The Vagrant Vagabond

I woke to find myself sprawled out on a stone floor which was as cold as the reception that I get from most of the women I’ve met.  Not knowing how or when I got there, I looked around for some clues to help me.  What greeted my glances were cobwebs covering even more cold stone, almost hiding the walls as if the some spider was ashamed of its domicile and wanted to cover them.  I sat up slowly, unsure of my movement and awkward as if I had been drinking too many pints of some sludge that a less reputable tavern would pass off as ale.  Musty air graced my breath as I stirred, forcing my lungs to protest as I hacked up some dust that had settled in my throat.  I assessed my condition, and while my head throbbed like the drumming of some tribal cannibals celebrating a grand feast, I felt fine otherwise.  The dim light grew stronger down one end of the corridor, so I stood and braced myself against one of the cold granite walls, cursing each web as I touched it.  I crept my way toward the light warily, feeling almost like a departed soul yearning to make its way to heaven from some nameless purgatory.

Pain struck my eyes as I stepped through the arched passage into the light, forcing me to squint like a cataract-stricken man as he strained to make out the details of some masterpiece he was placed in front of.  What I saw were fields, rolling fields of tall grasses which flowed down the hill in front of me.  I turned back and looked into the dark passage that now appeared as if it were tucked into the hillside, hiding from view like a child who has taken one too many pastries from the baker’s plate.  As I surveyed the area, I cursed my luck and inability to recognize my surroundings and realized that not only was I lost, but I was also left without any supplies or tools.  I felt like a goblin who was pushed to face a wise-man in a battle of wits; scared and clueless.

So I wandered, lost and alone, trying to figure out how I came to be in this predicament.  When I thought back I could recall many details about many things, but when my thoughts steered back to myself I could recall nothing.  My name, my family, everything was robbed from my memory as if it were some famous gem that was coveted by a skilled rogue who had finally figured out how to bypass the locks to take it.

I travelled for just over a day, pushing forward much like water after a torrential downpour, taking the path of least resistance. It was just over a day of my aimless trek that I found a town looming in the distance. As I approached the first town that I’ve seen since leaving the god forsaken stone tunnel, glances were tossed in my direction and then taken back, as if they were too valuable to be wasted on me.  I was perfectly all right with that, I prefer anonymity anyways.

The city looked like any other, people occasionally flowed in and out of it through a main street and were being accosted by the occasional bored guard looking for a payoff.  I tried to look inconspicuous and stepped alongside of a merchant’s wagon, only to be asked politely by one of the wagon’s escorts to bugger off or he’d skewer me like some roasted pig on a spit.  Of course a guard saw this and called me over to him before I could slip by.

When the guard asked me for my name, my mind emptied out faster than a bar when all the liquor’s been drunk.  Stupefied, I simply stared at him and told him the only name I could think of, “Johnny Knife”.  The guard shook his head either in pity or disbelief and waved me toward the city’s main road while he warned me to stay out of trouble and to mind my manners.  We both knew that neither was going to happen that night.  I was hungry and had more charm than money at that point and either way you saw it, I was too piss-poor to buy a meal.  That was my introduction to Miresbough, and the night that followed would show me even more of its famous hospitality.  Years have passed and I’ve gained a reputation, much as a temptress does when willing to bow to the clergy when enough coin is tossed her way.

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7 thoughts on “The Vagrant Vagabond”

  1. A good potential start to another good novel. As he enters the city, you have a verb-agreement problem. Either *people occasionally FLOWING in….and being accosted* or *people occasionally flowed in….and WERE accosted.* Will you have a flesh and blood editor for this?

    • Hmm – The were was there in my mind, I swear. Oh well – it’s fixed, thanks. 🙂 Typically what I’ve been doing for the short stories and such is giving it a once over, set it down, go through it again and load it. Obviously I need to be more thorough. For Pallitine Rising, that editing process has a few stages. I read a section of a few chapters, see how it flows, edit it, and repeat the process a few times, looking for various items. First round is more technical, second is more logic checking, make sure that order of events make sense, then looking for point of view hiccups, and so on. Once I’m satisfied with it, then I have had others review it although their responses vary depending on how much time or interest they have. Cumulatively, the response has helped to improve things via suggestions and so on. I am interested in having other people look at the work in progress however and give genuine advice, point out flaws etc.

      • Self-editing is difficult because, inevitably, you see what you expect to see. I note that your system is like mine. Even a one-line blog comment is read five or six times….and then I revisit the site tomorrow, and see a spelling or puctuation error.

      • I completely agree – it can be difficult at times, for that very reason. The ‘implied perfection’; I wrote it so it’s got to be good, right? 🙂 Coincidentally, as I reviewed your comment I saw an edit I missed in my original response – apparently it was there to prove that very point. Anywho – I’m not sure what sort of books you are interested in reading, but if you wish to see a work in progress let me know and I’ll send you a copy when I’m done with my current round of edits. If not, no worries at all. Have a good one.

  2. I’m reading three at the moment and have maybe a hundred waiting in the wings that I may finish before I die. What the Hell! Clive Cussler and Eric Flint can wait. Yeah, I’d be honored to have a look through and dispense more free opinion.

    • Thanks much. This current round of edits should be done around the 14th, I’ll get in touch around then for preferred format – mobi, doc, etc.

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