Friday, March 21, 2008
Thought I would offer one more teaser this week from Daffodil, coming March 28 from Ellora's Cave!
Raulf made the turn onto Sher Wood Road well after the sun rose flashing across the sky. Far off to the left light glittered on the sea that separated Avalon from Chrystal Isle. Seagulls screamed above the cliffs that bordered the sea as they dipped and dived for the scraps on the narrow rocky beach below.
Twenty minutes later as they were passing a surprisingly tidy cluster of cottages, the power bike sputtered once, twice and then died. Raulf had the presence of mind to stop on the first halting cough thereby preventing them from tumbling to the ground but it was clear that the power bike had something seriously wrong with it.
With a disgruntled curse he dismounted and surveyed the tiny village as he yanked the creased map out of the bag hanging from the bike and tried to figure out exactly where they were. If he was reading the map correctly, the village wasn’t even marked on it.
“Why don’t we go ask someone where we are?” Daffodil asked tentatively.
“No! I’ll figure it out in a minute!” Raulf tapped the map with a long impatient finger. “We just passed the lighthouse. And we haven’t reached the fire tower… So we should be right here at this funny squiggle and this village is not supposed to be here!”
“I’ll go ask,” Daffodil offered as she prepared to hop off the bike.
“No! Real men don’t ask for directions!”
“If I ask, then it will be all right,” Daffodil pointed out in a calm reasonable tone. “Not even the dumbest person could mistake me for a man.”
“Maybe if you were alone. But you’re my woman and everyone will know that you’re really asking because I’m lost. No. I’ll take care of everything myself. Stay with the bike.”
Raulf stomped off to the nearest cottage where two little tow-headed girls were playing jacks on the stoop. “What’s wrong, mister? Ya lost?” the older one demanded in a high piping voice.
He cringed and replied firmly, “No. I am looking for your blacksmith.”
“Don’t have one mister,” the other little girl imparted with a gap-toothed smile. “Da says it’s a pain in the ass but no one wants to work in the middle of nowhere.”
A stocky woman rushed onto the porch and snatched the girls up, shoving them behind her. “Who are you? What are you doing with my girls? Did he hurt you?” she demanded as she patted them worriedly with one hand.
“First of all, madam, I did nothing to your daughters. Secondly, I’m looking for a blacksmith to repair my power bike so that my mate and I can continue our journey.” Harassed and tired, Raulf waggled his index finger at the woman. “And thirdly, I don’t hurt children—boys or girls!”
“Mate, huh?” The woman scrutinized Daffodil, noting the wild golden curls and revealing short skirt and tight blouse. No better than she should be was her assessment. If these two were mated, she was a fricasseed dragon. “Last house on the left is where Vinnie lives. He can call someone to take your bike to Ship Town.” She dragged the girls inside and slammed the door shut behind her.
With a shrug Raulf turned away and stalked down to the last house on the left, mounted the steps and pounded on the door. Eventually, a burly bald man with a jagged scar running down the left side of his face opened the door. After Raulf explained his problem, the man opened the door and invited him in. “Probably the best thing would be to have Greenbeard take you over to Ship Town,” the man grunted. “I’ll call his communicator and see how far away he is.”
Greenbeard agreed to deliver Raulf, Daffodil and the powerbike to Ship Town and confirmed a pickup location with Vinnie. Then Vinnie and Raulf took on the arduous task of carting the bike down the cliff to the beach while Daffodil waited up on top. As Raulf pointed out, he had enough to deal with without worrying about her falling down the cliff too.
Daffodil was tempted to tell him what to do with himself, the cliff and the bike. She refrained mostly because she was well aware that men have no coping mechanisms other than sex to deal with life’s little problems. She was in no mood to accommodate him at the moment. So while Vinnie and Raulf wrestled with the power bike, Daffodil perched uneasily on their baggage at the top of the cliff, keeping an eye out for Greenbeard’s ship.
About the time that Vinnie and Raulf reached the beach, Daffodil spied a ship with green sails off the coast of Chrystal Isle. She heard Raulf shout and then saw Vinnie pointing out to sea. With surprising speed, the ship approached the beach where Vinnie waited while Raulf trudged back up the steep trail, no doubt to retrieve the baggage and herself. Daffodil was ready when he reached the top, baggage neatly stacked at the trailhead except for her own pack which was strapped on her back.
“You’re ready.” Raulf’s face, pink with light sunburn and exertion betrayed his surprise. “Great!”
Without a word, Daffodil began the descent, leaving Raulf to deal with the rest of the bags. After all, as he had taken great pains to point out, he was the man and he was in charge. Fine.
Drop by Amarinda's Place and Kelly's Blog to start your day off right at www.kkirch.blogspot.com and www.amarindajones.blogspot.com Blessings on your DAY!