I'm not much of a blogger, I must admit, which is why I've neglected this blog for the past year or so. Today was a rain day for my work, so I was able to catch up on the chores that Ana and I didn't get done over the weekend. When those were completed, I got a chance to write, and after overcoming some writer's block, I did just that, getting some work done on the second draft of my novel which I will not be titling The Were-Coyote, but which I have not properly titled either.
I also came across my favorite passage from another novel that I fully intend to finish, which is tentatively titled, Jack the Giant Slayer. Here's the passage. I hope you like it.
The Gobbler and the Grister
The one said to the other, “Oh, Grister, what do you hear?”
“I hear the lilting voices of children bubbling up to us on the breeze.” The Grister smacked his crocodile lips and licked them with his serrated tongue. “Oh, Gobbler,” he queried anxiously, hopping from taloned foot to taloned foot, “What do you smell?” He beat his short, coarse feathered wings in anticipation. They were both so very hungry.
“I smell the sweat and breath of children, the sweet, sweet scent of boys and girls as they pant and pant up the trail. They had eggs and bread for breakfast.” Saliva dripped from the Gobbler’s immense, mushy mouth. His glassy eyes watered with yearning, and he too licked his lips. His fat, slimy tongue ran over his froggy lips slowly as though it were a slug.
“I hunger,” said the Grister.
They crouched behind some boulders and peered down from between cracks. Still, they saw nothing.
“How lovely shall be my cave adorned with their bones,” said the Grister.
“How full shall feel my belly filled with their fatty meat,” said the Gobbler. He shifted his bulky, toad like body and wiggled his platypus tail. They waited, peering down the trail, hoping to see soon who approached. Soon enough, a boy with a bright aura came into view and then behind him their eyes discerned other innocents coming more slowly, trying to hide behind the boulders that lined the path. The Grister ran his serrated tongue over his crocodile lips again.
Said the Grister to the Gobbler, “Oh, look, companion, see how the boy, so handsome of appearance, leads the others up the trail. Earnestly he searches, though he knows not what he seeks. Alas that even I must pity his true heart and fair mind, verily, it is we two slayers that he has found.”
“And how will you kill him?” asked the Gobbler of the Grister.
“I’ll snatch him up with both claws and squeeze him like a cow’s teat. I’ll shake him ‘til his neck snaps, and his eyes bleed!”
“Verily. And how will you kill the tall, pale girl who comes next?” asked the Grister of the Gobbler.
“I shall jump on her and smush her while I snatch the other girl up with my tongue for the fly that she is.” The Gobbler almost sang as he spoke, so happy was he with the thought of meat in his belly. His voice was bullish and bass, and it suddenly echoed loudly. “How innocent they all smell!” he exclaimed, “except for her – she smells nicely tainted.”
The Grister was peering down the trail with one eye and noted that the boy had paused, that his expression was bewildered, that his aura suddenly intense, and that his hands were fumbling with the bow on his back and the arrows in his little quiver on his hip.
“The moment has come, Gobbler,” announced the Grister. “We shall romp and feast all in a time.” He leapt from behind his boulder and jumped down the trail with stunted wings beating, maw gaping, and taloned feet extended to grasp and rend.
“Wait for me, Grister!” exclaimed the Gobbler as he bounded out from boulder to boulder with clumsy hops. “I want to be a part of the rumpus.”
Down the trail, the wide-eyed boy had drawn an arrow to his cheek and loosed it at the Grister. The arrow’s flight took it high but still into the arc of the Grister’s jump. The slayer and the arrow met as Grister veered, and the arrow stuck into one coarse feather and stayed. Then the Grister hit the steep path short of his target but running. Down from him the boy back peddled and fell as the loose rock slipped under his shoes. With a shriek the Grister pounced and came down on the boy with one, cruel, taloned foot. His prey was caught and pinned.
“Now shake him,” urged the Gobbler, still bounced along far up and behind, “shake the purity out of him, snap him, and bleed him.”
The Grister leered down at his food. The boy gulped and squirmed. The serrated tongue came out and danced harshly over the crocodile lips. “What a worm you are,” the Grister addressed the boy. He tickled him with talon. “I shall crush you, I think, and shake you like a tambourine.”
“Well I won’t make music for you,” the boy protested, “I won’t play.”
Chuckled the Grister, “You haven’t a choice.”
The boy stopped struggling and stared hard into the beady eyes.
“You shot me. I shan’t forgive you for that,” stated the Grister.
