The in-between seasons of autumn and spring are my favourite times of the year, rather than the extremes of summer and winter. The autumn sun isn't the skin-burning blast of summer, and the landscape shifts from bright green to shades of red, gold and copper. There's the smell of damp leaf mould, the scent of bonfires and people using their indoor wood burners for the first time. Not being woken up at stupid o'clock in the morning by the early sunrise. Even if if also means rain, chilly mornings and evenings, and a horde of speckled garden spiders booby-trapping my garden path with dozens of sticky webs! *shudders*
|© Cheryl Kunde | Dreamstime Stock Photos|
Changing seasons haven't featured much in my stories so far, when my characters can jump from one world to another, and one time to another, or when it's set on a spaceship or desolate asteroid. In Keir, summer is best represented by the lush and tropical planet of Metraxi, but my two main characters experience the end of autumn on their home-world. It's a sad time for Keir, and feeling the first bite of winter only brings back bad memories with it...
Keir lifted himself to his feet and stood, the strong wind tugging at the long, gray military-style jacket he wore against the chill air, the large collar turned up around his neck to keep out the cold. Winter had come swiftly to Lyagnius, and the gloomy skies and fading colors of the landscape reflected his own dismal brooding. His hopes of a better life had fallen as quickly and surely as the last golden leaves of autumn. He thrust his hands into his pockets for warmth, morosely considering his options and wishing himself elsewhere.
As he continued to stare into the distance, he heard someone approaching behind him. Certain of her identity despite her silence, he waited for her to speak.
“Are you thinking of leaving us?” Quin asked, her voice echoing the unspoken sympathy emanating from her. Did she really need to ask him such a question?
“You would know if I was.”
“You’ve learned to shield yourself far too well for me to read your mind without permission. Besides, you’re entitled to some privacy, even from a telepath.”
“I have nothing to hide from you.” He lowered his mental defenses, allowing her to see the deepening pit of despair and pain within him, the maelstrom of negative emotions that had darkened his soul. “They are afraid of me now, are they not?”
Quin sighed then fell silent for a long moment as if considering the right words. “Everyone here has the potential to be dangerous, but we never use our abilities against one another like that,” she told him gently. “You lost control. That has made Surei nervous.”
“Taler is embarrassed because she had to bite you to bring you down. It’s taboo in her culture, to use that against another sentient being.”
Keir put his hand to his neck where her fangs had pierced him, knowing the marks were already long gone.
“Sky and Mercury have no reason to be afraid,” Quin continued, “but they tend to immerse themselves in their projects and keep to themselves. They’re not avoiding you deliberately.”
“And you?” he asked, his voice tentative. He could not bring himself to turn and face her.
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