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Friday, December 6, 2013

Pagan Writers Press - Winter Solstice Blog Hop

Hi everyone, and welcome to the Pagan Writers Press - Winter Solstice Blog Hop.
As part of the combined story/blog hop event – you are invited to take part in a giveaway by entering the Rafflecopter near the bottom of the page, commenting on the blog itself, or sending me a message on Facebook.
As I mentioned previously, my contribution is a little piece of Flash Fiction, and the events upon which this short story is based are rather personal.
In the first instance, it relates to a near-miss I experienced while serving in the British Military. Our training methods were extremely hazardous, and I’ll never forget the feeling of one of the spring-loaded cam (The bits and pieces mountaineers use to fasten themselves to strategic places along the mountain) suddenly coming away from the rock face. But I was fortunate. I was securely fastened to the wall at other points by properly positioned nuts and cams. So I only dropped a little way
Sadly, years later, some friends of mine were not so lucky.
We sometimes forget. The events we read in fiction can be based on what’s actually happened in someone else’s life. Needless to say, this story is dedicated to their memory.
Muscles screaming, body slick with sweat, I pushed myself past all previous limits. The fruition of five hours of intense, strenuous labor was now within sight and I wasn’t about to let up for anything. I’ll not be denied my prize.
At 18,360 feet, Shanzidou is the highest peak in the Lijiang province of China. A pinnacle I had never conquered. Jade Dragon they called her, and she had been on my list for some time. A granite fist of treacherous arêtes and unforgiving escarpments. But now she was mine.
Every winter, I would treat myself to a special excursion. Selecting the highest example from one particular mountain range, I would then attempt to scale it. I’d put this particular gem off for a number of years, as obtaining the permits had been a long, drawn out affair. But only two months ago permission had been given, and now, the hoary crown of Shanzidou’s summit lay within my grasp. In fact, it was so close, I felt as if all I had to do was reach out and touch it.
Confident of victory, I buried my axe deep into the ice and continued the climb. Glittering cruelly, diamond edged shards spat back in defiance, scoring my face afresh in a network of lacerations and blood The wind howled in support, adding its strength to the distractions threatening to strip me from the sanctuary of my fragile perch. To no avail.
I laughed like a maniac, and my peals of delight echoed off into the star-spangled void. Do your worst, nothing will stop me now.
Leaning away from the rock face, I turned to savor the panorama. It was well past midnight on Christmas Eve, and the glow of a full moon cast an effervescent flush through the vault of the heavens and across the majestic landscape below me. By its light, the tapestry of the valley was veiled in a patchwork of mystery and suspense.
I inhaled deeply. The sting of vibrant, clean air electrified my nostrils, and every breath I took set my nerves on fire. Now, this is what life is all about.
But it wasn’t time to relax. Not yet. Not with the end so close.
Invigorated, I returned to my task like a man renewed, satisfied that this experience would be one I’d treasure forever. Driving powerfully into the petrified colossus before me, I exulted in imminent victory.
A sudden bang froze me on the spot. The retort was followed by a prolonged splintering sound as a fracture began to etch its way across the crystal sheen of the ice face. Tremors worried my fingertips and toes. Teasing themselves into the marrow of my bones, they heralded impending terror and death. I held my breath, but gradually, they faded to nothing.
A huge sigh of relief whistled its way between my teeth. Shifting my weight, I was about to take another swing with my pick when a loud groan reverberated into the ether. Moments later, the silence of the night was ruptured by an even louder crack, like the sound of jaws snapping shut. Unbelievably, I began to move, and in seconds found myself within a chiming, tinkling, cascade of refracted splendor. Glancing down, I began to scream, helpless to prevent my headlong rush toward oblivion.
There you go - I hope you enjoyed that little bit of flash-fiction.
Now to the prize for this particular blog...

As you can see, the prize involves either a hardback or eBook version of Guardian Angels – Book 1 of the Guardian Series – together with an Ice Dragon Pendant. This contest will run until December 13th, And I’ll announce the Winner over the weekend starting Friday 15th.
To enter the Rafflecopter section, just click here: 
Hopefully, the story will whet your appetite for Guardians – book 2 of the series, which has just been released. (Buy links can be found in the side bar to your right).

...And don’t forget...

This is a Blog Hop. You can visit the other blogs supporting this event, by following the link –