This is an early chapter from the novel I am working on, The Legend of Skara Brae.
1. I'm sorry it's in all caps. In MS Word, I have it in "Small Caps", and there's a reason for this. Each of the five sections of my book has an interchapter-- I try (try) to model them on Steinbeck. This is one of those interchapters. I take a lot of liberties with different fonts in my book, so the small caps is sort of a way to set the interchapters off.
2. This chapter is an attempt to lay out the setting and play with various symbols. If you have any ideas or suggestions, or if something isn't clear, could be phrased better, doesn't make sense, etc.-- PLEASE tell me! I promise I'll be respectful.
3. I will provide more background to anyone who wants it. I will provide more chapters, too, if anyone's interested.
"...Flee the minion. Be naked. Travel light. Because there will come catastrophe. Every night expect the flood, the earthquake, the fire, and think of the stock. Be in a position to lose nothing by it when the bombs fall..."
-Stanley Elkin, A Bad Man
SIX FIGURES RIDE ACROSS FORGOTTEN FIELDS. THEY ARE REFUGEES FROM TIMES AND PLACES IMMEMORIAL. THIS MASS OF WRETCHED REFUSE—THESE USED, BROKEN PEOPLE ARE COMING FOR... FOR WHAT? FOR WHAT THEY WILL, THEY RIDE SWIFTLY OVER HILL AFTER ROLLING HILL, THEIR HORSES BEAT A PATH THROUGH A VAST AND SHAPELESS PLAIN OF WHEAT.
THIS PLACE IS AN AEON CAPTURED IN A MOMENT; THE PRESENCE OF THIS PLACE, THE SUM OF TEN MILLION YEARS OF SLOW, STEADY PROGRESS. BUT EVEN THAT IS ACCIDENTAL—A TIRING, TORTURED CONCENTRATION OF CIRCUMSTANCE; OF CRUSHING ICE AND RUSHING WATER. THIS ARDENT, ACCIDENTAL STRUGGLE TOWARD DESTINY, LIKE A STUMBLING DRUNK LEAVING DEFT, DELIBERATE FOOTPRINTS IN THE SAND.
HERE STAND ROCKS REDUCED TO RUBBLE; RUBBLE DASHED TO DUST. AND HERE, AMID THE TEMPEST-TOSSED GRASSES, THE DUST IS PLAIN TO US, BUT THE WIND IS CONCEALED. IT IS ONLY IN MY MIND’S EYE THAT I SEE THE TRUE NATURE OF THIS PLACE: THIS GROUND OF SAND WAS ONCE A MOUNTAIN. THESE HILLS ARE THE RIPPLES ON A RIVERBED, THESE GRASSES THE ITENERANT SETTLERS IN A HARSH AND BARREN SARGASSO. HERE, A LAKE BREACHED ITS DAM A THOUSAND TIMES; HERE TORRENTS HAVE POURED OUT OVER THE THRISTY LAND TIME AND TIME AGAIN, CARVING IT LIKE A CARCASS.
AND THESE PEOPLE? THIS MASS OF MISPLACED MIGRANTS? WHAT PLAN PLOTS THEIR PROGRESS? BUT HERE, TOO, THERE IS NO DELIBRATION. THEY ARE THE FLOTSAM OF BROKEN SHORES; DRIFTWOOD UPON A VAST, UNEASY SEA. THEY HAVE COME FROM BROKEN FAMILIES, BROKEN HOMES AND CULTURES, BROKEN TIMES AND BROKEN PLACES. THEY TAKE FLIGHT TOWARD FANTASTIC FUTURES. THEY FLEE THE LAW; FLEE THE FORTUNATE, THE DESPERATE AND SLAIN; FLEE THE RESTRAINTS OF REFINED FREEDOM. AND HERE THEY HAVE ASSEMBLED, ON THE APPROACH TO THIS BROKEN CITY, WHERE THEY HAVE FOUND THEMSELVES AND BUILT THEIR OWN LIVES OUT OF SCRAPWOOD AND MUD.
THEY SEEK ADVENTURE, THESE OUTCASTS, OR GOLD, OR SPOILS, OR TALES OF SAME. THEY FLEE THEIR PAST IN ORDER TO UNLOCK THE SECRETS OF THEIR OWN HISTORY; THEY HAVE TRAVELED FAR.
AND NOW, THEY COME RIDING, RUSHING, TOWARD THE BROKEN WALLS OF SKARA BRAE. WITH EACH HOOFBEAT, GAINING FORCE; WITH EACH SWIRLING GUST OF WIND THEIR HURRICANE SOULS GATHER DETERMINATION, STRENGTH OF WILL. THEY GATHER WHAT THEY CAN AND LEAVE A TRAIL OF WASTE AND DEBRIS BUT THEY ARE HERE, THEY ARE ALIVE, THEY WILL KEEP MOVING.
THEY HAVE BEEN USED, BROKEN, SCATTERED—THEY ARE NO COMMON ENEMY. THIS HORDE, THIS WRITHING, SCREAMING TORNADO WHIRLING ABOUT ITS EMPTY CORE. IT COMES, WHISPERING THROUGH DOORWAYS, SHATTERING THROUGH LOCKS.
Thank you for your time. I must go now, but I will be back shortly.