Landfall: Chapter 1 Preview

 

Yes, it’s true! I DO in fact write other things aside from flash fiction and overly-verbose intros and outros to blog posts! Landfall is the book I’m currently writing as a continuation of Garamoush and is the first of three (yes, I will need to update Landfall’s information page on that) “prequel” books that are followed by the three “present day” books, of which Garamoush is the first. In other words, think of the Star Wars or Lord of the Rings/Hobbit trilogies. Except nowhere near as good as those.

Well, maybe the Star Wars prequels. We shall see!

Anyway, as I labour like an ox grinding the millstone, I figure I would start to deposit little grains of chapters here for proof that I’m not just a robot that’s hooked up to an ADHD machine contracted to write overly long blog posts.

Also, it’s cool to see how people are liking the work or what their thoughts are on it. That too.

 

 

Have fun with this bit of Chapter 1~

 


 

 

 

Chapter 1

 

“You said she only had one arm when you found her?” Fredrick asked. He leveled the saw against one of the planks, the iron teeth ready to bite.

“Yes,” William said. He corrected Fredrick’s aim by pointing another inch down the plank.

“And she was missing her left foot?” Fredrick continued. He re-adjusted the saw and started to work into the wood.

William groaned. “Yes. Do you want to know the exact shade of blue her skin was too? Or maybe what her corpse smelt like?”

“Easy, Will,” Fredrick said. He coughed and swatted anyway a thick cloud of sawdust. “I just want to know I’m building this right for her.”

William nodded. Fredrick was right, naturally. But it was hard to keep one’s spirit ups when they were building a coffin.

“You would figure we would have gotten tired of butchering each other after thirteen years,” William said with a sigh.

“The Westerners won’t stop until they’re dancing on all our ashes,” Fredrick said as he stood to wipe sweat from his brow.

And how are we Easterners any different? William thought. He considered saying it aloud but Fredrick looked rather disagreeable with that saw in hand.

“It’s the Southern Strain’s fault that this war is still going on,” said Fredrick.

“Why the South?” William asked. “They haven’t lifted a finger against either side.”

“Exactly,” Fredrick said. “The war wouldn’t have lasted more than a year or two after we closed our silver mines off from the West. That’s how the last war ended.”

“Really? I thought it ended because the bone-biting winter that killed thousands of people after they had their homes burned for three seasons straight.” William bit his lip to hide his smirk. He shouldn’t have been poking the bear of a man as he was but it was simply too much fun sometimes.

Fredrick only grunted. “If the Southern Strain didn’t let itself get occupied and its gold mines seized by the West, this would have been over years ago. A million people would be still be alive today.”

“We occupied parts of the South too,” William said. “After we realized there was more gold to take, we didn’t even give them a ‘good day’ as we trampled in.

“We only did so after they showed that they were no friends of the East,” Fredrick said.

“From what I heard, the South fighting off the West from occupying any further.”

“They’re fighting us too, keeping us from more mines and timber in their heartlands.”

“Maybe we should have just politely asked instead of ransacking their homes.”

“You give them too much credit as people,” Fredrick said.

William clenched his teeth, barely keeping himself from shouting to the high heavens. He breathed out of his nostrils, his anger sounding like a bull as he did. “Just keep sawing,” William sighed. “The Faithful need this by sundown for the service.”

“We’re making good time,” Fredrick said. “It’s barely midday.”

“We’ll be lucky to get this done at all if you keep up your yapping.”

William skirted past the timber and masonry that were gathered in clumps like snow, returning to his chair which sat under the shadow of the building. Spring may have been on its way but there was still a chill in the air. The warehouse was practically finished, set to be completed a week ahead of time, as was William’s norm, yet the site was still littered with enough materials to make building almost half over.

“Are you sure you don’t just want me to do it?” William asked. “Building things is something I’d like to think I’m good at.”

“It’s fine,” grunted Fredrick. “I volunteered to make it.” He paused, setting a new plank on the sawhorse. “I didn’t make you remember it all over again, did I?”

