Rants, Raves, & Random Thoughts

Shameless self-promotion of my writing skills or lack there of.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Just a Taste

Some of you will remember, I completely rewrote The Dance. It just occurred to me, that I hadn’t given you all a proper taste yet. So, without further ado…taste away.

The Dance

Chapter 1

Brian Pearlman couldn’t believe his luck. It had been over a year since he first read a mention of Nina. The quintessential lover it had called her. After spending every free moment he could find, scouring for more information on her, he finally hit pay dirt. He found an obscure article about her on the internet. It said she was a Goddess of ancient Sumer, but her specialty is what drew him to her. Rumor had it she possessed the face of an angel and the lust of a demon. She could do things to a man, that would boggle the imagination.

“Yeah, I like the sound of that.” He snatched the handful of pages from the printer beside his computer.
He nearly tripped over his feet in his excitement. He barely touched the stairs as he sped to the basement. This was his special place. No one had the faintest idea he had the room beneath his home. The builder had called him insane, but agreed to keep his mouth shut when presented with a healthy bonus.

To the naked eye, it was just your run of the mill basement. Perhaps it was a bit less cluttered than some, but still average at best. He trotted to the southwest corner of the room and began counting bricks. First, he counted from the floor; then he moved to his right. Lucky number 13, he thought, pressing it with his free hand. A section of the wall moved with a heavy groan. The faux bricks that made up the door weren’t necessarily heavy, but the mechanism that moved them still protested under its burden every time he used it.

Rows of shelves lined both sides of the entryway from floor to ceiling. They were all but completely filled with books, some of which looked as thought they might disintegrate if touched. The hallway was thirteen feet long and opened into a circular room. The four support beams had images of angels carved into them. The two to the east and west depicted the winged warriors soaring towards heaven. The north and south supports showed them falling.

The pentagram on the floor stretched to cover the entire room. At each point stood a six-foot tall candle holder, made of sterling silver. Each of them sported a candle of a different color: blue, red, white, green and black.

A wooden altar stood in the center of the room. An incense holder and an athame rested between two red altar candles. There were twin doors on the front. The handles of each resembled faces, forged in painstaking detail. The one on the left was that of an angel; the other was a horned demon.

Brian stopped halfway down the entryway to scan a shelf. He plucked out a thick, leather-bound tome and rushed to set it on the altar. He killed the lights after the flame on his altar candle sprang to life. That’s more like it. Lighting is everything.

He flipped through the pages of the dusty book until he found the passage he wanted. He opened the bottom of the altar and pulled out a thick black robe. Once he donned the robe, he quickly set about casting his circle. He struggled to stay focused as he called to the each of the four Guardians to watch over his circle.

It was only after he was satisfied he cast the circle properly, that he returned to the pages he had printed out earlier. “Now, I will summon a lover who has no equal.” His chest swelled with pride as he thought of how far he had come. “More than that, she will be bound to me by magic. There will never be a possibility that she will leave me. Not like--” He felt his resolve weaken as he thought about how that tramp of an ex had ripped out his heart and crushed it beneath her stiletto. Forget about her. You need to concentrate if you want this to go smoothly. You pull this off and then we’ll see who has the last laugh.

He read over the incantation, and jotted down notes on his printouts. He knew how to sound out the words but had never been successful with their translations. He was able to decipher enough to get a rough idea of what they meant, but that was the extent of it.

Satisfied that the spell was complete, he sank to his knees and closed his eyes. He held his printouts in his left hand and the athame in his right. He pushed everything from his mind but the task at hand. At last, his mind was clear, focused. When he opened his eyes, his body was already tingling with anticipation. He held the athame high, began to read aloud in a singsong voice, his words rising and falling in a rhythm that came easy to him. He nearly stuttered as the flames of each candle began to flicker. He pressed on, eyeing them intently. The flames seemed to grow, stretching towards the ceiling. They danced and flickered in unison with the rhythm of the spell. He hesitated as the smell of sulphur reached his nostrils. Where is that stench coming from? He let his gaze search the room for the source.

