4 May 2011, A New Novel, Part 212 Leaving the Ecclesia
For those who haven’t been following this blog, let me introduce it a little. I am currently blogging my 21st novel that has the working title Daemon. The novel is about Aksinya, a sorceress, who, to save her family from the Bolsheviks, called and contracted the demon, Asmodeus. Her family was murdered anyway, and she fled with the demon from Russia to Austria.
Aksinya heard and understood well that she must face punishment for her actions. Repentance isn't enough; she must pay restitution for her evil, she must atone for her sin. Only then can things be made right--perhaps, but how can you pay restitution for murder or sorcery…?
Aksinya woke very early the next morning. She stood in the darkness and folded her blanket. She straightened her dress. She hadn’t bathed much since she came here. She was certain she smelled, but that couldn’t be helped. She tried to smooth her hair. That was impossible. Ekaterina usually brushed it in the morning for her. It was not long enough to braid properly, but it wasn’t short enough to not be a problem. It just touched her shoulders. She had no mirror and was glad of it. She couldn’t stand to look at herself. It was too dark anyway. She brought out her rosary and quickly said the first decade and the last prayer. She would complete them later. She crossed herself then lovingly drew her hand over the leather cover of the Greek Bible. She wanted to take it with her, but she knew she couldn’t. It wasn’t really hers. She had memorized most of the Gospels and Acts. She wanted to begin to memorize Paul’s letters next.
Aksinya turned abruptly and stepped to the door of her room. Although nothing changed, the room seemed to darken. She felt for the handle and pulled the door open. Her hand stretched out to the wall at her right. With her right hand trailing against the wood, she followed the hall to the back of the rectory. The outside door only halted her for a moment—it was bolted but not locked. She went out through it to the small backyard where she and Ekaterina hung the wash every Wednesday. In the predawn night, the low clouds reflected enough light for her to see. Aksinya’s eyes were so accustomed to the dark, it seemed almost bright to her. The thin gate that led outside the yard had a simple wooden latch. She opened it and in the predawn, exited into the street outside the rectory.
Okay, watch how I set the scene for you. The following is entirely in narrative, but using showing and with very little telling. The very small areas where I tell you information adds to the scene development--I'll point it out.
First the when: she woke very early the next morning. You know she is in her room in the Ecclesia. I use some showing to give you a mental image of the place and her actions--she folds the blanket. The telling is interspersed in the text. I could have had her smell herself, but you can't really smell yourself. I handled this by telling you, then I show you that Aksinya tries to smooth her hair. Then lots of information about the hair. I can't let you forget about the hair. All this scene setting puts you into the story. Watch how Aksinya touches the Greek Bible. Notice, I brought every sense into this description and this scene. I want to activate every sense of the readers. Look at the information I give you that completes the previous scenes. We knew Aksinya was memorizing the Bible, just as she memorized the books of sorcery. In this narrative, I show you that she has memorized the Gospels and she wants to memorize the rest. She says her prayers but doesn't complete them because she is in a hurry.
Now do you realize what her decision was. She steps to the door, and I give you a premonition--the room seemed to darken. I show you the darkness of the place. I give you pieces of her life with Ekaterina. Aksinya makes her way out of the rectory and the Ecclesia. Tomorrow, Aksinya is on a mission.