Tuesday, October 12, 2010

BattleBow

Hey, all. It's been a while. I've stopped writing for a short time, trying to find the will to finish a book. And I'm going to; I'm counting on all of you to help me with that. The one I hope to finish is BattleBow. It's the one with the least plot problems and most ideas... but it's one of the least written. I hope you like what I've got so far; the prologue.

Though Bo Hanssen sat completely motionless, he bobbed up and down with the waves beneath him. It was on dark, near-silent nights like this that he could pretend no one else existed. With his back to the shore, his boat pointed towards the North Star, and his rod in his hands – the water black and rippling, the moon and stars high and bright with not a cloud to hide them – yes, it was nights like this that he could almost forget the arthritis clasping his fingers, or the cold that stiffened his knees.
It had been nearly forty years since Bo, at age seventeen, left his birthplace of Switzerland for Belle Isle, Canada. From that moment on, he lived alone, talking to no one but himself, the fish, and the Lord. He could not imagine anything else.
Hanssen sighed and looked up to the stars, focusing on the belt of Orion. The tiny row pointed directly to the middle star in the Orion’s bow, which seemed to be brighter than normal. This strange phenomenon had occurred for the third night, and in all his years spent fishing, Bo had never seen anything like it.
His attention was turned when a shooting star flared to the north, briefly passing in front of the North Star. Unlike most shooting stars, it remained visible until it passed the horizon, growing brighter as it fell. The same instant the light disappeared, a splash from somewhere north east of Hanssen reached his ears. He strained through the darkness to see any movement, slowly reeling in his line and laying the rod beside him. “Hej?” he called out hesitantly. “Is anyone there?”
Silence. Then there was the sound of soft, weak paddling.
Vem är du? Are you alright? Who is it?”
“Help…”
The word was faint, whispered. As if the speaker were exhausted.
Bo did not move. His compassion went out to the man in the dark, but he could not trust him. “Come closer,” he said slowly, though the man had not stopped paddling.
“Please…” the voice wheezed. He coughed quietly, a deep, rattling cough.
A small canoe-shaped craft bumped up against Hanssen’s dinghy. The man aboard was lying on his stomach, and Bo could barely see him as he rolled over on his side. Instead of sitting up, he pushed himself halfway upright. Then he lifted an object about the size of a grown man’s torso and struggled to hold it over the gap between boats.
Cautiously, Hanssen received the object with both hands. It felt like a container of sorts, made of some soft, stiff material. Watching the dark shadow of the canoe through the corner of his eye, he fumbled with the latch on top and rolled back the lid. “Gode Gud,” he breathed.
Inside were two infant girls. Both around seven months of age, with dark, curly hair.
With a jerk, he looked to the man in the boat. He rose up, and with one hand clasped to his chest, he touched two fingers to the forehead of one girl. “Rada,” he whispered, “the comforter.” His fingers moved to the other. “Alexis. The protector. Take… care of them. Keep them safe. Send… send them back to us.”
Bo opened his mouth to ask something, anything that might find its way to his tongue. But nothing came out.
And even if something had, he wouldn’t have had the time to utter it. As soon as he finished, the man reared back. Light flashed off an object in his hands, and the sound of splintering wood nearly deafened Hanssen’s old ears. Water poured in around the man’s canoe while he sat motionless in the middle. “Orio…” His voice echoed across the water as his boat steadily sank, bouncing back as he disappeared beneath the waves.
Bo shouted. At least, he did inside. Outwardly, he looked down at the strange basket and stared at the two girls, trying to articulate a thought that would still his mind. Nothing came.
He stroked one soft, plump cheek with his thumb and a tiny sigh came from her lips. “Where did you come from, eh, sweet girl?”
Her only response was a bubbling sound. She turned her head and latched onto his thumb, gnawing gently with a speck of a tooth. Bo’s aged face broke out into a smile. “I could get used to this, lilla.”


~Charli Rae

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