How have you been? Good, I hope.
I’ve been away to a stone age island in Polynesia, (in my imagination) writing As the Sparks Fly Upward, a tale of romance, religion, politics and mostly humans being human, which is always a hilarious condition. I was supposed to go get groceries this morning and I meant to, I really did. I got up early to make the cover for my book and somehow, it has taken the whole day-to make three, reject two and I’m still not sure about the last one.
Here is the cover and the scene it illustrates; have a great week!
As the Sparks Fly Upward: The Cover Scene (Excerpt–Zume’, banished forever from her tribe, seeks to make amends for her crime by killing the monstrous, diseased Seventystone Boar)
“You’re a big one. You think you will kill me, don’t you? Your stink might kill me, pig, but if not, I will take your tusks before the sun rises.” A tiny monkey woman stood in the glow of the camp fire, her spear pointed toward the monster.
The pig just glared at her, eyes glowing red in the firelight.
“Pig!” Sem called out, “It’s me you are after.” The pig turned slightly to eye the new invader, a huge, muscular man who suddenly appeared at the opposite end of the clearing in the moonlight. But the boar turned back to watch Zume’, who was slowly moving in a circle around him, her spear held ready.
“Get back, run for the banyan tree!” he shouted to the crazy Monkey Woman. ‘Relax Muscle Man,” she answered, “me and Porky want to dance, don’t we? Here…piggy, piggy, piggy,” she gestured with her little spear. “Eat this.”
Determined to save the deluded woman, Sem ran to the pig and stabbed his knife into the beast’s rump, which was almost as hard as a tree trunk. The pig squealed and turned (so fast!) tearing up chunks of grass as he whirled. The pig charged Sem with an ear-splitting shriek and Sem stood his ground, sinking his spear 12 inches into the pig’s neck.
The pig didn’t seem to even notice, and then everything started happening too fast. Something hit Sem hard and he was on the ground with a mountain of pig over him, all tusks and reeking breath and something hit his leg sending an electric shock to his skull and then Sem went some place else somehow; into a waking dream where he felt no pain or fear.
Zume’ saw the pig bite off Sem’s lower leg and raise his head, chewing it loudly. Sem made no sound. “He’s in shock…he can’t feel it,” Zume’ hoped.
Zume’ sprang toward the pig’s head as he chewed Sem’s leg, grunting in satisfaction. She heard a crack as it chewed through a bone. She whispered firecely, “That is the last Tuan you will ever taste, you reeking sack of pus…” She vaulted onto the pig’s neck, throwing one leg over its neck, and sank her short spear into his flesh.
Now she, too, entered a strange time, and everything moved too fast, whirling sky and ground, until an unexplainable calmness flooded over her, time slowed, and she focused only on what she must not do. “Do NOT fall off, do NOT fall off,” she told herself. “For the People.” She grabbed the end of Sem’s protruding spear and putting all her weight behind it, drove it into the pig until only a few inches protruded.
The pig screamed and wheeled around in circles, trying to snap her in two with its jaws, but it could not reach a thing on its own neck, and Zume’ knew this. She hung on with her strong legs and with the four inches of Sem’s spear still protruding from the pig’s shoulder.
The pig stopped spinning, momentarily confused, and she grabbed her slitter out of her belt and reached forward to the spot behind the pig’s jaw where its pulse throbbed. “Only a first strike, make it good,” she said to herself. She gathered all her strength and slashed deeply into the pig’s throbbing neck-pulse.
The pig and Zume’ screamed simultaneously, and this hellish sound sent a chill through every living thing that heard it for a great distance. Time moved like a landslide now and blood spurted out from the pig’s neck like the spring from the side of the mountain, shooting across the clearing with each beat of the monster’s heart. She lost her grip in the slippery gore and landed in a heap next to the camp fire. Then it grew darker and she, too, went somewhere else, somewhere quiet where there was no pain………………………………………………………………………………..
(Kern, the 14 year-old hero finds the banished woman)
Kern stood over the fallen, filthy woman like a bodyguard. “May I be slain by a picu,” he said, his voice cracking, ‘if I don’t bury her in the village with many flowers.”
Zume’ opened one eye and said hoarsely, “Please don’t bury me, Kern, until I am dead.”…………..