Yes, The Friday Muse was gone for a bit. I’ve been so busy with the publishing company that I haven’t made time to write. Well, yesterday I sat down and belted out a good 2900 words in a short story I am putting together for an upcoming anthology. It’s a little bit fantasy, a bit superhero-themed, and a whole lotta mysterious.
I’m called it City of Flames right now, and for the Muse today, I’m going to share the beginning of the story to give you a taste for what I’m working on. This is all rough draft stuff, but it’s definitely starting to take shape.
City of Flames
Against the black backdrop of a starless night, the flames rose high above the City of Rita, burning what was once the grand jewel of the Shershay province. Orange and yellow fire licked the sky and scattered its kin across the wooden buildings, burning them in rage and malice. It was a hot blaze, a holy blaze, one that melted almost every single object and person in the once great city.
Outside the city, sitting atop a dilapidated the wall that had once protected the precious items within, Terutus sat, watching everything burn. He wore a burlap cloak covered in scorch marks, the hood concealing his emotions and muffling the sounds of those dying within the fires. The screams of those he had once called friends and even family skated across the wind, like souls untethered from life and yet unable to move on to death.
The smell of burning flesh filled the air, and Terutus had to shove his nose into the inside of his hood and breathe deep of the burlap to stop from vomiting. Shortly after the blaze settled slightly, and the night sky had filled with smoke, Terutus turned his back on the city. He folded his hands beneath the baggy cloak and mumbled some prayers before climbing the ladder down the wall. When he reached the bottom, he felt the smooth Gladstone under his feet and couldn’t help but smile. The stones had been placed by someone a very long time ago, before the city had even been inhabited by Terutus and his people. It had a strange calming effect that some believed was the work of God Himself.
His smile was short-lived, as his face twisted into a grimace at the sound of the screams that echoed from the other side of the wall. Screams he knew he would never be able to silence. A cold wind blew across the empty expanse before him. Behind him, the wall was the only thing standing. Before him, a long and tumultuous valley – the Expanse – spread all the way to the western shore, at least ten miles from where he stood.
He huffed, tightened the hood around his oblong head, and started away from the city. His heart hurt, as if he were leaving behind a child whose umbilical cord had not been completely severed yet. The feeling forced him to turn and gaze on the wall once more. He had a morbid curiosity to see the remains of the city, but the black smoke billowing into the sky and the sickly scent of burnt flesh forced him to turn his back once and for all on Rita, and to leave on a journey he knew he would not return from.