Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Hickory House excerpt

My original goal for the summer was to release my first work of fiction, a novella entitled Hickory House. I don't know if that plan is really feasible at this point, but at any rate, here's an excerpt to get you excited :)


Jane stared at the door for a while, as she knelt on the bed. Then she eased one of her legs out from under her, and let it slide over the edge of the mattress - she glanced down. Ok, she was wearing jeans and a t-shirt. She wouldn’t mind being seen in these clothes. But she was barefoot…she swung her other leg around, and her toes touched the wooliness of the rug. She looked down.

Two olive-green, velvety-looking moccasin slippers stood pertly beside one another to her right. They glowed against the earthy red of the rug. They smiled at her - winked? - they seemed ready to accommodate. Jane smiled back, slowly.

An invitation. Another invitation.

She stood up fully, and shuffled over to the expectant shoes. She tip-toed inside. Her feet eased smoothly into the soles.

“Oh -” Jane cried.

She stood in a bed of bright-red tulips.

She was on a lawn of some sort - no, no - it was a garden. Dewy grass spread all around; there were no walls, only trees full of fruit that rose about her; it was nighttime, for the moon cast its silvery enchantment upon everything in sight. It was quite warm, and she could feel raindrops on her face - she heard distant thunder. There were the airy, echoing chirps of very-early-morning birds, and she was dazzled as several small, brightly-colored forms flitted before her eyes, dipping in and out of the milky shadows. They had strange, extravagant plumage, the likes of which Jane had never seen before. Two more birds, of scarlet and deep cerulean, swooped out of a tree that stood where the bookcase had been. As Jane peered into the branches, she realized that what seemed to be hundreds of birds perched amongst the dripping leaves, shaking out their feathers and chattering to one another.

Jane’s head spun. She gazed over her shoulder. A bubbling spring had taken the place of the bureau, and the brook that flowed from it ran through the garden and out under the door. The stuffed rabbit from the upholstered chair was rolling around in the grass and nibbling on a few strands. The man - considerably larger than in the print, and seemingly oblivious to Jane’s presence - pressed his lips to his beloved’s cheek, completing the kiss. The woman’s arms glimmered gold as they slid around his neck, and the blue-and-white blossoms in her auburn hair glowed like stars.

And the scent - the scent of it all! The rain, the grass, the flowers - it was more than Jane could bear. She thought that if only she could bottle it, somehow - the sweetness, the beauty - and release it upon the world…oh, it would be enough to turn bad people good.

But it would refuse to be bottled…just like Ralph would make an awful model. These things seem to hate to be contained.

The solution presented itself to her promptly and neatly: then you give yourself up to it. Let it take hold of your heart; let it change you - and so take it with you. Let your life do the talking. Let your living change the world…

The door flew open once again, and Ralph stood at the threshold, his curls getting caught in the vines that hung down from the doorjamb. His eyes seemed to have reached a new level of shining, unearthly wideness, and a solemn smile was set upon his lips.

“Jane,” he said, extending his hand backwards, as if he meant for her to take it and run with him. “Come quickly. We need you.”

Copyright © 2011 by Olivia Meldrum

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