WIPpet Wednesday: “Curses Upon Thou!”

WIP it! WIPpet good! (At least, I hope it is!)

Welcome to WIPpet Wednesday, a weekly blog hop which encourages writers to move WIPs (works-in-progress) to publication by posting excerpts related to the date. It’s hosted by the lovely K.L. Schwengel, maven of bad boys, stock dogs, and flying monkeys!

This week, I’m returning to Chameleon’s Dish (which may or may not become Never Doubt I Love) – where we check in with Henry, a young boy with a potentially deadly problem – someone or something is stealing from his snare lines, and winter is coming…

In the dangerously superstitious past of Shakespeare’s England, an amnesiac girl and a foundling boy must keep her strange nature hidden as they stalk the Bard’s words and Hunt her lost identity.

WIPpet Math:

  • Today is March 25, 2015.
  • You get 25 sentences today. =)

Henry’s breath puffed out in quick angry bursts, matching the clenching of his fists. It could be no beast, so it must be man – or, more like, Verity’s boy Homer, or the twins whose names seemed ever to slip his mind, and to belong at once to their matched, sullen faces. He gave them more than he could easy spare, already, but those children seemed always empty and wanting, their mother endlessly grasping, and’ twould not be the first time they had stolen what he might have freely given.

The fourth empty snare set  fear chewing through his anger, the deep fear that had once been always with him. He’d thought himself long shut of it. But yet, here be another snare empty – another three days’ worth of meat and a fur taken – and Henry bowed under the weight of the clouds, and those hungry children, and his own need…

No – fear was a deadly foe; it stole energy for life as surely as the thief had taken his kills. Better that he give himself to the anger – anger could give warmth, and life, and energy he needed, if he was to survive. He clenched his fists until his nails bit into his own flesh, feeling that pain, holding to it against despair and fear. But it sat uneasy in him; he wasn’t angry by nature.

“Curses upon thou, whatever thou art!”

The wisp of a shadow leapt away, up a tree ten paces ahead. Mayhap he had only just missed the rabbit-mort at his work. Henry cursed himself for a fool, even as he took up his slingshot and pebble sack, loaded, and released, all before his next breath steamed the air. But his pebble bounced off a trunk, harmless and useless, and, though he stared to the place where the shadow had vanished until his eyes took an ache, nothing moved there. Though his ears sifted through every sound, none came from that place. Mayhap, though, he had affrighted the thief – hope was a fine thing, if not carried too far. He set off again, stepping quickly, lest the mort be there afore him.

Some people spoke of witches in these woods, or fey creatures. Verity spoke of demon-spawn, and the threat of Satan, and all spoke as though these things were as true as the changing of seasons, or that rabbits and people would breed, and children be unwanted, unnamed, and unfed –

A child’s fancies, boy. Thou art no child, nay, not truly. Leave thy imaginings here, and be about thy business, Henry.” His mouth twisted; he sounded like one of the severe sisters who had tended the children in the foundling’s home. He had escaped that life, three years gone, but mayhap he would ever carry it within him.

Will Henry find the thief? Survive the winter? Be able to feed those hungry children who aren’t his, but for whom he feels responsible?

Well, you’ll have to wait a while to find out. For the next four months, I will be posting new writing, as I dive into a series of writing challenges, delving further into existing stories, and creating new ones…

And, of course, I invite you all to come along for the ride… =)

While you wait for next week’s excitement, you can peek at more WIPpet Snippets; as always, we offer assorted genres, sizes, and styles to choose from! =D And, if you’re so inclined, follow the little froggie, post your own snippet, and join in on the WIPpety fun!


  1. I like Henry’s thought process – he’s angry at first, but rational, making allowances for others. Can’t blame him for how he’s feeling at the end.

  2. I think I may have been picturing Henry younger than he is. Maybe not, because people aged differently in the time period he seems to be from, but about how old is he? I like this pre-Nockatee look at him. And I assume the mort WAS Nockatee…

    • I think he’s about 12 or 13…but it’s quite possible, given his beginnings, that even he doesn’t know for sure. He doesn’t have a birth record.

      The mort can’t be Nockatee, because she doesn’t exist yet…she comes into being when Tisira falls out of the tree, after her father’s failed attempt to bring her home.

      Henry might never know who or what took his rabbits…

      • Oh ho! You fooled me! Or I missed/forgot something. If that’s the case, apologies. If you really fooled me, though, congratulations. I grew up on Agatha Christie and I’m difficult to truly fool because I automatically do the “here’s how everyone in the room could be guilty” thing so that even if the outcome wasn’t the one I thought most likely, I’ve usually at least considered it as a possibility. Makes finding a good mystery difficult.

        12-13 seems like a good age. I’d be interested in his backstory. I like him. 🙂 As a mom, it hurts a little, but it fascinates me how much faster people grew up way back when (or in other countries). Not everyone, but some of them managed to stay really innocent, too. A friend who died at 97 last year told me she played with dolls until she was 16, and yet, many girls of her generation were responsible enough to start their own homes at 14 in that they knew how to run a household and care for others by that time. (I don’t think 14 yo is a good time to get married.) You just don’t see that combination very often anymore.

  3. This captures a lot of who Henry is. He’s justifiably upset that his snares are empty, but he can’t bring himself to truly rage at the thief. I liked that first part, where he says that the children “had stolen what he might have freely given” on other occasions. That’s an interesting dynamic.

    • Henry’s seen enough of what rage can do, and he’s by nature a level-headed boy. And the dynamic of Verity’s family and the way they use Henry is even more interesting than he knows…

      Even though he’s not raging, I know he’d’ve liked to have connected with his pebble!

  4. Suspenseful snippet. But my linguist self has to come out of the shadows here for a bit.

    “Curses upon thou, whatever thou art!”

    This should be: “Curses upon thee, whatever thou art!”

    “Thou” is subject, “thee” object. To help remember the difference, you can keep in mind the famous sonnet:

    Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
    Thou art more lovely and more temperate.

    Since contemporary English doesn’t distinguish between subject and object in the second person, it can be hard to keep track of. But it *does* in the first person. So if you can substitute “I” use “thou” and for “me” use “thee.” Hope this helps!

    • Ruth, your linguist self may feel free to instruct me as she wishes! You make things so clear, and that really helps. I’m getting a clearer sense of Henry’s voice, through learning more of the language he would use.

      Thank you! It helps indeed! =)

    • Thank you, Bev. Henry is a surprising character – he was intended to be a grown man who appeared only in one scene…and instead, he became this sweet, sensitive, and scarred boy on the cusp of manhood.

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