Excerpt #22: Beyond Wisherton

From the author:

I have four kids. I also grew up in a family with four kids. It was pretty easy to imagine the dynamics between these sibling characters in the Wisherton books. I wanted them to be similar to my own experiences in that they generally got along well and could work together. But there were still moments of friction, moments when they got annoyed with each other. Those were fun to write.

From the book:

    Yavic sensed some sort of movement as he opened his eyes. He wasn’t sure exactly what had woken him, but Samtry was also awake next to him. That may have had something to do with it. He sat up, stretched, then hugged his arms to his chest. “It’s cold this morning,” he said to Samtry. “We should start moving to warm up.”
    She nodded, but stayed where she was. Getting out from under the blanket did not sound like the way to warm up.
    Sevra had also begun to stir. She sat up and fished around in her bag for a drink. “We should refill all the water containers before we leave this river.”
    “If we leave it,” Samtry said. She was starting to think they’d only find the Herders if they were on this side of the river. They’d never get across it.
    “I have an idea,” Yavic said. “I was thinking about it last night. Since no bridge has magically appeared, we should try to make one.”
    The sisters who had their eyes open were both staring at him doubtfully. At least he had their attention. He met Sevra’s eyes. “Do you think you’re strong enough to knock over a tree, or at least pull off branches?”
    She only shrugged at him. She’d been way too busy trying to hide her strength to bother testing it.
    “Will you try?” Yavic asked. “It doesn’t have to be wide or pretty. We just need something long enough to reach the other side and we can crawl across it if we have to.”
    “I guess it won’t hurt to try.” Sevra scanned the landscape. Most of the trees scattered about were tall and skinny with stubby branches. They’d need a trunk. They had a few knives. Could they manage to cut down a tree if she couldn’t break one? Which one should she try?
    “How about that one?” Yavic pointed to a tree that looked tall enough to span the river. Its higher branches were waving in the wind, almost as though it was volunteering for the job.
    Sevra turned slightly to head the direction he pointed.
    He addressed Samtry next. “Can you blow out and pack up the candles?”
    Samtry tried to oblige without grumbling to herself. She felt as though Yavic had said, “Why don’t you blow out the candles since you’ll never be able to light them?” She put pairs of candles in each bag but wondered if she should even bother putting any in her own. Night after night she was going to pull out a pair of candles, then pass both to someone else when she couldn’t light them. She sighed and stuffed some in her bag anyway. She couldn’t get worse at not lighting them with more practice.
    A tremendous crack made Samtry forget all about candles. She looked up to see a tree smashing to the ground. Sevra had her arms raised triumphantly. “I can’t believe I did it,” she yelled.
    “Wow.” Yavic could hardly believe it either. He knew Sevra had strength. Stories of what people could do with it were amazing. None of them nearly as amazing as seeing it in action. He’d figured Sevra could rip off branches and they’d spend the day trying to knit them together into a bridge. This was perfect. He ran over to help Sevra drag the tree to the river.
    Naturally, someone who could break a tree trunk in two didn’t need help moving it, but Sevra was happy to let Yavic grab on so she could recount how she’d pushed the tree over like it was no sturdier than a pretzel. They got it to the edge of the river and Sevra pushed it across while Yavic guided it to the opposite bank.
    Samtry had almost everything packed up. Only the blankets were left because Lolly was still sleeping on them. Of course, they hadn’t gotten out much else.
    She didn’t move or blink.
    “Lolly!” Samtry called again.
    The youngest member of the family opened her eyes. She stared at Samtry for a moment, remembering where they were before she sat up slowly. The morning sun highlighted the red tint to her dark hair. Instead of laying straight and neatly brushing her shoulders, it was ruffled and matted and covering part of her face. Samtry figured her own hair looked pretty much the same, since it usually did.
    She dug into Sevra’s bag and found a brush. Then she knelt on the blanket and went to work on Lolly’s hair before she was awake enough to put up a fuss. It wasn’t as though they had anyone to impress, but seeing Lolly’s messy hair made Samtry think of what their mom said about messy hair. That made her miss her mom.
    “Where’d that come from?” Lolly was finally awake enough to notice that a tree had appeared across the river.
    “Sevra made us a bridge,” Samtry said.
    Lolly gasped and smiled. “Sevra did that? By herself?”
    “Wow.” Lolly scrambled away from her sister. “I get to be the first one across.”
    Samtry folded up the blankets while the others tried to talk Lolly off the log bridge.
    “It’s not a toy,” Sevra said, sounding a lot like their mother.
    “Wait until we have a plan so we’re sure we only need to cross it once.” Yavic sounded like himself.
    Lolly crossed her arms and stood stock still. She was trying to patiently exhibit the fact that she did not approve of having to be patient.

No comments:

Post a Comment