I haven’t been writing like I should, but I have been writing. I don’t want people to think that I’ve disappeared into Kode’s shadows, so I’ve developed a solution to my satisfy all of us (all 4 people who read this page).
I have a lot of stories that I throw away. After completing an initial draft, I often discard it and use bits and pieces to construct a stronger formula. Because managing a website, having two kids, teaching, and writing novels is a bit much, I thought I could post some of my discarded work.
So, for those of you who are interested, here is Black Alchemy Hunter. I will post single chapters throughout the week. I know some of you may enjoy this, but I promise you that its replacement (Cullinan Diamond Hunter) is far superior. Try to avoid getting too attached to this story. It is only 50% complete. There are a lot of plot holes and grammatical errors. Still, you can get an idea of where I wanted to take the story. I’ll try to leave some comments about what I learned from each chapter and how I plan to use the information in the future.
Black Alchemy Hunter
The stone castle has seen more rain than not, and it hadn’t experienced sunshine in its lifetime until recently. Though the hope beyond the clouds is faint, these withering stones now know that the sun does exist. In the shadows, its walls seem dark and brooding. But the ruby light that assaults the sky reveals a deeper secret. These walls are old and shriveling, like their owner. They are stubborn and undying too. Few men have touched or seen this fortress, but the rain knows it intimately.
Heavy droplets crash against the castle’s crown and slither through its deepest secrets. Mud slides away from its foundation and falls from the mountain’s edge, plunging into darkness. Occasionally, ramanga are carried along the slippery path.
From a bird’s eye view, the thousands of moving ramanga appear just as plentiful as the rain. Their screams and roars produce a thunderous melody. Yet, inside of the castle, their voices are unnoticed or ignored. Valerie continues singing her eerie tune, showing no concern for the movement just outside of her window.
The elderly mage sits with perfect posture at a vanity that rests against a cold, black wall. A single picture is displayed above her mirror. There is a man, child, and a woman. The family stands at an awkward angle while forcefully holding hands. They are wearing clothes that have been out of style for centuries, long trench coats and large snow boots. Though the body structure of the woman obviously matches Valerie’s, the child and man are unidentifiable. All of the faces were smeared—practically erased from the image.
With haunting, dead eyes, Valerie removes a brush from her vanity and begins to stroke her hair. Long ago, her hair was short and purple. Now, only the strands near her ankles appear lavender. Everything else is old and gray, much like her face.
Tears swell in her eyes as she scans the mirror. Though she has lived with this appearance for centuries, she has never grown acquainted with the woman staring back at her. The unfamiliarity causes her hands to tremble. Valerie drops her brush and touches her reflection. She traces her fingers over her eyes, which are practically ruby stones. A whimper escapes her lips, but the tears remain trapped behind her inhuman appearance.
Speaking to the mirror, she cries, “Look at what he’s done to you.” Her visually traces the outline of her skin. “You have wrinkles.” She chuckles while sniffing. “Your skin is made of ugly, rough bark. And you have wrinkles.”
Tapping her chin, she tries to recall, “How much older is Kode? I had to be born three or four years after him.” The recollection of their past experiences causes her physical pain. She drops the brush and holds her abdomen, where an old scar sits. “He lives like a king in one of the darkest netherworlds known to the gods. And now that he’s back on Earth—prematurely I might add—he looks as young as ever.”
Valerie stands abruptly, knocking her chair to the ground. She turns to face her room, which is dark and damp. Shadows and ancient texts, mostly written by Leonardo Ruby, decorate the large space.
For a moment, Valerie stares out of the closed window. An old, forgotten voice in her head wishes that a rock would fall against the glass, signalling her to run outside and play. Or that a friend would call for her to sneak outside, so they could disobey the imposed curfew. Even more, she wishes that he would remove her from this cursed nightmare.
Knowing that those things could never happen, she rushes to pull back the blinds. After pushing the window open, she inhales the fresh air and allows the rain to crash against her face.
Valerie leans her head out of the window and observes her surroundings. Now, she finally notices the screams. Yet, the horrific sound weakens gradually. The creatures stare at Valerie, in a daze. They are the first to be controlled by her restoring powers. She views them as an army to conquer the world, but the ramanga want nothing more than to feast on her blood.
Screaming into the darkness, Valerie blares, “Because of Kode, this world has become old and ugly. But I will return its beauty. And I’ll use all of you to do it.”
The ramanga react to her war cry. Many try breaking free of her spell, but they are unsuccessful. The creatures continue back along their meaninglessly journey of circling the mountain at Valerie’s command.