Jul 30 2011
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The hill went up and down and up and down the hill went a girl. She was tall and pretty and at the moment she was tired to death. Her large, grey eyes were falling shut with exhaustion; her brown, wavy hair plastered itself across her forehead with sweat and fell in a lifeless, sticky, tangled mess past her shoulders, while her knees buckled under the strain of another ascend.
Jessica lost count of the number of hills she had to navigate in the past few weeks and her strength was rapidly leaving her in the absence of decent food and rest. Her left hand was trembling with the effort of steadying a large, battered trunk that unevenly followed her progress up the hill with a threatening rumble of its wheels. She was surprised that after all this time the trunk was still in one piece and that its wheels haven’t fallen off yet; she didn’t exactly treat it with care and consideration its old age should have inspired.
Her right hand was resting on her guitar that, unlike the trunk, was lucky to be firmly secured at her side. However, its leather strap was digging into Jessica’s neck as fiercely as though it was made of claws and more than once she wanted to fling it off and as far away from her as it would fly. She thought better of it, though, because her guitar was her sole source of income at the moment and she’d rather not starve to death just yet.
Her back was bending under the challenging pressure of heat and fatigue and the soles of her feet were on fire. Jessica stopped on the top of the hill and doubled over, bumping the guitar out of the way. She put her hands on her knees and closed her eyes. Breathing heavily, she prayed for strength or shelter: a snug, little cave with a waterfall or a lake would be an ideal place to stay and rest for a while.
She was covered in dirt and dust and desperately wanted to take a plunge and change out of her jeans and boots. She also hoped to find something by way of food somewhere. Jessica was getting more and more concerned about her diminishing food supplies: they were almost exhausted by now and she knew that unless she came across something edible, she would not be able to proceed.
Standing upright again, she looked upwards, squinting at the bright glow of the setting sun that, together with a collection of strange, dusty clouds, obscured the sight of the mountain top she was aiming at. She might have been once fascinated by the fact that Cassandra chose that particular spot for Cranberry Hill, but right now she rather cursed her for that. The sun was rapidly sinking out of sight, illuminating in its dying light a vast hilly land that still lay ahead of her. Jessica sighed and began her descend.
The queue is empty so if you want to offer your first page of an unpublished manuscript for critique email me jane at dearauthor.com. Fiction only please.