So you can read my books

Thursday, September 25, 2014


Denise Covey has a new writing prompt:
You look into the mirror and see a different face.

(609 Words)

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A $15 savings!!}

{The year is 1853Samuel McCord is on the trail of the murderer of a young girl.  He delivered Rachel as a baby.  

And to find her murdered, her face removed to be used as a mask by the murderer is driving him nearly crazy.

He is now on the transatlantic steamer, DEMETER, following a clue given him by Marie Leveau.  

Having just read a letter written him by a young Mark Twain, Samuel feels "human" enough to look into the mirror.}

I tucked the letter back in my stash.  It had done its job.  I felt human again, or at least human enough to be able to look in that mirror.  There were some things a man couldn't walk around.  And looking in mirrors was the worst and the most important one not to duck.  Hell, how did my life get to this point, where looking in mirrors was a nightmare? 

I slowly got up and approached the dressing table with its golden, ornate mirror.  I had walked to certain ambushes feeling better.  If I turned around, I knew I would see the ghost of my father watching me.  I just didn't know what look would be on his face, compassion or satisfaction.  I didn't know which would hurt more.  I sat down with my eyes closed.

I opened them.  The mirror showed a room fit for an emperor, nothing more.  Nothing.  No reflection of me at all.  What had I become?

I sat for long heartbeats staring at the nothing I had become.  Words that I remembered Father quoting came to mind.  To him they had meant something else entirely than what they now meant to me.  My words sounded hollow in the empty air.

“When the stars threw down their spears,

 And watered heaven with their tears,

 Did he smile his work to see?

Did he who made the Lamb make thee?”

Then, a swirling of black clouds in the shape of a tall man appeared in the mirror.  It slowly focused into the buckskin covered Apache who had saved my life in the Parajito Mountains of Sonora so long ago.  Saved it, then twisted it, and finally ended it.  His sad bear face grunted at me.

"Ever the poet.  You are undoubtedly the strangest white man I have ever known, Dyami.  Why do you forever quote the words of those long dead?"

Dyami.  Eagle in his tongue.  I felt like a vulture.

I shrugged.  “Maybe cause it makes me feel closer to Father who always quoted them.  Or maybe when I no longer feel human, it helps me to quote someone struggling with the pain of their own humanity.”

It looked like my words had hurt him somehow, and I tried for a smile and failed.  "Hello, Elu.  Long time, no see."

"And whose fault is that?  You shy from mirrors like some ugly sqaw."

"I feel ugly.  I murdered my father, cursed you, done --"

"Your blood cursed me.  As mine cursed you.  Oh, by the way, Mother sends her usual regards."

"In other words, she wants to eat my eyes and tear out my liver."

"Of course.  In her view, it is your fault that I am trapped here between worlds."

"It is."

"No, it is ours.  I asked you to become blood-brother with me.  You accepted.  I thought my heart big to accept a white man's blood.  You gave the lie to my thoughts by not even pausing to let a half-breed's blood mingle with your own."

"It never occurred to me to ask what race your mother was."

"Our mother, now."

"My mother was killed by Father to spare her the torture and rape by Comanches.  Yours is the living spirit of this world who --"

Elu quickly held up his right hand, all fingers up but the forefinger, which he held down with his thumb.  "Hush! Estanatlehi may be listening."

"So?  What is she going to do?  Make my life hell?"

"You say the words, but you do not understand them.  The colors of her thoughts are the Northern Lights.  Think long before you anger her."

"I already have, remember?"


  1. Hello Roland. A dark and eerie tale with an underlying threat. "You shy from mirrors like some ugly squaw." Great image.

    As always, Roland, thank you for finding an excerpt from your works to fit the WEP prompt.

    I also learnt thanks to facebook that you and I share a birthday on October 9th. I've always been proud that I shared it with John Lennon, now I will be thinking of you when I celebrate too!

