Welts burn where Avaareet whipped me for rolling the grass more slowly than the others. I rub at my right calf, where hair no longer grows from scars long-healed. Temple life favors no one, but an orphan least of all.
Tonight I guard alone. The peace of the darkness suits me. No stars tonight means tomorrow will be another cold day. I’ll have to hide better, so no one summons me to work the grass-rolling. And food. I’ll have to scavenge that when the guard relieves me a few ticks before the sun breaks the horizon. I still might be forced into cooking breakfast, but at least that would assure I’d be fed best.
To my right, distant, a “dub” sound. After a delay, “lub.” Others might hear only the river’s rumble, but my eyes are not the only remnant of my past life. I cringe during the drum circle, but force myself to endure it. I’ve even beaten the tonga drum myself, though its heaviness of sound rumbles through my whole body. My teeth ache from the memory. Thankfully, voices carry no pain to me. I’ve wondered why it’s these stray sounds that torment me.
The “dub” comes again. I close my eyes, accepting I might miss the shooriista. Even I cannot hear the wingbeats of that huntress, here but not here. It’s too late when she caws.
I focus on the next “lub.” I know all the animals, but none make that noise in walking, swimming, flying, slithering, hopping. The air carries this, not the ground. I’d ring the alarm bell, but I have nothing to report.
When I open my eyes, I swivel around one heartbeat at a time. No shooriista has taken advantage of my inattention.
Saveet has visited me again, though not with this part of the scene I’ve free-written above.
Apparently, the acolytes of her temple keep her beyond busy, for she visits me during my own yardwork. She fears a giant hunting bird, a creature I’m calling “shooriista” for now. The creature makes no noise until it’s too late. The hunting cry will sound suspiciously like a rake’s tines scraping against a driveway—after I find the descriptive words that come out of a primitive landscape, not an urban one. The bird smells of earthiness, dirt rather than plants or decaying meats.
Whatever task Saveet failed at in her past life, her hearing is set in this one to compensate. Certain noises carry to her, around animals, drums; but not speaking, or plants rustling in the wind. Tonight, I know what beast approaches. I can’t spoil it, though, because I’m not sure where this scene goes yet.
The fun of “pantster” writing is that nothing’s planned. The scene goes where it wants, organically. As a writer, I’m playing. I learned during River Daughter I am not a pantster for novels. That story waffled around until I realized I needed an outline. Then, sure, the story still took it where it wanted me to go, but I had bones to guide me through the arc. That also showed me my novel needed to be at least a trilogy, for Isabella to grow where I wanted.
Now, in Saveet’s case, this is freewriting. She may have a novel’s worth of ideas, or only a short story. Right now, she’s a diversion. I play during my lunch hour, the first “creative writing” I’ve had in nearly a week. I hope you’ve enjoyed this next snippet.
What do you want to know about Saveet next? Ask, and you’ll help me discover her story.