Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Drop the Needle: Death #20

GENRE: Dystopian YA

Balicia is a Shuuen-uae, a vaguely elf like creature who's giving birth. Sil is the term for a female Shuuen'uae. Puma is a twelve year old boy. The MC is Evernow, a nineteen year old girl.

Balicia mutters instructions now and then but she's waning.

The Shuuen'uae births are similar to humans but not so difficult.

The child is small and delicate, encased in a pearlescent membrane that seems impermeable.

I don't give it a chance to falter, pulling it from Balicia as soon as I can safely grip it.
Immediately I crawl to her side to show her the baby, to ask what I should do next.

But Balicia is dead.

Her silver eyes are dim, the star-shaped pupils open and round.

I keen just as Elliaer did when he thought me lost, and clutch the unmoving child to my breast.

It's in stasis yet, until I place it in the earth so that its magic can settle.

In the place of a newborns cry is my own sobbing. My hysteria doesn't last long though.

I still have work to do.

My wound burns painfully but it helps to clear my head.

I can't move Balicia.

I stroke her hair, tracing the shape of her long ear and gently kiss her mouth.

When her child wakes, I will kiss her on her mother's behalf.

I murmur my love for the sil and then gain my feet clumsily.

When I stagger from the body I find Puma standing dumbly, watching me.

His gun has drooped to the ground.

His expression turns with disgust at the sight of Balicia's static child.


  1. Here's what I really like about this: you treat the magic that fills this scene with a matter-of-fact nonchalance that I find refreshing. It's grounded, not pumped up into high fantasy hysteria. One thing to watch, however. I feel like you overdo the choppy sentence structure a bit. I'd like to see it varied more.

  2. You really can't go wrong getting drama through a scene where a mother just gives birth and then dies. That always gets me.

    The only thing I have to complain about are the adverbs. There were also a few sentences that could be tweaked. I had to re-read some of them a couple of times. (of course some of that may just be the wording you use which I would 'get' if I read the whole book).

  3. Very dramatic, I like the choppy structure after the death. Before the death, the one-sentence paragraphs are a little much.
    Also, this is really a matter of opinion and has nothing to do with the scene, but you want to be careful with names like Shuuen-uae. I usually hate reading fantasy or YA when I can't tell immediately how an alien/fantasy name is pronounced. I know it seems like it wouldn't matter too much, but it really is the sort of thing that matters to people. :) A few too many vowels in that name. And even if the language is vowel heavy (if so, why is the girl named Balicia? That's not nearly as vowel heavy)it's still something you want to be cautious with.
    It's just my opinion though. :)
    Still, I was fascinated after reading this scene, I'd probably read more.

  4. The child is small and delicate, encased in a pearlescent membrane that seems impermeable.


  5. I agree with what Bethany said about pronunciation. I also agree that you might want to vary sentence length once in a while - and paragraph length.

    I like how you say the births aren't as difficult as humans' ... and then she dies. Sadly ironic.

    I can't explain why, but this doesn't 'feel' like YA to me.

  6. Enjoyed this a lot. Nicely written except I agree it's a little choppy. Your imagery is very good with the baby. It all comes through well.