I have hit a bit of a wall.
I’ve started the rewrite of my book and the first chapter came put pretty good. Chapter two, though? My brain has stalled. I’ve hit about 650 or so words and just kinda…nothing. I know what needs to happen it’s just I don’t see it in my head like I usually do. I’m introducing the other half of my main cast and I don’t want things to feel trivial. Things should come along eventually; I just want them to be sooner rather than later.
In the meantime, I have below the piece I’m taking to my writer’s group tonight. We have keywords we use to shape our story each month. This month the keywords were: hope, rite, selling, gift, smoke, chaos, and tickling. Our genre was Dystopian. It was a challenge to bring together everything, but I’m happy with the end result. Please enjoy and let me know what you think.
Last of the Weavers
“Nicely done, Daniel. Very impressive.”
Daniel stood to his feet from the training mat. He had been practicing The Weaving meticulously for weeks. His body ached and his muscles burned, but to hear his soon to be Father-in-law approve was worth it.
“Thank you, Father Mullins. I have tried to apply my focus as you have taught me.”
George Mullins met Daniel with a large hug. “You have progressed far in your work. I could not be more proud of my successor. You will lead The Body with wisdom and honor.”
There was a subtle knock at the door.
“Time to finish up you two. It’s nearly time to begin.”
George Mullins smiled. “We’re coming, Elena. Don’t worry. You will have him all to yourself soon enough.”
“I’ll hold you to that.”
George turned to Daniel. “Come. You must get cleaned up before the ceremony starts.”
“I will.” Daniel said. “I have one last question though. How did you know this was your calling? Especially with the council hunting for us now, what made you decide this was the life you wanted?”
“I can’t say it was something I decided I wanted. I knew this would be my life and I accepted that. It’s more of an inner knowing. Are you troubled?”
Daniel shook his head and grabbed a towel to dry the sweat off his face. “No, nothing like that. Right now all I see is my future. My future wife. The Body. I don’t want to fail them.”
“This is why you will be a great leader, Daniel. You put the concerns of others before yourself. Do this and you will prosper. Come. Let us go before my daughter drags us out.”
Daniel went and changed into his high ceremonial robes. He stopped at the mirror before he left his room. He studied his face intently, remembering the boy he used to be when he became part of The Body. The man he saw in the mirror was quite different. Daniel exhaled and moved through the first and third Weaving steps one more time. Yes. He was ready.
Daniel moved through the narrow hallway to the ceremonial hall. The lights that were sparsely hung barely lit the way, but Daniel had walked this place enough that he could do it blindfolded. He made a mental note to talk to Amy about the lights. He didn’t want anyone getting hurt.
He turned a corner that opened into the ceremonial hall. Daniel looked out to see the whole of The Body had been gathered, waiting for him. Father Mullins and the other members of the leadership stood at the dais up front. Elena stood just behind her father, smiling at Daniel.
“Come, Brother Daniel, so you may receive your confirmation,” Father Mullins said, motioning Daniel to join him.
As Daniel crossed to the front, the people of the congregation sat as he passed them, saying a small prayer or blessing for him.
“Today we are gathered for an important time,” Father Mullins began. “As the last church of the old ways, it has fallen to us to ensure that The Weaving is not forgotten. The hand that has gripped this world not only rejects us but seeks out to destroy us. As it was foretold the remnant will live on and continue to preach the truth. We are in the dire times, make no mistake.”
The members of the congregation muttered “amens” and shook their heads in agreement.
“That is why it is more crucial than ever to pass on the old ways. We must be able to show our children that which came before. Today is a proud day. Come, Daniel.”
Daniel moved to stand across from Father Mullins and knelt on his knees.
“Your dedication to The Weaving and The Body has been confirmed by the members of this leadership. Therefore we appoint you as Father-Elect of this body and we pray that the One will guide you in the many years of your leadership. Now repeat after me: I, Daniel Cartright…”
A deafening blast rang through the room as an explosion shook the front entrance of the church. Men in black tactical gear poured into the room and opened gunfire on the crowd. “Move, move, move!” The members of the congregation scattered.
