It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that they are difficult. - Seneca

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Sneek peak at chapter 1 of "Superstition's Desire"

Chapter One

1498 Northern England

“Wax dripping by candle’s light,
Guide me through this night-mare plight;
Cease thy loneliness and dread,
Lead me from this place instead.”

Arabella stared, entranced, as three drops of softened wax slowly took shape in the swirling water. Smoke rose, filling her nose with the pungent aroma of snuffed out candles, reminding her of when her mother would tuck her securely into her bed, and bid her a fond good eve, before extinguishing the flame. She forced the memories to the back of her mind, and concentrated on the task at hand.

“Now, the dagger,” she instructed a servant. Gripping the jeweled hilt in both hands she raised it to the ceiling, blade down, and angled toward her heart. In one swift plunge it would be done, her future decided.

Just as the dagger made its sharp decent a strident shriek rent the air, startling Arabella, and she dropped the knife into the wooden bowl with a splash. Heart thudding, she whirled around in time to witness the chamber maid running in terror from the room.

Hellfire and damnation! Now she would have to start all over again. Muttering, she plunged her hand into the water and retrieved the dagger.

“Verily m’lady, if ye are of a mind to carry on such rituals there will be nary a servant left to tend yer needs.”

Clutching the dripping dagger to her breast, Arabella spun around to face her lady’s maid standing in the doorway. “St. Joseph’s staff, you put the heart across me Bertrice!”

“Someone ought to, m’lady, afore ye are stoned fer witchery.”
She ignored the oft heard remark. Why her father’s people thought she practiced witchery remained a mystery. She shrugged it off, and accepted such ignorance as lack of understanding for Catholicism.
Emptying the bowl out the narrow window, she arched an eyebrow at Bertrice. “Now, is there a particular reason you sought me this hour? For I am certain Mr. Mayhue is missing your company,” she said, smiling at the blush staining her maid’s cheeks.
Bertrice fished a folded square of parchment affixed with a familiar wax seal from her apron pocket.
She raised questioning eyes to the maidservant; ‘twas weeks too soon for her aunt’s monthly letter.

Bertrice quickly shut the heavy wood door before capturing Arabella’s hand, and silently guided her to the cushioned window seat; there she calmly recounted the events of the past hour.

“I was a-walk in the north park gatherin’ flowers fer yer chamber. I left me basket unattended to pluck an armful of thistles growin’ betwixt a gorse bush. After cullin’ the flowers I went back to me basket, and tucked halfway beneath the cowslips was yon letter. When I saw the seal coupled with the oddly timed delivery, I knew ‘twas meant for ye, away from pryin’ eyes.”

Arabella hastily slid her dagger beneath the seal releasing the wax. Bracing for unpleasant news, her hand trembled whilst she unfolded the note. Quickly scanning the contents she leaned heavily against the window pane…stunned.

Taking a moment to absorb the shock, she straightened, and turned to Bertrice a grin wreathing her face. “He is come!”


Sky Purington said...

Wow, this looks like a super read. Love the writing style, compelling excerpts, I'm interested!

Sky Purington

Lisa Campbell said...

Thanks so much Sky! I appreciate the compliment. :o)

Nicole North said...

Fantastic excerpt, Lisa!!! Definitely intriguing!

Lisa M. Campbell said...

Thanks Nicole! Glad you liked it!

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