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 Ashes to Ashes: A Tale of the Phoenix (Prologue)

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FireStormWarning
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PostSubject: Ashes to Ashes: A Tale of the Phoenix (Prologue)   Sun Jul 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Friends, what you are about to read is the prologue to the book that Ava and I are in the process of writing, title above. This prologue is written by Ava, with some minor changes made by me. It's placed here for the purposes of getting thoughts and constructive criticism from our board's valuable members, so I hope you'll all have a look...

That said... Here we are...

Prologue: Spiritual Altercations

The world smelled of wet dirt, pine trees, and sunset. Through the tree line, the crystalline ocean winked and played in the last of the daylight. There was a song on the car radio, one talking about love and marriage, of happiness and a lifetime of dreams being shared. The world was complete, unchanging, and real. It was solid, with mom and dad and big brother living and breathing and smiling through the days. It made a little girl smile.

Destiny loved hearing her mothers' voice. She was a soprano naturally, but her command of the vocal scale was almost mesmerizing. And to the six year old little girl, it was the most amazing, most beautiful sound in the world. She sometimes heard daddy tell mommy that she should go to auditions; that she could sing the pants off of those Broadway stars. But mommy always smiled sadly and shook her head, saying that those days were past, and she couldn't go back, even if she really wanted to.

Leaning her head against the car door, Destiny closed her eyes as the wind tangled its invisible fingers in her vibrant red hair. Destiny loved her hair, but she loved it more when daddy would help her wash it at night. They'd sit on the living room floor, a big bowl of popcorn next to them. Mommy would sit in her chair and read a book or sew, and her older brother would lie on the couch while they watched a movie or a TV show. Daddy would rub the water from her hair, then he'd brush and brush and brush until it was soft and fluffy and glowing. Then she'd snuggle into his arms and fall asleep before the movie or TV show was even over.

It was times like that that made Destiny the happiest little girl in the world. Mommy and Daddy loved her, and sometimes, when he wasn't too busy being a "grown-up," her brother loved her, too. Being nine years old, Chance had his own life and friends. Destiny was never too worried about that, though. She had her own ideas and thoughts and games as well. And she'd be starting kindergarten soon. In a month, she'd finally be ready to start school. Mommy and Daddy were happy, and that made Destiny happy. Just thinking about what her school would be like made her smile. They were supposed to meet her teacher in two weeks. Her name was Miss Anabelle, and she was young and pretty. At least, that's what Mommy had told her. It didn't matter, though. Destiny loved everyone. That's just the way her little girl's heart worked. There was no room for hatred in her.

She took a deep breath of the sea air that was mixed with the rain and wet earth. Opening her eyes, she shifted her head to watch the trees sail past the car window. If she were bigger, and wouldn't get in trouble for it, Destiny had the feeling that she could have reached out and touched the swaying branches as they went by. Mommy was singing again, following a song about being left alone in the rain, and about crying. Destiny wasn't sure she liked that song. Sadness was almost foreign to her. Oh, there had been times when she'd cried; grandma died last year, her gold fish hadn't lived long a few months ago. But for the most part, Destiny only knew and felt the happiness of a child. Not even when the boy at the playground had pushed her off the swings and she'd skinned her knee had she cried. Mommy was so proud and called her very brave for it. She'd run back to the swings as soon as the bully's mother had taken him home, and she'd even stuck her tongue out at him for good measure. Her best friend, Nina, had giggled behind her hand.

Thunder rumbled in the distance, mixing with the sound of the surf below. They mingled with one another, attempting to lull Destiny to sleep in the back seat. Mommy, watching her in the mirror, turned the music down as Destiny's head lolled to her chest. They'd spent the day at a huge mall, shopping and laughing and playing, having a girl's day, just the two of them. Daddy and Chance had gone to a basketball game for the night, so they wouldn't be home until tomorrow. Mommy had promised ice cream sundaes with cherries when they got home. Destiny smiled in her drowsy state, curling up against her door.

Rain started pattering against the windshield again. The windshield wipers -pat patted- back and forth, adding their rhythm to the rest of the world. The setting sun cast an orange-red glow across the water, illuminating each of the individual drops of water that slithered down the window. Destiny watched them with glassy eyes, her mind already wandering into that place she went when she dreamed; a meadow of tall grasses, their heads bowed with seeds and the water from a fresh rain. She felt safe there, protected. Somehow, more-so than in her real world. Already, she could hear the soft sing-song voice that filled the air of that dream place.

