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Monday, October 25, 2010

Never-ending Scene Blogfest

Sorry to be posting late!  Here's one of my favorite cliffhanger scenes from DESTINED (in about 415 words).  By way of background, this book is a retelling of the Cupid & Psyche myth and is set in ancient Greece.  At this point in the book, Sadie is either going to have to marry a wretched outcast or Cupid. The worst of the worst or the best of the best, right?  Her father, King Darion, has traveled to Delphi to get the Oracle's prediction (the oracle is also called the Pythia).  This is the moment where we watch Darion get the prophecy to determine which path Sadie's life is about to take.

Oops... and I forgot to mention-- check out Brenda Drake's blog for the rest of the entries!

Darion approached Apollo’s temple slowly, carrying the lyre on outstretched arms before him. He looked as if he expected the god to reach down and personally accept the gift. But as he stood in the shadow of the massive temple, Darion’s fleshy arms began to weaken. He was forced to present his tribute at the base of the temple. Like everyone else.
He led a procession of supplicants around Apollo’s temple to a side entrance. There, Darion crept down a set of stairs that descended into the Sanctuary of the Oracle. The room was dark and damp, the flickering lanterns barely illuminating the cavern. Its silence was punctuated only by trickles from the stream running through channels in the floor.  

Darion approached the screen separating him from the Pythia and placed his hand against the coarse fabric. Cupid shared Darion’s anguish. The girl on the other side of that screen held both their worlds in her hands. Darion’s forehead dipped until it too pressed against the screen. A tear spilled from his eye. Cupid held his breath.

A priest cleared his throat nearby. “Sire, the Pythia is waiting. You need to ask your question.”

Darion raised his head, but didn’t back away from the screen. His voice cracked when he spoke. “Pythia, sacred maiden of Apollo, I come to learn the fate of my daughter, Sadie. What lies in store for her?”

The Pythia sat silently on her tripod, pinching laurel leaves between her soft fingers and gazing into a cauldron of still water. Slowly, deeply, she inhaled the vapors rising from a crevice in the earth. Her low-ceilinged chamber filled with the intoxicating scent of the god, swirling around her, inviting her to taste immortality. The light, tinkling sound of the sacred stream filled the cavern as she waited to receive Apollo’s message.

The Pythia began to sway as she balanced on her tripod. Her arms stretched out to the sides, palms up, letting the leaves fall away. Seconds ticked by and Cupid felt his heart thud its every beat in his chest. Suddenly, the Pythia erupted in a peal of laughter, throwing her head back with such abandon she would have tumbled from her stool if an alert priest hadn’t caught her.

“Get ready,” the priest whispered to Darion. “It’s coming.”

Eyes rolled back in her head and panting, the Pythia breathed out her prophecy. Foretold Sadie’s future.

Darion dropped to his knees as the Pythia collapsed into the priest’s waiting arms.


Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed this. Great imagery! The cliffhanger was terrific!

Christopher S. Ledbetter said...

Oh baby!! You've got my undivided attention! You had me at ancient Greece! I loved this piece. I'd not only read on. I'd read everything else you have. great job!

Dawn Embers said...

Nice use of imagery and way to gloss over the prophesy to not let the reader know just yet. Good job. One tip, as personal preference, would be to put an extra space between paragraphs. That just makes it easier to read as people like to have a little bit of space. Nice work with the cliffhanger.

JEFritz said...

Nice. Your use of details is perfect to entice interest. And I am so mad you didn't reveal the prophecy! His he falling down in relief, distress, fear...Great cliffhanger.

Jessie said...

Thanks everyone! Dawn - thanks for the tip - I spaced them now so everyone in the future can read it better. :)

Brenda Drake said...

Thanks for participating! We've judged your entry. o/\o *high five*

Cheree said...

Great cliff hanger, I enjoyed reading it.

gideon 86 said...

Intriguing. The father's plea for knowledge of his daughter's destiny. Love the greek mythology. You can feel the tragedy ... you know it's coming.

Michael D.

Wendy Tyler Ryan said...

Very, very nice writing. One of the best today. Clean, vivid.

Rachael Harrie said...

Great cliffhanger, I enjoyed reading, would love to find out what the prophecy says :)


Francine said...


Lovely descriptive writing and nicely handled cliffhanger!


Raquel Byrnes said...

I like your details, the laurel leaves and the cauldron. Very well written. Great entry.
Edge of Your Seat Romance

Marieke said...

Very intriguing! Would love to find out more! :)

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

Nice excerpt. Enjoyed reading it.

Wendy Tyler Ryan said...

I just had to come by to say how disappointed I was to see that your name was not on the semi-finalist list. You were one of my top 5 picks. I'm still shaking my head.

You don't have to publish this comment, I just wanted you to know how I felt.

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