Escape – #Writephoto

Image copyright Sue Vincent

Alue nudged the prison door open.

Dawn’s light dappled Glenglisun’s slender towers. The jade patina of jungle growth, of humidity, of misty warmth, swathed the city as if it were fashioned of ancient bronze. Spindly minarets blended into the soaring canopy, and its flowering arches belied the peril within its walls.

Naj crept past her. The goblin moved in a crouch, long limbs corded with muscle, his double-bladed glaive clasped by its wooden shaft. Alue’s breath clogged in her chest. Someone had slipped them a key, left the weapon. Someone had freed them, and yet she cringed at the possibility of arrows tracking them from the rooftops.

At the building’s end, Naj ducked to his right and vanished. She darted after him, hooked the corner, and smashed into Danian. The changeling grabbed her arm, steadying her, and she stifled a curse.

“Quiet,” he whispered. “Follow me.”

“I’m not following you anywhere.” She wrenched her arm from his grip. “You’re a liar and a thief.”

Danian closed the gap, his breath in her face, irises black with fury. She mirrored his glare until he swung away. “Your choice,” he growled and set off for the city’s high wall.

Naj paused. His yellow eyes narrowed to slits, and he studied her as if she were a new specimen of plant life. “Do not die for your stubbornness,” he warned and loped after the changeling.

The patronizing arrogance bristled, but so did the truth. Alue’s last choices had cost her more than her freedom. She raked back her froth of red hair, swallowed her indignance, and dashed after them.

Danian avoided the stone streets, escaping instead over a weave of dirt pathways. He halted in the shadow of one of the grass and mud homes. The wall loomed ahead, draped in a camouflage of leafy creepers. Guards idled by the stone columns flanking a filigreed gate, inattentive, but holding spears no less deadly.

“This way.” He made a short retreat and veered toward a cluster of aerial roots that a large banyan had suspended over the wall. Strangler figs twisted around them. A natural ladder. “We go over,” he whispered and scrambled up. Alue climbed without effort, relying on her elven agility, hands and feet finding easy holds. She jumped to the other side and waited for the goblin. Naj landed with a grunt.

Beneath the canopy, time stalled, the day cast in perpetual dusk. Birds squawked and howler monkeys roared. Danian ran ahead. Alue leapt between giant teaks but struggled through the lattices of vines that snagged her body and tripped her feet. Hands bloodied by a fall, she tried to rip the barriers aside, tempted to scream with frustration. How long until the changelings hunted them?

Naj drew her back. His glaive swung like a scythe, slicing through the tangled underbrush. It swept over her head in a terrifying arc, and a green snake thudded to her feet, severed in two.

“Do not kill here!” Danian ordered. “This is changeling territory. If you make a mistake—”

The snarl of a big cat silenced him, the sound chilling to the bone. And close. Naj spun, his glaive raised. Alue froze, the animal behind her.

“Don’t harm it,” Danian’s hand edged up toward the goblin’s weapon. He met Alue’s gaze. “And don’t move.”

Alue fought the agonizing urge to run, fear trembling through her limbs. She couldn’t bear the predator’s presence at her back. Slowly, she disobeyed, rotating, peering into the jungle’s green depth. A massive panther, a slick blackness smooth as starlit water, crouched amidst the mottled undergrowth, baring deadly fangs. A guttural growl rumbled from its throat as its muscles bunched.

Danian breathed in her ear, “Trust me.”

**

I’m cheating and sharing a bit of my WIP (still a first draft but edited so that it makes sense). This is in response to Sue Vincent’s Thursday #Writephoto prompt. I couldn’t pass it up.

