Easterbay Prologue

I have been extraordinarily bad at keeping to my resolutions so far, but that’s no reason to not at least do some of it, right? We team teach at my school, and this week it is my turn to do the lesson (I’ve done the last two weeks, too). Being overloaded with lesson plans is my excuse and I’m sticking to it. Pilgrims and revolutionaries, is my section. And I’m glad of it.

I have been working on Easterbay again, and changing it dramatically AGAIN. The ending has never worked – I think I may need the World Tree. But we’ll see how it goes this time around. We’re at the draft unknown stage, there have been so many of them. If I bring in the World Tree instead of the creepy skeleton mech with the bullet belt, then I have to cut my prologue. The prologue foreshadows the skeleton, and I’m quite fond of it. Therefore, I’m posting it here for posterity. It’s been a long time since I’ve posted any of my fiction on the blog, so it seemed like time. Especially since America seems to be dismantling itself piecemeal and we all need a little escapism.

Easterbay Prologue (probably doomed to the guillotine):

I have had the dream all my life, but tonight it seems more vivid.  I can taste the musty earth lying in my mouth, feel it between the sockets of my eyes.  I don’t know why I’m not terrified by the sensation, but I only feel a sense of rightness.  I feel full with it in a way I haven’t since I’ve had a body to wrap around the bones that are all that is left of this dream me.  The weight of the bullets in the sash on my chest press heavy where my heart used to be.  The bones of my fingers clank against the bronze shield where the flesh used to grasp it.

There is magic in the air tonight.  My living body doesn’t believe in magic, but this skeleton thing that I am in my dream does.  Or perhaps not so much believes as tastes.  The molasses zip of electricity and ozone mingles with the dirt in my mouth and I can feel my purpose inside stirring.  I want to rise into the sun and fight.  I want it to be the day I was made for.  I lay in the dust, feeling the earth packing into my cavities, and I almost feel alive again. The magic courses through the loam I live in. 

I listen hard for the words, for the voice of the woman who will say them, who will let them travel on the ozone current to my brittle bones.  I will hear them clearly as they course through the land, even six feet down as I am.

The words never come. 

I have been dreaming as long as I can remember, and the words have never been spoken. Sometimes I think I wait for nothing.

The dream usually shifts now for the me who is alive and dreaming, becoming some other landscape until another night when I dream I am a skeleton, of the taste of magic again.  I wait for it. But tonight nothing changes.  I wait, anticipating, until I awake in my Boston apartment with the sun streaming in the window of the shade Elizabeth left open, the taste of magic still lingering in my mouth. 

I’m Gemini again, myself in a human body, and I wonder if I dreamed so vivid because the armistice was signed and we’re no longer at war with Germany, though that was days ago.  And then from the living room I hear the telephone buzz its tinny ring. I get up and put on a dressing gown, and then I go to answer it.

“Hello,” I say, holding the receiver to my ear, talking carefully into the bell on the box.

“May I speak to Gemini Byrd?” says a man’s voice on the other end.

“This is she.”

“Miss Byrd, I am a lawyer with Harney and Sons and I perhaps have sad news for you.  Your grandmother has passed away, and she has left you an inheritance.”

I don’t know what to say.  I didn’t know I had a grandmother still, only that she and Mom had fought something fierce and never mended it.  The unsettling feeling I had in the dream lingers, but all I know is that I have to take it, whatever this inheritance is.  The magic I can still taste tells me this. I have to take it and hold it, the only one left of my family. 

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