“The Shadows Danced” First Look

“The Shadows Danced” First Look

“The Shadows Danced” is set for release on August 1st, 2017, but since it’s still a few months away, here’s a sneak peak.

From “The Shadows Danced”

“Really,” he insisted, “you don’t have to do all this for me.”

“It has been five harvests, Keeper!” Replied a tiny woman rushing about the house. “You should have told us you were coming. Maybe then you would have some proper arrangements. You’re not planning on staying out in that stable with your horses, are you?”

The old storyteller pushed a piece of potato from one side of his plate to the other. “Actually…”

“No!” interrupted the little woman, threateningly pointing a rolling pin at his chest. “You are not sleeping out in a hayloft like some kind of animal. Gesh can sleep with his father and I in our bed, and you can have his, as long as you’re here.”

“Really, I – ”

“Not another word, Keeper!” Her eyes glared in loving sternness.

The Keeper stabbed the piece of potato with his fork and lifted it to his mouth. “Thank you.” He said at last, and bit into the potato.

“Hmph.” Said the little woman, placing her hands on her hips. “That’s more like it.”

He swallowed the potato and smiled. “You haven’t changed a bit, Gh’rina.”

The little woman’s expression transformed in an instant as she frowned softly and leaned against a chair. “You know I don’t use that name anymore.”

“Right, right.” He tapped his head, “It’s this old mind of mine, can’t remember hardly anything at all these days.”

“Pff.” She replied with a timid smile, “You have a better memory than anyone I’ve ever known.”

“If you insist.” His eyebrows narrowed in thought, and he snapped his fingers, “Tresa!”

The woman smiled. “Trisa.”

“Of course, of course.” He said, waving a hand. “But I cannot look at you and not remember who you were all those years ago.”

She sighed. “I wish you would forget.”

He clicked his tongue. “Nonsense. Seeing you now, thinking of you all those years ago. It’s incredible how far you’ve come.”

Trisa smiled shyly. “Thank you, Keeper.”

In the blink of an eye her transformed expression returned to the kindly and stern look of a mother. “Gesh!” She called up the stairs.

The little boy ran down from his room into the warm kitchen.

“Gesh, the Keeper will be staying with us for a little while, and he will need your bed. You will sleep with your father and I as long as he is here.”

“What Keeper?” He asked, his eyes growing wide.

Trisa shot a questioning glance at the old man. “You haven’t told them?”

He shrugged. “I didn’t see any reason to.”

“Because you deserve a little respect!”

“Bah!” He answered jovially, “If I can’t keep the attention of a few children, I hardly deserve to be called Keeper anyway.” He looked at Gesh with a smile, “Let’s not tell any of the other children just yet. This is our secret.”

Gesh nodded.

Trisa shook her head. “You haven’t changed a bit either. You’re still the adventurous young man I knew all those years ago.”

The Keeper took a sip of water and sighed, “I do hope I’ve changed a little.”

“Oh, you know what I mean.”

He nodded, “Well, I do think it’s time to get back to the story.”

“Gesh, why don’t you go out and wait for the Keeper in the courtyard? I want to talk to him for a moment.”

The boy nodded and headed for the door.

“Remember!” The old man called after him, “Our secret.”

Gesh responded with a smile, and the door slammed shut behind him.

The Keeper took another sip of water and looked up at Trisa. Her eyes were fixed on some point in the distance, her face seemed pale.

“My dear, is there something wrong?”

The little woman leaned against the chair once more, still staring blankly at the wall. “Don’t tell him…” She began.

“Don’t tell who what?” He asked.

“Don’t tell my son who I was.” she replied, still staring at nothing.

“Gh’rina-”

“Don’t use that name!” She snapped, her face twisting in anger. A moment later her eyes relaxed. “I’m sorry, Keeper, I…” A tear slipped down her cheek. “I just – I don’t want him to be ashamed of me.”

The Keeper stood from his chair and gently placed a hand on the young woman’s shoulder. “Of course I won’t tell him. That is your choice, but my dear Trisa, there is nothing to be ashamed of. Nothing more than any of us. Your story is not shameful, it is a story of hope, and it should be told.”

The woman nodded, tears dripping onto the table. She took a ragged breath. “I know, I do. But what if he doesn’t understand? What if he just sees me as… as a monster?”

“Trust Aver, Trisa. He gave each of us our stories.” He patted her on the shoulder, “now, I really must go.”

Trisa nodded and wiped the tears from her eyes. “Of course, of course.”

The Keeper set his hand on the door and looked back, “Thank you for the meal.” He said, “I’m glad to see you again.”

Trisa smiled, her cheeks still stained from a few tears. “It is good to see you too.”

 

A few moments later the Keeper stood in front of the children once more.

“Now then, where were we?”

A chorus of answers echoed up from the children. “That witch was going to kill them!”

“Nuh-uh! She was gonna eat them! I know it!”

“It’s the same thing!”

“Oh!” The storyteller said, “I remember where we were now. Yes, yes. That’s right.

“Idri, the terrible old witch, stood atop the ancient tower, the cold wind blowing through her white hair…”

And that’s all for today!  If you want to hear the rest, look for “The Shadows Danced”  Set for release on August 1st!

Follow me on Twitter for more regular updates! @JChristopheEarl

-J. Christopher Earl

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