part 8

The rocks that enclosed the bay were steep and smooth except for the nesting site of the sky blue birds. Only few plants had taken root. Melissa sighed. She knew that she would never be able to climb up there. If plants hardly find enough room to hold on to I will never make it.

The slope she had slipped down was no more than a little sand hill at the foot of the cliffs. Some birches grew close to the rock and some tufts of marram gras fought for survival further downhill. Her fall had left a trail of destruction.

She cleared her throat. She could hardly hear her own voice for the thundering of the surf. “Hello? Helloho!” Her call faded away unheard but it calmed her. It helped like the singing she had done in the past when she had to go into the dark cellar. She remembered the clinging of her little brother when he came along. His fear had been even greater than hers. She had felt very grown-up. Back home, before the   … No, I won’t think of it. Determined, she pushed the memories back into the darkest corner of her subconscious.

“There must be someone who can take me back home, somewhere. But first, I must find the way out of this bay.” It calmed her to speak as if her voice could make the scenery seem less strange. Once again, she looked around thoroughly. Where the traces of her slide began, there seemed to be a crack in the rock. Perhaps, I can squeeze through.

Melissa limped up the steep sand hill to look. Surprised, she noticed that no footprints led up to the beginning of her fall. It was as if she had landed from nowhere before she slipped down the sandy hill. Weird. She shook her head and went on to look at the crack in the rock. She had been right. There was a narrow opening that ran deep into the rock.Melissa in the sun

She turned sideways and squeezed herself into the crack. Immediately, she did not feel the sunny morning any more. She let her eyes adjust to the gloom while she slowly inched through the gap. Once, she looked back to the sky blue birds that were hardly visible in the narrow slice of sky.

Are there truly birds this big? What if I haven’t landed some other place on earth but in a different world? How will I get back home, then? Lost in thought, she slid forward step by step. First, the rock scraped her elbows but soon the crack widened. Nevertheless, sunbeams did not reach the bottom of the canyon. Melissa trembled. It was chilly between the rocks and her beach dress and the thin jumper was no protection. Therefore, she was happy when she reached the other side of the cliffs and felt the sunbeams warm on her scratched skin.

Grassland spread in front of her, bordered in the distance by mountains that shimmered bluish. To the west, the cliffs continued as a foothill that almost reached the horizon. There was not a soul in sight. Maybe, I’ll find someone closer to the mountains. Melissa stretched her arms towards the sun and breathed deeply. When she felt warmer she started limping.

***

On a beach at the Baltic Sea on earth, Djarret stepped from the darkness between the worlds right after the magician. He sighed with relief when he breathed the salty air. He was glad to step from the icy cold into a warm summer night. Immediately, drops of water condensed on his skin, his weapons and his black leather armor. Djarret sat on a stone without looking at the magician who kept the gateway open with outstretched arms. He pulled a cloth from his bag and wiped the dew off his sword. It was too valuable and too important to leave it to rust. While he dried the sword, he looked around.

The beach spread in front of him in the light of the full moon. Black waves splashed on the sand in an even rhythm, and the occasional piece of driftwood lay around. The lights of a town shone in the distance to his left. To his right, the gateway to the Worlds of the One Power gaped like a black wound that swallowed all the light. One after the other, Djarret’s men left the void. When the last man stepped onto the sand, the magician lowered his arms. Breathing heavily, he leant forward and rested his hands on his knees.

“Where is the stone,” Djarret snapped at him.

The magician swayed. His voice sounded pressed and his breathing rattled between words. “It has … moved on … I … felt it.”

“Why then are we here?” Djarret stood up to follow Korosadja immediately.

Without a word, the magician collapsed. Like a bundle of dirty clothes, he lay in the sand.

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7 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Texanne on April 20, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    Ooh. I knew it! Melissa’s uncle really is a magician. Great story, Cat. Love to find the notice in my in-box every week. Now, off to look up marram gras. I know about Mardi Gras, of course. See you next week!

    Reply

  2. Posted by Lore on October 31, 2010 at 4:44 am

    Hmmm, the stone had already shifted before this magician collapsed. Didn’t Mellissa’s uncle collapse before the stone shifted?

    Nice jump on the facts though, Anne.

    Al

    Reply

    • Well, the magician collapsed from exhaustion. I’ll try to make that more clear.

      Reply

      • Posted by Lore on October 31, 2010 at 10:04 am

        TexAnne makes a great leap of intuition. Herbert looks for amber everyday… and then collapses. It does seem like he was searching for the stone. It makes a neat plot twist if he is a scout for some faction… you have everything in place for that 🙂

      • I agree, that would have been a great idea. Unfortunately, it never occured to me back then (I wrote the story several years ago, before I had ever heard of Muse Bombs and LUC [for those wondering about these terms: don’t worry. They are part of Holly Lisle’s How To Think Sideways course for Writers]).

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