Anniversary Shenanigans: Author Visit + Giveaway - Kim Fielding


WARNING: You're going to want more of this one. Kim Fielding shows us the true meaning of bereft.
Caged 
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Kim Fielding



Nisko waited.
Men and women in extravagant clothing meandered past his cage, some merely glancing at him and others pausing to stare and laugh. Hunched in on himself, he felt their gazes upon his bare skin, searing him like fire.
When he’d been placed in this cage the first time, one year earlier, he’d stood at the bars, roaring and swearing at everyone. Hoping just one of them would come close enough for him to reach through and grab, to break the neck and crush the skull. They were such small people, slender and weak, and he was very strong.
But he’d spent the past twelve months in the dungeons, and although he’d remained muscular due to the exercises forced on him by his captors, his true strength was gone. All he could do was sit, listen to the liquid babble of their language, and wait.
Music wafted in from the adjoining hall, bright and happy, along with the tantalizing scents of grilled meat and wine. Nisko imagined his captors gracefully dancing. Before the war he’d thought them beautiful, with their delicate features and jewel-hued wings. He’d heard they were good lovers, and sometimes he’d fantasized about taking one of their men to bed. The man would have soft skin over his long, lean body, and his pale hair would feel like silk cloth. His delighted laughter would be like a brook racing over rounded stones in springtime. He would smell of fruit and flowers and earth.
Then war came.
The enemies were no longer beautiful after Nisko had slaughtered them. And when the survivors had captured him and subjected him to a long year of deprivation, humiliation, and pain… well, now when he looked upon them he felt only grief and despair.
So he hid his face against his knees. He hoped they’d find him boring and would move on quickly to the next room for their celebration, and most of them did just that. One of them stood for a long time, however—Nisko heard the breathing—and curiosity finally won. Nisko raised his head to look.
It was a man with amber eyes. His frost-colored hair fell nearly to his waist, unadorned by the beads and bones most of the others wore. His tunic was pale blue and his wings sapphire and emerald. He stood alone, and he wasn’t laughing at Nisko or even smiling. In fact, sorrow clouded his face.
“I don’t want your fucking pity,” Nisko growled, voice rusty from disuse.
The man surprised him by answering in Nisko’s language. “I do not pity you.” His accent was thick, but the words were clear. “I mourn what we all have become.” Then he walked away.
More people strolled by the cage—dozens more—but they didn’t speak to Nisko. He hid his face again and pretended not to hear as they chattered and giggled to one another. He tried to imagine himself in his warm bed in his modest hut, his shelves well-stocked with food, his unneeded sword rusting in its scabbard. It was a future he’d never have, and even his visions of it were as insubstantial as wispy clouds on a warm summer day.
Eventually the crowds thinned. The final stragglers didn’t dawdle at his cage, and he was left alone in the otherwise empty room. Someone closed the doors, cutting off the sounds and smells from the great hall. Now Nisko heard his own slow heartbeat, and he inhaled the reek of his unwashed body.
He understood enough of his captors’ language to know what would happen to him next. Late tonight he’d be dragged naked into the great hall where he’d be bound to a wooden frame and whipped before they tossed him into an enormous fireplace. He didn’t know if he was intended to be a sacrifice to the gods—who were his gods too—or simply an entertainment.
At this point he retained no hope or joy or comfort. Holding on to life was pointless. Yet hold on to it he did. Even battered and broken, life was a precious thing. Nisko didn’t want to die.
“Fool,” he whispered.
“Yes, I am just that.”
Nisko snapped his head up and discovered that the man in pale blue had crept into the room. The man gave a tiny smile and held up a small object for Nisko to see.
A key.
Although the lock squealed as it was turned and the hinges of the cage door creaked, nobody came running. The man stood at the opening and extended his hand inside. “Come with me,” he said.
“Why? Where?” Nisko’s heart beat so wildly he feared it might escape his chest.
“Because I am a fool, as we have already established. And where… I am not yet sure. We face a hazardous journey. But I believe it is better to face danger and uncertainty than to accept cruelty. Do you agree?”
“Yes.”
“Then come quickly.”
Nisko discovered he still possessed some of his old strength. Only a few crumbs, but it was enough to enable him to stand, to look steadily at the other man and see his beauty.
Nisko took the offered hand.
 ***
About the author

Kim Fielding is very pleased every time someone calls her eclectic. Her books have won Rainbow Awards and span a variety of genres. She has migrated back and forth across the western two-thirds of the United States and currently lives in California, where she long ago ran out of bookshelf space. She’s a university professor who dreams of being able to travel and write full time. She also dreams of having two perfectly behaved children, a husband who isn’t obsessed with football, and a house that cleans itself. Some dreams are more easily obtained than others.






Holy Cow! Ammiright? 
We'd like to thank Kim for helping us celebrate.
Be sure to let Kim know what you thought of her fic.

Thanks so much to Boy Meets Boy Reviews for inviting me to their celebration—and giving me such an utterly delicious photo prompt!

While I’m here, I wanted to let everyone know about two new and very different releases. They’re both collaborative efforts.


First we have Contact, the 5th in the Gothika series. This book contains extraterrestrial-themed novellas by B.G. Thomas, F.E. Feeley, Jamie Fessenden, and me. My story, “Refugee,” is set in 1950 and is about a WWII vet who stumbles upon a very strange little town along the Oregon coast. And if you order directly from Dreamspinner, you get a bonus short story.



My other new release is Running Blind, a novel I co-wrote with Venona Keyes. It’s a contemporary, and although it’s about a man who suddenly loses his sight, you’ll find this book has more sweetness and humor than it does angst.

***

Contact:


Running Blind:



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16 comments:

  1. What a poignant, powerful glimpse at their story! Would love to read more of these two.

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  2. Holy...!!! I don't know what to say. Clutching my breast the entire time reading it.
    Thank you for the ficlet, Kim. Wonderful as always! :)

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    1. Thank you! That photo prompt was just so delicious!

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  3. What a beautiful and sad story. I loved it. I wish I could continue reading it, though. Is there going to be more on these two? I hope so...

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    1. I hope so too! I'd love to see what happens with these two.

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  4. Such a touching, evocative fic!

    --Trix

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  5. WOW... just WOW I can not wait to read more of this!!!Love the cover! !

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  6. Loved the ficlet, I'm so glad the winged man rescued Nisko! And I'd also love to read more about them.

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    1. Thanks, Lisa! I'm glad he was rescued too!

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  7. OMG - I NEED more of that story. Thank you for the ficlet!!!!

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  8. This was great! The picture as well as the fic were so compelling. Thanks so much for sharing.

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