Effigy. But today I'm doing something a little different. Don't get too excited— I'm still posting an excerpt. It's just not going to be from Effigy.
Instead it's from Lineage, the second part of Second Nature. It's also known as "My Craptastic NaNoWriMo
Project from Last Year." You might think maybe I'm being a little too
hard on myself with that whole "craptastic" thing but here's the
thing... I'm not. I read the whole thing yesterday for the first time
since I wrote it last year and it's bad. Very bad. Very, very bad.
Most of it will be headed for the shredder.
But there were two scenes that I intend to keep and one of these is
the one I'm going to share with you today. In one of the previous Tuesday Teasers, you read about Haleine and Dana, the two main characters in Effigy. You can read about their first kiss HERE. They're not the main characters of Second Nature but they're still around and in Lineage, they have this scene where their entire tumultuous relationship comes to a head.
As always, I hope you enjoy it. And thank you, all of you, for sticking
with me even though I continue to do things like this. It's the last
one for a while though. I promise...
“What business have you here?” Haleine demanded once she found a voice.
Dana stepped into the house. “They told me you were dead,” he said. “I came to—”
“You came to what?” she said. “To mourn me?”
“I mourned you already,” he said, taking a step closer to her. “I came
to see if they had spoken true. I came to see if you were, in fact,
“I do not know what I am.”
He took another step toward her. “But you are not dead.”
“If you say.”
Another step. “Haleine—”
“Don’t,” she said.
He stopped. “Don’t?”
“Don’t say my name like that,” she said. “Like you—”
“Like you love me.”
"But I do."
She shook her head. “You are incapable of that.”
“I’ve given you no reason to think otherwise, I know,” Dana said.
“Then we are in agreement,” she said, “and now you can be on your way.”
“Haleine, you have to give me—”
“There is nothing I have to give you,” she said. “Nor is there
anything I will give you. You think I don’t know what it is that brings
you here? You think I don’t know what it is you want?”
"Forgiveness," Dana said.
She knew she lacked the strength to stand. She lacked the strength
to do anything more than sit but still she wanted to attack him. She
wanted to throw herself at him. She wanted to hit him, beat her fists
against his chest until he crumbled beneath her fury. She wanted to
make him bleed for having the audacity to even utter such a request in
her hearing. She placed her palms on the table and used it to push
herself up. She slid her hands across the rough surface and gripped the
“You did not come here for forgiveness,” she said, turning her head to look at him. “Do not try and tell me otherwise.”
“Then why do you suppose I am here, Haleine?” he asked. “If not for you.”
She turned her body next, her left hand staying flush with the tabletop.
“No, I know you are here for me,” she said. “But you are not here for my forgiveness.”
She shoved off the table. She couldn’t manage a single step before
she fell. He came forward and caught her. His arms went around her and
pulled her close. As she fell into him, she hit him. She turned her
hands to fists and beat against his chest, his face, any part she could
reach. He didn’t stop her. He didn’t protest. He just held her until
her arms went slack. Then he moved her back to the chair and helped her
to sit down again. When she was seated, he knelt down in front of her
and placed his hand on her cheek.
She put her hand on his chest and tried to shove him away from her. She
found she lacked the strength to move him. She grabbed a fistful of
his tunic but looked away from him.
“You listen to what I have to say,” she said. “You can’t have me.
Not for your damned war nor for anything else. To you, to your goddess,
I am dead and no amount of begging on your part will change that.”
Dana let his hand drop and she released her hold on him. She placed her
hands once again on the edges of the table, now more than ever holding
on for dear life. From the corner of her eye, she saw his jaw slacken
and his mouth drop open slightly. He covered his mouth with the hand he
had used to cover her cheek.
“Laorans did not bring me here today,” he said finally. “I serve her interests no longer.”
“Of course you do,” she said, looking at him fully. “You have never
done anything else. You do not know how to be anything else.”
“For you, I will learn.”
“I do not want that. I do not want you.”
“I am not anyone without you,” he said. “Not the man I must be. Not a
man at all. I am a ghost, a shadow. Without you I am nothing.”
“Mayhap you should have thought of that sooner,” she spat.
Dana bowed his head. “Haleine, please,” he said. “I am as you command me.”
“No, I was as you commanded me,” she said. “I was as you made
me. I made myself a liar, a whore. For you I did this and still, you
dared call me traitor.”
“Tell me what to do,” he begged. “Tell me what you want. I’ll do it. Whatever it is, I’ll do it.”
“Go away from here, Dana,” she said, “and do not return. I have no
desire to ever lay eyes upon you again and we have no more to say to
He kept his head bowed as he stood and backed away from her. He
opened the door and hovered there, one foot outside. He looked at the
floor for a moment and then lifted his head to look at her.
“Your words today have killed me, Haleine.”
She did not blink. “Then my debt to you is repaid.”