Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Novel Excerpt: Finding Valor

By: Dianne Heath



 A Man's Desperate Search for the Life He Used to Know

“A gripping tale about the quest to courageously conquer the unforeseen.”


In the darkness, a muscular figure sluggishly slumped down from the horse to form a solid lump that camouflaged into the rocky terrain. The clouds overhead angrily thundered, roared in the sky, and then rapidly traveled ahead. The man longed for rain to quell his thirst but the sky's heart was as stone and withheld its refreshing raindrops. The midnight as a dark cloak covered the man, which provided him comfort and a safe refuge. Paranoid of being seen in such a humiliating state, the man reluctantly dragged himself under the protection of the tree as the lightning flashed directly above him. The gray clouds swelled to its capacity and could no longer contain the raindrops. To his delight, massive raindrops fell from the sky as if rushing to preserve his life.

Despite his anguish, he fondly remembered his blissful childhood days before the land became overwhelmed with corruption and sorrow. In an almost dreamlike state, he began to relive a childhood memory to relieve him of his troubles. The landscape suddenly transformed from its bleak deathlike environment into a vibrant scene of rolling hills and jubilant rivers. Angry thunder was replaced by the melody of birds and a calming breeze replaced the arid temperature. The array of colors in the sky during sunrise matched the radiant variety of wild flowers that grew in the meadows. He peered in the distance and gazed upon his childhood sweetheart, Madeline, as she gracefully twirled around in the meadow. He picked vivid red flowers to match her crimson flowing dress and presented them to the girl. She playfully giggled then said, "Ewww", and tossed the flowers up, prancing away which crushed his heart. The boy neatly gathered the flowers and gave them to his mother who gratefully and enthusiastically accepted them. Oh Wayne ... how sweet! I can't believe I raised such a nice young boy", she swelled with appreciation. This made a lasting impression on Wayne, who from now on would always present the broken pieces for his mother to mend. Now without her, he took a second to bitterly reflect on her mysterious disappearance.
Dad's powerful voice yanked him back into his childhood memory. "Family gather around," he said, loudly, as his voice boomed through the house. His eight giggling brothers and sisters scrambled into the living room. "I have some great news. Once John graduates from school, he has been offered a prestigious position in the military fighting in faraway nations small and great alike defending the honor of our country. He'll become a man of valor, fiercely conquering nations. We'll have a hero in our own home,” dad proudly proclaimed. His siblings cheered, and he was already beginning to imagine the glory of following in the footsteps of his forefathers. However he couldn't help notice the worried, horrified expression in his mother's eyes hidden under a strained smile.

The memory slowly faded away. Suddenly in the darkness, a glimmer of light gave direction and filled his heart with hope. He slowly struggled to get back on his horse and continued the search for his family and dignity.


Photo Credit: Flickr: Milomingo: Brooding Desert Sky
Photo Credit: Flickr: Martin LaBar: Red Poppy Seed

I hope you enjoyed my piece! This man's literal journey is a symbolic parallel to my and many other's rocky journey.

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