A Sneak Peek into The Carnivorous Forest

 Been so busy on my work in progress, I haven't had time to make new blog posts, so I figured I'd kill two birds with one stone. Here's a sneak peek into The Carnivorous Forest - the upcoming book two of the Avenging Glory diptych that begins with The Human Template.

Towards the end of book one, Glory was rescued by a group of travelling musicians and given shelter in the home of Kemp, the tuba player, and his adolescent daughter, Kasha.

As book two begins, the friendship between the girls has continued to grow deeper.

Here’s an excerpt from Chapter Three of The Carnivorous Forest:

As Glory and Kasha transformed from children into young women and heard stories of the technological miracles being reintroduced daily in the great city on the far side of the Carnivorous Forest, Glory came to trust that her friend would instantly be able to comprehend every half-considered lyric coming out of her mouth, or at least pick up on the tone, and then elaborate so eloquently that Glory would been proud to have said things so insightful and clever.

And then Kasha started singing back, echoing and expanding upon the ditties that Glory sang, or adding choruses, and otherwise turning them into something resembling actual songs. While they were doing chores around the house and the yard, Kemp would hear them singing back and forth, and stand entranced as the girls folded laundry, served dinner, and herded the goats. The songs they sang were like medleys from the dawn of time, unnatural and jarring and achingly beautiful.

Kemp called the band over, and the four or five of them would sit listening to the songs as they grew, bloomed and fell to the ground, instantly forgotten.

They tried to get the girls to repeat the performance by singing them back. Kasha would sometimes try, but then Glory would join in with new words and new music and the songs would go somewhere else, altogether.

Kemp had a home-made ocarina, that he started using to play along with the girls, but by the time he found an entry point into the song, the tune was usually about to change.

So Kasha started making an effort, to at least return to the same tune several times in a row. It was a trick Glory learned to do as well, so that, on the second time through, the band was able to play along. And even though the words would always change, they offered a poetic dialogue on whatever subject or theme the girls were talking about that day.  

[D1] After they’d been doing it for a couple years, Kemp said to Kasha, “Me and the band would like it if you come on the road with us, so we can bring our real music to the people.”

“It’s something we just do for us,” Kasha retorted.

“And when you let us be a part of it, it becomes something we’re all doing – for ourselves. And it feels like the most important thing I’ve ever done. We all feel that way,” said Kemp. He looked at Glory. “I did not think I’d raised a child who would find something wonderful and keep it all for herself.”

Glory sang, “Stop, willya, what’s that song?/ Everybody gets to play along.

When Kasha didn’t sing back, Glory came up behind her and started rubbing her shoulders. Kasha who knew the tune, sang, “I don’t like what’s happening here, but its starting to become clear,

There are folks with needy hearts out there, telling us we got to share…”

Glory grinned. “We’ll make them all sing/ the best songs ever/ They’ll know all the lines /that I won’t remember./ But they’ll know how they go, /and they won’t forget them. Cause they’ll spend the whole night, singing the best song ever.“

Kasha brought it back to where they left off, and Glory joined back in with a grin. Stop, willya, what’s that song?/ Everybody gets to play along.

Then she turned to her hug her dad. “So, when do we leave?”

Kemp clapped his hands and pulled on his beard. “I’ll get back to you.”

He turned and bolted out the front door and the girls heard the band members cheering before Kemp reappeared a moment later. “No need to pack. We’re playing just up the road, in Eastgate. He ushered them out and closed the door firmly behind him.

(As an early draft, the above excerpt may change substantially by the time the book is published. If any of my blog readers has suggestions, edits or observations, please feel free to make them in the comments.)


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