I’ve been writing the first complete rough draft of In My Blue World in short daily bursts of around a thousand words on 750words.com over the last month and change, and I’m actually kind of impressed at how far I’ve gotten in such a short time. After writing various disconnected scenes earlier in the year, this is my first start-to-finish attempt. There’s still a lot more to go, new and old scenes inserted, as well as revision, but I’m quite happy with it so far. If I plan this out correctly, I might have a new book to push by the time Worldcon rolls around!
Meanwhile, here’s Take 2 of the opening of the story. Hope you enjoy it!
I’d been looking forward to this vacation for months, and now that it was here, it occurred to me that maybe I should have been better prepared for it. I had on the wrong pair of hiking boots and my feet were aching something fierce, and they we had a mile to go before we reached the cabin. I’d also made the mistake of taking the newer backpack, which ended up being slightly bigger than expected, and its corners were digging into my kidneys.
Not that I was going to let all that ruin their time at our grandmother’s cabin, of course. Once we got there, we could kick off their shoes, relax in one of the deep chairs on the open porch, and do absolutely nothing at all. After four months of dealing with online clients and impassive management, it was high time for me to forget about the goings-on in the world. Me and my sisters had planned this trip to the cabin since late last year, and now that time was here, and I wasn’t going to let anything ruin it.
The path loomed ahead of us, a slow but seemingly unending incline heading up the side of the mountain. To one side were the steeper foothills, and to the other was a gentle slope downwards to the large lake in the valley. Even though I should be watching my step and keeping an eye out for any unexpected animals popping out of the brush, I couldn’t help but glance leftwards to the lake. I’d been camping down there as well in the past, spending hours in the water, swimming with her family and friends. We’d be making multiple trips down there in the next few days.
Grandma’s cabin, on the other hand, was equally as fascinating. About halfway up the mountain, the path leveled off at a meadow, with a few wooden cabins lining the edge of it, just inside the tree line. There was always something mysterious up there. Grandma Patricia always kept weird things there, things from her old life as a hunter. She’d taught all three of us girls, showing us how to catch, clean and cook fish and fowl and other things that ran around these deep woods. We knew how to survive in the wilderness for the next few weeks.
That tear in the universe, though…that was definitely unexpected.
“Dianaaaaa…” Katie whined, dramatically dragging my name out. “Are we there yet?” She made a production out of slogging up the final hill towards the meadow, dragging her feet and hanging her head. She hung onto her boyfriend Greg as if he was the last shred of life force left in her. Greg said nothing, but I was sure his eyes were rolling right then.
“Almost,” I said.
“You are so lazy,” Allie laughed, hitching up her backpack and darting up the hill with a renewed burst of energy.
“Stay close!” I called out, but it was no use. When my youngest sister set her mind to it, there was nothing to hold her back. In the process I sped up my pace to catch up. Katie responded with another groan and trudged along. “Allie, how many times do I–”
“Oh, wow…” Allie had suddenly stopped short. “What the heck is that?”
My heart jumped, thinking she’d just found a dead animal, or worse, a sick animal, and sped up to join her. I sidled up next to her and stepped out just a tiny bit ahead, her hand out just in case. “What did you see?”
She pointed in a vague direction of the path ahead. “That! What is that?”
“Where? I don’t know where you’re–”
“That… shiny thing.”
I glanced up the path again, and sure enough, she could see something flashing. Something small but bright. A reflection of sunlight against something, perhaps? Even Katie and Greg had stopped to take a look at this point, and neither was quite sure what they were looking at.
“That’s too bright for a reflection,” Greg said. “Unless it’s a mirror.”
Katie shook her head. “That doesn’t look like a mirror. That–”
Her words were drowned out, as the air as torn in two.
The point of light sputtered and sparked to life, becoming as bright as the sun. I shielded my eyes and swore, blinking away tears and pulling my sisters back. The point of light began to grow; it expanded from a point to a line; a thick line of light, dripping with god knew what kind of plasma energy. And it wasn’t a smooth expansion, either. It was jagged, as if it was hacking away at the air and hitting resistance. Each time it ripped upwards, another growl of thunder filled the air. It expanded until it was human height, and stopped.
The silence was terrifying.
Then the girl stepped through the tear, screaming unrecognizable words in a strange accent. She held a glowing sword in her right hand and a thread of green light in her left palm.
“Ah!” the girl cried. “Krozarr!”
The wisp of light in her left hand burst into a bright green sphere, and she pushed against the tear. Pushed down on it with all her might. She growled more words that we couldn’t understand. The tear responded with just as much resistance, though it was no longer thunder… it sounded like heavy boulders sliding against each other.
Finally, with a final push, she closed the tear she’d just made and all was silent once more. The girl shook the globe of light out of her hand and it dissipated. The tip of her sword dropped to the ground. She stood there, panting from exhaustion.
She turned around, and saw all of us, watching her.
“Aahyeh…” she breathed, and gave us a weak smile.
Then she fainted.