Thursday, September 2, 2010

Into the Woods Excerpt

Once again, this is for Belle event!

A little bit of history about this post. I wrote this book after years if procrastinating and many, many false starts. I have always loved the Beauty and the Beast concept and had been wanting to write my own version for years. I finally decided no more waiting and banged it out during NaNoWriMo last year. This is an excerpt  from Chapter 7.Previously, Hannah was a children's librarian who had been demoted to book re-shelver because of day dreaming. She was sent to the basement for something and found an old chest, events lead her here, to the Beast's world, where we find her now!


Hannah walked through the meadow that just yesterday had been full of flowers and bird song. Now it echoed the rest of the woods. Cold and snowy, there was not a green leafy thing to be seen! Walking warily though the meadow, Hannah came to the spot where the tree branch had pinned her to the ground. She grasped the branch and tried to pull it out of the ground. It was stuck fast; even using all of her strength Hannah couldn’t budge it. Letting go of it she looked up at the trees and whispered, "What is going on here? What happened to you?"
Rubbing the amber stone, she went to the place where she entered the clearing yesterday. The trees were still woven in a tight mat of branches and needles. Going around the perimeter of the clearing Hannah could find no spot where the branches would let her through. Feeling a seed of panic sprout in her chest Hannah went around the clearing once more. About halfway around she heard a bird let lose in happy song right above her head. Hannah looked up and saw a small yellow and blue bird perched on a branch, just within her reach.

When the bird saw that it had Hannah's attention it hopped up onto the next branch and peeped impatiently at her. "What? You want me to follow you? I can't get through right here! The trees won't let me!" Hannah pushed against the mat of branches in front of her, demonstrating for the bird the fact that she couldn't get through. The little bird rolled its head in annoyance and hopped down to the first branch, peeped a few times, then hopped up to the next one and looked at Hannah expectantly.

"Oh! You want me to climb? I'm not sure I want to climb on something that just yesterday tried to spear me!" Hannah put her hands on her hips and shook her head at the bird. Looking about as annoyed as a bird can, it flew down and sat on Hannah's head, peeping and pecking at her. Hannah tried to shoo the bird away but every time she got him to fly off he would just land back on her head when she put her hands back down. After about five minutes of this Hannah threw her hands up in the air and yelled, "Fine, fine! You win, I'll follow you! Even though I think it's a really bad idea. What if the trees decide to dump me! Or find some other way to kill me! I guess that doesn't matter as long as you're happy."

Hannah reached, grabbed the first branch and scrambled up. When she looked up to see where the bird had gone, she found him sitting on the branch, just above her, looking as smug as you can with a beak! "Yeah, yeah you got your way! If I die, I'll let the Whisper know it was all your fault!"

Hannah followed the bird through the trees first up; then from tree to tree where the branches where strong enough and over lapped. Hannah got more and easier in her movements as she relaxed. She began to enjoy her journey through the tree tops. She was so preoccupied that she didn't notice when the bird suddenly peeped in fright and flew off. "Wow! What a view! Hey, bird where are we going?" It was just then that she noticed that the bird was gone. She looked all around and also noticed that the stone on her necklace was glowing.

"Hey, bird? Bird, where did you go!" Hannah looked around frantically and began to feel sick to her stomach. "Whisper, can you hear me? Is anyone there? What do I do now? Where do I go??"

No longer was this a beautiful trip though the tree tops. With her friendly little guide gone, Hannah felt like she was going to fall at any minute and that the trees were going to turn on her. Just then Hannah felt the tree begin to shake. She looked down but couldn't see anything. The tree began to rock harder and harder. Hannah realized the wind had come up and started to look for a good path down and out of the tree. Suddenly the branch underneath her snapped off and fell crashing to the ground! Hannah leapt for the next branch and just caught it with her fingertips.

She swung her legs and managed to wrap them around the trunk. Inching her hands along the branch she was able to slowly move towards the trunk of the tree. After what seemed like ages she reached the trunk and wrapped one arm around it. When she felt secure she let go of the branch and wrapped the other arm around the trunk as well. Hugging the trunk, Hannah pressed her face against the rough bark and gathered her wits about her.

"You're okay! Just stay calm. Pretend you're not high up in a tree that may or may not be trying to kill you. Think, think. What should I do?" Hannah wondered allowed.
Hannah looked around and saw that there was a branch that looked like it could support her weight about five feet below. After looking around for any other option, Hannah slowly began inching down towards the branch. She had just about reached it when the tree began to shake again. Holding onto the trunk in a death grip, Hannah closed her eyes and feared the worst.

All of the sudden, the tree stopped shaking. Hannah kept her eyes closed and once more began inching downwards. When she finally felt the branch underneath her she relaxed. Turning around so she was sitting on the branch, Hannah leaned back against the tree and sighed deeply in relief. A soft breeze played across her face and brought a faint scent with it. Now where have I smelled that before? Smells like vanilla and something else................wait a minute, leapin' lizards!

Hannah's eyes snapped opened, she wasn't sure what she would see, but needed to find out. What she saw was this. Crouching on a branch across from her was a huge black form. It was built like a lion, but was black as a moonless midnight. Much to Hannah's surprise, this creature was wearing a long black cloak. His paws were at least three times the size of her hands. Gulping, she quickly looked away and noticed a tail was hanging out from below the cape. Hannah had the insane urge to giggle as she saw it twitching back and forth. She finally screwed up the courage to look into the creature's face.

A black mane that stood out around his head and a surprisingly pink nose were the first things Hannah noticed, but it was his eyes that caught her attention and held it. They were oddly human and in a flash of clarity Hannah saw that they were the same softly glowing color as the pendant she wore. Just as the pendant had drawn her in, this creatures eyes did the same. Hannah could see many emotions in those liquid, amber eyes, but was at a loss to describe any of them.

If he wanted to kill me he could have done it last night or most likely at any point! He looks nice, if pretty scary. I wonder what he is? Cat man? The Hairy Wonder? I think Beast will do, that's what these kinds of creatures are usually called! What should I say? What should I do...........

As Hannah mind raced, a breeze ruffled the Beast's mane and blew across Hannah's face. She was startled into saying, "Are you the one who smells like that? You smell good!" Hannah flung her hands up to cover her face when she realized what she had just said!