Excerpt from my novel (in progress) ~ ~ ~ a ‘darker’ scene

This is a darker mood scene:

"The Exhumation"
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Greyn stood before his heartmate's cairn. What he was about to do made him retch. The slabs of stone at the head of Lynka's ossuary stood like a frozen sentinel, marking her resting place, casting a long, triangular shadow along the pale pink ice of morning. He forced a deep breath of cold air into his lungs. The icefield lay ahead of him, barren all the way to the distant mountains. The mound of boulders that covered her body was undisturbed, the rocks still stacked where they had been placed those many years ago. Yet it had compressed over the years, sinking into the ice, flatter each time he visited. Now, it looked like a crouching wolf, almost predatory, guarding her bones as if she was a fresh killed meal. But it had been five years since Lynka died, and all the while, the ice had been pulling her down into itself, slowly, and silently.

Greyn bent and removed a stone. It was absurd. He was removing the very stones that had been put there to protect her from the wolves. Yet, it was not the wolves who were disturbing her rest, but her own heartmate.

He placed the stone gently on the ice, then stood back. How could he do this? What would Lynka think? Could she forgive him this indignity? He'd gone over and over this in his mind before coming out here. If his suspicion was correct, Lynka would want him to know. So, yes, she could forgive him.

Turning back to the task, he grasped each heavy stone, lifted it from the cairn, and placed it beside the previous one in a neat line out along the ice. He would make sure every stone was replaced in the correct order afterward.

When half the stones were removed, he rested, staring out across the icefield. The day they had brought her out here, Lynka's belly, still large with their unborn child, bulged under the fur shroud. It had been a strange day. Two Harrudin guards had attended the burial, staying right through the prayer vigil. Since when had a Harrudin attended a Laskyn burial? They had insisted on lowering her body into the shallow hole themselves, threatening Greyn with their macans when he protested. They'd laid the first stones, then directed the Laskyns to lay the rest, standing there watching like raver-birds, not leaving until Lynka's cairn was complete. Greyn exhaled a snort of contempt. They'd even pretended to pray for her.

He'd never suspected back then, the possibility that he was about to confirm. It had been unthinkable.

He worked on, removing the stones one by one, until, finally, he climbed into the shallow oval to reach the last ones that lay directly on top of Lynka's body. He knelt beside her and placed a hand upon the stone that rested above her head. He would not remove that one. Her skull would be white and dry underneath it. A cold chill rushed through his body. Lynka, forgive me for what I do.

Leaning over, he lifted the remaining stones from Lynka's body. Pressing his lips together, he prepared for the sight of the tiny skeleton that was about to be exposed to the air for the first time. His chest ached. It was almost like a birth.

All he could see were desiccated remains of the shroud. He touched the fur. It was stiff and crispy. He lifted a flap of it. It cracked into pieces. Small bits of dry leather fell away through his fingers. He reached down, brushed away the remaining covering, and gasped.

... Sorry, no spoilers!

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(If you're inspired to do any fan art of this scene, I'd be glad to post your pictures here.)

(Also available with a soundtrack as you read, at BookTrack )

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