Thursday, December 13, 2007

Friday Snippet, December 14, 2007

This snippet takes up where the last one left off.

First draft. Please do not quote or repost anywhere. Thanks!

Hedi gave her a raised eyebrow. “You are a funny sister.”

Sabri watched as Hedi gave her skirts a jerk to straighten the folds of cloth. The thought came to her that Hedi didn’t have a sense of humor. Sabri stored that thought away for future reference. She studied her sister. Hedi had blond hair that she wore pulled back from her face, secured by a barrette and allowed to fall in loose coils on the back of her neck. She wore a green jacket and skirt to complement her eyes, and she sat in a composed, poised manner on the carriage seat, as if others might be watching.

Mother sat opposite, facing them. She wore blue, her blond hair lightly streaked with silver. She exuded a sense of comfort and serenity. A feeling moved in Sabri’s throat—a fleeting emotion difficult to identify—joy? fear? hope? The sudden desire to touch Mother made Sabri’s hand give an involuntary twitch.

The carriage started with a jerk, nearly dumping Mother in the girls’ lap. She made a sound of annoyance. “I don’t know what possessed your father to buy that team.”

Sabri peered out the small window as the horses drew the carriage to the end of a long, winding drive. The carriage turned out onto a road of pressed dirt and scattered shale. She could see the manor at the other end of the driveway. Square, three stories, built of a light-colored, hewn stone. The windows sparkled in the late morning sun.

The carriage lurched over a protruding stone in the road. For a moment, Sabri had a vision of a carriage running on a smooth black surface with nothing pulling it along. She frowned, and the vision left.

“Girls, a word of caution,” Mother said. “You’re not to give Winn Miller any excitement at all, do you hear? He’s to have bedrest for at least a week, or the doctor says his fever may rise to a dangerous level.”

“If he has a fever, why are we going?” Sabri asked. “What if we catch what he has?”

Mother stared at Sabri, and Hedi gave a faint shriek. “Mother, we won’t catch anything, will we? I have my coming out party. I can NOT have a fever and be in bed just now.”

“You needn’t worry you’ll get sick,” Mother said. “The doctor has said Winn is not infectious, or you can be sure we wouldn’t step foot in the house. We will do our duty.”

Since she could think of no way to answer that, Sabri kept silent through the rest of the drive. The carriage stopped in front of a house much smaller than the manor, but still built with the same light-colored stone and appealing to the eye.

Several people emerged from the house, many of them children. Dogs surrounded the people and the carriage. The driver jumped down from his seat and opened the door for them.

Sabri waited for the driver to hand out Mother and Hedi, then jumped from the carriage on her own. One of the dogs sniffed at her hand and let out a mournful howl. The other dogs picked up the sound and amplified it until the whole of the yard sounded like an eerie dirge.

“Siles, what are you about!” A boy with flyaway brown hair yelled at the offending dog. He turned an apologetic face to Sabri. “Sorry, he’s never done that before.”


Joely Sue Burkhart said...

Animals always know when something isn't quite right! Nice job.

IanT said...

Yeah - liked the dog's reaction, that's a nice touch.

And it works well having Sabri new to the world, because then she really _looks_ at people and things, giving you a chance to describe them. Having a stranger in a strange land as your main viewpoint works well when you're trying to introduce new worlds.

Gabriele C. said...

Hm, I wonder if his illness is really so harmless. ;)

Liked the dog, too.

Joy Renee said...

curiouser and curiouser.

can't wait to turn the page