Excerpt from Raven Feathers

May 7, 2014

Here’s a little excerpt from Raven Feathers, Chapter 1:

 

.     Heading for the central plaza, Rourke knew it was too early to get a warm breakfast, but Pleno usually laid out bread and other leftovers for the early risers. He planned to grab a few quick bites before going to the construction workshop.

.     Seeing the mottled-fur-colored figure hunched over one of the picnic tables changed the course of his plans. He called out a soft “Yoiyo” to Antinee as he went to the kitchen area. With some bread and cheese in hand, he took a seat at the table across from him. It was nice to have someone else in the village to practice his English with. He had been working hard on his language skills to impress Evan.

.     “Up early? Or up late?” he  asked the visitor in English.

.     “Up early,” Antinee said with a yawn. “Fell asleep right after dinner. Just woke up a bit ago.”

.     Rourke nodded as he ate a few bites. “Is there something you not want to say in front of Idelle last night?”

.     With a nod, Antinee grimaced. “When I passed by the Houston area four days ago, I still couldn’t find any traces of the tribe. It’s as if they’ve just vanished.”

.     “They like to… wander. Maybe out somewhere?” Rourke offered hopefully.

.     “For almost nine months now? And they usually leave behind notes and maps at their site for where they’re going. Nothing like that in their village now.”

.     “Holy crap,” Rourke said, repeating the curse he’d learned from Evan. “Maybe—it is time for worry.”

.     “Yes,” Antinee said with a nod. “I’d suggest when your tribe gets back from the melon fields, get together a small group, like a hunting party, and take a closer look. Really poke around. I didn’t stay long enough to do a thorough search.”

.     Rourke nodded. “Keep it small, stick with ‘hunting party’ story, and not cause alarm until we get more knowledge.”

.     The men sat a moment in contemplative silence. Antinee took a sip of his tea. “You know, you look more like your father every time I see you.”

.     With a shrug, Rourke shook off the implications. “But I am nothing like him. I am an architect,” he said, remembering the great word Evan had used to describe his job.

.     Antinee seemed to disagree. “No doubt, a good architect. That doesn’t mean you can’t be like him.”

.     “But I’m not,” he said in a colder tone, hinting this line of conversation was over.

.     A few silent moments passed before Antinee took another sip of tea and cleared his throat. “So, this Evan fellow…,” he threw out. “I hear you’ve been spending a lot of time with him.”

.     “What of it?”

.     “Have you learned anything useful from him?”

.     Rourke felt a bit insulted. “It is not at all like that. I’m duanta, in case you forgot,” he said in a bristling tone.

.     “Sorry,” Antinee said as he offered up his palms. “You don’t have to get defensive. I’m not trying to imply you’re using him. But, at least some of the time, you guys must talk….”

.     With a hard look, Rourke replied, “I didn’t ask if you mate with my aunt. Some things should be… quiet.”

.     Antinee frowned. “I’m not trying to pry into your private life. Damn it, Rourke, why are you so defensive this morning?”

.     Rourke just shrugged.

.     “And you know, I could care less about your homosexuality. Nor, do I think, does anybody else. I’m sure I mentioned before, the Chago tribe even has a duanta chief. No one seemed to be bothered by that idea.”

.     “Maybe not,” Rourke said in a softer tone.

.     Antinee paused a moment for another sip of tea. “Not that I’m trying to pry, but Idelle told me he’s living with you. Is this a serious thing?”

.     After hesitating, Rourke finally nodded. “I’m making beads for him. But don’t go talking about that. Need time for tribe to… adjust before telling the news.”

.     “Don’t worry about the tribe. Like I said, nobody cares who you bond with. And I’ll keep it private.”

*end excerpt

 

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