I interrupt the blog’s Valentine tomfoolery to bring you the first page of Chapter 5 in Changelings: Into the Mist. If you’re new, you can start with Chapter One, and if you haven’t yet, be sure to pick up your copy of Changelings so you can follow along!
Sean woke with a gasp and a sickening heave of his stomach. The waking was so sudden, he forgot where he was. He forgot he had spent the night back-to-back in the dirt with Maureen. He forgot they had travelled through time – he even forgot they were now stranded. It came back to him in a rush and his stomach twisted even more.
Behind him, Maureen was stirring. He started to turn to her but she hit him and ‘shushed’ in his ear.
“Do you hear that?” she hissed.
His protest at being smacked in the shoulder died on his tongue. He closed his mouth and listened. There it was – the sound that first woke him.
“Someone’s chopping down the trees.”
Maureen nodded slightly. “Aye. I was having a nightmare and the noise blended with it, somehow. It woke me up.”
Something about the shadows under her eyes, and the steady beat of a handsaw and axe made the hair on his neck stand. “I don’t think we should be seen by whoever is up there – doesn’t feel right.”
She eyed him for a second – hunches and wild suppositions were her area of expertise – but nodded. “Nothing has felt right since yesterday morning. Let’s get out of here.”
They helped each other stand and quickly brushed off the leafy debris of their night under the stars.
Sean stretched and rubbed at his face. “If there’s any civilization here at all, we’ll find it closer to the bay. There’s probably a road or path at the base of the hill – if we can get to it without being seen.”
A shout and the ear-splitting groan of a monarch’s fall overshadowed this last. They stared at each other as the birds jeered above them.
Word of the Day
Monarch: ruler of a kingdom, in this case the oak tree is the monarch of the forest, a common symbol. Oaks have long been associated with royalty – not only because it was valued by the Druids, but because of its durability (Ref: Fine Dictionary).
Devil’s in the Details
Dreams, visions and “wild suppositions,” as Sean calls it, figure heavily as motivating factors in Changelings. While only hinted at here, Maureen’s dreams – much like the oaks and the mist – become an important player in the ongoing mystery surrounding the Changelings.
D: Wow A – is that all you’re going to say?
A: Um, yeah. Why?
D: You’re ‘details’ aren’t exactly detailed today, are they?
A: I can’t say more – it would be a spoiler. It’s important. It’s probably the most important thing on this page of the book, besides their emotional elasticity – which I talked about in Chapter Four – that allows them to accept their current reality.
D: Bla, bla bla, words, words, words. You’re just not willing to admit this is kind of a boring opener for a chapter.
A: Would it be better if I’d stuck you in there, despite the fact that you were likely gallivanting around the Continent, leaving Maureen and Sean on their own?
D: . . . well, at least it would have been entertaining.
A: (Sigh) Yes, D. Whatever you say, D.
D: That’s better.
How many miles is it really to the bay? As the hill is technically fictional, it could be as many – or as few – miles to Clew Bay as I wanted. However, I had fun with maps (fun fact: I have several atlases. While I can get lost crossing the street – true story – maps are some of my favourite things.), and explored an elevation map for a reasonable spot to plant my fictional hill, abbey and chapel. As it happens, the other side of Carrowbeg Lough was just hilly – and empty – enough to be favourable. Using roads, that general area is roughly 2.3 Kilometers from Carrickahowley Castle, or 1.42 miles (See below – source: Google Maps).