    Denise :)

  2. Complicated and, as always, fascinating.
    Mind you humanity is severely overrated.
    And I avoid mirrors too.

  3. Denise:
    Glad to join your fun anytime I can! Have a happy mutual birthday! I might have John Lennon show up at Meilori's on our birthdays!

    Elephant's Child:
    Mark Twain tells Sam the same thing about humanity! Mirrors tend to crack when I look at them! :-)

  4. This excerpt took me out of my own thoughts for a time, and reminded me that I like Elu, too. Someone who would offer blood-brother oath is someone who had a big heart as he said. (is he still considered living but trapped in limbo?)I find mirrors intriguing.

    Enjoyed your entry, Roland, as always. And it's about McCord. I have to finish that book too.

    Thanks for answering the 'hat' question. Just checking. . .

  5. Hi Roland - my thoughts of the mirror - and the melding of our races and now bloods ... 'ehmmm' remembering we are human - such an interesting post for the WEP ... I need to read your books - cheers Hilary

  6. D.G.:
    Yes, Elu lives in the mirror world with his own adventures in that realm -- you've read of a few in THE BEAR WITH TWO SHADOWS.

    RITES is my fantasy Titanic with McCord meeting Meilori for the first time (though those who read DEATH IN THE HOUSE OF LIFE know her first time meeting him was much, much earlier -- before he was even born!)

    I like to think you would enjoy reading my books. :-) But I am prejudiced!

    As McCord says -- race does not matter to him. That a person is human is enough -- you cannot get much worse than that -- except McCord believes he has become much worse.

  7. I read Rites of Passage, another wonderful and creative title by you, to find out how they met and fell in love, Meilori and McCord. In that book I also met a cast of characters like none other in any other book I had ever read before. It took me a while to sort them out, who was wearing a mask, who was human, who was undead, who lived in a mirror, and so on. Which reminds me, I still don't know why Elu manifests only in shiny places.

    What is the name of the very first book that introduces McCord, Elu, and some of the others?

    I read your reply to my question about reviews, but didn't see anything about how books got to pop up on the Kindle screen saver. Do you know? Does that also require a lot of reviews?

  8. Inger:
    Elu's spirit was drawn to a parallel world which can be accessed through mirrors. The true roots of it have yet to be fully explained ... can't tell all my secrets! :-)

    BRING ME THE HEAD OF MCCORD is the collection of short stories which contains the earliest adventure of McCord when he is 15 years old, and Elu only manifests himself to the boy as a golden eagle.

    I don't know how books pop up on the Kindle screen saver unless it ties in to your past purchases. A lot of reviews would probably help, too! Sigh.

  9. Whenever I come to your blog I'm always surprised, and pleasantly. You use dialog very well, paint pictures with it. Thanks for sharing. Leaves me wanting to know more...

  10. Hi Roland, this was quite fascinating! Very different from the usual kind of stories I write or read about that it actually was a very pleasant read.

  11. Hi Roland, this was quite fascinating! Very different from the usual kind of stories I write or read about that it actually was a very pleasant read.

  12. Lisa:
    I feel a bit shredded by life tonight. Your words helped. Thanks. :-)

    I am so glad you enjoyed the read. Sam tips his Stetson to you! :-)

  13. I always enjoy reading your WEP excerpts. Take me out of myself. This too was thought provoking as usual. Thank you.

    Peace to you and yours.

  14. As always I am fascinated by the worlds your characters populate. Your creative abilities know no bounds and as always are inspiring! This piece is wonderful, and I love the way the mirror has inspired so many for this challenge!

  15. Love the conversation between the two. Lots of mythical testosterone there, lol.

  16. Nila:
    What is reality? What is what we wish life to be? Sometimes we have a hard time telling the difference.

    Thanks for such nice words.

    Sometimes we see in mirrors what we expect ... or what we fear. Your words made my evening!

    Always tension between mentor and student in reality and in fantasy! :-)

  17. full of wisdom and lovely choices of words and imagery.