Fiction Friday: Riddle Me This

While I have been keeping on track with my writing so far this year (two days in, woohoo!), the parts I have been writing have not been very interesting or well written so I won’t be sharing any of that.

Over the Christmas period, I exchanged what I had so far with some friends and yesterday I risked a look back at some of the early chapters to see what they have to wade through. There is a lot of waffle but I feel there is quite a lot to work with which is always comforting. I figured I might as well share an excerpt from earlier on. Just as a bit of background, my antagonist Steven (who is a sorcerer) leaves taunting greeting cards in his wake with riddles in them and an almost prophetic picture on the front. This scene is of Emily discovering the second card…

I removed the paper, my fingers trembling just slightly. I knew that the card I had received before was folded up in my skirt pocket. This was something new. I frowned as I took it out fully. It was completely blank. There was a neat fold down the centre but no picture on the front or back. Upon opening it, there was more blankness but just as I was about to close it and turn it over once more, script began to appear in the centre.

To find the records you must seek,

go North unto a trail so bleak.

Beware the one who swore the pledge,

and lose two more beneath the edge.

It was the riddle that Carina had recited the moment she stopped being in possession of her own voice. Steven’s second riddle. I closed the card, regarding the front once more. Just as it had on the inside, an image blossomed across the parchment. Dark colours spread across the width of it, like ink in a bowl of water. It took a moment for the greys and blacks to form any kind of definition but as the last tendrils of liquid reached out to the edges of the parchment, I could make out the image clearly. It was some kind of obelisk. I had no idea of the scale but balanced on the tip seemed to be some kind of disc with a dome covering its area. It had been done im such a way as to be leaning up to see it, making it seem more imposing than perhaps it was. Maybe it was the Archives but somehow I knew that wasn’t the case.

The drab colour were suddenly disrupted by a drop of crimson right in the centre of the image. It expanded, distorting the picture beneath before being joined by another drop, then another. I looked up, knowing that I would see nothing but blue sky and then rubbed a hand across my face, panicked that the vibrant red was coming from me but my hand came back clear. As the picture began to be completely obscured by the red, I tried to rub it away, only serving to smear it even more. I pulled my fingers away but they held no trace of the colour. It began to drip off the card and soak into the grass under my feet, staining it a darker red.

“Emily, you ready?” My head shot up at Lucian’s call, seeing everyone already mounted and ready to move out. My voice caught in my throat as I stood frozen, the card in one hand and my other held out helplessly as I tried to quell the flow from ruining the lush grass. But as I looked back down, the red had vanished. The obelisk was clear and foreboding as before and the grass below showed no signs of ever being tarnished.

I made sure to swallow a few times, clearing my dry throat before responding. “Just checking supplies. Ready when you are.”

With a nod, he brought his horse around and everyone followed behind him in a line. I gave one last glance at the card, almost daring it to pull another trick on me before stashing it back in the saddle bag and climbing up to bring up the rear.


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