Whoever wishes to take on this weekly challenge is welcome to grab the banner and use it on their blog. It is a testament to stay in the constant writing mode, no matter what setbacks jump in your way. Writing is a healing process for me today and it began as such. Anyone who uses it as a similar tool, I invite you on this journey.
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This week's excerpt is a throwback to my first manuscript, Bond of Darkness, whose opening I recently revamped.
A twist of a gray-black clouds spitting a poisonous rainfall pecked the land. Neither helped Valence. He sprinted, harsh burning breaths swelling his throat shut. Ten of his men pulled up his rear, dodging the strikes of the ulitick ambush that had found their group. He tried not to look back, but as the bloodcurdling screams shortened to seconds apart, he slid to a stop and pushed his men past him. The dark wasteland landscape gave speed to the giant bugs on their heels. More shadow than shape, they knew how to move while the Lunata were mice to their python grace. Creatures forbidden to see daylight, they wallowed amid the wastelands for a traveler to step through their traps. He heard the click-click, shuffle-shuffle of the uliticks advancing on him as he saw his men to safety. He glanced back and they began scrambling up a rocky rise. A vent spewing toxic brown gas topped the hill, and all else was in darkness past that.
Another scream. It was an arrow through his head, how painful it was. The last of his men passed him, flushed and tired, and he saw the ulitick pounce on the poor soul it had captured. Valence slung his sword from the scabbard and ran for the young man. His white hair tangled over his pallor face. He had managed to crawl away slightly, but there was a sickening crunch and the boy rolled onto his side, wriggling. His legs were gone at the knees.
Valence stopped at the sight and drew back a few steps. His stomach turned and the boy was taken away. A meaty claw layered with prickly hairs reached out from the black mass. It dragged him into their death cloud, screaming, a last crunch silenced him. Red mist dyed the black cloud and the bugs finally from the it. Smoke lingered from their four gangly arms, pincers stretching off them like shears.
He took one glance at their daunting, armor-plated faces. Slime poured from the gaps in their jaws like undigested gruel, putrid from even the farthest distance. Two, beady eyes scoped him out, but blind it seemed, the ulitick went back to its meal.
He turned to a solider waiting for him. His long hair was barely its snowy Lunata white, for all the grime and muck of the wasteland slicked their bodies. Valence stared at the boils the poison rain had created on his skin. He gawked back in horror. Two more clouds crept in from either side and it was on soldier before he could speak. An ulitick jumped out of the cloud, a full lunge spreading its wide claws. It bore into the solider, pinned him and the feast began there on the hill. The clouds continued down the rise for the other men.
A hurtling cry came at his left and Valence brought his sword around. He saw the ulitick leaping for him, its grimy pincers saliva-stained and lingering with fresh meat particles. He slipped below the attack, but drew his sword in a fine arc that took the head off the creature. It bobbled away to the rocky abyss and its squirming body cuddled next to his legs. He turned for the rise, but was barreled over. His back slapped the hard, wet ground. When he rolled up to meet the next attacker, fire tore across his chest. A deep burn well beneath his flesh surged and he couldn’t rise. He looked down to bits of his flesh dangling from its rightful place. A gash went from his collarbone to mid-chest, a dark-green goo seeping from it.
The uliticks came at him. He yelled, summoning all his will to lift the sword, but it did not so much as budge. His arm was paralyzed. The gray-black swirl overhead split open and a curling lance of white spiraled down at the creatures. It struck them all, the source unknown as he looked for it, but the power attacked him next. All the black subsided to a swift white curtain.