Stories on the edge of familiarity

How to Open a Door in the Most Awkward Way Possible (a Hunter and Prey excerpt)

In celebration of the first draft reaching 60,000 words, here’s an excerpt (everything is subject to change, as this is a first draft):

Someone knocked at the door, and Nadin yelled, jumping back before he clued in. Then, feeling sheepish, he went to see who it was.

He remembered at the last second that he was still holding the book. Flustered, Nadin tried to find a place for it. All too far away to reach quickly.

“Art thou well?” The voice was familiar, but not enough that he recognized it right away. Maybe if he just put the book on the floor and hoped whoever it was didn’t want to come inside. Bending quickly, he put it by where the door would be when open and put his foot on it in case he needed to move it.

Upon opening the door, he discovered he’d placed it both too close to the entrance and too far from where he needed to stand and had to awkwardly shuffle along with the door as it swung.

“I’m… uh… fine,” he said.

The queen’s tea-making attendant stood in the tunnel, head turned as though to listen, brows lowered in concern. She straightened. “Thou didst yell at my knock.”

“I was thinking and, um, you, um, thou startled me.” He forced a chuckle. “You know how it is when you’re really focused on something. I mean, thou knowest. Um.” His stance was weird. Was his stance weird? He tried to shift it to make standing on the book more comfortable, but he was pretty sure all he did was look like he had to pee really bad.

The fairy raised an eyebrow. “So long as thou art unharmed. I come here at the queen’s request; she invites thee to join her for tea.”

“Now?”

“Aye. She would like to know of the progress of thy search.”

More like the lack of progress. Considering that juniper tea was connected with Esh, he’d been checking through Vordwit when he wasn’t worrying about the contents of the book, but hadn’t found anything unusual yet.

“I’ll… um. Couldst thou give me a moment? I need to do something first, before I forget.”

The fairy nodded, and Nadin closed the door in her face. He probably shouldn’t have done that. Well, leaving it open would have been a terrible idea, since she’d definitely see the book, but he was sure there was probably a more polite way of doing that. Wasn’t there? Then again, probably not.


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