Friday, June 18, 2010

farewell, my lovelies

Removed in revision:

In an untended lambing pen a ewe with twin lambs skitted away from them. Myl trapped her against the hurdles, their charm of stay-not-stray, stay-not-stray buzzing into her ear.
Thick oily wool swallowed Myl's shoulder and half her face. One-eyed she watched the pale stream of milk swirl into the wooden bowl she'd slipped into the basket while cook and housekeeper stared each other down.
Tyl drank a bowlful, then carried it refilled over the hurdle while she kept the ewe pinned. They found shade under a scanty bush nibbled branchless to a sheep's height, and soaked scraps of bread in the second bowlful. The ewe bleated angrily until her lambs, drawn by the smell of her warm milk, forgot their startlement and nosed under her. Stay-not-stray, murmured the drowsy wattle weave.
"Less hasty, brother," Myl warned. "We shan't see more bread till the Dear Lord knows when. This must last us."
"'Twill turn stale," Tyl mumbled through a mouthful. "Like a block of wood by morning."
"Then we'll soak it, in water if needs be." She wrapped the loaf in its napkin. "D'you think I don't long for a full belly? Someday we'll have all we've lacked, but not today. Today we must be wise."
He grimaced. "Aye. With full bellies on so hot a day, we'd soon be sleeping. They'd take us like conies."
He put his head down and licked out the bowl. Myl wiped it with a hank of grass, cast an eye to the sun to find their direction, and pulled him to his feet. She didn't say what she thought: that it wasn't in full sun they were most like to be taken, but in the night. Nursery tales, she insisted to the coward thoughts. Shadows to fright a stupid child.
Shadows don't come of themselves, said the stories. There's something casts them. Myl walked faster, leaving the voices behind.


Terri-Lynne said...

Ouchies. The things we do for book-love, eh?

batgirl said...

I am weeping bitter inky tears. Right now.

However, I'm going to argue for keeping 'as if smoky fires burnt at journey's end' on the grounds of useful foreshadowing.

Zoƫ Marriott said...

Your blog won't let me follow it...(sob). Am I doing something wrong?

Terri-Lynne said...

Fight the good fight, B!

batgirl said...

Weird! When I'm signed in, Follow is right there in the top bar, next to Share.
When I sign out and look at it again, Follow is gone, there's just Share.
You're obviously signed in, because your post is you and not Anon.

I can only suggest that you try again later?

batgirl said...

Terri - "Foreshadowing. Your guide to quality literature."