Painted in Shades of Blood

Posted: June 8, 2014 by writingsprint in Fantasy
Tags: , , , , , , ,
See the face in the fire?

See the face in the fire?

Before today’s sample from Shadow and Shade, I wanted to remind everyone that it’s available as a free download for Kindle as a special promotion ending today. Over a hundred people have gotten a copy in the past 24 hours!

I hope you love it. If you do, leave a cool review, and spread the word! THANK YOU!

He crisscrossed his hands over the fire, slowly, moving them back and forth through the wisps of flame. A feathery tickle ran over his palms. Logan sucked in the heated air. He drifted his thoughts in pools of heat, washing out from the fire. Almost without thinking, he began to whisper a stream of verses that spoke of sunset and resting. With every move back and forth the flames retreated into the pile of twigs and leaves.

By the fifth time he repeated the gesture, the flames had swallowed themselves into the wood. No smoke rose from the pile. It still would have felt warm if they touched it, but not enough to start burning again. His eyes opened. Just a touch, on the corners of his mouth, he allowed himself a smile. By the gentle moonlight he could see the expectation in Laik’s eyes, the wonder in Marissa’s.

“Not bad,” she breathed.

“It’s not done yet,” he heard Laik say.

Logan passed his hand over the pile again. He drew his fingers across the twigs, and a low fire followed them like trails in sand. He opened and closed his fingers to spread the fire and light it fully.

He breathed in relief as he finally let go. There was a dull ache in the base of his neck. He felt cold. He smiled and dropped back against the tree again to give himself a rest. He looked at Laik. “Now, I’m tired,” he said. As the fire grew their faces became distinct in the glow. Laik was nodding mute but beaming approval. Marissa looked breathless.

“What were those words you were saying?” Marissa asked.

Logan wiped his forehead with the heel of his palm. “Uh,” he managed, embarrassingly. “It helps me think. Sort of a prayer, but you’re not praying to anyone. It helps me to think the right way, so that I can do it.” He shrugged amiably to finish answering Marissa’s question. It really was the best answer he could give.

Laik leaned over the rising fire. He shook back his hair to let the heat wash into his face. The dim light from the fire cast his face in bloody shades of crimson and scarlet. Something about it bothered Logan. He pulled his knees closer to his chest, then put them back the way they were. He became conscious of the tight pull of the strap that bound his hunting knife to his leg, and the pressing of its grip against the top of his thigh. The whirring sound of the crickets and the sour, harsh popping of the flames haunted the clearing. Marissa asked Laik for the wine. Laik handed it to her and moved back from the fire. His face was thrown back into softer shades of red, but the bad feeling didn’t go away.

Logan tilted his head back until it rested against the tree behind him. He closed his eyes, feigning a little wine-induced restfulness, and let himself feel what was happening more deeply. He wandered through memories of bad feelings, the ones that people would rather forget: being lost, a scolding from his mother, fights with other children.

When he was little, there had been nights when he would lay in bed on his stomach. He had been afraid to turn over because he thought there would be something standing there. On some of those nights he forced himself to turn over anyway. Then he would lay there, staring at the entrance to the burrow, afraid that it was really outside. He would gather up his blankets over his neck so that it couldn’t strangle him after he fell asleep.

A new thought melted into the forefront of his mind. He could almost see another face painted in shades of blood. Close. Near. He could almost hear a hissing, sweating voice. Real blood stained the ground. Logan’s breath began to catch in his throat.

Photo credit: “Face in the Flames” by randeeryan at Flickr
Photo is unmodified
Shared under Creative Commons license

  1. winterbayne says:

    I’m at work, may not get it in time…but I never did mind paying for books 😉 100 copies in 24 hrs is great!


    • Thanks 😀 ! I hope you like it! I’m extending it another 24 hours because a friend of mine was kind enough to place an ad on her blog, but wasn’t able to post it (because I didn’t send it to her) until last night.


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