4/29/09

Just Wanted to Share

I really like this passage from my current WIP. Some bits just strike me as particularly well executed, and this is one of them.

Vivienne sat alongside Mr. Kato, the huge, silent African, as he skillfully guided the wagon toward the train station. She would've liked to continue nursing her hurt and dislike for Miles, but Cape Town mesmerized her. Harsh, blue-shadowed mountains angled along the horizon, holding the entire settlement in a hand ready to squeeze shut. She'd half expected the barren branches of her winter garden, but of course, December meant spring--nearly summer. Every shade of green dotted the foothills and lined the limbs of unfamiliar trees. The fertile smell of loam and blooming flowers found her in warm, welcome bursts. She wondered what manner of vegetation she might nurture here.

But the city wore a mask. Ostentatious colonial homes, rich with color and layers of fresh paint, could only brag from behind the safety of high ornate fences. They loomed over decayed shanty towns, tumble-down tents, and countless, faceless squatters. Ugliness gathered in the shadows like a cache of weapons, waiting to do violence. While sparring with Miles, Viv had been able to retreat from old terrors; now they clamored for her attention, crawling over her skin and down her throat. She squeezed the wooden handle of the portmanteau in her lap, squeezed until her pinkie finger jerked.

The train station was a picture of barely-controlled bedlam. As on the docks, wealthy colonists strolled toward first class, their servants dragging luggage in their wake. Rougher folk flocked toward the over-burdened rear cars. A woman, great with child, followed a miner with a full blond beard whose back bowed under the weight of a massive trunk. She gripped the hands of two young boys, their little legs pumping to keep pace with her determined waddle. The crowd gobbled them up as the train whistle announced its impending departure. A baby wailed, and Viv knew its terror.

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