Right now, I haven’t been doing much writing besides the prompts from More Odds Than Ends. But, that’s still a good thing as I’m making progress on Cursebreaker (of a sort). Since today is Monday I am (once again) setting out a daily schedule for myself, and doing my damnedest to stick to it. I am a professional procrastinator and that gets in the way of a lot of productive work. I have noticed that I have to keep reminding myself that this is not the same as writing research articles. I really LIKE writing fiction. I honestly do. But I think there’s something about sitting down to write that pulls me back to the mind-set of my academic career. And that mind-set disliked the research and required article-producing end of things.
At any rate, having duly reminded myself that this is not the same, this is most emphatically not a research article, and that it will get published, I present to you my latest installment in the Cursebreaker saga (now with Vikings, making it a fer-real saga!) My prompt once again came from Leigh Kimmel: Steepled town seen from afar at sunset—does not light up at night. Sail has been seen putting out to sea. In turn, Fiona Grey received the prompt I submitted. So head on over to her page and see what she did with that.
Renee hit the speed dial for Monica and held the phone in between the front seats. She managed to stay down so that whoever was following them could not see her head over the back seat.
Monica answered on the first ring. “Jack? What’s going on?” She sounded worried.
“I’m not sure. Renee’s with us, but we’re being followed down the hill. I’m going to take the back way home, so I won’t be there for another twenty, twenty-five minutes. Are you guys okay?”
“So far, yeah. Some of the others are here already. But, Jack…it’s weird…”
“What’s weird? What’s going on?” Jack didn’t like the sound of that.
Monica obviously had her phone on speaker as well because Greg’s voice came through. “There are no lights in town. It’s not a power thing because the clocks are still working, but there is no light in town.”
Nikolas frowned at Jack. “What does that mean?”
“Some sort of strange power outage?” Renee asked.
“I don’t like it,” Jack answered Greg.
“I don’t either,” Greg came back. “Just get back here as fast as you can. This feels all kinds of wrong.”
“Okay. I’m working on it. See you guys soon,” Jack glanced back at Renee and she hit the disconnect button.
“Okay, Renee. I need to know what you know about whoever is chasing us,” Jack stared at her in the rear-view mirror. He noticed that the headlights were actually a little further back than they had been previously. He picked up the pace. They were only about half a mile from the freeway entrance.
Renee stared out the window. “Your house is warded, right? When we get there, I’ll tell you. Are the other magic workers coming?”
“Yes and yes,” Jack answered. He concentrated on getting on to the on ramp and once on the freeway, stomped on the gas pedal. He noticed that their tail did not follow them onto the highway. But he knew that didn’t mean they wouldn’t show up later. That’s why he was still taking a different route home.
Renee gave a heavy sigh. “I’ll tell you everything I know when we get to your house. I promise.”
Jack caught her eye in the mirror and nodded. “Okay.”
Nikolas glanced at Jack and gave a small nod in Renee’s direction. “That will be best, I think,” was all he said.
Jack continued down the freeway and past his usual exit. He was going to head further east and then drop into the town from there.
Five miles later he exited and turned west back to town. Under other circumstances, he liked coming into town from this direction. The road turned and revealed a view of the bay and the town. It always reminded him why he loved living in Marysville.
This time, however, it wasn’t all that wonderful. The sun was just going below the horizon and the town should have been a grouping of twinkling lights on the edge of the bay. Instead, all he could see was the steeple from the one of the first churches built, backlit by the setting sun. There were no other lights. The dogs whined and crouched down. Renee reached down to give them both pats on the head.
Nikolas pointed through the windshield. “What is that?” A sail could be seen as some sort of boat put out to sea.
Jack slowed and stared. “It’s a square sail…”
Renee leaned in between the front seats. “Is somebody reenacting a Viking boat?”
Nikolas gave her a sharp look and turned back to stare out the front. “It is a Viking sail. You are right,” he breathed.
“What the hell, Nikolas? Are there more dead-but-living-for-a-day Vikings running around?” Jack remembered he needed to keep driving and returned his attention to the road.
Nikolas didn’t take his eyes off of the slowly shrinking sail in the distance. “No. I am the only one on these shores. Somebody is playing games.”
“Well, here’s hoping it’s really just a reenactor like Renee suggested,” Jack muttered.
Renee was staring at Nikolas. “Viking?” she gasped. She shrank into the back seat.
Jack caught her eyes in the mirror. “It’s okay, Renee. He’s cool. I’ll explain when we get to the house. You’ll have to trust me.”
“I do. You saved my life,” Renee’s eyes were still wide, but some of the tension seemed to leave her.
Jack took a deep breath and keeping a close watch for any more tails, made his way back home.
Join us each week for a new prompt and new adventures. It’s easy and fun and we don’t bite…mostly.