Grey Fluff or Smashed Pumpkins

“No brain at all, some of them [people], only grey fluff that’s blown into their heads by mistake, and they don’t Think.”
A.A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner

The human brain is a totally amazing creation, don’t you think. One moment it can be in high gear, on top of the world, nothing will stand in its way and you’re just going along for the ride.

The next?

Yeah. Like that. That’s my brain right now. Little bits and pieces of mushy stuff scattered about. The problem with my brain is that, even in such a condition, it insists on chugging along. All the while, one of the solid, semi-coherent pieces is insisting it stop for just one moment. Maybe a day at the most. I think it’s an illness.

So, anyhow, enough babbling. If you missed the big announcement Monday, Emergence is now available on Amazon Kindle in various countries (this is the US link), B&N/Nook, and iBooks. Kobo is forthcoming. I’m still waiting on the hard copy proof so signed paperbacks will be a bit yet. If you’d like to read the first two chapters, follow the link at the top of the page under Published Works. I strongly suggest you read First of Her Kind prior, if you haven’t.

And now, the moment you’re all here for, this week’s WIPpet. I’m sticking with Driev and CBC.I tried to pick one of the lighter moments but…well…there don’t seem to be a lot of those. Although I have worked out somewhat of a happy ending. No, not butterflies and Snow White happy. That just wouldn’t work here. I think it’s as happy an ending as Driev can look for out of this particular tale. Someday, you may actually get to read it. 😉

To set the scene, this comes after last week’s and before a section that I shared a while back. Got it? No? Refer to the pumpkin picture, please. Driev and Gylan interacting again. I give you 20 short paragraphs. That’s 19 plus a bonus one because of all the reasons.

I laughed, and it sounded harsh even for me. “Fathers are the last ones I feel inclined to be nice to.”

“Are you inclined to be nice to anyone?”

I ushered Gylan into my room and closed the door behind us, leaving him to stand there while I started pulling things from the chest and tossing them onto the mattress. Something bounced onto the floor, and the boy grabbed it before I could get to it. He upended the small, leather pouch, letting a pebble fall into his open palm.

“What’s this?”

My breath stopped. I’d forgotten I still had Andel’s firestone. He’d been all of nine or ten when he bought the thing. I remember telling him to get rid of it, but he wouldn’t part with the damn rock. He’d pull it out from time to time just to watch the flame dance above his hand. Gods if I knew what he found so fascinating about it.

“Put it back,” I said, the words strangled. “Go sit down, and don’t touch anything else.”

No surprise the boy didn’t listen. He pushed at the firestone with his finger, rolling it from one side of his hand to the other and peering intently at it.

“I said, put it–“

A flame like none I’d ever seen Andel conjure from the stone rose into the air. It stopped just shy of the ceiling before settling down to about half that height. I shielded my eyes against the glare.

“Whoa!” A smile lit the boy’s face; a look of sheer joy that, for a moment at least, chased off all the sorrow that surrounded him.

I felt the corners of my mouth twitch as though they wanted a piece of that raw happiness, but then the reality of what I was seeing stomped it into oblivion.

“How are you doing that?” I asked.

The radiance turned my way, and I scowled.

“I don’t know,” he said. “Isn’t it supposed to happen?”

“Not like that.”

Gylan looked back at the flame.

“Put it out.”


“Close your fist.”

His fingers curled over the pebble, extinguishing the glow of the firestone along with his joy. “Can I keep it?”

And with that, I leave you to scoop up the remnants of my grey matter and see if I can’t piece it back together.


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23 responses

  1. I have faith that you’ll be able to reconstitute the orange (or gray, or whatever) matter soon. I’m curious about the next installment. Have you any idea when it’ll be out, or are you going with one of your seventeen other open projects first? [innocent blink]

    March 19, 2014 at 6:47 am

    • Seventeen projects. *laughs* There’s not seventee– *glances down at list* Um…huh. I…ah…no. It’s on the front burner. I hope to have it out before the end of the year. *watches as more orange mush falls on floor*

      March 19, 2014 at 8:52 am

  2. Pingback: WIPpet Wednesday: Gempunk Edition | disregard the prologue

  3. “I felt the corners of my mouth twitch as though they wanted a piece of that raw happiness, but then the reality of what I was seeing stomped it into oblivion.”

