Posted in Writing

Writing Excerpt: Threads (In Progress)

Disclaimer: The following passage is an excerpt from a work of fiction I am currently writing. It is completely unedited prose, so pardon any mistakes or things that might not make sense. Though probably not the final form of the story, feel free to let me know what you think. Please do not copy or re-post this without attributing it to me. Thank you. For more information on Threads, check out this page.

mad-crow-300x260Chapter One: The Retiree

“Caw!”

Marietta did not raise her head to greet the incoming messenger that so neatly announced itself with a single, shrill cry. Instead, she focused on the table before her, delicately handling a single gossamer thread and stretching it across a silk cloth that covered a good portion of her work area. The thread was iridescent and nearly unnoticeable, but her well-trained eye saw it easily against the rich purple it lay upon.

“Caw, caw!”

Wiggling her nose and cheeks slightly, Marietta pushed her spectacles up on her nose a small, yet satisfying, amount. She exhaled softly, years of practice keeping her lungs from causing too strong a breeze to sweep across the delicate string on her desk. Without moving her gaze from her work, she spoke quietly.

“You’ll just have to wait a moment, dear.”

“Caw,” came the reluctant  reply, though she could tell the messenger crow was now perched on her elegant coat rack a few feet away.

Marietta reached to her right and sought out a large pair of shears. They gleamed in the task light that sat in the corner of her desk, its great brass base and verdant shade similar to those found in large, ancient libraries. Her fingers found the correct orientation for holding the scissors immediately, and her gloved hands did not hesitate in the retrieval. With a delicate touch, she slid the shears so that the thread lay across the sharp edge, the thumb and forefinger of her other hand holding the thin strand taught for maximum cutting efficiency. With a smooth snip, she brought the handles of the shears together and severed the thread with little ceremony.

She heard the  bird ruffle its feathers impatiently, but knew it would remain silent; it knew full well the gravity of her work. With care, she lay the end of the thread still between her fingers back on the silk and sat the shears down on the wooden table beside the square of cloth. After only a second, the delicate length seemed to shudder infinitesimally before disintegrating in a shimmering instant.. Marietta held her breath for a moment, as she always did. With a glance at the careful stack of rolled silk on her left, she finally turned her attention to the rather surly looking crow perched in her office.

The glossy-feathered bird hopped to the desk, thrusting out a leg after a bit too much feather ruffling. With a barely contained eyeroll, Marietta removed the tube that was secured to the crow’s leg. Popping a cork from the end of the small tube, she tilted it until a small, rolled bit of old parchment slid out and onto the desktop. She unrolled the missive carefully, unrolling it and placing a spherical paperweight on each end to keep it from curling. The top of the missing held the stamp of the Celestial Office, an emblem consisting of a crow in flight through  a starry night sky. Beneath that, she read the following:

Attn: Ms. Marietta Polpsianna Armbruster,

The Celestial Office Branch of Internal Affairs and Notifications wishes to inform you that your retirement is imminent. The Watch Council has secured an appropriate candidate for your position and have initiated acquisition procedures.

Within the next day, please prepare a welcome packet for your replacement and clear out any items belonging to you from your workstation. Your retirement ceremony will be held tomorrow at midday.

The only noticeable reaction that betrayed Marietta’s excitement at first was a nearly imperceptible raising of her brows. Her eyes darted along the carefully executed loops of the script on the parchment as she read again. The crow preened his wing feathers, nearly looking bored. A pervasive silence filled the room, suddenly pierced by a sharp intake of breath. Marietta threw her head back, gazing towards heaven in a reverent manner. Her mouth gaped, and it seemed she had come to the surface of some deep pool she had been desperately swimming towards. A shriek of glee started deep inside of her, burbling up through her body until she leapt from her seat, throwing her arms up in abandon and joyously shouting at the messenger crow.

“Crowy-kins! I’m done! I’m finished!”

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

Thanks for reading! Let me know what you think in the comments below, or catch me on Twitter (@hewts). Stay tuned for more excerpts as I continue writing!

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