Gable Smiled

I’ve shared Gable Smiled with a few folks, on Facebook and in a few workshops. Here’s an excerpt to go along with my interview. Enjoy, and do let me know what you think.

Note: an updated version is available to sponsors.


Valen patted Gable’s muscular neck as they trotted into Lensterville. They’d been ten days out, mostly soldiering Sipio’s vast northern plain and this time of year that meant heat with a capital “H”. Valen could feel his own sweat trickling through the hairs on his chest and back and every time his Ranger issue travel cords relaxed around him, his scent rose like steam washing his face.

Not pleasant.

Not so Gable’s smell, though. Gable was a Callisto class ModEquid, part horse part…something. Valen was never sure what and Gable liked to keep him guessing. Mostly horse on the outside, Gable’s sweat was the sweet musk of heavy horse, working horse, a gentle giant unless riled and it took a lot to rile him. There was a tang of trail dirt and rich plains tallgrasses and lathering brow and flanks that Valen thought wonderful, comforting, reassuring, and it made him proud that Gable had taken so to him.

“Let me know when,” he said to the horse.

Gable smiled back, Any time you’re ready.
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So I gave myself an exercise (eating my own dogfood)…

…and it was oh so good!

You see a lot, doctor. But can you point that high-powered perception at yourself? What about it? Why don’t you – why don’t you look at yourself and write down what you see? Or maybe you’re afraid to…
– Clarice Starling in The Silence of the Lambs

 
If you’ve read Writers’ Groups – Introduction, Writers’ Groups – Critiques and Butchers, Bakers and Candlestick Makers then you know I’m on a quest.

To find a critique group that does critiques as I do them.
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The Coyotes Are Celebrating – Artwork by Lady Sparrowhawk

Wild Times in the Woods, Two-Leggers

Lady Sparrowhawk once again performs miracles (she previously provided artwork for The Boy in the Giant – Artwork by LadySparrowhawk). I shared a poem with her and invited her to come up with something fitting. Her artwork and the poem follow. Lady Sparrowhawk’s comments re the artwork follow the poem.

 

The Coyotes Are Celebrating

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The Boy in the Giant – Artwork by LadySparrowhawk

I’m blessed to have Casey Wilkinson, aka Lady Sparrowhawk, a gifted artist as a friend. She provided the artwork for this story.

Enjoy!

Once upon a time, when a small, magical child lived in a magical woods, a horrible thing happened. Someone left the child outside in the cold, rainy, wet damp of dawn. It doesn’t matter if this happened once or a thousand times. When you are a child, even once is enough.

It so happened, as the child grew into a boy, that others came by who were blind to the child and the boy and splattered mud as they passed. The mud covered the growing boy, its coldness reminding him of being abandoned in the cold, damp dawn.

The child grew into a clever boy. He kept his eyes open and watched the flowers spreading their petals to let in the morning sun, spiders spinning delicate webs stronger than the strongest steel, and squirrels and ants busying themselves gathering winter’s harvest.

Over time the boy fell in love with the world around him and decided that no matter what happened to him, he could learn from it. Quickly the boy’s wisdom grew as he watched and studied and quietly observed until he became quieter and wiser than most in the Woods.

But while he grew, there was a mud caked child inside, a child the wise boy knew nothing of, crying in the cold, damp dawn. The boy lived with the ache of the child inside so long it became like a cloak which no one else could see and which was more real to the growing boy than anything else in his world. The boy sat and watched the mud that caked around him as others splashed and noticed it hardened as it dried. The child gave the boy an idea.

“What would happen if I took some mud and fashioned a cloak around myself?” As the mud hardened he could make the cloak stronger and harder. Eventually the cloak would keep out the cold and the rain and protect the boy and child from pain.
Continue reading “The Boy in the Giant – Artwork by LadySparrowhawk”