Sunday, October 4, 2015

Excerpt: Rise of the Sidenah by C.M. Story

by C.M. Story
Juniper Gardens Press
YA Fantasy
338 pages

Adrienna Vedica longs to build the creatures living in her imagination. One day, she hopes to sculpt them out of stone, creating great statues like those that guard the Celany village.

She doesn’t understand why everyone seems to disapprove.

It’s only when Tishaan, a powerful man in the high council, agrees to help her sculpt that Adrienna is finally able to pursue her passion. She dives into her work, but creates with such energy she collapses from exhaustion before seeing the final results, giving Tishaan time to hide her masterpieces away.

Her mentor, Sreng—the man she secretly loves—tries to convince her that Tishaan is using her, but she can’t abandon her art. Only when people start showing up dead does she think again. There’s something off about Tishaan…and then Sreng shows her one of her early works.

But something is wrong.

It’s alive. And it’s digging a grave.



Adrienna awoke to an airy quiet. Her arm lay underneath her head. When she tried to move it, it felt heavy and numb. She rolled onto her belly. One ear against the ground, she twisted and writhed until she felt little needles prickling her palm. On her back again, it was hard to breathe. Her shirt was wrapped tightly around her ribs. She straightened it, centered the poncho on her shoulders, and sat up. Above her, the sky was black, stars twinkling.
Nighttime, already? Wasn’t Tishaan supposed to have awakened her? Had she missed the meeting?
Her scalp itched. She scratched, and then winced. New wounds covered her hands. She tucked her legs underneath her and pushed forward. She had to find Tishaan.
Behind her, a scuffle, as if the mountain had just shifted.
She whirled around and stared into the dark. A shadow towered against the night, blacker than the sky. She crawled back. It followed her like smoke. Warm breath smoothed her eyebrows, heavy feet thumping the ground with each step.
She shuffled away again. The creature followed. Nuzzled her ear.
“No!” She swatted.
A yelp. It withdrew. She heard something like a hiss.
Here it was—the proof. This is what she had made. She stood up, to appear stronger to the creature. Usually she felt more recovered after waking, but her limbs were like noodles, her body heavy. Perhaps this was all a dream, the creature alive only in some other world on the deep side of sleep.
He would have hidden this one, like the others. But no. It approached her again. It was far too large to hide.
She lifted a trembling hand and set it between the nostrils. “Naroc,” she whispered. The skin was so cold. She pulled away and looked up. The stars outlined a horse-shaped head with tall, graceful ears.
The animal snorted. Droplets of mucus covered Adrienna’s face.
“Stop that!”
Naroc shook her head. Her skin flapped like a rug on a line, her tail swishing dirt behind her. The tail. Adrienna hadn’t even seen it until that moment. In the dark she couldn’t make it out exactly, but as Naroc moved it back and forth she gained a sense of how long it was, how powerful. Her hands turned clammy, wounds stinging anew. A dark fear rose up in her throat, the image of Amer’s bloody face in her mind.
She shuffled backwards. Naroc jumped to her side and shrieked. The sound was different from the snort, more demanding. Adrienna stopped. After a few moments, Naroc calmed down again and nuzzled her neck. It was a friendly enough gesture, but Adrienna stiffened, holding her breath.
What had she done?
“All right.” She struggled to keep her voice steady. “It’s all right.”
Naroc jerked her head up. A low growl rumbled in her throat. Adrienna turned to see what she was looking at.
The side of her head exploded. The world disappeared.

And here she is. . .

C. M. Story has always been a fan of fantasy in all its many forms, including the kind she frequently indulged in during boring lectures in school. She didn't try her hand at penning her own stories, however, until long after she'd gotten her Bachelor's degree in music.

Once she sold her first short story, she got a writing job and never looked back. Today she runs a successful freelance writing and editing business out of her home in Idaho, and frequently travels to other inspiring places with her trusty laptop in tow. And yes, despite rumors to the contrary, "Story" is her real last name.

"Rise of the Sidenah" was inspired by gothic architecture, a tune by "The Calling," and the idea that following the heart may cause pain, but is the only way to truly fulfill one's purpose in life.

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1 comment:

Colleen said...

Thanks for featuring Rise of the Sidenah, guys! Much appreciated. :O)