Another cut bit

So, a theme that pops up in my book quite a bit is the issue of dualism – and with that, the idea that it’s not so much the triumph of good over evil, but the capacity in all of us to commit good, commit evil, and the inherent power of choosing. And, in fact, the trouble begins in our little town of Hazelwood when a dreadful man splits a powerful and magical being into two separate entities, one good and one bad in order to unlock the power that exists in stasis between good and bad. Each entity, therefore is robbed of the power of choosing and, in Hazelwood, Things Get Sticky.

Anyway, I love this conversation between Wendy (Prickly Girl You Don’t Want To Cross) and the Mouse Boy (Magical Creature With Unclear Intentions). But I had to cut it because the Mouse Boy was aborted from the text. Poor Mouse Boy.

Anyway, here’s the cut bit for the day:

Wendy stood in the center of dancers. The very small boy sat on her shoulder. The dancers were strange, of course. Really, anyone who pops into being after whirling around in a broken mirror is simply not expected to be ordinary. That there were men and women covered in fur, or moss, or leaves, this, Wendy felt, was probably to be expected. Similarly, that there were dancers as small as the mouse boy on her shoulder, and dancers as tall as the four pines at the edge of her back yard – this she could accept as well. But the double vision, this was entirely too much.

“Why, “ she asked the mouse boy, “are there two of everyone?” Each dancer, locked in arms with their partners, had a mirror image that slipped from side to side. When the dancer smiled, the mirror image smirked. When the dancer laughed, the image cackled.
“There are two of you, “ the mouse boy answered, “when you look in the mirror.”
“But it’s not two. It’s just a reflection.”

“You can think about it that way. Or perhaps the you in the mirror is you in opposite. Perhaps you have two faces, one kind and one wicked. You never know, really. In the end, how do you know exactly which side of the mirror you’re on?”

“You’re insane,” Wendy said, but then she noticed something. She pulled out the mirror shard that she had carefully placed in the pocket of her cut-offs. At her feet, another shard gleamed, and she picked it up. The boy on her shoulder whistled. In each shard a dancer with green hair and skin made of violet petals danced around and around. The same dancer, with her mirror image danced closer and closer her violet petal arms fluttering in an imagined breeze. Both dancer and image looked at Wendy with opposing expressions – one hopeful, the other worried. Each shard had a jagged edge that mirrored the other.

“Look,” Wendy said. “They fit together.” There was a click and scrape of glass, a flash of light, and a loud cry of – pain? joy? – Wendy could not tell, though she suspected it was both.
The dancers stopped. The room fell silent, and Wendy could hear her own breathing. The dancer stood before her, examining her violet hands, her feet that looked more like roots than anything else. She was herself. She had no image. The dancer fell to her knees, panting heavily and laid her head on the stone floor.

“Oh my god, I killed her,” Wendy said, laying the two mirror shards – now fused into one – on the ground.

“Nawp,” the mouse boy said. “She’s just sleeping. It’s exhausting, you know. She’ll feel better when she wakes up. Not so dizzy.”

The dancers waited.

“What are they waiting for,” she whispered.

“What do you think?” the boy said. “Fine. It’s a story, you see? Or an explanation.” He took a deep breath. “It’s the same thing, you know. Honestly, even a child could get it. Once there was a fairy with two faces, one good and one bad.”

Wendy listened to the story. It didn’t explain anything. Until it did.

“Oh,” she said, and her heart sank. “Oh.”

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Once more, into the breach

I have now, hopefully for the last time, received a letter from my editor – this one more of an amalgamation of notes and feedback from several editors at my Beloved Publishing House (all this time on my little ole book? Aw….you shouldn’t have) – and it is several pages long. Which means that I will be cutting text. A lot of it.

Once again, I’ll be removing characters – three of them this time – but it’s not as painful as before. They were, my Ladies of the Knitting League – simply evil henchmen and iconic stand-ins for the Macbethian witches that all good readers hold closely and dear to their hearts. I’m sad to see them go, but I understand that their presence in my book is not entirely necessary, and I can find other mechanisms to weave in the reveals currently held by those dearly wicked Ladies.

But, as a project, to remind myself that these passages of text, these cut characters, need not have died in vain, I am going to start posting the cut bits as a memorial to the amputated novel bits everywhere – their prosaic pulse slowly dessicating in the sea of binary bits of novelish computers.

So, without further ado, a cut section. This was my old opening, and it was actually an excerpted section from a book of fairy tales written by one of my characters, an old professor who knows more than he lets on. I apologize to you, Clive, for removing your story from my story. Here it is for the world to see:

“In those days it was not uncommon for children to be stolen by fairies, or fairies stolen by children, or human children swapping places with fairy children by accident, their over worked and under paid parents simply forgetting to check and mistaking one for the other. It happens. But no one ever gave up their own child. No one ever offered their own flesh and bone for a swap. This was unheard of. Well, almost unheard of.

Once there was a man who learned magic. After five years of study, he learned how to make one coin into two, and how to make one hundred coins into two hundred. These he did not share and became very rich and reasonably happy. The magic did not notice. After fifteen years of study, he learned how to alter the weather, and by controlling the weather, he could control the farms, and by controlling the farms, he ruled the land. He felt like a king and the man was happy. For a while. The magic still did not notice. Then, after thirty years of study, the man learned something else entirely. He learned of the movement of magic between the center of the earth and the stars. He learned how to find the points of magic, how to split them apart, separate the good from the bad. This, the magic noticed, which is to say, the fairy who guarded the magic noticed. The man offered a swap. My son for your son. And then things started going very wrong.”
-Tales from Nowhere (or Everywhere), By Clive Fitzpatrick