It happened in a flash. Mommy rounded a curve and came upon an SUV parked in the middle of the road. It crossed both lanes, blocking the road completely. Mommy tried to go around, tried to use the shoulder, but it was too late. The stopped car was too soon in the curve, and Mommy couldn't slow down enough. Unable to get the distance to the shoulder to clear the other car, they clipped the back end of the SUV.

Their smaller, lighter weight car careened down the road, skidding across the water that still lay on the road from the earlier rain. Try as she might, Destiny's mother couldn't get the car back under control. She tapped the brakes, inwardly cursing herself for putting off getting her car tuned up and the tires replaced. The skid worsened, wrenching the steering wheel from her grasp. She cried out when her shoulder was jerked painfully, bringing Destiny fully awake.

In the back seat, Destiny screamed, clawing at the seat and door as the world spun and tilted around her. She felt sick to her stomach and wanted to throw up. Squeezing her eyes closed only made it worse. Something was wrong, something was terribly wrong, and Destiny could feel the fear rolling off of Mommy. She screamed for her mother, trying not to cry in her terror. In the next moment, the car pitched sideways and began to roll. Destiny screamed again, pulling herself into as tight a ball as she could. With her eyes closed, she couldn't see her mother, and she prayed that she was okay.

After what seemed like an eternity, the car stopped, roof down, at the base of a massive tree. Steam billowed from the engine. Destiny was scared and began to cry. Her head hurt, and she couldn't feel her left arm. She tried to move and found that it was pinned beneath her. Her right hand was free, so she touched her forehead, biting back a cry when it stung. There was blood on her hand when she brought it back down, making her cry harder.

"Mommy? Mommy!"

Destiny looked toward the front seat, tears blurring the tangle of metal, leather, and stuffing. She saw her mother lying curled on the ceiling of the car facing her, eyes closed. Her left hand was stretched out, as if she was reaching for her daughter. Destiny began to wail, reaching with her right hand to touch her mother. Mommy jerked, her eyes fluttering open.

"Destiny?"

"Mommy!"

"It's okay, baby," her mother said, wincing as she shifted herself to take Destiny's hand. "It's okay. I promise."

Destiny held on tightly, trying to stop her tears. She wanted mommy to think she was brave, just like that time at the swings. She wanted mommy to smile at her, to hold her, but mommy wasn't moving. She was lying there, breathing hard, the sound sick and painful. Her hand was cold, the grip limp. Something was wrong. Daylight faded, leaving them in darkness and rain.

"Mommy," Destiny called, tugging her mother's hand. "Mommy, are you alright?"

"No, baby, I'm not," her answer came, her voice fading. "But it's okay."

"Mommy..." Destiny's head drooped. "Mommy, I can't breathe. It hurts, mommy."

But there was no answer this time. The hand that held Destiny's had gone limp, the sick sounding breathing had stopped. Destiny started to cry again, her eyes falling shut. She knew her mother was gone. She couldn't move now, but that was okay. Her dream world was calling, stronger now than ever before. She had only a moment to wonder if her mommy would meet her there before she knew no more.

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PostSubject: Re: Ashes to Ashes: A Tale of the Phoenix (Prologue)   Mon Jul 07, 2008 11:07 am

When you're giving Destiny's point of view, it's okay to use "mommy" like the first and end paragraphs. However, in paragraph 8 when you're narrating the car crash, you should probably use something more formal like "her mother" because when you say "mommy rounded a curve" (etc) it makes it seem like it's being narrated to a children's audience and lessens the severity of what's happening (which conflicts later with her inward cursing). You might want to reword that.
Otherwords, this has really good detail in it. Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Ashes to Ashes: A Tale of the Phoenix (Prologue)   Thu Jul 10, 2008 4:04 pm

hm, well, as I told Ava, I think the story flows pretty well, and helps to draw the reader in.

Unfortunately, I am not good at critiques...
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PostSubject: Re: Ashes to Ashes: A Tale of the Phoenix (Prologue)   Wed Jul 16, 2008 10:02 am

Thanks for the feedback. Hopefully more people will see fit to comment.

Ava and I are already at work on the first chapter, but of course this little bit is probably all most will see until we get the book published. We've got big plans for Destiny, and for everyone else.

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PostSubject: Re: Ashes to Ashes: A Tale of the Phoenix (Prologue)   Wed Jul 16, 2008 3:16 pm

All i can say is, that it is a nice piece of writing.

More i can't say of it.

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