Monday, April 19, 2010

My Fiction Novel - "In Ravenscrag's Shadow" - Chapter 1

58,086!!! That is the number of words in my finished 1st draft of “In Ravenscrag’s Shadow”, the adventure fiction novel I undertook to create on November 9th, 2007.

In November of 2009, I passed the 50,000-word mark and claimed the 2009 NaNoWriMo Winner’s Award. Yay! The story however, was not yet completed but as of March 28, 2010 the 1st draft is finally finished. Now all that remains is some editing - mostly to make sure I have character continuity. Once that’s completed, I plan to publish the novel online for you all to read - and hopefully enjoy.
Here is the first chapter to put you in the mood.

In Ravenscrag’s Shadow

Davis L. Bigelow
Copyright 2010

Chapter 1

“Grab my other hand Stan!” Glen screamed, the muscles of his neck knotting under the strain. Stan’s feet flailed desperately against the crumbling rock face as he fought for a footing. A big man, Stan was dangling nearly ten feet from the vicious looking rocks below. His only support was the hand of his good friend Glen McPherson. At first glance, Glen was not large enough to do the job demanded by this disaster, but he was stronger than he appeared. Of Scottish decent, Glen was wiry and resolute.
The determined Scotsman perched atop a narrow ledge of jagged rock. His booted feet were planted as firmly as they could be, considering there was only enough room for his heels. He was hunched over; knees bent and his right hand stretching awkwardly below the level of his boots. Panting from the effort, Glen’s free hand reached downward from the narrow ledge. He tried desperately to reach Stan’s other hand. For a split second, their eyes met and time stood still. Then Stan lunged. It was more of a squirm than a lunge, but his free hand shot out to grab Glen’s outstretched one, and their sweating finger tips locked together. Stan was going to make it!
The second their fingers locked, Glen McPherson surged with all the power he could muster. Glen’s brain was screaming. His flexing muscles attempted to drag Stan to safety, but they would not respond. Stan was just too heavy! “I can’t… pull… you… up!” Came Glen’s staccato voice through his clenched teeth. Below him, Stan’s eyes widened with fear! What options did he have left? Suddenly, the big man had an idea. A grin flickered across Stan’s sweaty face and he shouted out.
“Hold tight Glen!” He was breathing heavily, almost gasping for air. “I’m going to pull back… to get a toe hold.” Stan Calderbank glanced furtively in the direction of his swinging feet and located a tiny point of protruding stone. He tentatively touched the weathered rock with the black tip of his hiking boot. Cautiously, he began to pull back.
Above him, Glen McPherson gritted his teeth and tossed his head back. In the struggle, his hiking hat had already fallen to the rocks below. The intense summer sun blinded his eyes and glared off his shiny bald spot. Glen had heard his desperate friend, but his mind was too occupied to reply. At this point, the small man was frantic to find any kind of mental or mechanical advantage. The muscles of his tanned arms were quivering. Bluish veins bulged out in inadequate response. Sweat trickled down his prominent nose and onto his wire spectacles. His wrists burned! Glen squeezed his eyes shut and dug deep inside for a final encore of power. He must hold on if he would save his friend. Glen knew that Stan would give one mighty pull before it was over. “You can do it!” Glen muttered to himself through clenched teeth. He drew in a deep breath and held it, every muscle in his body taught and on high alert.
Stan looked upwards. His toe was now firmly placed on the knot of rock. He just needed to grab the ledge where Glen stood anchored. It was only four tiny inches away! Stan could no longer see Glen’s face, but the trembling limbs said it all. If he would escape falling, it was now or never! “Ok Glen!” He roared. “One big pull!” Stan sucked in a final breath of precious air. “ One… two… three!”
With fluid precision, Stan Calderbank leaned back hard, instantly putting pressure on his foot and pushing. His thick thigh muscle propelled him upwards toward the ledge. It was within reach! He released Glen’s left hand and seized it with his right! “Yes!”
With the release of his left hand, Glen’s head began to snap back. Then the unthinkable happened. Just under his planted heels, the ledge gave way! Glen was helplessly airborne!
The insensitive effects of gravity took over, and before either of the men could react, Glen’s backside came down hard on Stan’s fingertips! Glen’s right boot struck a piece of out of sight flesh! From somewhere below him Stan screamed out in pain, but Glen had more pressing issues to contend with. Both his hands were now free. Glen scrapped frantically at the crumbling rock for a handhold. Nothing! Suddenly, the short trip to jar his tailbone on the fractured ledge became an all out terror ride! The remaining fragments of the ledge crumbled into thin air!
“Aaaaaah!” Glen screamed, but then he felt a mighty crunch against the back of his head. Helplessly, he was falling through the warm, alpine air as his world went black.