As most of you know, March has been a rough month. One of my friends died, another friend had a cardiac episode which led to a quadruple bypass heart surgery (she’s recovering well), one of my editors has been in the hospital since February thanks to a massive stroke, a family member relapsed, and I injured my foot. Last week’s foot injury has left me unable to photograph, drive, or do much of anything aside from write on my laptop from the confines of the couch or bed.
While I’m glad to still have the ability to work in some capacity, I will still miss attending AggieCon this year. For those of you headed to College Station, Texas, this weekend, I hope you have a lot of fun! For those of you who are sticking close to home like me, here is a little fiction reading that I’ve written just to brighten your day. The following excerpt is from “A Song for Naia,” one of the science fiction short stories included in the Musings anthology. Enjoy!
We called the world’s natives the Frozen since they were trapped in the secret places beyond our light. I know not how long they existed inside the glacier’s cold shadow, but I do know that my people were the first to give them fire songs.
My first fire song after our landing lit the night sky with a vision of our ship’s travel through the black void between our rotting world and this sea-blue jewel. The hardship of the journey was still evident in the char streaks along the ship’s dented orange hull. The fire song was full of golden high notes symbolizing hope and I believe it was these notes in particular that woke Naia.
I heard her discordant plea inside my mind. “Come! Come! Recover me,” it shrieked.
So I left the safety of our campfire with only my own kindled soul for warmth and sought the cold cave beyond our camp’s radiant circles of light. It was there in the womb of the ice that I made my first memory of Naia’s ethereal face.
She was the Frozen bound closest to the surface. Her blue-black countenance was caught in eternal terror, her six limbs were pushed up to protect her from the icy waves now solidly encasing her. She stared blankly until my fire-laced fingers touched the ice before her oval face. The heat of my song’s passion melted the cold separating us and her green gaze met my glowing red eyes. Awareness awakened after many millennia and she seemed to recognize me.
“Oft have I craved the warmth of your touch, Ryad,” her voice echoed in my mind while her look told me we would be lovers if I could free her.
Naia’s and my combined songs sparked a kinship stronger than her bonds and her spirit’s kindling soon awakened all of her people. The Frozens’ spirit songs cast visions across the blue stars of my people’s bright coming. In sleep they had waited for us, the Fire-bringers, to leave our own scorched planet and melt theirs.
Now their spirits sing constantly in our minds. “Burn away our cold aloofness,” they keen. “Your blazes, dear Embers, fuel our passion and thaw our icy abode.”
“We two are equal parts, Ryad. Together we become balance,” Naia’s thoughts whisper inside me even as I continue to melt my way toward her freedom under the setting blue sun.
Each sundown renders our daily progress futile as the twilight temperatures refreeze our fire songs’ work. Others of my people have given up and will not leave the radiant security of the campfires. They say there is no hope of ever freeing our destined lovers without ourselves being frozen to death in the process, but I say I must try even though I might die in the attempt. Many frostbitten Ember corpses have been consumed in our campfires as their Frozen partners’ spirit songs die with them.
For Naia’s sake I must succeed. As I was her hope in the beginning, now she is my hope to the end…
The story continues in the Musings anthology, which I’m proud to say is in its final draft. Even with cover art delayed for the moment, the book is right in line with its publication date. Next week, I’ll finally be able to announce what that date is! I’m so excited!
Until then, may we each rewrite our world for the better!
The Seared Cookie Report: one Artist/Writer’s Labored Soliloquy (SCRAWLS) is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia C. Cooke and/or Alycia Christine Sears at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with love, speculative fiction books, and virtual baked goods for all. Please let me know your thoughts about this particular post and, as always, if there is any subject you wish me to discuss, contact me. Thanks!