Greetings people of the internet! This is chapter 2 of my fantasy novel The Walk of Shadows, in all its 340 word glory. It’s a very short and descriptive piece that gives you the slightest of glimpses into the story. I haven’t posted chapter 1, and I don’t plan to, as I’m going to try to get it published once it’s finished, but you don’t need to read it to follow and enjoy this passage. I would appreciate any and all comments and feedback.
Chapter 2: Footsteps
The unmistakable sound of footsteps broke through the ever-thickening haze of Nyx’s mind. She shivered as she forced herself to sink into the protective embrace of the shadow for the briefest of moments, but the effort was too much to maintain. Her will softened and the blistering heat of the summer’s day blanketed her as she became visible once more.
The footsteps came to a sudden stop and she tried to open her eyes; to see what new nemesis this hateful city had conjured, but even that was too much for her ruined body. The pain, at least, was fast fading into nothingness. Blood still flowed relentlessly through fingers clutched to the side of her neck, but she was cold now, a frightening cold that had nothing to do with her gift. She was only vaguely aware of the strong arms enveloping her, lifting her into the air and pulling her close. The world had distorted and she hovered weightlessly between sleep and reality.
I must have fallen asleep outside again, she thought. There was a voice. It seemed very far away and it didn’t sound at all like her mum, but who else could it be? It sounded worried. Nyx wanted to tell her that everything would be okay, that she barely felt the pain at all now, but the words simply wouldn’t come, she was just too tired.
How did I hurt myself? She wondered, absently. There was a guard, wasn’t there? And a sword? No. Why would a guard want to hurt a nine year old girl? I must have fallen over. I’ll be alright now mum’s here.
A small smile played upon the nine year old’s face as the man rushed her through the city streets. He yelled at some people to move and shoved others out the way, his face a picture of anguish. But Nyx knew nothing of this. Instead, she allowed herself to slowly drift into the darkness – away from those unforgiving streets, away from the sadness, the hunger and the pain.
As always, your feedback is welcome and appreciated. For our thoughts on what the professionals can do, have a look at our reviews of the short stories The Slow Regard of Silent Things and The Ice Dragon. For more short form fantasy we also have The Yesterday Key.