S is for Sneaking
...as in, sneaking around: spying, snooping, and generally being sly. Amazing how many 's' words there are for deviousness, huh?
I chose this particular word for 'S' today for the express purpose of posting the brandest of the brand new of snippets, written just days before I wrote this post. I thought it might be
I think the A to Z Challenge might finally be getting to me...
At any rate, because this is so brand-spanking new, I really have no idea if it's going to end up in the novel at all. I do know that the reason for it will, though.
Before your heads all start spinning, let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up (and points to any of you who got that quote without clicking on the link): this is from my Indian lifetime, where the two souls are Emma, the 18 year old daughter of a British army officer, and Aryahi, their mysterious new maid, who is also an incarnation of the goddess Durga. Aryahi is definitely not in Emma's house to just be a maid, and is also definitely snooping around, so something like this snippet, where Emma catches Aryahi in her father's study in the middle of the night, will happen in the book. I just have no idea if this will be it. Well, read and enjoy (I hope) anyway!
There had been a flash of light – something gleaming, flecked with gold – that woke Emma from sleep, and pulled her from her bed.“Is someone there?” She stood still in the doorway of her room, her eyes straining to pierce the darkness, but the night was completely, bizarrely black, as if the sky itself had thrown down a heavy curtain over the house, blocking all light. Not even the stars could reach her here.She heard a shadow of sound, as if someone had opened a door with slow, deliberate care. She shivered.Emma crept forward, trailing one hand along the wall for guidance. All was silent and still. And yet, her nerves were singing; she knew someone else was here with her, in the thick, unnatural darkness at the end of the hall. She frowned; only her father’s study lay there. Who could be in it in the middle of the night, besides her father? But her father was away, until at least the end of the week; she'd seen him off herself only the day before.In the deep black ahead of her she saw it again: a glimmer of light, like the pale gleam of an eye, or a tooth. She drew in a sharp breath and pushed forward, faster now, her hand quick and sure against the grooves of the wall. In seconds she was at the door to the study. She put out her hand to feel for the knob, but her fingers met only space: the door – the locked, sturdy door that only her father had the key to open – was already ajar.She eased into the room, her heart in her throat, and paused. She knew she should stop, and wake Manesh, and get him to help her, but some instinct held her motionless, waiting.There was another whisper of sound, but lighter this time, as if a tiny wind had swept through the room. And then the air’s strange, heavy curtains parted: the utter blackness lifted, and starlight shone, pale and silver, through the window.And Emma could see, not well, but enough. There was another person in the room: a woman, by the slightness of her frame, standing by her father’s desk, her body twisted, as if she’d just suddenly turned towards the door.“Who’s there? What are you doing?” Emma whispered.The woman flinched, and then her body seemed to relax.“Emma?” came the whispered reply.“Who is that?”The woman moved towards her, and her movements were so easy, so curved with simple grace, that Emma knew who it was long before she saw her face.“Aryahi,” she breathed, and then Aryahi was there. Her skin gleamed in the starlight, and her eyes seemed lit with flecks of gold, and Emma knew she was staring, but she couldn't stop. There was something different about the maid, here in the deep stillness of the night, here where she had no right to be; something certain, fluid; something that hummed with urgency and power.“Emma,” Aryahi answered, and then she was close, too close, standing so near that their bodies were almost touching. A thread of heat coiled up Emma’s spine. Aryahi reached up, and curved her palm around Emma’s cheek, and for a moment, Emma was certain she was about to be kissed – and then Aryahi smiled, and was gone.Emma stood alone in her father’s study, her heart pounding.