94 thoughts on “Escape – #Writephoto

  1. Jordy says:

    This is a fantastic story, Diana! I am looking firwardto your book!!😊

    Liked by 2 people

  2. inesephoto says:

    Oh, this is a different territory 🙂 Jungle, Changelings, Goblins. All things I am interested in 🙂 Cannot wait to read your new book, Diana! xx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Woo-hoo! I was wondering if this was part of your WIP. Love it! You are a master of description, my friend. Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Julie. I’m still on the first draft of this trilogy, so it took me hours to get this snippet ready to post. But it was fun to throw up for a peek. I need to get the draft finished before spring when the sunshine calls. Yikes! Have a great weekend. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Love this. Great visuals. I can’t wait for more.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord Blog Magazine and commented:
    If you are wondering what Diana Wallace Peach is writing at the moment.. here is an extract…..

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Sarah says:

    Aargh! More please!! 😄 Sharing snippets is awesome – but also so very, very cruel. 😉 This one’s another perfect example of your wonderful ability to create tension within a story and characters one needs to learn more about. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Teri Polen says:

    I was thinking – “No, don’t leave me hanging here!” But when you mentioned it’s your WIP, it made sense. Looking forward to it, Diana!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, a tease and a cliffhanger, Teri. 🙂 I’m not telling what happened! You can find out in a year! Lol. I’m so far away from finished this thing. Thanks for stopping by to read. I’m glad it intrigued you! Happy Writing.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Well done. I can’t wait to see where this is going/

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Jennie says:

    Wow! Thrilling, Diana.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. What a scene, Diana! Very suspenseful and lovely writing. You had me at misty warmth and humidity. I don’t care what danger lurked in the jungle, I was going there!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Jackie says:

    You closed the curtain at just the right spot!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I love Danian already. He smacks of anti-hero 🤗
    Wonderful descriptions and nice tension. Hope you’re finding time to work on it 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Chiru says:

    Great Share..you described it well..

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Wow…I love how you give so much description, yet have a good balance of dialog that keeps it feeling real and vivid. I have much to learn about writing prose! I was pulled right in! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Alexander De says:

    Really like your pacing and the consistency of your phrasing; your style has that polished feel that reflects time – time spent writing and crafting. Thank you for sharing this. ~Z

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the kind comment. I yanked this out of the middle of book 2 (first draft) and had to fuss with it so it made a sense as a standalone piece. I’m glad I pulled it off! I appreciate the visit, Alexander. 🙂 Happy Writing!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. dgkaye says:

    Love when you cheat and share some of what you’re working on. You have a gift for world building Diana ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Sue Vincent says:

    That is such an intriguing glimpse between the covers, Diana… 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Hopefully all your fans comments will encourage the writing to flow and the series will be published soon – I’m in! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Thank you for sharing your WIP, and let me peeking in and get a glimpse of your trilogy. Nice share, Diana! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Nothing like being left hanging on a Monday! Nice job!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Mae Clair says:

    That’s a great cheat, Diana, LOL!
    I can already tell this is going to be another riveting tale!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. memadtwo says:

    That’s always a loaded sentence…
    Great atmosphere, vivid and ominous. (K)

    Liked by 1 person

  23. You pulled me right in, Diana. Enjoyed this!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. trentpmcd says:

    It fit the prompt pretty well. Of course you left us with that cliff hanger 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  25. balroop2013 says:

    Thank you for a peek into your new kingdom of fantasy Diana, it is intriguing and your language…an added treat!

    Liked by 1 person

  26. I fear the growling panther is going to hurt one of them before it’s all over. Fun read!

    Liked by 1 person

    • We’ll see. 🙂 It was fun picking something out of the WIP to share, and the image looked perfectly jungle-ish to me. I’m glad you enjoyed the read. Have a wonderful week, Priscilla, and Happy Writing.

      Like

  27. Hélène - Willow Poetry says:

    Oh, I am happy you are sharing your WIP, it is fantastic, kept me on edge through the whole reading, now what…😏🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  28. An excellent extract, Diana. I like the idea of changelings.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. I love doors. Confabulated with a story–remarkable!

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Wowza. You certainly have my attention Diana. Now I want to know much more about this world and characters!

    Liked by 2 people

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