Thursday, November 11, 2010

Oracle Prologue, Part 2

The pre-dawn gloom lightened to a hazy shade of blue. Soon, the other clergy would begin stirring. Jalena should prepare for morning prayers. No more at peace than she had been when she woke, Jalena rose. As she did, her foot caught on the hem of her robe and she fell to the floor, slamming her knees on the stone with a shock of fierce pain. Her right hand struck the corner of the stone stream, breaking her skin across the edge. Jalena bit back a cry of pain. A rivulet of blood ran down the stone to mingle with the water. The blood darkened the water in a cloud that looked black in the low light.

Knees and hand stinging, Jalena struggled to rise. Blood slickened the stone. Her hand slipped as she tried to gain purchase. Her knees hit the stone again. Agony rushed through her legs. Frustrated and hurt, Jalena felt tears force themselves into her eyes.

In front of her, something scraped. Jalena blinked back tears. Another scrape. The noise came from the other side of the stream. Scrape. It was the sound of stone on stone. Jalena took a deep breath and rocked back on her heels. She held her injured hand in front of her. Blood streaked down the front of her robe. The scrape came again.

Sight blurred, she looked ahead, trying to find the source of the noise. Something was moving on the wall. The scraping grew quicker, like the shuffle of a card deck. She blinked to clear her vision and saw that the sound came from the mosaic. Tiles of blue, green, black, and every other color on the wall squirmed against each other, struggling to go in different directions.

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