It was a pretty nice burlap sack. Not the best he’d had the pleasure of inhabiting, not by a long shot, but it wasn’t bad either. The jute was smooth and woven tight, not letting in an inkling of light or location. It didn’t chafe his cheeks either, which was a small comfort.
The chair he was tied to was of considerably lesser quality. Each time Detan shifted his weight to keep the ropes from cutting off his circulation little splinters worked their way into his exposed arms and itched something fierce. Despite the unfinished wood, the chair’s joints were solid, and the knots on his ropes well-tied, which was a shame.
Detan strained his ears, imagining that if he tried hard enough he could work out just where he was. No use, that. Walls muted the bustle of Aransa’s streets, and the bitter-char aromas of local delicacies were blotted by the tight weave of the sack over his head. At least the burlap didn’t stink of the fear-sweat of those who’d worn it before him.
Someone yanked the bag off and that was surprising, because he hadn’t heard anyone in the room for the last half-mark. Truth be told, he was starting to think they’d forgotten about him, which was a mighty blow to his pride.
Megan E. O’Keefe writes:
Right off the bat, I wanted readers to realize that Detan Honding’s view of the world is different than most. I think it’s fair to say that most people would be concerned to find themselves tied to a chair with a bag over their head, but not Detan – he’s calm as can be. Instead of worrying about what’s coming for him next, he’s busy critiquing the quality of the bag obscuring his vision.
And yet, Detan is beginning to show cracks of annoyance. Splinters are picking at him, and he’s growing bored – worried that he’s been forgotten about – but also trying to work an angle, trying to see his way clear of the mess he’s gotten himself into. The overall picture is that Detan is a man who’s familiar with danger, perhaps even thrives on it. He’s been in this chair or ones like it before, and though he’s a wee bit irritated, he’s confident he can see his way through.
I wrote these intro paragraphs to have a slight sing-songy tone, a definite rhythm that, when it breaks, the reader notices – further emphasizing the cracks in Detan’s sense of calm. He may be telling himself everything’s okay, but the wear in the veneer of his flippant demeanor is already beginning to show and, by the end of the book, he may just be strained to breaking.
About the author:
Megan E. O’Keefe was raised amongst journalists, and as soon as she was able joined them by crafting a newsletter which chronicled the daily adventures of the local cat population. She has worked in both arts management and graphic design, and spends her free time tinkering with anything she can get her hands on.
Megan lives in the Bay Area of California and makes soap for a living. It’s only a little like Fight Club. She is a first place winner in the Writers of the Future competition and her debut novel, Steal the Sky, is out now from Angry Robot Books.
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