All right. Go ahead. Yell at me.
Now that that’s out of the way, I’d just like to say how completely and unequivocally sorry that I am for not posting for… what has it been? Way too long, that’s what it’s been.
But you guys! You see, I’ve got excuses! Excuses, you say? But Eden, what could ever entice us to forgive you for this terrible lapse in posting?
Ah, good readers, I believe I have the very thing. As many of you undoubtedly know, Camp NaNoWriMo has been taking place, and will continue to take place, all throughout the month of April, and I’ve been taking part in it. My goal was 50,000 words, as it always is for NaNoWriMo in November, and I’m happy to say that yesterday, I met it! I can now boast the fact that I have a 51,082 word long, 3/4 of the way finished, poorly written, riddled with plot holes so big a semi truck could drive through them manuscript sitting ridiculously proudly in one of my Open Office folders! *Throws confetti and cries tears of joy*. I’ve been working a retelling of the fairytale Puss in Boots with several noticeable twists; namely, that instead of a bossy pussy cat as the title character, I have replaced him with an equally bossy fox who isn’t quite a fox at all. As I said, this WIP is all in shambles, but even so, I have decided to give you all a little taste, as a sort of reward for having to wait so annoyingly long for another one of my rambling sessions. Because I know you’re all just dying to read this thing.
I’ll give you a brief background for this particular excerpt. Elinor and Fox, best friends since as early as they can remember, are travelling through their country to find a pair of something-magical-infused boots that are supposed to break Fox’s curse─ the curse being that, as long as the sun is up, Fox is forced to inhabit the body of an actual fox, instead of his natural human form. While a fox, he can only speak to Elinor through their minds, which is at once slightly annoying and helpful. Along the way the meet some… interesting people. I hope this helps!
Please feel more than welcome─my polite little way of asking you; wasn’t that nice of me? Do I get a cookie?─to leave any recommendations, or corrections, or things that were awful, or (heaven forbid) things that you liked down in the comments below. And now, ladies and gentlemen, without further ado… Elinor and Fox!
A crash sounded in the underbrush just a few feet to their left, followed by a muffled grunt, causing her horse to rear up wildly. She screamed as she slid backwards and grabbed─in almost as frantic a way as the rabbits had run─ at the reigns; she heard a thud as Fox went flying out of the saddle behind her and onto the ground and screamed once more, this time his name. With a sharp yank she got all four of her mounts hooves once more upon the ground and she dismounted hurriedly, a feeling of dread growing in her stomach. “If you’ve gone and got yourself offed, Fox, I’ll─ I’ll─” she darted around her horse, who still pranced in an agitated manner, and then stopped dead in her tracks.
Fox was very much still alive─ was in fact squirming a kicking and yipping in a way that made him seem even more alive than usual─ and was also held tightly in the arms of a very small, very dirty, very wild looking little boy who was sitting on his bottom in the dirt.
Elinor, get me out of this creature this instant! Fox yelled in her head, even as he nipped at the little boy’s arm, eliciting a yell out of him.
“Don’t bite children, Foxy!” She responded, fighting valiantly to control a very disrespectful laugh that was threatening to bubble up out of her any second now. “It isn’t nice, and you might hurt him!”
I might hurt him? Do you see what the heathen is doing to me? He said indignantly.
The laugh was dangerously close to the surface, so to make up for it, she said a few pretty things. Alright, hold on. I’ll see what I can do.
The wild child was now holding Fox around the middle with one skinny little arm, and clutching his furry head with the other; he made odd little noises that were somewhere between coos, grunts, and growls as he did so, leaning in every so often to place a sloppy kiss over Fox’s ear or nose or eye. It did look uncomfortable, she thought, but that didn’t mean she couldn’t enjoy watching it happen.
Elinor crouched down so that she was at the same level as the boy and craned her neck to get his attention. He blithely ignore her, and continued his torturous administrations. “Er, hello─ little boy? Would you mind terribly setting my friend down? You’re hurting him, I think, and definitely making him unhappy. It would be very kind of you if you did so.”
The little boy at last looked up, gave her a huge, toothless grin, and pointed over her shoulder. “Horse.” He said, and then went back to his attack.
She glanced in the direction in which he had pointed, then gave a yelp of her own when she realised that her horse had wandered away. She stood, fast as lightning, and bolted after it, at last catching up with it several yards away from Fox and the dirty little child. Panting, she snatched the reigns and led it back at a much more sedate pace to where she had previously been crouched. After a quick glance to be sure that Fox and the boy were where she had left them─ they were, and Fox was now being tickled on the stomach, much to the amusement of both she and the boy, though not to him if his shouts of Elinor help were any indication─ she tied the reigns to the trunk of a sturdy young sapling and reluctantly turned back to the scene of the crime.
Looks like force is needed, she thought, darting in and grabbing the little boy under the shoulders and lifting him up off of the ground. Fox tumbled out of his lap and ran, faster than she had ever seen him run, to hide behind her horse’s legs.
The boy was remarkably light, and so she simply held him dangling there at eye level, the both of them looking at each other solemnly. He was naked except for a tattered little pair of brown trousers; he was almost twig-like in his skinniness, his ribs sticking out sharply, elbows akimbo, and his bare feet kicked at her in a benevolent way; mud smeared him all over, even matting his shaggy, mud-colored hair that was long enough that it fell into his blue eyes and sought to cover them. The bite on his arm from Fox was red but not bleeding, which served to satisfy Elinor that she wouldn’t have to yell at Fox later.
She broke the silence first.
“What’s your name, little boy?” she asked him in a calm voice, not wanting to frighten him into jerking out of her arms and getting himself hurt. Though, when she thought about it, it did seem unlikely that this little monster got frightened so much as he was the one doing the frightening.
He gave her that odd, adorable grin, almost like an old man in its toothlessness but youthful with its crooked slant and dimpled cheeks. “Whatname,” he cooed in a peculiar, gravelly, husky little voice.
She smiled at him despite herself. “That’s what I mean. What is your name?”
“Whatname.” he said again, smiling even bigger and wriggling to be set down.
Elinor complied, but kept one hand upon the top of his head. He barely came up to the middle of her thigh, and looked up at her with a look that she found disconcertingly close to devotion. “Alright, Whatname. Now, where do you live?”
Why does it matter where the monster lives? Just let go of him and let’s be on our way, Fox complained from behind her. She turned and sent him a glare over her shoulder, drawing amusement from the fact that he still cowered behind the black legs of the horse.
So, that was it? What did you think? Groundbreaking? Hideous? I’d love to know!
I promist that I’ll have a normal, actual-book related post in the next few days, I just wanted to put up this one to tide you all over.