Thursday, April 17, 2014

What drew me to this photo?

Beyond the obvious :-)

Neil Patrick Harris with a Dumeril’s boa and a diamond python, photographed by Annie Leibovitzat at the Chateau Marmont in West Hollywood

Then, it occured to me that I wrote the following opening for a scene in Queen of Heka a few weeks before I saw this photo, and it was eerily similar.

     Dawn painted the fields with a splashes of green and gold. The hum of insects and the flow of the rain-swollen river filled the air. A man wearing nothing but a loin cloth and gold belt stood directly across the river from where I sat beneath a tree. His face was turned from me and the rising sun.  
     He lifted his arms like a priest summoning the gods. The river turned to sludge, and the breeze reeked of an open grave. Birds, feeding on small insects in a nearby stand of papyrus, took wing. In a heartbeat, they were a distant gray wedge on the horizon, a ghostly chorus of rustling feathers.

     The man turned and slithered toward me. A crimson birthmark coiled around his body from knee to hip bone. As he came closer, I realized the birthmark was actually a cobra carved and painted into his finely scaled flesh. The cobra’s flaring head, fangs bared and ready to strike, nestled in the hollow of his belly. The man’s yellow eyes fixed on me, and my thoughts went muddy and slow. The next thing I knew, he was right in front of me, his toes touching mine. I scrambled to my feet and laced my fingers together to conceal their trembling.

     “Isssset wer-Heka, I have long wanted to meet you.” His blue tinged lips scraped back over his teeth into a smile. He extended his palm, open like a trap.

     I didn’t take it. “You have the advantage, my lord. I don’t have the pleasure of knowing of you.”

     His shoulder brushed mine, but I never saw him move forward. Heat radiated from his skin. The leaves of a nearby sycamore shriveled.