Book Quote Wed., keyword – “ragged”

Here’s a scene from my finished science fiction novel, The Sands of Mime. It will be part of a duology and I’ll shop it once the second book is done. Writing a chase scene in a flooding slot canyon was fun!


Dust and wind swept past Don and Effie as they ran under darkening skies. Misty rain started to shine on the rocks of the desert canyon.

He heard thunder in the distance, thought of the weather report he’d seen, and grimaced as they pounded down the narrow cleft. The rain came down in drops now, slowing them as it accumulated under their feet. Sheets of water splashed down the canyon walls, growing in strength and volume. The rain started to pound.

Effie looked back past him, the fear naked on her wet, determined face – she had to know what the rising stream and cascades meant. Ominous as it was, if their pursuer didn’t know the reason a slot canyon had smooth sides, well, Don decided they could use that. If he and Effie could find a way to climb, if they left the pirate in the slot, a flood pushing rocks up to and including giant boulders would be forced through this narrow defile.

But no handholds, Don noted in despair as his calves sloshed through rising stream at the floor of the canyon. No handholds: the unclimbable walls continued to be cut smooth by previous floods, with the added hazard of being wet. And, in his case, no hands to hold with: Don struggled with his partially-cut bonds as he slogged forward, his breath now coming in ragged gasps.

He nearly slammed into Effie when she stopped suddenly at a narrow cut in the wall, the site of a sudden spectacular waterfall. There were some boulders wedged above the streaming cut; an agile person could climb above the floor here, if they weren’t washed away. Don tried not to think of the force of a flood that could propel boulders the size of the ones wedged above them.

There. His hands were free.

“Hold on, Eff.” He surprised her by grabbing her by her sopping waistband and swinging her up onto the top of a boulder. If she could climb that wet, thin-cut channel she’d probably be up and away from the torrent he knew was coming. He tried shimmying up the same rock chimney, but the thing was too narrow and he slid back down with a thud.

“Don!” Effie yelled over the sounds of rushing waterfalls and more rain.

“Climb, dammit!”

“But what about you?”

“In a minute!” He rubbed his sore wrists frantically, kicked off his wet shoes, and tried climbing again. Over the pounding rain he yelled, “Get as high as you can!” Someone grabbed his bare ankle with a snarl. The pirate.

Effie shrieked, a high piercing sound like a sharp whistle.

“Effie! Climb!