Today’s Word Count: 87, 390
Today’s excerpt was chosen because I wanted to show the strength of the friendship between Logan and Marla, the two main characters in my main Nano project this year, Some Secrets Should Never Be Known.
Logan stopped and she looked up. They were beside the start of a smaller dock, to which a black boat was tied. The boat was big enough to house two or three people, definitely more of a travel boat than a fishing boat. It was somewhat wrecked and the man sitting on it looked kind of drunk. He had brown hair with a few gray streaks, a beer belly, and a big bottle of booze. Logan took a couple of steps down the dock and the man looked up. He fixed them with an angry stare.
“Who are you?” he asked suspiciously. Definitely drunk.
“Just two young lads out for a stroll,” Logan said. The man raised an eyebrow. “How far do you think that boat can travel?”
“I’d say she’s got one last trip in ‘er. One way to Duranth. Maybe back. Maybe not. Why? You in a hurry to get someplace?”
“Not particularly,” Logan said, “but we will be soon enough. A week after the Harvest Fest.”
“Where are you going, kids?”
“To Duranth, I suppose.”
The drunk looked at Logan, then at Marla, then at Logan. “You tell me straight that you’re both lads. I don’t believe it for a second. That there’s a girl.” He pointed at Marla as he spoke.
“Aye. Please do not question us any further, good sir,” Logan said. Marla shivered, eyeing the water.
“So be it. How much are you willing to pay to travel?”
“Six gold.” The man’s jaw dropped and Marla gasped. That was a lot of money.
“Then I’ll be here. Come find me any time, lad. Do you have anything you can spare in advance?”
“Only one gold,” Logan said.
“That’ll do me just fine.”
The man put out a shaky, drunk hand. Logan walked over to him and filled the drunk hand with a single gold coin. The man’s eyes widened in disbelief and he bit the coin. He yelped and drew away from it as though stunned.
“That’s real gold there, son. That’s a precious coin,” he said, grinning. “Worth the whole damn boat if ye ask me.”
“Well then perhaps you should fix her up a bit, or perhaps you can buy a new boat when our journey is over. Don’t mention us to anyone. We’ll be back three days after Harvest Fest.”
“Aye. I’ll be waiting,” the man said.
“Good. Gentle tides, good sir, and light sleep,” Logan said before turning and heading back to the main dock and Marla.
“Light sleep to you too, lads!” the drunk called down the dock. It was almost funny.
Logan took up Marla’s hand again and led her back down the docks. He clearly had no intention of staying out and about in the city. Marla wasn’t sure if it was more for her sake or his. She glanced around every few feet to make sure nobody was watching. For the first time she felt like the Queen was watching her, like she was about to get caught for something terrible.
“That’s all your pay for a year, Logan,” Marla said. “Can you really spare that much gold?”
“I can for you,” Logan said.
“But what about when we get to the other end? Won’t you need more then? Where is it going to come from?”
Logan turned around and grabbed her shoulders. “You want to escape the queen entirely, right?”
“Of course I do-”
“We can’t do that in Duranth, Marla. Not forever. Where we’re going, money won’t be able to help us very much. We’re going to have to learn to survive in the Wilds.”
“But nobody lives in the Wilds,” she said, blinking. Had he lost his mind?
“Well then we’ll live without people. Just the two of us. That’s fine by me if it’s fine by you. Think on it a while. You know when we leave. I’m willing to give up everything I have here to make sure that you’re safe, wherever you are. But it’s no good if you’re not willing to sacrifice everything you have here to make the future you want.”