I’ve been writing up a storm with AngelFire. In the last week I’ve written 10,000 words, after a decade where I hardly wrote at all. It’s marvellous. At this rate I’ll have finished AngelFire by the end of the year. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves!
Here’s a snippet from the first chapter of AngelFire. I hope you like it.
There was a rustle in the undergrowth
under the great trees. The forest was usually
silent, all noise swallowed up by the thick carpet of slender tan and sepia
leaves underneath the giant falcs, except for the shrill calls of
brightly coloured parrots, the occasional cry of an animal under the claws and
teeth of a predator, the grunt of bush-pigs or baboons. He already knew enough to know that, and the
noise intrigued, though it did not alarm him.
He turned his eyes — a clear grey with a touch of blue — towards the
noise, and waited. There was again a
stillness, the windless silence of a vast forest, broken only by the chatter of
a family of scarlet parakeets. He
watched the place where the noise had come from for many heartbeats and his
lips curved in a smile of sheer pleasure.
Everything was so beautiful. He
had never seen such exquisite loveliness before. He was filled with joy at the magnificence of
the forest, at the layer of brown leaves on the ground, and the flaking bark of
the trees, each peeling of the brown outer layer revealing a different green
layer underneath. He walked forward,
towards the bushes the noise had come from.
They were covered with berries, some black and glossy, others a dark
red, and still others a thin translucent pink.
He quickly found that the black berries were sweet with a delicious tart
after-taste, but that the others were too sour to be eaten with pleasure. He ate until he was full. He hadn’t known he was hungry. He hadn’t even known the word, or what it
meant, but as he ate, it came into his head.
He felt himself observed and looked
up. From within the bushes, a pair of
perfect pale gold eyes with vertical slits of ebony were watching him, eyes set
in a face covered in short glossy black fur.
He laughed in pleasure, and reached out his hand towards the face and it
was abruptly gone. The smile left his
eyes, and for an instant there was fear, perhaps, or sorrow, but that too
vanished. He started striding over the
soft carpet underfoot, with every appearance of knowing exactly where he was
heading, though he could not have explained where, or even the concept, if you
had asked him.
He came upon a stream in the crook of a
valley, crystalline water dripping over dark branches and twigs, and cupping
his hands he drank his fill. He noticed
paw prints almost as large as his hand in the mud, one filling with seeping
water as he watched, and again he smiled, his eyes shining with happiness. All was new.
He kept walking, sometimes loping
through the airy halls of the falc forest, at other times, stopping to
eat more fruit, or mushrooms he found growing underneath the giant trees on
fallen branches or the rotting trunks of some forest monarch brought down by a
storm. He seemed to know which fungi
were edible and safe, and which were to be avoided. His path took him ever northwards, towards a
goal he couldn’t name, a place and people he didn’t know. He did not follow an undeviating line,
though, turning often aside to avoid steep cliffs or thickets of thorn bushes
covered with sweet-scented white flowers.
From time to time, he was aware of being watched, but he had no fear,
only a fine patience that this too would become clear in time. All was new and wonderful. He trusted because he had not been taught