“If I hadn’t shot you, wouldn’t you have treated me as you are about to anyway?” asked the boy in a skeptical tone.
Laughed the Grister, “True, true, true enough, true like your aching heart and fair mind. I was going to crush and shake and devour you anyway. I mean to decorate my cave with your bones.”
“Oh!” the boy exclaimed. He seemed horrified and the Grister laughed.
“Well, to be fair,” said the boy hastily, “I hardly shot you. I only grazed you, well, winged you really,” and he let out a short, helpful laugh.
“Winged you! How clever! What a fair mind!” asserted the Gobbler, landing a few yards behind them on a blocky boulder.
“It is clever isn’t it,” agreed the Grister, “and funny too.” It chuckled an evil chuckle and tickled its prey some more with one of its sharp talons. “Are you all so funny?”
“All?” asked the boy through gritted teeth.
“All of you that come up the trail. Don’t act the ignorant traveler with me you tender morsel.”
“Oh, those behind me?” The boy paused and his face scrunched. “I’m running from them,” he exclaimed. “They are terribly dull and uninteresting, I assure you.”
“They are?” asked the Grister, peering closely at the boy.
“Tasty enough probably, but slow of movement, dull witted and short tempered. They couldn’t amuse a hatter, let alone a gentleman of discriminating taste such as yourself.”
“Humph!” stated the Grister.
“He has a fine manner of speech has he not?” asked the Gobbler from his blocky boulder. “You know that those others have stopped and are aiming their bows at us, of course?” He hopped down with a squishy plop and hid behind his perch. The Grister dodged behind a boulder dragging the boy with him just as an arrow whizzed past his scaly head. It gave the boy an angry shake.
“You say that they are tasty?” it demanded of him. The boy bit his lip, and it bled, but he seemed to ignore it. The smell was heady to the Grister. From behind his boulder the Gobbler whimpered, “Oh, but you’ve bloodied him Grister, how I want to swallow one now.”
“Oh, yes, I imagine that the tallest one with the bow tastes like mule, and the one that is shortest tastes like lamb chops. The little girl must taste like chicken mustn’t she?”
The Grister looked over the top of the boulder and licked his lips yet again.
“What a fine tongue you have,” marveled the boy, “You must be able to saw trees down with it, if you wanted.”
“I use it to scrape clean the bones,” said the Grister proudly, “I have no use for sawing at trees.”
The Grister ducked just in time as several arrows passed by. One, which had an ugly hiss to its flight, flew right through the space where the Grister’s head had been.
“Enough!” growled the Grister with a shrill, “Though you amuse me, I’ll eat you here and now.” He lifted the boy in his taloned foot and licked the blood from his chin. The boy grimaced and turned aside squirming. “Squirm, worm,” laughed the Grister until he saw the boy’s aura intensify again and felt a sharp, stinging pain in the heel of his claw. He spasmed, quite involuntarily. His claws opened to reveal that the boy had obtained a knife from his belt and used it, for it dripped with blood. As the Grister dropped the boy, he reared back with a high pitched howl, and something else happened. Another arrow came flying and struck him under his crocodile jaws. He was much too surprised to do anything after that. His howl fell silent, his eyes grew bewildered, and his right eye saw another arrow flying until the arrow put the eye out. So he fell then and saw, spoke, and moved no more, except for a final licking of his crocodile lips with his serrated tongue.
“He was just hungry,” said the Gobbler defensively in shocked tone. “I’ll smush you now,” he announced to the boy, “I’ll smush you whether I like you or not, then I’ll eat you in a single gulp.” As he gathered himself for a hop, the boy turned and ran off the path onto the steeper side of the ridge. The Gobbler leapt mightily after him, much more swiftly and powerfully than before, but as his shadow came over the boy, the boy skidded as if to stop and began to slide downhill till he hit a boulder that his weight, and the rock slide he had begun, would not move. Arrows whizzed past the Gobbler and one stuck painfully in his platypus tail. He grunted with the pain but tried to use it to steer anyway, for he did not want to land badly on the sliding stones of the hillside.
“How unfortunate this is,” he said in his bullish, bass voice. Then he plopped into the exactly wrong spot on the hillside, and the rocks and the stones crashed all around him. He found himself sliding and falling amongst boulders and such, and the landslide he had begun was quite powerful for he was rather larger than a boy. He wondered, as he slid away in the noise, the debris, and the rising dust, if the boy with his true heart and fair mind pitied him and the Grister, two slayers that they were and so very hungry.