It only took a moment for him to realize the danger of leaving a spell half cast and picked up where he left off. The air around him seemed to constrict and expand. Suddenly, the sound of rushing water filled the room. I’m going to drown in here, he thought, fear sweeping over him in waves. He nearly panicked as he braced himself for the impact that would never come. He twisted and turned in all directions, trying to pinpoint the origin of the sound. Just two lines to go; you can do this. He gritted his teeth, took several deep breaths and prepared to finish the spell. After he read the last line, in English he shouted, “So mote it be!” and stuck the athame point down in the floor.

Instantly the flame from the candles returned to normal and silence fell over the room. “Where are you? Where is my new bride?” He spun in circles, expecting her to materialize at any moment.
“Nina, come to me. I command thee!” he ordered with as much bravado as he could muster.
“Hear my voice, I have summoned you. Come and meet your new master.”
A rush of air spread through the room, extinguishing all the candles. Brian was plunged into darkness.
“Are you there?” His voice cracked with fear.

He stood and, with his hands stretched before him, stepped forward until he found the wall. He inched his way along until his hand met only air. Ok, here’s the doorway, the light switch should be… here. He flicked it several times, but the light refused to come on. What the hell? This is exactly why I had the damned electric installed down here. He tried the switch a few more times, hoping the power would return. I have to close out the circle. He left the room as quickly as the darkness would allow. By the time he reached the drawer where he kept the flashlight, the power had returned to the house.

“What went wrong?” he muttered as he returned to the empty ceremonial chamber. “I know it was working. I’ve never seen a response like that before.”
“Hell, what did I see?” He let the events replay, wondering if he imagined them. Maybe, I am as nutty as one of my patients.



At 8:31 AM, Blogger Bailey Stewart said...

Oooh, I'll have to come back and read this later - just a quick pop-in to thank you for stopping by my blog this morning. Friday's are always "spam" day, so if you really enjoyed it, come by next week.

(I really will come back later. *gg*)

At 8:36 AM, Blogger James Goodman said...

Oh, I'll definately come by your blog again. :D That was some funny stuff.

At 9:45 AM, Blogger lime said...

ah, i started reading you when youwere a looong way into this so i didn't start reading it way back then.....it's a rahter compelling start though! i'm piqued...

At 12:45 PM, Blogger James Goodman said...

Thanks, Lime. It's changed significantly from those early days. :D

At 2:44 PM, Blogger Bailey Stewart said...

Great opening - you've piqued my curiousity to the point that if I were actually reading the book, I'd want to read further. Sulphur huh? That doesn't bode well.

I liked how you used the candles flickering, the plunging light, etc to set the scene. There's something about the dark that sparks the imagination, whispers at things hidden in wait.

At 7:14 PM, Blogger James Goodman said...

Thanks, Bailey. I'm glad you liked it. Yeah...sulphur plays a fairly significant role throughout the story.

At 11:08 AM, Blogger Donnetta Lee said...

Now, James, this is my kind of story! I want more! Donnetta

At 11:13 AM, Blogger James Goodman said...

lol, thanks, Donnetta. Yanno...I've been known to offer the occaisional before release preview, if you're interested. Send me an email and I might be persuaded to send you a copy. :D

At 2:31 PM, Blogger Donnetta Lee said...

Okie dokie!Thanks, James. Donnetta

At 4:43 PM, Blogger Donnetta Lee said...

James, do you have an email address that you use for writing purposes? I can't find it. If so, tell me where and I'll email you my email address. I only have one and hubby prefers that I don't put it on the blogs.

Also, I just posted a weird story on my blog. Would appreciate your feedback if you get a chance. If your time is too short, it's okay! Don't worry about it! Donnetta

At 5:41 AM, Blogger James Goodman said...

oh, yes sorry about that. It's in my profile, but it is jgoodman "AT" goodysworld.com
just replace "AT" with @

I'll swing by to read your story today. :D

At 5:57 AM, Anonymous linda said...

WOW!!! I loved the Original but the re-write is starting out very very good It may actually be even better than before can't wait to read more!!!!!!!


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