let my hands fall into my lap. “I can’t remember,” I said.
To my surprise, the man’s lips cracked into a wide grin, and he winked at me. “Then I get to name you!” Several people behind him murmured disapproval, but the old man shook his head. “I found her, didn’t I? I found her, and I’ll name her!” He tapped his nose a couple of times.
I winced. With all those people, strangers looking at me in silence, I felt like a freak on display. I fidgeted, wishing I could crawl out the window and disappear.
At last the old man brightened. “Audrey!” he said. “Your name is Audrey. Audrey Bluewillow!”
A chorus of aahs rippled into the room. Something about it made me uncomfortable, like being left out of a happy ending.
“Why?” I asked him. “Why… Bluewillow?”
“Found you under a willow, didn’t I? And the first part is for obvious reasons.”
Now I was nervous. “What do you mean?”
“Girl, don’t you realize…?” He frowned at me in apparent sympathy while I waited helplessly. He turned and rummaged in a drawer, muttering to himself the whole time. He pulled out a shard of smudged glass. “Look in the mirror, Audrey,” he said. I flinched.
My fingers trembled as I lifted the milky glass to my face. At first I could see nothing at all. Little by little I began to make out my features— first just shadows, then my ordinary mouth and nose, and my blue eyes. I smiled at my familiar reflection in relief and almost gave the mirror back when a late ray of morning sunlight peeked over the edge of the window and blinded me for a moment. The gasps of the onlookers made me rub my eyes and look again in the glass…
My hair was blue.