As if I didn’t already have enough to do, what with school, work, NaNoWriMo and editing Black Ice so I can start posting it in December, I’ve been taking an interest in other novels I’ve been writing over the years. I shared, some time ago, a little bit of a novel called Lost Worlds. I’m not sure when I’ll get the chance to work on that one some more, but not for a while.
I’ve been really thinking about another novel, though, I decided to call Dante’s Journey. I’ve only written a small amount, but I’ve been wanting to get back into it. Maybe I can start again once the madness of NaNoWriMo is done and I’m content with how Black Ice is going.
Here is a small portion of the beginning of the novel. Please comment with your feedback and let me know if you, as a reader, would possibly be interested in reading more of this story.
abduction and a cursed letter
Darkness. Cold, eternal darkness. Nothing more and nothing less. Just a black abyss of fear and frailty. Of terror and nothingness. It went on forever, never ending, and never changing. There was no ground, no walls or roof. Only a malicious suspension littered with hurting and loneliness; despair and fragile existence. There was no one direction, no turns or twists or ups and downs. It held no concept of hope or peace; garnered nothing but trepidation and unscrupulous pain.
And once again, Dante awoke from a bitter, agonizing dream. That was how all his dreams had been for the last nine years of life. Except, this one was different than the other ones he’d suffered through. This one he awoke not to the sun, but to the poised darkness of night. And he had not awoken himself.
The piercing scream rang out through the darkness of the house. Dante’s first reaction was remembering a night, nine years ago, when his beloved wife had done likewise. He thought he was still dreaming, until he opened his eyes and saw the pale moonlight illuminating the room. He looked beside him to the empty bed. Of course his wife wasn’t there. Sheryl had died nine years ago.
Died would be the incorrect term. Sheryl was murdered nine years ago. That was when Dante remembered that she had never even been in this house before. He moved after she had been murdered, taking Caroline, only a small baby, with him. His thoughts dwindled for a moment on Sheryl’s strong, beautiful face. Then anger and pain welled up inside him as he saw the knife plunge through her chest once again.
His thoughts were cut off by a second scream. Caroline! He shot out of bed, sweat dripping down his forehead. His bare feet landed on the cold wood, and he ran out to the hall. He was shirtless, stumbling down the passage. It was dark; he could barely see. He heard a door swing open and what could be muffled cries and physical struggling.
He tripped on a corner and fell to his knees. He started shouting out for his daughter. For Caroline. He was hoping so badly that he was still dreaming, that he would wake up, once again, sweaty and still tired, yet reassured by the morning sun. But then he heard her scream a third time
“Dad!” Caroline’s voice screamed in the darkness, calling to him. Dante could tell it was his daughter’s, and her nine-year old voice was filled with fear. “Daddy!”
Dante jumped up instantly, running for her bedroom down the hall. “Caroline!” he cried out. “Caroline! I’m coming!”
Dante ran into her room to find an empty bed, and the pillows on the floor. The window pane was shattered, with glass on the bed and the smallest drops of blood on the sheets. Tears filled his eyes, and he took off at once, heading for the main hall and the front door.
By the time he got there, though, the door was swinging back and forth, and the faint sounds of horse hooves could be heard. Dante jumped down the front steps and ran across his lawn to the cobblestone street, but the abductors of his daughter were already gone, past the edge of town.
“Hey!” someone shouted, running towards Dante. He was carrying a torch. “What happened here?” Dante immediately recognized him in the torchlight. He was one of the city guards.
“My daughter,” Dante yelled, panting heavily with tears streaming down his face. “Some one has taken my Caroline.”
Candles appeared in the windows of neighbouring houses as the townsfolk were getting up, wondering what all the shouting and commotion had been about.
“What?” the guard asked, looking down the lane in the direction the horses had gone.
Dante nodded quickly, as he saw several other guards approaching. “They took my daughter! Find her!”
Doors of houses started to open, and a couple people walked out into the streets. They were wondering why this peaceful man who had lived in the town for nearly a decade was suddenly running about, half naked in night and screaming. The guard looked once more at Dante, and then turned to his companions. “Begin to organize parties and search the entire city and surrounding area. Notify the public in the morning. There has been a kidnapping.”
Everything after that went much too fast for Dante to remember.
The following morning, Dante was sitting in the guard house, which was filled with commotion, drinking a cup of tea. He had overcome the shock of the previous night, but not the shock of the abduction of his daughter. He was asked over and over again by numerous guards if he had any enemies who might want to do this. Dante kept telling them “no”, that he could think of no one, but at the very back of his mind, a name lingered. Dorian. But that was a name of the past, and of a far away land. Surely he would be forgotten, and Dorian would not be connected to this.
“Are you sure there is no one?” another guard asked. “Not a single name you can give us?”
A part of Dante denied that perhaps Dorian was connected, but another part wanted to give the name anyway. However, if Dante were to explain his connection with Dorian, he would find himself in jail and possibly facing death at the hands of these authorities. It’s not that they were bad people, or he lived in an unjust society, most anyone connected with Dorian was a murderous criminal and deserved death.
Dante looked at the man, and then finally shook his head. “No. As I said, there is no one.” He stood up and set the cup of tea on a table beside his chair. “I want to thank you for this hospitality, and for your efforts, but I really just want to go home now.”
The guard nodded. “Absolutely.” He waited a moment, and then continued. “Dante, this isn’t over. We’ll do our best to find your daughter.”
“I know,” Dante said solemnly as he walked past the guards and opened the door to the fresh morning air, which now felt dull and cruel.
Dante tried not to think about any of it as he walked down the half-busy streets back to his house. He walked slowly up the steps of his house, people in the streets stopped to look at him as many different stories floated about their mouths. Dante closed the door behind him and found himself walking to his daughter’s room. He brushed the glass off of her small bed and picked up the small doll she had loved so much.
It was old and ragged now, her mother having made it for her just after she was born. Dante took one look at it and his eyes welled up with tears. He stumbled backwards until he hit the wall and, clutching the doll close to his chest, he slid down to the floor, crying hard. Crying for his daughter because she was in danger, but also crying for himself because he had lost the only thing he had left to love in his life.
Thanks for reading!
- Dante’s Girl (The Paradise Diaries) by Courtney Cole (readingrenee.com)
- NaNoWriMo – Half Way There (spookymrsgreen.wordpress.com)
- Dante’s Inferno: A Halloween Perspective (myseryniti.wordpress.com)
- Dante’s goes down, apartments go up (bizjournals.com)