I couldn’t think of a blog post this week. So, here’s what would have been the beginning of my novel, The Western Sunrise, if I hadn’t cut it. This scene won’t be in it but the characters and world will be the same.
Soran gazed at the western sunrise. A strong wind ruffled the feathers of his robe and blew ripples in the violet waves of grain. Black hair, braided and matted like tentacles, danced in the breeze. He spat out whatever strands drifted into the creases in his lips and the holes in his nose.
Sharp angles the same shade as his hair contoured his vermilion cheeks which matched his feather coat. Bony pieces of various animals, too small to be useful, rattled on a string around his neck. Dirt sifted between his toes and the morning dew was cool under his feet.
Red eyelids closed over rings of gold with illuminated specks of sunshine sprinkled across their diameters. He filled his lungs with air. Black lips rested on one another in a straight line. Somewhere deep within him, vibrations permeated through his nerves.
Once, he was a prodigy. He might not have been the youngest of his tribe to call himself shaman but no one alive could remember one younger. A few years ago, he would have been able to feel the rotation of his planet and its orbit around its star and point out with the accuracy of a spear flinger his exact location in his galaxy.
Now, he could only detect the residual vibrations of the closest matter to him. He may as well have been a novice all over again. He knew in his heart that he had no business joining a hunt but he couldn’t bring himself to admit that to the rest of the hunting party.
“Do you sense anything?” Tren, one of the hunters accompanying the shaman, asked.
“I just need a moment,” Soran answered.
Tren, like his fellows, wore a knee length garment of woven red linen with no sleeves. Streaks of red and black once covered his arms like rusted iron deposits in the onyx mountains to the east but now the red had faded to the color of the soft wood beneath a tree’s bark. He carried a spear three quarters of his height and its flinger dangled from the rope he wore as a belt.
Five men, not counting Soran, stood around Tren. The red and black of youth still covered every inch of their exposed skin in twisting streams. Sap from the weaver trees held their hair out of their faces and up in spikes like the ends of a ball barb plant.
“We don’t want to be out here all day,” a man who looked much like Tren said.
“It’s going to take as long as it takes,” Soran told him.
Soran’s physical form and the world it clung to faded like mist away from his conscious mind. He no longer felt the breeze through his matted locks or the moist ground under his feet. Tren’s next comment fell on his ears but his mind only heard the buzzing of ambient energy.
He fell. Or rather, when his conscious mind left his body, the sensation of falling overcame him. Gravity lost its hold on him, he had no form for it to grasp. His stream of consciousness flowed through the hidden dimensions of what sentient beings called reality.
Waves washed over him in every color of the rainbow and a few his physical eye couldn’t detect. The grass that had been the color of amethyst but now it radiated the spectrum. The waves of the sun beat down the hardest and its energy sizzled through the air.
The hunting party ceased to be solid creatures and became patterns of thought clinging to the probability of being alive. Thoughts of hunger and boredom and anticipation cycled through to start again. They rippled out and converged, bouncing off one another back to the source.
Vibrating strands of the energy that made up reality wove together. Soran pushed his consciousness out from the strands that made up the prison of his physical body. His stream of thoughts ran into the crossing strands.
His mind tried to bludgeon through the waves of reality with his own energy, it just bounced off the hidden strands. He pushed harder. The energy seared through his mind like lightning.
The immediate strands gave him nothing, the purple grass, the breathing of his hunting mates, the air around him, but nothing he could use. His face was stone, he didn’t betray anything to the hunters. But, behind the curtain of reality, he bashed his ethereal head on the wall of energy.
His vision, if it could truly be called vision, blurred. He could no longer tell what frequencies the strands occupied. He pushed the vibrations. Though he was but a cloud of thought, he felt his own energy heating like the morning sun.
“Soran.” A stream of thoughts collided with his own. It didn’t say the word, but Soran’s mind understood the meaning of the vibration.
“Who’s here?” Soran’s consciousness called out.
“Soran,” the presence insisted.
“Whoever you are, this tribe is under my protection,” Soran pushed.
“Soran!” The force of the voice pushed Soran’s mind back to his body.
Soran’s body jerked, a shock traveled into his brain and out through all of his extremities. His eyes blinked open. His whole body still felt warm from the energy of the higher dimensions. No, not from his journey, this felt physical rather than spiritual.
Tren stood in a haze of black smoke. His hands pressed into Soran’s shoulders. He sent waves of energy into Soran’s motionless body. Soran’s head shook back and forth. Acrid smoke scratched at his eyes and tears formed in their edges.
“The field is on fire,” Tren said.
Soran stood up and pushed Tren’s arms away. His golden eyes widened and his nostrils flared. His body forced air into and out of his lungs without his mind’s consent. His muscles tightened and tried to stabilize him as the world spiraled around him.
“Are you back with us?” Tren asked.
“The field is on fire,” Soran said.
“I just told you that,” Tren said.
Soran looked around. He couldn’t see the sky so he didn’t know how long he had been attuned to the higher dimensions. He couldn’t see the other hunters. He couldn’t even see the violet waves of grain that always grounded him. But, he could smell the smoke and the heat of the flames.