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  • Writer's pictureDavid Rauenzahn

Weekly Update and Excerpt of "Chiral" First Draft

Updated: Aug 3, 2021

Hello, everyone!


I hope you are having a great start to your weekend. May it be restful, rejuvenating, and hopefully fun amidst all the madness that just never. Stops. Coming.


This is the first of a weekly update post that I am going to start sharing that describes where I am at on current projects, random thoughts I have, and share a little bit of my current WIP. At the moment, I am taking the weekend off before I start diving into beta-reader edits, but I am super-excited to start the tail-end leg of the journey. I have the story. I just need to polish it until it's so blinding, no one can read it. That's what we're supposed to do, right?


Anyways, I'll keep it short. Below, you can find a small excerpt from the first draft of "Chiral" (emphasis on first draft; if there are errors I missed, I apologize). I hope you enjoy and have an awesome rest of your weekend. David R

I’m trying to keep my right hand from trembling. My focus is fixated on the coin which is balanced on its side on my thumb. I’ve been holding it there for about a minute now, and even though the ‘load’ isn’t as intense as it would be if I had already drunk more than a sip of the Thaum in my pocket, it feels as if I’m carrying the weight of the world on that coin.

Sweat has started beading my head, making the damp night breeze feel like a cool river even with my overcoat on and cowl wrapped around my neck. I’m grateful for the relief, even though I nearly lose my composure as the coin starts to wobble in the breeze. I force myself to breathe calmly and slightly adjust the positioning of my finger so the coin is parallel to the wind, minimizing the chance it will fall.

A few seconds later, I feel like I can’t hold the load anymore.

“Heads,” I say, and flick the coin in the air.

The coin disappears into the night sky, and for a brief moment, I worry about whether or not I have to catch the damn thing for this to work. Then, I see the coin’s faces shimmering in the moonlight as it falls back down to me, spinning so fast it looks like a miniature moon itself.

I catch it slightly to the right of where I had flipped it and slap it down onto the back of my left hand. With a trembling hand, I move my right hand back to reveal the coin.

Tails.

“Slag me,” I curse under my breath.

“Ha!” Breth laughs as he sits next to me. He’s also sweating in his overcoat and cowl. Even though he’s smiling, his broad face is twisted in concentration as he holds two magnets just apart from one another. “Told you that wouldn’t work.”

“Fifty-fifty chance, boyo,” I say as I reach out and touch one of the two rocks resting on the edge of the cliff in front of us. Almost all of what little Thaum remains in my system pours into the stone, causing it to glow a light green before being fully absorbed. Once I feel my focus anchored there and have directed its potential energy out over the cliff, I sit back, rebalance the coin on my thumb, and channel a little more Thaum into it.

“I still say it’s crazy to use a ‘flip’ that you actually flip,’ Breth says and narrows his brown eyes, intensifying his focus between the magnets and the rock in front of him, causing the air to almost crackle with the tension. For a few more moments, the pressure continues to build in the air, as if the world were starting to bend ever so slightly toward the line between his flip and the stone.

Then, Breth lets the magnets click together.

The stone in front of him arcs into the night, shooting out over the cliff. It takes about seven seconds before I hear it thump into the dirt road near the middle of the valley below.

“Not bad,” I say as I continue to focus on the coin. The first attempt took a lot out of me, but that will just make the look on Breth’s face when I succeed all the more worth it.

“Not bad,” Breth repeats. “I just shot that thing a few hundred meters, and you say ‘not bad’.”

“‘Cuz it wasn’t,” I reply. My hand is trembling more than last time and the wind is starting to pick up. I wait as long as I can with bated breath. Just before the coin falls, I flip it and call, “Heads.”

Once again, the coin disappears out of sight until it tumbles back close enough to reflect the light of the quarter moon. I catch the coin again and flip it onto the back of my left hand.

Nothing feels different, except a slight tingling running across my skin. But that could just be from carrying a load for too long.

“Let’s see it, then,” Breth says as he leans back on his hands.

I fight to maintain my intention of having the rock shoot out over the cliff without releasing it, waiting until the tension is at the breaking point. Then, I lift my hand to reveal the coin.

As I see the Queen’s face shining in the moonlight, I realize the tingling is my body resisting the pressure of the heaviest load I have ever felt.

“Ha!” I yell, but in my excitement, I lose my concentration. The rock suddenly glows and explodes upward at an angle when I had meant for it to go straight out. It soon looks like a star in the sky before disappearing into the inky void.

“Slag me sideways,” I mutter as I lean backward to rest my hands on the ground. My button-up shirt, vest, overcoat, and holster feel like an oven. I pull the first few buttons of my shirt loose as I breathe in the rich smell of rain carried on the wind. The armpits of my shirt are soaked through, and the wind now cuts through me like winter’s chill.

“You better hope you didn’t just give away our position,” my uncle says as he monitors the road from an overhang a few meters away, his black overcoat, hat, and mask making him seem more a gargantuan shadow than a man. He doesn’t look at us with his eyes that glow ever so slightly from the small dose of Thaum he took to enhance his senses. “But I admit, that’s a creative way to exponentiate potential. Glad you’ve been paying attention in school. Now save your energy. You’re gonna need it.”

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