More bits of recent text

Ho hum. I am writing. A lot. Promises to Keep is coming along… best of all, it’s starting to have ropes, if you know what I mean. I’m near enough to the end that I’m starting to see the rigging that stretches from start to finish, and that makes me feel gooooood.

And then there is another novella I’ve finished, though I’m not sure I’ll ever publish it. And two more novellas in the works.

As always, the store was dark and close inside. What little light filtered through the cracks in its birch-bark covering gave the main room its only illumination. While these cracks provided good ventilation, the smells of the store’s contents were nevertheless overwhelming to people who weren’t used to them. Wine, beer, vinegar, and maple syrup sent subtle vapors up from their casks, leather and untanned hides stank outright, and dank, dusty smells from bags of grain filled in the olfactory cracks.

The inviting smell of coffee threaded itself through the miasma. At one end of the longhouse, a room was screened off with hides. From the spaces in between them firelight glowed golden and a tinny voice sang My Old Virginia Home.

“You walked into their village in broad daylight, snatched a screaming child, and no one noticed you?”

“Nope.”

Ruth stared at Blake for a moment. “You’re a truly terrifying person.”

He ducked his head respectfully. “Ma’am.”

His nose was broken. I’d have Ruth look at it later. The blood coming from his ear was actually flowing out of a contusion in the corolla, not from deep inside, which was a relief. Both of his eyes were blackened and his mouth was a bloody mess.

“Alex? Do you think you’re okay?”

He blinked a few times, and managed a curt nod. His swollen lips tried to form words, but they came out garbled and incomprehensible.

“What?”

He swallowed and summoned up the courage to try again. “Punch drunk.”

Coira pulled down the visor in James’ old truck to examine herself in its small mirror. Her lipstick was on straight, her eyebrows were neatly plucked, and her wavy black hair was more or less contained by two tortoiseshell combs. She looked into her own dark eyes and contracted her brows a bit, trying on a Stern Auntie face. Then she smiled brilliantly, showing her teeth. Happy Auntie. Happy to see them. Never seen them before, but happy to see them now.

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