To celebrate, here is a snippet from my work in progress, Labyrinth. The main thing that needs set up for this snippet to make sense is that my MC, a sixteen year old invisible male, is holding a plant goddess captive. Or rather, he is holding captive a plant goddess in seed form inside a vial inside a pocket in his shirt. He is trying to get past a sphinx (owned by a immortal man called the Collector) guarding the labyrinth.
I stepped forward.
The Sphinx turned her head toward me, claws flexing in those platter-sized paws.
The Sphinx said, "I am the Soul, the Flesh, and the Guardian of the Labyrinth. None shall pass without permission."
"Funny," I said, looking her up and down. Casually. "You look like a Sphinx to me." What would she say to that? How good was her warning spell? "And I have an invitation. From one worldly friend to another." I plucked out the vial and waved it, noisily, to test the extent of her visual and aural capacities. "See? Your turn." I ignored the whisper of "filth" in my head and returned the Invective One to safety.
She did blink, nor follow my hand, suggesting low sensitivity to my presence, and what sensitivity existent quickly fading.
But she did manage to say, "I am the Labyrinth," through a still muzzle. "Those who do not heed the warning trespass. Trespassers forfeit their souls."
No movement. Anywhere. Not even a whisker flicker. The Sphinx as-is was incapable of any real conversation.
Just like a goddess I loved to torture.
I eyed the Sphinx's leg, a paw waiting with claws sheathed. Claws, however, do work well. Especially ones kin to scythes.
"Your Lowliness, you might be right for twice. She doesn't seem to be listening." Shame, since her attention span was beyond the momentary. Did you have a falling out?" I snapped my fingers. "You tried to leach onto her graven images, didn't you! You lichen fiend!"
"Fool." Two seeds beat about this time inside my belt pocket. "Coward fool. It is a trick. Circumvent her and break the spell binding her tongue."
Fine. Besides, I had a own trick of my own. A trick within a trick. I reached inside a breast pocket number six, upper row, and pulled out a heat spell hiding in a lightstick. Been holding onto that since the last time I was here. Now that I needed a diversion, I hope it hadn't forgotten to work. After all, if I were going to be foolhardy, best to be foolhardy and quick rather than just foolhardy and crushed beneath giant Sphinx. I gathered my weight, rocking on my heels. Swift. Easy. Moving in line with my goal, I broke the trick lightstick in half and tossed it near the opposite paw. For a moment, it sat there. Leaving me an idiotic litterer.
Then it flared to life with pale orange light, rotating in place like a drunken firework. Not quite the right color or speed, but . . . .
The Sphinx cocked her head at it.
Yes, swift and easy. I pushed off, leaping over the ledge of a paw, with a hand of my own to help. The paw was warm, furry, and firm with muscle.
I landed on the other side, the impact jarring. The anticipated displacement of air--from a swipe of a paw or snap of jaw--never came. I didn't perceive any movement; had no time to check. I rolled ahead, out of the squeeze of body and white wall before that turned into squish of my body between both.
When I came to my feet, I was ready judge my success and doff it to Collector's so-called enforcement spell from many yards away, before a cat and I resumed negotiations.
When I came to my feet, I was face to chest with the Sphinx, and the haze rested behind her this time. She had not moved.
But she had moved. Was facing me. Somehow.
"Impossible," I whispered.
"Finally," the goddess tinked. "Fool."
The Sphinx dipped her head and said, "So be it, trespasser."
This time, she swiped her paw.