“What in heaven’s-“
Father Mullins was cut off when a bullet slammed into his chest.
“Daddy!” Elena shouted.
Elena and Daniel rushed over to him, but there was nothing they could do. George Mullins was dead.
Daniel grabbed Elena’s hand. “Elena, we need to go. Now!” They moved toward the back to find a hallway where they could escape, but they heard more gunfire and people screaming through the corridor. Daniel turned around to survey the room.
People were everywhere running over each other. The main hall had been built with very few windows and entrances in order to keep services secluded. The layout of the place combined with the smoke from the soldier’s weapons made what was meant as a place of protection a perfect kill box. Daniel had to think quickly. He turned to his fiancé.
“Elena, do you trust me?”
“Then follow me.” Daniel and Elena ran over to a dimly lit corner of the room. Two church members ran into Daniel, nearly knocking him over. He moved them over with Elena. “Sit behind me and don’t move.” He looked back at the ceremonial hall. No one else was close enough to grab.
Daniel took off his top robe and started weaving furiously. He had to get this up quickly if they were going to have a chance. He began just as he had been taught, using the language of his movements to affect the world around him. As he moved through his beautiful precision, Elena could see reality start to bend. A point in space would break and then reform with the next part around it. As the dust settled and the screaming stopped, Daniel had woven a shield around them. Daniel held his final motion in place and froze.
The soldiers in black started to return to the main chamber. “Did we get them all?”
“I don’t see anyone left. We got the priest, right?”
“Yeah, he’s dead up front there.”
Someone across the room got up and shouted at the soldiers. “Hey, where’s my money?”
“Oh you made it.”
Amy stumbled into the center of the room.
“Hey, I can’t spend my finder’s fee if I’m dead. Where’s my money?”
The one who looked like the commander tossed her a bag from his belt.
“Here you go. Now beat it.”
Amy turned to leave. “Don’t have to tell me twice. Nice doing business with you.”
Elena choked, “Amy?” Then realizing she spoke, she slammed her hand over her mouth.
The soldiers moved over to the corner where Daniel and the others were crouched.
“Did anyone hear anything?”
The commander moved his flashlight over into the shadows. Daniel firmly held his last motion as a bead of sweat ran down and tickled the end of his nose. The commander swept his light back and forth but only saw the dilapidated wall of the church.
“Okay, guys, let’s move on. Do a perimeter sweep before you load up and make sure no one got out.”
Once the soldiers were gone Daniel dropped his hold and collapsed to his knees. He turned around to see Elena holding the two teenagers he managed to grab who he now recognized as Millie and Hunter. After a quiet moment that felt like an eternity, they moved through the room to see if anyone else survived. Their hopes fell hard.
Daniel and Elena picked up George Mullins body and laid him properly on the dais.
“What do we do now?” Elena asked.
Daniel sighed. “I don’t know. Everything I’ve been working years for seems to be gone now.”
“You can’t possibly believe that.”
“Elena, we’ve spent years hiding from the Grand Council hoping that we would escape their notice and pass on the old ways, but they found us anyway and killed everyone.”
Elena took Daniel’s face in her hands. “I know your heart is broken. Mine is too. But this can’t have all been for nothing.” She turned him to look at Millie and Hunter, collecting the bodies of their fallen brothers and sisters. “You still have a family here, even though it’s small. The Body exists. Here.”
Elena reached behind her and took up her father’s staff.
“My father was planning to give this to you after we were married. He would want you to have this.”
Daniel took the staff and looked it over. His grip became sure and strong.
“I know that look,” Elena said. “You’ve decided something.”
Daniel kissed Elena. “Thank you. Without you I am lost.” He turned out to where the two teens were working and called out. “Millie. Hunter.”
Daniel spoke when everyone was together. “It has fallen to us to keep the old ways alive. I will not lie to you, things will be more dangerous for us than ever, but if we stay together, we will succeed.”
“Before today, only the Father of the Body was permitted to practice the Weaving. As of today, that changes. We will keep the old ways but we must move on into the future. I will teach all of you The Weaving. We will make sure that The Body grows and endures.