Colleen from Silver Threading kindly set me this intriguing challenge. The rules are simple:
Post a photo each day for five consecutive days, and tell a story about each photo. The story can be truth or fiction, poetry or prose. Each day one must also nominate a fellow blogger to participate in the challenge.
I cheated a little today, or maybe I should say you get two pieces of writing instead of one – it has a better ring to it.
I thought of Maddison when I looked at the picture, and so I decided to write an extension to one of my scenes from The Contract. The part in italic is from the novella, a bonus extract if you will! The rest I wrote for the final part of the challenge.
Before we begin, I’d just like to thank Colleen for the opportunity. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the writing practice and hope you’ve enjoyed reading my pieces for the five day challenge.
Background information: Maddison is a hunter. She accepts an assignment which, for her, should have been a walk in the park. But it quickly becomes clear there are other factors at play. In the following scene, she is blowing off some steam with fellow hunter, and friend, Riley (who is a werewolf).
“I have a feeling things are about to get complicated.”
He relaxed into a grin. Riley liked complicated, perhaps too much. “Do you want some back up?”
“Not right now.” Her gaze roamed the table. “But I’ll let you know if I’m in a tight spot.” He was one of the few hunters she trusted with her life. Before joining forces with Jonas and the others, she’d worked almost exclusively with Zachariah. Riley was one of the exceptions.
“Not hungry?” he asked, when she made no move to retrieve her plate.
He smiled, all teeth and testosterone. “Do you want to blow off some steam?”
The way her thoughts circled back to Tobias pissed her off. She wanted to hit something. “What did you have in mind?”
“I’ll race you to the Golden Arches,” Riley said, without hesitation. “Winner gets the prize.”
Her brows shot up. “What’s the prize?”
“The satisfaction of the chase.” His expression told her it should have been obvious.
She snorted. “Please, I could beat you blind-folded.”
“You keep telling yourself that.” His eyes brightened to sharp orange as he allowed his animal to surface.
Challenge sang through her. She couldn’t outrun him in wolf form, but she had a few tricks. “Okay. Deal.” She pushed up from her chair. “Let’s go.”
They walked in silence through the old building, down the once stately corridors and out through the marble covered entrance. Merc Hall, as she liked to call it, was situated in the centre of thirteen portals. Of course, to the unseeing eye, those portals were mundane looking street signs, but their location came in handy.
Thanks to a sorcerer with a unique sense of humour, gateways to arcane dimensions were only accessible by passing beneath directional signposts. Given their visibility, it made passage impossible without a cloaking spell. Tonight, Maddy stepped under the worn, degraded metal without giving it a second thought. It was a ghost town.
“I’ll give you a head start,” Riley growled, as soon as the forest emerged.
“Not going to need it.” Without looking at him, she sprinted across the soft, brown earth, chased by the sound of his laughter.
The thundering sound of Firmani Falls soon drowned out the echo of his mirth; a beautiful, natural creation which, to Maddison created an intriguing juxtaposition for what lay behind the waterfall. The hidden caves were home to the Nrikabats, a particularly foul species of demon. With any luck they would encounter a scout in the area. She was feeling mean.
Maddison didn’t waste any time. As soon as she reached the turbulent water she dove in; her suit adjusting to the temperature. It also acted as camouflage, the colour mimicking the light and shadows so Maddison blended with the environment.
Try tracking my scent now, wolf-man.
With an almost leisurely grace, she kicked her legs to go deeper. Maddison felt vibrations tickle her skin; a sensation which made her teeth rattle the moment she was beneath the fast flowing spray.
As she broke the surface at the other side, she realised her mistake. Her ears were still ringing with the ferocious music of the Falls. It cost her. She felt Riley’s firm grip around her ankle and knew she was going back under.
Her hair moved differently below the water, though the braid still found its target; fastening itself around Riley’s forearm to prevent his escape. The power of the spray sent them tumbling together, round and round in a crazy whirlpool.
They broke the surface with a cough and a splutter, circling each other; legs and arms weak from exertion. The water it seemed, was feeling cruel too.
Maddison, who still held Riley’s wrist, yanked playfully before releasing him. “Why did you stop? You could have been halfway to the Arches by now?” she asked, kicking her way to the embankment.
“This was more fun.” Riley’s eyes narrowed. “But you have something on your mind, otherwise you wouldn’t have made a mistake.”
“Relax.” Maddison pulled herself out of the water, scanning the area before she turned back to him. “It was just a warm up.” She pointed to the ground, twirling her index finger in a deceptively lazy movement.
The water around Riley began to churn creating a powerful vortex. “You never should have stopped,” she said with a wicked grin, and set of running. This time it was Maddison’s laughter stretching out along her path, in response to Riley’s howl of frustration.