The Oracle and The Muse is the Official Blog of author Christopher S. Ledbetter. Herein is contained his journey of self discovery through writing Fantasy and Young Adult Fiction and Historical Fiction. Please... Enter The Temple.
Thank You to Justin Parente over at In My Write Mind for hosting the 2nd Annual Hook, Line and Sinker blogfest.
Objective: Post your 500-1000 word hook and critique other hooks posted by participants
Suggestive topics to consider when critiquing:
Does the character have a personality I can fall into easily? This includes any dialogue exchanged.
Is the world around them set up to compliment the character as they're introduced?
Are there secondary characters to assist with the hook?
Lastly, would I read more?
Please jump around and critique the rest of the entries.
So here is my entry.
The distance between darkness and light was a nano-moment, my mother once told me. A sliver of space. The breadth of a strand of hair. I didn’t know what she’d meant until that day. And still wished I didn’t.
I trudged up the darkened beach, digging my toes in the sand with each step. Visions of pearl-skinned sea nymphs still danced in my head. Their iridescent eyes and seductive charms made me smile.
“C’mon, Zeus,” Anytos called, throwing a stick at my feet.
I held a finger in the air.
"Zeus, seriously!" He clapped his hands.
"Wait. Hold on." I closed my eyes to enjoy the images of those sea nymphs. Just a while longer.
"Zeus!" His words sliced sideways through my memories of them. “Sun’s nearly up. We don’t have much time!” Tos stood at the top of a dune, calling down to me.
I sighed. “I’m coming.”
I hated the pre-dawn runs we took every morning. The birds weren’t even up yet. I couldn’t wait to get back to the goats I tended with my mother. Against her wishes, I’d named each one. That’s why she never let me slaughter them for food. Or rather, why I never participated.
There was nothing too terribly stressful about goat herding. They were a self-sufficient lot. Sometimes watching them was like watching the sun crawl across the sky. In those moments, my mind wandered like a stray goat.
I’d always felt like I could do more. Be more. Something inside of me clawed for the extraordinary. Yet I had to face that I’d likely never leave Crete.
I joined Tos at the top of the dune and looked across the dusty Cretan expanse that stretched into darkened low-lying hills. Tos turned to me. "You ready?”
“Let’s do it…”
Before I finished speaking, Tos had taken off running, like being shot from a bow. His feet pounded the path as he ran ahead. I crested a high ridge in pursuit. A burning sensation spider-webbed through my lungs as I saw the sun’s first ray in the east. Pushing onward, I strained to keep pace with Tos, whose legs moved at a pace I simply couldn’t match. Not yet anyway.
“Faster, Zeus,” he yelled over his shoulder.
“We’ve been running non-stop since the southern coast.”
I stopped and clutched my chest. Ragged breaths came in gasps. I placed my sweaty palms on my knees and inhaled deeply. I knew that running daily would benefit me somehow. But, that didn’t mean I had to like it.
Anytos turned abruptly. “Whose fault is it we’ve been running such a distance, huh? I promised Amalthea I’d keep you safe, Zeus,” he responded. “You. Here. Not safe. Let’s go!”
"Hmmmph." I stood straight, stretching to one side then the other. I knew he was right. We’d been out way too long. But boy were those nymphs worth it. I took another deep breath and stared back toward the east.
“I knew I shouldn’t have let you talk me into going to see those sea nymphs again,” Anytos continued. “Shoulda known better than that. The Tribe is gonna be pissed when we get back.”
“Don’t act like you didn’t have a good time.” I managed a half smile despite my fatigue, rustling fingers through my hair.
"That’s way beside the point. The longer we’re away from the cave, the less safe you are."
I totally resented not being safe. I’d watched my mother’s pained expressions over the years. Stress from living in constant fear.
Tos began running again, building another healthy lead. He looked like a shadow moving through the trees. Rocking back on my heels, I resolved to finish.One last push. Come on. Dig Deep.
I lunged forward. Chasing Tos up the next incline, my feet barely touched the ground. I ran so fast, I didn’t even feel the rocks on the tree-lined path. As I reached the next ridge, a ray of sunlight speared my eye through the trees and blinded me momentarily.
I forced my stride farther. Wider. My arms whipped the air at my sides. I grinned as I closed the gap between us.
Ahead, the cave opening beckoned. The Cave. My home. I knew the drill. Get to the cave before someone sees you, they’d say. Someone like who? Who’d ever come looking for me?
I saw the dark silhouette of my mother sitting on a hillside just above the cave, surrounded by lightly grazing goats. Crouched, she gripped a hooked staff, on which she counterbalanced her weight. Her tunic rustled gently in the thick, salty breeze.
The sun rose faster than usual. Ridiculously fast. I stopped to look at the sky, marveling at the rapid ascension. Darkness to light. What had been a beautiful sunrise, quickly dissolved into chaos.
Tos pulled my arm almost from its socket. “That’s not normal, Zeus. We need to get in the cave!” His face looked like a fig left in the sun too long, wrinkled and severe.
We sprinted the final stretch around my guardian tribe, the Kouretes, who danced in a circle. Their chants filled the air. Fully armored, their tunics flapped around their frames as helmets clanked atop their heads. Shouts echoed across the plain, punctuated by spears clashing against shields. They always said that they chanted to ward off evil spirits. To protect me. All I heard was constant noise, really.
As we drew closer to the cave, my mother stood suddenly and turned toward the sun. The sky brightened, and the sun’s brilliance grew more insistent. I shielded my eyes but the heat was searing. Spots dotted my vision. I watched my skin darken by the second. Sweat beaded all over my bronzing skin at once.
My heart raced wildly. “What’s going on here? Why is the sun falling?"
“Remember we kept telling you somebody might see you if you’re out too long?” Tos asked.
I nodded nervously.
“Hyperion’s descending!” He pushed my shoulder. “Get in the cave!”