Oh my! it has been way too long since I’ve posted anything here. For those who’ve been following my progress on the re-publishing road, I’m sorry. The non-writing part of my life has been a busy sort of thing lately. Not bad, but crowded days that lead to tired—possibly lazy nights. Soooo….
I thought I’d play catch up. How about some Wednesday Words on Friday?
It also happens to be the 24th of December, just a few days after winter solstice, here in the northern hemisphere. Although people are celebrating all sorts of things around this time of year—and all the holidays and feasts are wonderful—nothing is quite as splendorous for the young as snow! One of my favorite songs ever, from the old movie, White Christmas—”Snow.”
It just so happens I have a suitable excerpt!
If you’ve seen previous excerpts or read the blurbs, you might know that The Sun Child Chronicles main character, 15-year-old Lucky, or Luccan, doesn’t remember his childhood. The last three years, which is what he does remember, has been spent in a dimension called Earth, in central California, where snow just doesn’t really happen. Well, in book 2 of the series, Wraith Queen’s Veil, he’s home. Not everything is going well for him, but one day he has a delightful reprieve from trouble.
Here are the “words.”
A few weeks after he arrived in Ethra, autumn treated the whole countryside to a ten-day sneak preview of winter. Like communities everywhere, the Sisterhold, with its outlying farms and villages, withdrew into itself. Short travel routes—from village to village, and to and from the Hold itself—were laboriously kept open, but few people would risk long-distance overland journeys, and the Portals of Naught had limited capacity, and anyway not everyone could use them.
Lucky found the wintry world refreshing, a vast weight removed from his newly burdened shoulders. Valley City, in Earth, rarely had snow at all, so winter outdoor pastimes were new endeavors for him and kept him happily occupied, allowing him to feel the joy of being young more than he had at any time since Hank George’s death over a year earlier. And everyone around him—even the most important people—seemed to let the limitations of inclement weather lighten their hearts a bit. The one real exception was Liliana, whom Lucky doggedly called Mom, as if that would somehow bring them closer. Lucky rarely saw Han, but the most wonderful afternoon of the snowy interlude came when Han came in to the Sisterhold’s kitchen while Lucky and Shehrice, the manor’s head housekeeper, sat at the hearth playing a game called skippers, which was almost exactly the same as the game Earthborns call checkers, and snacking on fresh bread pilfered from Cook’s cooling loaves.
“Luccan,” Han said. “I’m glad I found you.”
“You were looking for me, Uncle?”
“Yes. I have something for you, and I thought that with the new snowfall last night, today would be a good time to try it out.”
Shehrice grinned. “Go on, Luccan. You were going to lose again anyway.”
Lucky laughed and followed Han into the hall, where they donned boots and warm coats. Han finished lacing his high boots while Lucky was still trying to sort out the laces, and as he walked out the kitchen’s back door, he said, “Meet me at the hill behind the stables.”
When Lucky got there, Han was waiting with an artfully crafted toboggan in his hands. Unpainted except for the red steering bar and a twelve-rayed sun emblem on the centerboard, the wood had been oiled and polished to a high, slick sheen.
Lucky felt a bit tongue-tied, amazed that Han had been thinking of him—he hadn’t known.
“For me?” he asked, voice breaking annoyingly.
“Yes. Want to try it out?”
Of course he did. They walked to the top of the hill, and Han told him how to position himself and how to steer, and then gave him a push to get started. That first run was smooth sailing, and Lucky coaxed Han into taking a run next.
Han’s extra weight really got the thing going. He shouted “Whoo-hooo!” and when he crashed at the bottom, he laughed like a happy kid.
Lucky laughed with Han, and hugged him when he got back to the top, still smiling. “Thanks, Uncle,” he said. “I love it. I love you!” Instantly after saying that, Lucky thought, Oh my God! What did I just say!
Han’s smile fell a few degrees toward the serious, but he met Lucky’s worried gaze with calm. “I know you do, Luccan, and I love you. I’m glad you like the toboggan. It… it was mine. My brother… your father made it for me when I was ten.” He paused, getting a faraway look. Then he met Lucky’s eyes again. “Most of the things I had as a child were destroyed in a fire. This survived because I’d never put it away the last time I used it. I’ve cleaned it up a bit for you, slapped a little paint on. So”—he grinned—“your turn,”
I hope you enjoyed that!
(I confess, I remember loving the writing of it.) Thanks for reading, and whatever your season holds this time of year, I hope it’s full of joy and wonder.
On Twitter, I’m @Lou_Hoffmann