This is the FIRST DRAFT of the novel, flaws and all, that I am writing for National Novel Writing Month 2020. Please refer to these posts to see the entire creation of this, from scratch, should you desire. Comments will be closed as of January 1, 2021. For any comments prior to that, please… be kind. This is a first draft! It’s just meant to help inspire anyone to write anything, whether good or bad.

A noise from up ahead caught their attention again, but this time it didn’t quiet.

“Does anybody else hear that?” asked Runavan.

A whooping noise followed his question, one that resembled something of a holler. It had a victorious tint to it, and its boisterous echo unnerved Vaeda. The tingles that had already raised across his flesh solidified into tiny soldiers of protection across his skin, and his fingers folded into his palms as he made a fist.

“It’s a Veruxian,” said Yaga. “I told you they would find us!”

A moment later, a flash of white vibrations announced the presence of the beasts that all but lit up the room. Their howling cackles sounded like hyenas on the prowl, and they circled the group as the predators they were.

Go’Ranashu let out a roar of his own and his blue energies clashed against one of the white ones, an electrifying combination that resembled a lightning strike as they collide. Cochava was quick to the fight, as well, and he realized she’d carried a weapon this whole time, too. Vaeda had thought she’d had a walking stick, but now realized there were blades at the end of it. Now that a fight was upon them, he’d realized they all had weapons he hadn’t noticed before, and that thought caught him off guard. They’d have had to have protected themselves somehow, of course. How else would they have gotten out of any of the battles? How else were they meant to slice up the meat?

But once more, he lost himself in the wonder of his inability to remember any of this until this moment. Even now, as the realization dawned on him, the fight amongst his companions and the Veruxian beasts of the cave carried on, and he stood in the center, unharmed and untouched, almost as if the entire narrative played out around him without any conscious awareness of his involvement at all.

He looked down, trying to make sense of his own energies, but saw nothing. His energies, he realized now that he looked deeper into it, lacked any color. They were as black as the cave that surrounded them. Even the beasts of the cave had an acknowledgment of light in their energies, but his remained empty.

A body slammed into his side, and he fell to the ground with it. The beast that had hit him was already dead by the time they’d met, and the air in his lungs gasped out in a rush as the weight of the Veruxian landed on his stomach.

“Sorry about that,” said Surid as he came over and pushed the creature off of Vaeda.

“Thank you,” said Vaeda, whose breath returned to him as a hand, Surid’s, grasped onto his and helped him stand. “Where did you all get those weapons?”

“What do you mean?” asked Cochava. “Do you think we’d be stupid enough to wander around the Lanniswell Hollow without any weapons?”

Vaeda swallowed the lump in his throat; he was. Although, granted, if he’d have known how to access or find these weapons, he wouldn’t have been stupid enough to wander blindly.

“He’s only just become aware,” said Go’Ranashu, once again coming to Vaeda’s aid and providing him with an additional breath of relief. “He has yet to find the opportunity to retrieve one.”

Cochava kicked aside one of the bodies of the Veruxians and picked something up. “Here,” she said as she walked toward Vaeda. A faint white light glowed from her hand, and as Vaeda reached out to grab it, he clasped onto the hilt of a sword. He ran his fingers over the blade, on its way to being dull and jagged across the way, but it would certainly get the job done for now.

That still didn’t answer his question about his lack of ability to remember any of them having weapons before this, but he held his tongue. His mind worked its way toward losing all of the memories he had managed to keep locked inside the crevices of his brain waves, and he didn’t want to keep bushing the boundaries by adding more wonder.

At that, he knew all of the answers he sought would come in their due time. He’d had his ups and downs every so often in the way of patience, but he knew this time that laying in wait would pay off in the end.

Go’Ranashu, who’d wielded an axe, slammed in down in a thunk as he chopped off a body part.

“This will be enough to last us for a few days,” said Surid as he got to work slicing up the corpses, as well.

Now will you eat something?” asked Go’Ranashu. He held out a hand, and the faint white glow of the meat actually did hold some appeal this time.

Despite the fact it was raw, Vaeda took it, surprised at how squishy it was when he squelched it between his fingers. Although he wished he cooked have cooked it up, he supposed it was better than eating a human…

But he stopped, his hand halfway toward his mouth. So much of him still wondered about the necessity of this food. What would change if he ate it? He still believed, somewhere within him, that he didn’t need the same type of nourishment down here. His stomach may have grumbled every now and again, but he didn’t feel any sense of weakness or despair, and he’d still yet to have as much as a sip of water. In a normal sense, that was more vital than simple food, but so much of him yearned to eat…

He figured, if he really wanted to test his theory, he’d have to try eating a least once, so with another deep breath, he popped the piece of flesh into his mouth, drank the blood that squished out of it as his teeth ground together, and swallowed.

Every memory in his mind slipped down the back of his throat with the last of the piece of flesh.

Read Chapter Four Part Two

Read Chapter Five Part One

Read the whole story here.

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