Beginnings on WIP Wednesday

A Raging Madness is in the Pending Review queue on Smashwords, and I’m celebrating by writing a short story for next week’s newsletter.

So this week, I’m thinking about beginnings. Use the comments to show us an excerpt of a beginning (of your book or of a chapter). Here’s mine from the as yet unnamed story I’m currently writing. Subscribe to my newsletter if you want to know what happens next.

“It’s too dangerous,” Wakefield reported as he approached, shouting to be heard above the wind and the sound of the brook. Not a brook today; twenty yards of seething roiling water stretched bank to bank, branches and entire trees rolling and colliding in their frantic race to the distant sea.

Blade had waited with the horses while the other two checked whether the bridge was safe to cross. He frowned across at the far bank, just visible between gusts of rain. So close! Natching Brook marked one boundary of the Collingwood lands; another twenty minutes would have seen them at the manor.

But the twenty yards might as well be miles. They’d not end their journey today. Even from here, he could see the bridge shuddering as its piles were battered: by the water, the trees, bits of fence post or building or boat, the occasional pathetic corpse of an animal swept away by the flood. And more. That constant grumbling rumble was boulders washed from the banks and rolled by the force of the brook, a giant watery hand playing at bowls.

The third member of their party joined them. “The bridge at Stenforth may still be passable. The river is wider there.”

“Stenforth has a decent inn,” Blade remembered. “Stop there and carry on in the morning?” He made a question of it, and added a belated “my lord.” Baron Collingwood was eager to return to the ancestral estate that had ejected him so violently ten years ago, but it would be rank foolishness to carry on in this weather at this time of day. He and Col had not survived so much and for so long just too lose all on the last hand.

Col nodded, and within minutes the three of them were mounted and heading back up the river. Col led the way, Wakefield next, and Blade brought up the rear, his eyes scanning constantly for threats, though what villain would be out in this storm was more than he could say.

Here came another corpse, washing towards him on a flat section of planks; a sheep perhaps. No; a white dog, sheep-sized and woolly. It was almost level with him when it lifted its head. Alive? Not for long, in this torrent.

Blade did not stop to think. In moments, he had his horse wrenched around and galloping back to the bridge. He hurled himself onto the rickety structure, stretched full length to distribute his weight, and reached down into the current just in time to grasp the poor beast by handfuls of fur.