On the front line again

I have spent the last two months re-crafting the beginning of my latest novel. And today, having finished chapter 34, I reach the front line, the place where I shift from editing to writing and take up the story again, or rather the story takes me up.

Here is a short extract from the draft in which I had some fun writing a very long sentence…


(…) By the light of the torch I see we are in a very narrow tunnel. Mart squeezes past and leads the way down a steep slope. The floor is slick with moisture and I have to hold onto the side of the tunnel not to go skidding down after him. In places water trickles down the walls which are almost as slippery as the floor.

Mart is moving ahead and I speed up, struggling to stay close, but my feet slip from under me and I slide, careening on my backside down the slope, till my feet tangle with his, and he falls too, tumbling on top of me, his backpack crushing the wind from my lungs and his torch flies up in the air and snaps out the moment it hits the ground and then is gone with a clatter somewhere behind us and I fling out my arms, trying to grab the slimy wall, to keep from slithering further, but my hands find no holds, it only hurts, and I cry out in pain, and we slew down the tunnel gaining speed as we go, each bump in the floor a shock jarring my spine, we are thrown from side to side, bouncing backwards and forwards off the walls with each twist in the tunnel, shoulders, arms, hips, knees, heads, all battered as we go, till abruptly Mart’s feet ram into a wall, his pack slams into me and I am crushed against him, sliding up over his back till I am lying on top of him, my shoulders pressed against the wall which gives way in a shower of bricks and we tumble forward onto damp earth, our helter-skelter at an end.

Both of us in a heap, our bodies in a hopeless muddle, lie still for a long moment. Then Mart turns, groaning as he does, and I feel his hands on my face, exploring, as if to reassure him I am OK. “Are you all right?” he asks.

“Yes.” My voice trembles. Then I feel his arms lace around my waist pulling me close. I cling to him and burst into tears.

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