So I haven't read it in a year or so. Tomorrow when I do read it, I will probably regret posting it. So although it may undergo many changes before it hits the real page-one day, far away- this is what it looks like now. Forgive me for the absence of a picture, *grumbles* again. All the same, here it is. I hope you enjoy.
The first scene of the title in progress- The Misadventures of Oddball
“We’ll hang him high in the sludge branches!”
As he ran through the mire, he could hear the faint shouts of the angry men turn into frightened screams cut short. Uh oh. Prackles. He could picture the large, saber-toothed reptiles devouring the lynch mob and he did not slow his pace. Those monsters were surprisingly fast.
Prac, rackle! The prackle’s raspy cry echoed through the sickly humid air.
He darted through a clump of reeds and weaved through the tall, gray sludge trees. The men’s yells had died. He glanced behind him, still nothing pursued. He stopped to listen, but not too long or the mud would have sucked him down to his knees.
A prackle surged toward him, mouth agape. His heart jumped as he turned and dashed away. He was able to stay just beyond its reach.
He shivered. The prackle call was incredibly close, but it had not come from the one behind him. Reeds swayed off to his right. He jumped and grabbed a branch, using his momentum to swing himself onto it. As he did, a second prackle broke through the reeds and lunged at him. The reptile’s saber tooth barely missed his leg.
As he climbed higher, he heard the branch he had left crunch, its splinters hitting at his heels. Once safe, he stopped and peered through the reddening leaves as the prackles circled his tree. The two prackles wrestled, ripping and clawing at each other. Their own teeth were the only things sharp enough to penetrate their scales. He glanced at his leg. A trickle of blood flowed from where the prackle’s tooth had nicked him. It wasn’t bad, but the smell of blood made the reptiles crazy. He looked away, sickened as the smaller prackle was finally overcome by the other. He climbed from branch to branch, tree to tree, toward the borderline of Odd and Bal.
During the autumn the prackles were so numerous, most people saved their meager earnings to stock up and barricade themselves indoors. How revolting to see the prackles turn on their own and tear each other to shreds. When winter came, the prackles hibernated or died in the severe cold. But the cycle would begin again the next year.
Who would want to live here with the muck, the extremes of winter and summer, and the constant danger of ravenous reptiles that lived nowhere else? Thunder rumbled above him. Yes, and the rain, 365 days a year, and on leap years 366. The only color to enter this world was the dull green leaves in the summer, that at least turned a satisfactory red in the autumn, and the same dull green of the reeds, that grew ridiculously thick in some places and were completely absent in others, for what reason no ecologist knew. That is if the ecologists survived long enough to even think on it. He sighed. Yeah, ecologists…
Even the people were unpleasant around the border of Odd and Bal. He knew when he reached the borderline, despite the danger a few foolish young people would be standing on their side of the border, hurling insults at each other. Maybe some mud too. But most people had enough sense to avoid their enemies altogether.
He made it to the edge of the two kingdoms and looked right and left down the open path through the trees. Actually it was twice as wide enough to be called a road, but nobody would want to travel between the hostility of Odd and Bal. As he suspected, pacing up and down the mud gap were Oddish and Balen people. He tried to creep over to the Oddish side as they were occupied in creating nasty names.
“All you Balens are garbage-eating fish heads!”
“Yeah? Well, you’re a leech-infested stink face!”
“Wait.” One of them pointed at him as he saw some prackles sneaking up behind them. “There he is! The…”
The group of prackles charged through the troublemakers. The people scrambled in all directions, screaming and hollering, mud flying everywhere. He escaped to the other side in the skirmish, gritting his teeth.
Hard living conditions usually brought people together. They would put aside their differences and work together to survive, but not the Oddish and Balen. Anyone of those people in that prackle attack who found themselves on the wrong side of the border, would not survive long. All homes would turn them down. Those wanting war would form a lynch mob and hang them. Or the prackles would eat them first. For half breeds it was worse. Though because of the hostility between the two kingdoms, half breeds were rare, and they were always very young, too young. He was lucky he had survived the fifteen years he had. It was a long time since his Balen father had been shot and his Oddish mother hung. Between the angry men, screaming women, lynch mobs, and cunning prackles, he had swift feet, but not swift enough to leave Bal or Odd altogether. By now all border dwellers knew his grim face and ragged hair and they all scorned him as Oddball.