Happy October. All our decorations are out, but in all honesty, they were out about a week ago.
Did I mention that Halloween and the surrounding season is my absolute favorite time of the year?
Happy Wednesday! My Wednesday shares have become shorter and serialized, and they’re coming from my current WIP (work in progress), Striking Balance. You’ll be able to find all the ones that pertain to Striking Balance under the Categories drop down to your right.
Striking Balance is a Queer Historical Paranormal Fantasy story set within my Appalachian Elementals series. It’s a freestanding tale, so you don’t need to have read the other stories within the series to delve into this one.
This is installment twenty-nine, “Plantain Weed” and it picks up directly where the last installment, “Treater of Ailments” ended. The main character in Striking Balance is Benjamin (Nub) Schnell, the possessor of secrets twice his size and seeming age. He’s been working for nearly a decade on the same small farm as his friend, Conall Baldwin, who acts as the farm’s manager. This story begins during the American Revolutionary War years, 1779 to be precise, in the Nolichucky river basin of Northeast Tennessee.
The setup: Ceardach’s helping Ben with his blistered foot.
Note: The part in orange comes from last week’s excerpt. Ben’s remembering how he and Conall came to be in Master Gow’s service.
…We shared a jug with him one evening then he asked us what we knew of farming.
Considering our then state, we were quick to accept the opportunity.
“Yer head wanders tae much.” Ceardach searches his bag, bringing out a rolled bandage, a tin of dried plantain and, wonders of wonders, a decent pair of stockings. He chews the plantain, smears it across my foot and wraps it before handing me the stockings. “Keep it wrapped ‘til tomorrow, an’ wear yer shoes when Ewin’s finished wit’ them.” Ceardach steps outside, and I am left with Conall and Master Gow.
I peer at the stockings before I pull them on. They appear new and are of a fine, light summer-weight. I am appreciative of them but also very aware that Master Gow’s scrutiny on me has returned.
“Sit in mah chair.” He rises so I can sit beside Conall, who looks tired and bewildered. He always looks so after Master Gow and Ceardach tend his shoulder. Last night’s libations are only making the situation worse, I believe. “Tell me yer needs.”
“Sir?” I scrub at my eyes. My head hurts worse than before, and I mumble as my chin drops to my chest.
First things first. Plantain here is not a tropical banana-like fruit. Here, it’s a common plant, a weed known for its immense healing properties.
Second, yes, something very strange happens at the end of this scene, but it’s the first of many such happenings. This is a Historical Paranormal Fantasy novel after all.
Until next week…