“You did,” William said. It had been a good day in that regard, all things considered. Even as he and Fredrick worked on the coffin for the poor girl, William had thought of her surprisingly little. Maybe it was the work that kept his mind occupied. Even if that work was mostly just criticizing Fredrick’s workmanship. William’s leg flexed. He looked down and almost expected to see the pale-blue corpse brushing up against his leg again, as it had done three days ago as he dangled his legs into the bay’s water. And that was one of his favourite places to sit, too… now it was just a spot of death and startled howling in his mind. “But it’s still fresh in my mind. Just buried. So I’m not remembering anything I’m not already all-too aware of.” William flinched as soon as Fredrick started sawing again. “And it’s not fine,” he added.

Fredrick looked up at him.

William stood up and walked over, keeping an eye on Fredrick’s large frame to serve as an anchor for his eyes. “You’re putting too much force into it. You’re not hacking meat with a cleaver. You’re trying to be precise.”

Fredrick shook his head. He kept his eyes on his work, growing more hunched the longer he went on, sawing through the pinewood until his arms bulged and turned red. William moved over to the pile of planks that Fredrick was slowly building. They were… acceptable. For a man who had never worked with wood before.

“You’re alright with this?” Fredrick said between grunts and wiping of sweat. “Using your building materials?”

William shrugged. He looked up at the stone warehouse. Rectangular. Two levels. Perfectly symmetrical. Built to last to the end of the world. Yes, definitely, his own handiwork. Overall, not much more wood was needed. All it needed was a freight window up top. “The warehouse can spare it,” he said. “It’s just wood.”

“Wood’s expensive,” Fredrick said. He spat a short curse as the teeth in the saw stalled deep in the wood. “With the war and all.”

“My employer ordered too much anyway,” William said, sitting down again. “He won’t miss it. He won’t even know where it went.” William tried to remember his name but quickly gave up. He wrote it down somewhere, he was sure. It’s not like it mattered- the man, who was from way up in the Sun District, had filled out all the right paperwork, paid his weight (which was substantial) in silver, and seemed content to wait until his warehouse was done. Just because he ordered too much lumber didn’t mean any of it had to be wasted.

Fredrick looked up at William, his short brown hair clinging to his forehead. He clenched his jaw and gave William a curt nod. It was his unique way of saying, ‘thank you.’

Whatever’s left would probably be a good source of firewood, William thought. And this spring is going to be a cold one. The piles of scrapped pale pine wood made neat mounds in his eyes. And wood is expensive. For a little while at least, William wouldn’t have to choose between getting a full meal at night and staying warm.

William shivered. The last of the winter chill was just starting to leave Harbiton and the shadow of the warehouse left him feeling chilled. Still, he didn’t want to move. It was quiet there, under the protective shade of the building. Even Harbiton’s tens of thousands which formed its mighty voice couldn’t reach so far into the Soaked District. All of the noise stayed on the higher tiers, in the taverns and inns which were noisily stuffed with sailors and natives. Down there by the jetties and docks, only the waves were the loudest thing in William’s ear.

There were no conceits in stone, no sideways glances nor snark in wooden beams and tiled ceilings. A building never cared about what kind of man was looking at it because they never looked back. They never sneered or laughed or made up jabs at a man’s weaknesses.

Buildings never called him “Cross-Eyed William” or “Cloudy-Eyes.”

 

 


 

 

That’s it! That’s all you get! Go home! Or, if you’re already home, stay home! It’s really friggin’ cold out right now.

That’s all I’m going to be uploading of Landfall for right now, partially because I don’t want to spoil things and partially because I write so much and so often that the editing process often gets shoved into the background. It’s entirely possible that there’s some kind of obvious errors lurking in the above passage but I didn’t see any pop out at me. Plus, I handed all of Chapter 1 as part of my final portfolio for senior writing seminar last semester so it had better not have any errors in it!

 

 

Good luck, you brave writer folk!

 

END TRANSMISSION.

 

 

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