I who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday; this is the birth-
day of life and love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth.
Same old, same old: still working away at Gingerune. I am now 43,908 words in, but for all that I don't feel as if I quite have enough to give you a proper snippets post. I probably do and I'll do it eventually, but for now I'm going to play it by feel and for now I feel as if the snippets ought to wait. But to tide you over, or to appease you, or whatever, here is this. All of the usual warnings apply: it is probably subject to change and is part of the first draft, etc., but it is some thing for you, at any rate. A whole several paragraphs of something! I suppose I should add that it may be a little - not graphic, per se, but disturbing. But then, it was meant to be. And so, without further ado, a very small piece of Gingerune.
* * * * *Every moment the force of the wind was trying to rip her away and hurtle her into the shadow. It was cold—bitterly cold—where the wind struck her, and all over her washed continually, visibly, the tangible light into which she was plunging at breakneck speed. The light was very hot; beneath the singing of the wind in her ears she could hear it crackling and sizzling and at the back of her mind she wondered if she was going to survive it.
Where was the sun? She switched her eyes back and forth across the chasm of light. Everything was moving so quickly, and the light was so bright—her pupils shrank into slits, shutting off much of the blinding glare, and finally the disk of the sun sprang out from the featureless sky. There—to her left! She pivoted toward it, feeling the cold wind and the burning light sear along her flanks. She plummeted on against the sun-storm and wondered if Icarus had ever witnessed such madness of hope and terror at once.
She had just shifted toward the holy aurora when a pain gripped her, clawing her back into the abyss. Her knees cramped. If she screamed, the scream was lost in the roar of wind. Drops of sweat peeled away like rain. Another cramp—another scream. Another—she could hear the Earth-Master’s voice from somewhere close by; the pressure on her knee was his hand.
“Another one! Once more! Give it all you’ve got!”
She had no more left to give. What was she giving birth to—Thera itself? She gulped in the roaring airlessness to brace again, but despair filled the hollow place in her chest. She had no more left to give. Through her thinned eyes she could just barely make out a long, thick anchor-cable stretching out in front of her, up and up into the light to where the sun hung far away and motionless. It must have been attached to her. She felt intuitively that it was her only hope of keeping herself from being lost in the continual downward rush of light and the black pit that lay below.
The cramps began again.
A hand came out of nowhere and wrenched her head back. In a singing disk of light she caught sight of two beautiful blue eyes, mesmerizing eyes. They were laughing at her.
This is not a dream, darling.
She was losing her position. The constant pounding of the light was hammering at her side, driving her closer and closer toward the edge. She fought desperately to keep in line. She hung on the cable, gritted her teeth against the next clench of pain—water was coming brightly, softly, off the corners of her eyes: each drop shone a little as it flew away on the wind.
The other hand, long and beautiful and dressed in a glove, slid cleanly through the watershed of light. There was a blade on the edge of it sharp enough to cut through soul. It touched the hemp braid of her anchor-cable.
“No!” she screamed—the wind whipped her words out of her throat: “no, don’t! Don’t let me go!”
The screaming went on. The blade touched the hemp and it snapped, once—the hemp unravelled and the rope squealed in protest as all her weight and the power of the light and the wind strained against it. From behind her she felt the cold fingers of the shadow reach out and touch her skin. A horror of it gripped her brain: it had got the taste of her now.
“Stop! Stop! Don’t let me go!”
The last strand broke.