Chapter 1

Written by: Suraya Dewing

Mist turned the mounded earth of the rath into a reptile, clinging to the earth and winding through skeletal thorn trees which stood like gnarled old men with history in their branches. One shuddered into a form that seemed to float over to the entrance and knelt, long black hair falling over the crouching form like a shroud.

Bumps tapped me on the shoulder. His face was contorted. ‘Lord fecking Christ,’ he said. ‘What’s da’?’

I shook my head, unable to speak.

The thickening mist encased us in a suffocating, damp cocoon.

The woman stood and looked my way, her dark eyes hidden beneath the hood of her cape. As she reached out, its voluminous sleeves fell away revealing white, vaguely familiar arms. Her cape gathered in folds around her. Without wanting to be, I felt myself drawn to her. As I got closer her features took the shape of Dr Florence Grace. She tilted her head and the hood pleated about her shoulders. Tears fell from her deep, cavernous eyes but as I drew closer I saw the jagged lines coursing down her face were streams of blood, tributaries from the crown of thorns upon her head. Like a mirage the crown seemed to fade in and out, wavering uncertainly before my vision. With each return of its certainty a fresh stream of blood poured from each thorn as it gouged into her noble, proudly held head.

I cried out, my heart trembling with anguish. I thought I heard my voice echoing around me but when I looked toward Bumps who sat in the bulldozer with his head in his hands it was as if I had said nothing. Dr Florence’s eyes shone like obsidian and a tiny smile caught the corners of her lips.

I reached out to tear the crown from her head but she turned away before I could grasp it.  As if caught by a magnetic force, I followed. She glided away and I stumbled behind, tripping over roots looping out of the ground and the mounds of fractured quake-like dirt.

Ahead, Florence’s hair sparked with energy, first flowing freely then vigorously, as if with a life of its own. At the entrance her hair turned into a thousand twisting, curling snakes, their angry heads coiling and springing at me. I cowered away. She paused at the entrance and looked at me, sadness in her eyes.

‘Wait for me,’ I called, reaching out.

The mist wrapped me in its pall.

Bumps ran over.

‘Timidy. We best be gone from ‘ere.’

A week later we waited for our lecture to begin. I expected our professor to replace Dr Grace. As it streamed through the multi coloured Gothic windows, the sun cast us in many colours.

To my surprise Dr. Florence Grace entered the hall hugging her notes to her body. Her beautiful black hair shone as she lined up the projector and shone some images on the wall. Looking straight at me, she declared, ‘These are 4000 year old gold lunula discovered near here in 1947.’

Suraya Dewing (NZ)




Suraya has written a terrific piece full of mystery and folklore. I hope the other Minters can pass the test to do this justice. They will need to research the subject thoroughly. This is not my 'cup of tea' but I was drawn into it and had to see how it ended. I look forward to seeing how writers handle this. Nice one, Suraya.
Thanks Raymond. I appreciate your feedback. I wanted to extend the Gothic feel of the starter as it reminded me of Charolotte Bronte's, 'Villette'. We don't get many opportunities to work with writing like this and I thank Tim for posting it. My advice to ther writers? Try and get into the character and place.
How I enjoy your writing! I read and re-read the opening paragraph 4 times before proceeding. Just had to embed that picture. Love the descriptive phrasing. And the continuation of the story, the style, and the surprises.
Ok, so I'm intrigued and interested in the style of writing and what happens next. However, how I go with my chapter is another thing. I'm not big on the writing that seems to go wherever the dream takes it, but I'll give it a shot.