Friday, 14 February 2014

Afraid in the Catacombs

Time for another quick peek into my upcoming novel. Around Smoldering Coals.  Two children and their mother are trying to find their way back to their home in the catacombs. This is part of what I added today, so I haven't had the time to do a whole lot of editing on it.

Tayletha took two, then three candles from a stash near the door. After such a harrowing experience she wanted the comfort of light surrounding her. The fosser saw them studying the map Cedric had made for them and looked over their shoulder.
“I can draw you a quicker route,” 
Lydda and Tayletha looked at each other. Then Lydda saw the exhaustion in her son's eyes.
“Where is it?”
He took the wax tablet and started to erase it. Tayletha snatched it back. “We don't know you! Our pateras made this map and it's good enough for us.”

“Tayletha! What has gotten in to you?”
Tears sprung into her daughter's eyes. “I guess I am overtired, Imma. I'm so tired of relying on strangers! I just want to go home.”
As Mother and children disappeared into the dark channel, the round golden orb of light in Lydda’s hand illuminated the map, as well as a few steps ahead of them. Stephanos kept looking back, then he turned and clung to his mother's hand.
“I don't like that man.”
After going a few dozen feet Tayletha lit a second candle from the one her mother was holding. They had come to an intersection and wanted to study the map Cedric had drawn.
Panic rose in Tayletha's voice. “He wiped out some of the directions!”
Lydda lightly caressed the wax tablet. “Your grandmother was blind,” she explained. “She often 'read' things with her fingers.”
“But do you know how to?!”
“We'll see. Just give me a moment. Yes, I'm sure this is the right way to turn. Tayletha does it seem like the numeral 200 is etched in the wax right here?”
“I can't read with my hands as well as you can!” She studied it carefully with her fingers.
“I think it is, Imma, but what if it isn't? We could be lost forever in these wandering tunnels and our lights would go out, and---”
“Tayletha. Stop. Stop right now. I know you are terrified of the dark, but it is. Not. Dark. Do you hear me, Tayletha. It is not dark. Here, Stephanos hand me that other candle. See! There now you have two candles to light your way. One in each hand.”
Now she's treating me like a baby. But her fear lessened.
Lydda was studying the map once again. “No I think it is CCL. Two hundred and fifty. What do you think, Tayletha?”
“I can't tell, Imma! Abba writes his C's and his L's so much alike!”
“Here, yoic. You know your numbers. What do you think it is? ” Lydda lowered it so her small son could examine it. It's an L, Imma. But I don't know my numbers that far!”
“Just like I thought. We will take two hundred steps then start carefully checking for an intersection. This arrow indicates a left turn, and then--”
“But what if--?
“What if, nothing, Tayletha. Now let's be going.”
Tayletha securely admired how her frail seeming, tender-hearted matera could take hold of courage when she needed it. It must be because of her deep trust in God.

 Just when Tayletha was positive they were utterly and hopelessly lost and the candle had burned almost down to her fingers, she saw someone running, not walking, running towards them. It was Abba. Abba never ran. Strode briskly, yes, but run. Never!

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