“Chinese Water Dragon” (c) 2012 Shoshanna Bauer
The following is the second excerpt from my debut novel, Kojiki. Enjoy. Share! Spread the word!!!!
Keiko’s body may have been safe and warm in the White Spirit Castle, but her mind registered a sharp change in temperature. In Tokyo, intense heat preceded Fiyorok’s arrival. Here, it was the cold. The other dragon was coming. She was sure of it. Frantic, she studied the Black Sea, fighting to accept what she saw. A layer of ice had formed several miles out and now raced toward land. Keiko had never seen anything like it. The seas didn’t freeze that fast—not in the coldest winter, and certainly not in the middle of spring.
“Vissyus’s Guardians grow stronger.” Takeshi floated in the air beside her. His words were grim, but he seemed more thoughtful than worried.
Keiko didn’t share the sentiment. The thought terrified her. She remembered what Fiyorok did to Tokyo. This, though different, resonated with the same sense of violence.
Ice crystals appeared in the air above a coastal village. They swirled ominously beneath the May sun as if mocking it. Below, a dark shape, so like Fiyorok, swam within the frozen sea, heading for shore. A large crowd had gathered along the docks. Many pointed excitedly into the bay, while others wandered in from the streets, their heads tilted skyward, bewildered expressions on their faces.
Keiko’s heart went out to them. They had no idea what was coming.
Akuan was clearly visible beneath the ice. The people watching from shore began to back away. Those behind pushed forward, crushing the ones stuck between. Angry shouts erupted from the mob, anguished cries and terrified wails adding to the chaos. Pressure built from either end, the whole unable to move. It quivered in place until Akuan exploded through the ice and roared into town with the force of a howling blizzard.
As Keiko looked down, the world lurched around her. Blue sky became stone buildings and streets slick from melting snow. She gazed about to reorient herself. This was the second time in a short span in which her surroundings abruptly changed. The last was fairly benign. She’d been too far away to notice the details. Here, though, in the middle of the village, the horror was all too vivid.
People streamed past—men, women, and children—mindlessly fleeing. Panic made them selfish. Few stopped to help friend or neighbor. A woman with a wailing infant in her arms stumbled, lost her balance and fell. Keiko tried to grab her, but she passed through Keiko’s arms and hit the ground with a loud thud.
The crowd behind didn’t slow. Keiko turned to face it, waving her arms and shouting for them to stop. But they kept coming. As they closed, a blast of ice shot through the street. It swept forward, freezing whatever it touched.
“No,” Keiko pleaded. She covered her eyes, and when she looked again, she gazed into a sea of icy statues. “No. Oh, God no!”