I’m having a little staycation while my dudes visit Grandma in Wisconsin, so I’m getting organized and getting a little writing done. So far this year I’ve finished 6 projects, and if I work hard and don’t get distracted by new and shiny, I can finish number seven by the end of the year. I’m holding off on already-outlined sequels to two of the projects to see where/how the first books end up published, but my writing funnel is pretty full, and that always makes me happy.
I haven’t written science fiction in a while. I dabbled with the idea of writing a companion piece to Fight or Flight which told Josiah and Max’s story, and that might still happen some day, but I am honestly not sure revisiting Solomon Territory is on the agenda anytime soon. Maybe for a short freebie. Because I do love me some Max and Josiah.
However, I have been itching to write sci-fi for awhile, and recently got started on Proximity (working title), a new SFR set on a mining planet where rebellion is about to break out. I thought I’d share a little bit of it today. 🙂
Disclaimer: This scene is from an unedited work in progress. It may change or be deleted from the final draft. It’s shared here in a spirit of fun. enjoy!
Efan stared at the man asleep on the floor of the cave. Of all the fucking convicts to be skimwrecked with in the jungle. Feo Marten. Oh, he’d changed in ten years, but Efan would never forget Feo at seventeen. When Feo was seventeen and Efan thirteen, Efan had thought Feo was beautiful, and he’d hated it. He didn’t think someone like Feo should be beautiful. Beauty should have been reserved for those on the lists.
Now, Efan knew better; the lists were lies. Feo was still beautiful, in a hardened, work-rough way. He wasn’t thin and pretty like he’d been as a teenager. His body had been shaped by hard work and meals heavier on manufactured protein than carbohydrates. His wet clothes clung to every bulging muscle, and the front of his shirt gaped open, revealing the circular brand of the Perino camp.
Regret and shame washed over Efan. I’m responsible for that. I’m responsible for every shitty thing that’s happened to him in the last ten years.
Feo’s sentence had only been for five years. Had he done something else to earn a longer sentence? Guilt was a tight little ball in Efan’s gut. Whatever Feo had done, it was for survival. And it was Efan’s fault.
With his gun trained on the entrance to the cave, Efan watched Feo sleep until moonlight cycled into the pink-grey wash of dawn and Feo’s eyes flicked open.
Shock and angry recognition rippled across Feo’s features, then he lunged, grabbing Efan’s throat and shoving him against the wall of the cave. Instinct made Efan grab for the hand on his throat, and Feo took quick advantage.
“Feo!” Efan twisted in his grip and grunted as Feo’s fist hit his gut. He brought his knee up into Feo’s thigh. Feo might be bigger and stronger and have gotten the jump on him, but Efan wasn’t a complete waste of fists. He let go of the hand around his throat and jabbed his hand under Feo’s arm, forcing him to let go to protect his flank.
And then they were rolling. Fists and feet flew as they wrestled for advantage on the hard rock floor. Fuck guilt. Efan wasn’t about to let Feo beat the shit out of him just because he felt guilty. He had wrestled in school, he’d taken defense classes, and he’d served a two-year stint in the Governor’s Army. He could take Feo.
Fighting Feo was like fighting a wild animal. He fought rough and dirty, but he didn’t have any training, and eventually, Efan got him on his back, pinned down, chest heaving. Feo snarled up at him, hostile even in defeat.
“Feo. You need me. You can’t get to my people alone.” Efan tried reason.
“Little fuck, you killed him!” Feo growled.
“I know.” Efan grunted under the effort of holding Feo down. “I was a horrible person. And I fully expect you to kill me for it someday. But right now, I need to get you somewhere safe. You don’t know this world anymore, and that brand is a death sentence outside the work camp.”
Feo looked away, swallowing. He nodded. “Let me up.”
Efan moved off him slowly, reaching out a hand to help Feo up. “I’m sorry, Feo.”
He should have seen it coming, right? The kick that flew the second Feo was on his feet? He should have, but remorse-blind, he let down his guard and turned his back, and that’s when Feo struck, his foot landing square on Efan’s ass and sending him sprawling face first across the cave floor, the metallic tang of his own blood filling his mouth.
And no, Feo didn’t help him up.