This is a small scene I snipped out today. It was meant to be a light beat between some heavier stuff. But with my word count issue in mind, I decided it wasn't pulling any story weight and so could go, despite that it's one of my darlings and I love it dearly. Wish it had been 3000 words instead of a little over 300, though!
I should see the word count at 227,000 by the end of the day. Making slow progress because I'm combing through each scene, each chapter, sometimes several times, reevaluating every dialogue tag, every adjective and phrase of description. Every conversation that could be tightened just a bit more....
Copyright 2009 Lori L. Benton
Mister Ian had torn his shirt. I could see an inch or two of skin peeking through at the shoulder as he lowered himself through the cleft of a boulder above the path. He turned to give me a hand, but I gave him the basket instead and dropped through on my own. My hands were shaking. I didn’t want him to know.
"Mister Ian, you—” I was fixed to mention his shirt, but a thrashing in the brush reached us, coming quick. We both jerked round, Mister Ian with his hunting knife drawn so fast I didn’t see him do it, my basket held like a shield. I’d caught a familiar sound mixed in with the brush-breaking, and knew what was coming a second before the Reynolds’ shoat burst from the ferns at a run.
It saw us, grunted, and streaked on by, hooves kicking up leaves and acorns, heading for our stable yard.
I groaned. Mister Ian looked at me, shaking his head in what I took for dismay, till I saw his mouth moving in little twitches. My gaze locked on the blue of his eyes, and I wasn’t seeing the man before me, but the gangly boy he’d been, full of mischief and high spirits. I felt the tug at my mouth, too.
He started to laugh… and went on laughing till he was clutching his sides and squeezing helpless tears from his eyes.
“An intractable case?” I said.
“Oh, aye—heaven help us!” He gasped for breath, wiping at his eyes. “What I’d give to see Esther’s face. Come on, lass.”
He didn’t say another word as we struck the path, but I took the sound of his laughter with me, wrapped it round me like a cloak, till somewhere betwixt that rascal shoat and the house, my shaking stopped.