I originally wrote “The Vigil” as a potential starter chapter for a collaborative novel (though not with the Collaborative Writing Challenge, funnily enough.) I wasn’t sure if it constituted a story when I submitted it, but apparently the wonderful women at the CWC thought it did 🙂 I hope you’ll pick up your copy of Chasing Magic to experience all kinds of fantasy fun.
Read an excerpt from “The Vigil”
If you only looked at their clothes, the people standing around his corpse would appear to be mourners. Then your gaze would stray to the hunger in their eyes, revealing a far more sinister intent. They dare not push or scrape at each other in its presence, as if the magic would punish them for impatience, but they could not help but lean in ever so slightly to see if the family legend was true.
They had been careful to respect the other parts of the story. They’d lit the incense, even though it made the air in the darkened room almost unbreathable. Perhaps this part of the ritual was to make their eyes sting, so the dying man might believe they were crying over his death rather than praying for an end to the interminable wait.
Even as the old man had lain insensate in the great canopy bed, no one dared to remove it from his body. They knew that as long as he still had breath, it would be impossible. That hadn’t kept them from approaching his deathbed and placing a kiss on the black stone. As their lips brushed the ring, somehow warm despite the clamminess of the wearer, they whispered entreaties.
I am worthy.
Now the vigil was over, and their fates would be sealed within a few heartbeats. Everything hung on that thin band of silver and what it would do next. With its wearer still, the ring was free to roam.