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Paragraphs-at-a-Time Story, "The Branch" #10 - Laura Wise

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September 10th, 2009


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06:15 am - Paragraphs-at-a-Time Story, "The Branch" #10
[Please insert interesting sentence here-- am v. tired this morning.]

Last time we ended with Then she dug the knife-point into her palm, even as Tim leapt.



The impact took her breath.

Knife clattered onto stone. Gold dug like knife-point into her palm. And oh God, Tim was over her, human and hungry-lean and frantic, humming with power.

“You can't, Jessa,” he said, “I can't stand it,” and fingers fast as a lion's claws scratched the transformed golden piece from her bloodied hand.

He was crying, she realized. Yes, her stoic Rodriguez had brought his own tears to the ritual.

His tackle had pushed her out of the circle of magic, almost to the boulder-doorway. Even there the wind struck hard. Without Tim to hold the circle, it was enough to take her breath a second time.

But he had begun to climb the lone tree, as she would have done. Five lengths to the cracked base of the Branch. Five lengths in that firestorm wind.

His flannel shirt ripped in half under the force of it. Three lengths to the Branch. He kept climbing.

She pushed herself to her feet. If he was taking her job, well, then... “Hold the circle,” she said to herself and the sacred space. “One foot in front of the other.”

When she stood, the wind nearly whipped her off her feet. Tim paused, glanced over his shoulder, and almost lost his grip. “Jessa, I said No!”

“Turn about, fair play, whatever. Just finish the damn job.” Then, calling on every scrap of magic she had, she began to walk. Island on top of an island in the sky, circle around a circle, one foot down at a time. Ignore the wind, ignore the shuddering in the world.

The wind retreated. One length to the Branch, and then Tim reached out.

The golden piece, shining with his tears and hers, glinting with blood and magic, caught the sun as he pushed up.

The Branch swallowed the gold. The spirals up and down shivered once as if washed with fire, and then stilled.

The crack at the base of the Branch closed.

Jessa slowed. “There we go, Rodriguez.”

But her hold on the circle wasn't as strong as Tim's would be. The wind rushed in faster than flame, and curled around Tim, and pulled.

He lost his grip. She lost her voice.

He dropped to the edge of the world, he kept going --

Falling, falling, and the pain.

............................


(We're not done, btw...)

Anyhow, may your hold on your day be strong! ;-)

(24 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


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From:laurawise
Date:September 10th, 2009 12:30 pm (UTC)
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Thank you so much, C -- your all-caps are v.v. gratifying. [beams]

Thanks twice, and have a fab day!
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From:freixenet
Date:September 10th, 2009 11:24 am (UTC)
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Ack! ::covers mouth in horror::
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From:laurawise
Date:September 10th, 2009 12:31 pm (UTC)
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And this is from me, who's deathly afraid of heights! [beams]

Hugs and so many thanks, F!
(Deleted comment)
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From:laurawise
Date:September 10th, 2009 12:31 pm (UTC)
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L, how lovely of you to react this way. :-)

Thank you thank you -- and enjoy your Thursday, too!
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From:mamculuna
Date:September 10th, 2009 02:08 pm (UTC)
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Oh no!!! Can't wait for tomorrow!
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From:laurawise
Date:September 10th, 2009 06:19 pm (UTC)
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Thank you thank you thank you for multiple exclamation points as well as for reading. :-)

Happy Thursday!
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From:anne_d
Date:September 10th, 2009 02:09 pm (UTC)
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This is just... neat.
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From:laurawise
Date:September 10th, 2009 06:20 pm (UTC)
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Why am I hearing Spike's voice in that? ;-)

Thank you thank you, A, and happy Thursday!
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From:paratti
Date:September 10th, 2009 04:09 pm (UTC)
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Meep.

Good stuff.
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From:laurawise
Date:September 10th, 2009 06:21 pm (UTC)
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Magic's tricky, L, and heights are worse. ;-)

Thank you thank you for reading, thank you for meeping!
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From:kathyh
Date:September 10th, 2009 05:13 pm (UTC)
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Agh! That is an evil cliffhanger to leave us on. Very exciting, but evil *g*.
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:September 10th, 2009 06:22 pm (UTC)
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Well... I do like cliffhangers. :-)

Thank you so much, K, thank you twice -- I appreciate your reading! Happy Thursday!
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From:gwynnega
Date:September 10th, 2009 07:05 pm (UTC)
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Ack!! Talk about a cliffhanger!
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From:laurawise
Date:September 10th, 2009 08:09 pm (UTC)
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[beams]

Thank you thank you for coming along on the ride, Gwynne! :-) And a good Thursday, too.
(Deleted comment)
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From:laurawise
Date:September 10th, 2009 08:10 pm (UTC)
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I am grateful for your reading and your "YOW," Rainkatt! :-)) Thank you thank you for both.

Hope it's a good and peaceful Thursday for you!
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From:stateless82
Date:September 11th, 2009 05:51 am (UTC)
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The transformed gold is lovely, but Tim!
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From:laurawise
Date:September 11th, 2009 10:03 am (UTC)
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I'm glad you liked the magic bits, Susan! And, well, Tim's not having a great afternoon, it's true...

Hugs and thanks!
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From:mobile_alh
Date:September 11th, 2009 06:47 am (UTC)
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Um. Yis. What they all said. And EEEEEEPPPPPP!
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From:laurawise
Date:September 11th, 2009 10:02 am (UTC)
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Thank you thank you, ALH, for the all-caps and the lovely response. [beams] Thank you thrice!
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From:pinkdormouse
Date:September 12th, 2009 08:20 pm (UTC)
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Awesome cliffhanger (pardon the pun)...
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From:laurawise
Date:September 12th, 2009 09:50 pm (UTC)
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The literal/metaphoric combination of 'cliffhanger' is absolutely intended. :-)

Thank you thank you for reading, Dormouse!

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