    Love that.

    March 19, 2014 at 8:05 am

    • Thanks. I’ve had that happen.

      March 19, 2014 at 8:53 am

  4. Amy

    This is a terrific interaction. There’s nothing I like better than angsty adults interacting with children. Brings out both the best and worst in them and makes for great emotional writing.

    I’ve had PumpkinBrain explody times too. Sending positive vibes that you’re able to scrape the goo back together.

    March 19, 2014 at 9:13 am

    • I never intended to have these two spend so much time together. Gylan was supposed to be a walk-on. Then he totally exploded my plot. Driev is not happy with me, I’m sure.

      I’m thinking of just scooping the goo into a pie crust and baking it. 😉

      March 19, 2014 at 5:40 pm

  5. Driev always makes me feel emotional. I don’t know why. 🙂 I loved it.

    March 19, 2014 at 10:21 am

    • Because he’s an emotional dude, with an emotional tale to tell. You should try writing him some time. Yikes!

      March 19, 2014 at 5:38 pm

  6. Driev the mentor!!! Will Gylan get to keep the stone?

    March 19, 2014 at 10:27 am

    • I think he’ll eventually end up with it. Just not yet.

      March 19, 2014 at 5:38 pm

  7. Fantastic excerpt Kathi, full of intrigue. I wanna know why Gylan seems to have a special effect on the stone compared with other people. I like how Driev is a bit strained in this excerpt – he doesn’t come across quite as tough as he has done.

    BTW I’ve bought ‘Emergence’. Planning to read it soon. 🙂

    March 19, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    • Yeah…that’s another spoiler that I just can’t let slip. 🙂 I’m glad Driev’s discomfort is coming through. He’s having a rough time with memories coming back that he’d rather keep locked away.

      Thanks for the support. I hope you enjoy it!

      March 19, 2014 at 5:37 pm

  8. Gotta love when a character who’s usually so self-confident is thrown off like that.

    Totally digging Emergence so far, by the way! 😀 I think I’m at about the 20% mark.

    March 20, 2014 at 3:29 am

    • Oooh…so glad you’re enjoying it. 🙂

      Turns out, Gylan may have been a good thing to toss Driev’s way.

      March 20, 2014 at 5:06 am

  9. I am quite familiar with the smashed pumpkin feeling. I’m sure things will brighten for you as spring chases winter away. 🙂

    March 20, 2014 at 5:36 am

  10. What a fun excerpt! The “Can I keep it?” is so perfect. 🙂

    I’ve got that brain right now too, but it’s largely because of a head cold, sigh. Haven’t done enough writing recently to deserve it.

    Hope you feel better soon!

    March 20, 2014 at 8:39 am

  11. Pumpkin custard is divine, you know. Might as well play with your “god-like” power a bit…

    Driev definitely felt off here. Bo so much in a bad way, but just not just usually “cheery” self.

    March 20, 2014 at 8:45 am

  12. That would have scared the daylights out of me. I’m not particularly afraid of fire, but I do have a healthy respect for leaping flames. I hope Driev lets the kid keep the stone. Eventually. 🙂

    March 20, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    • This fire won’t burn, so all is good. And, yes, Driev eventually parts with the stone. He has some issues to deal with first. Poor, wounded soul that he is.

      March 20, 2014 at 6:07 pm

      • From what you’ve said of Driev, he has a way of negating any feelings of sympathy his fellow characters might harbor, yes?

        March 20, 2014 at 7:10 pm

      • Yes. Not that many of his fellow characters harbor any sympathy for him.

        March 20, 2014 at 7:39 pm

  13. I hope Driev lets Gylan keep it. Obviously, Gylan can do some awesomeness with it. Should totally be allowed to keep it. (But, since I feel this way, doubt that’s how it goes.)

    March 21, 2014 at 12:48 pm

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