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A sneak peek snippet of my work-in-progress novel.

The Pass

Genres: literary fiction, character-driven, psychological fantasy, portal fantasy, magical realism

There were no storms anymore- since Dai’s departure, the ocean had stood amazingly still. It breathed forward and back gently, lapping at the logs that lined the shore and foaming quietly as it inhaled back into itself, pebbles rolling in the salty foam. Every day along the charcoal beaches, flowers opened halfway. Tiny ponds stood still on my way past them, and each step brought me closer to death- or at least that was how I thought of life then. In the days that followed her absence, I had been intrigued by death. No, enveloped in it. I was no longer whole, I thought. A chunk of my soul had gotten up one night and walked into the Pass as I slept. During my walks to the cliffside I would make up stories like these in an attempt to explain to myself where she had gone, though it was obvious to me somehow that she was dead. I rubbed my fingertips along my arm where she had once grabbed me assertively: you are not an isolated event. That may have been true then. I had actually started to believe it too, and I knew why. 

Under the blanket of coastal night, when the air cooled, the candle flame between our beds had wavered in strength, nearly extinguishing every few moments when gusts of wind filled the A-frame ceiling, swirling in the rafters. Every evening, she scratched a fresh matchstick against the rough wood of the bedpost until it lit, then held it gingerly over the candlestick until the flame settled into a dim glow. It cast surprisingly large shadows that bounced around the room as we shed the day from ourselves and prepared for rest. When we were both in our beds, blankets up to our chins, we would just stare plainly across at each other. Her wide, dark eyes steady in their gaze, the whites as prominent as that first day in the tunnel. We never said a word. Some nights- and I truly believed this- we were reading each other’s minds. I now wondered what she had thought of my eyes, accepting that they must never have looked nearly as awake as hers. She had existed so deeply within her mind, as some did; I had watched her look at me, occupied, immersed in what I can only assume was a complex and full inner dialogue.

Clove, we could go to the beach all day tomorrow. We could save the chores for later. Have you not noticed it yet? We’ve been waiting longer and longer before our meals. Do not ask- she will see it soon. She is capable of seeing it. I would still choose this, of course. I would choose it every time, to meet you. I must prepare my list. I must be ready. The night is almost here. What do you see when you look at me? Maybe I should ask- no, don’t ask. Do you see someone who is not all the way here? If only I could meet you here and now. I would love to be here. What is it like to be awake, and not just aware?

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