Thursday, June 19, 2008

Shannelleran, Day 8

By: Michael Akerman

The Most Recent Previous Piece.

The pair crossed the village square, heading east. Kilrick felt the girl edge closer to him, pressing her sinuous form against his side as she grasped his arm. Staring ahead, she looked sidelong at the suspicious and lascivious eyes following them, while Kilrick blushed, cursing his armor.

As they passed the general store, which also served as the village tavern and inn, the road narrowed, funneling the oddly-attired couple between close-set huts. Soon, however, fewer eyes stared, the earlier discord having faded before reaching the outskirts of the town. Kilrick relaxed his gait while the girl’s hand fell absentmindedly to hold his gauntleted palm. They walked on in silence until the village had faded to sparse and unprofitable farmland.

“So, you never explained how you stopped my father,” the girl stated, breaking the silence. As Kilrick glanced over, she smiled at him, her teeth flashing into view.

“And you never told me your name,” teased Kilrick, grinning back.

“Nor have you told me yours. My name is Shannelleran.”

“Shannelleran? That’s something of an odd name for this area.”

“You can call me Nell,” she smiled at him. Suddenly, she seemed to realize that she was still holding his hand. She dropped her arm, her ears turning scarlet as she looked away.

Kilrick smiled softly. “You have a beautiful name, Nell,” he complimented. “I am Kilrick Taynerone, of the Halward Taynerones.” He drew himself up, the pride he held in his heritage evident. “My family is-“

“I’ll call you Rick!” she interjected. His shoulders fell as he looked over at Nell, who beamed at the road ahead. Kilrick sighed in resignation, changing the subject.

“Do you have a surname, Nell?” he asked.

“Of course!” she responded.

Kilrick waited for a few moments. “Well, what is it?” he finally asked.

“Not important,” Nell stated flatly. Her jaw was set, her rose lips pressed into thin lines. Kilrick frowned in concern.

“You’re right, it’s not,” he said, before they once more fell into silence. The pair continued past farms where rural hands were just setting to work. Nell set a brisk pace. It was not long before she noticed bleary-eyed young farmhands staring at her as they passed. She sighed.

“Haven’t they ever seen a girl before?” she challenged accusingly, her face contorting in a disgusted grimace.

“Well, you are still in a nightgown,” Kilrick said, his timbre bending in defense of his gender.

Shannelleran stopped in the road. Holding her palms open and out with her elbows bent at her side, she looked down at her white garment, bending over slightly to see her legs past her chest. “My goodness, I’d completely forgotten!” she laughed, brightly. “Well, I guess I’ll have to find clothes somewhere.”

Kilrick nodded, not noticing that Nell had already turned toward a nearby farmhouse. Looking over her shoulder, she sighed in exasperation. “Rick, come on!” she hissed. He stopped, peering at her quizzically. “The whole family is already in the field,” she clarified, pointing. As she continued to the farmhouse, Kilrick stood for a moment, mouth agape, before hurrying after her.


~Michael Akerman