Xaniu pumped his wings, working to stay well above the city buildings. Below them, countless city streets wound around a myriad of buildings.
Serenity trusted the dragon to find his own way, content to let him guide her where she needed to go. Xaniu had his scent. She hadn’t been this close to finding him in a very long time.
It wasn’t long before their destination became clear; the stadium was easily ten times larger than any of the buildings surrounding it.
Serenity could see the building in her mind’s eye, picturing the building exactly as the dragon pictured it.
Mentally, Xaniu gave the impression of a question while holding the image of the stadium in his mind. Serenity mentally nodded, smiling in satisfaction as the dragon descended upon the stadium. She had finally found Draco.
The stadium floor was empty as they landed, sand kicking up in a cloud around them.
Xaniu shrunk as Serenity slid off his back, her boots smacking the dirty sand with a thud that echoed throughout the stadium.
Serenity looked to the dragon for direction and Xaniu held an image in his mind of the stone archway directly in front of her.
Licking her lips with anticipation, Serenity marched through the arch and down a dark tunnel.
Unlit torches ran along the side of the tunnel, useless as she followed the tunnel by dragging her fingers across the stone walls.
Frustrated, Serenity forced herself to look through the eyes of Xaniu, his echolocation forming a map of sorts in her mind.
Her hands still steadying herself against the tunnel walls, she followed the map into the darkness, eager for what awaited her.
She could tell that there were people in the cells up ahead, their heat signatures showing up on Xaniu’s map.
When they got closer to the prisoners, she couldn’t help but leap the last few steps, excitement bubbling up inside of her.
The first man, however, wasn’t Draco, and he didn’t react at all to her presence.
Composing herself, Serenity took a steadying breath and moved to the next cell. A woman sat inside, her eyes glazed over, looking straight through Serenity.
Fuming, Serenity moved toward the last remaining prisoner in the next cell. Another non-responsive man. Not Draco.
Frustrated, Serenity checked the fourth cell and found it empty, crushing her last hope. Draco wasn’t here.
Suddenly, she couldn’t take it anymore and screamed, slamming her fist against the stone wall. The tunnel shook as multiple bones in her hand broke and then immediately mended back together.
The prisoners didn’t seem surprised.
Two days had passed since Allie ran from Serenity, and with each passing meal, she grew more uncertain about her decision to leave.
She felt sick, the urgency of her hunger pressing all other thoughts from her mind.
That first morning on the street, she found herself on her old corner, her feet instinctually taking her back home. She was surprised to find it unoccupied, as she often had to fight for that spot in the past.
It wasn’t until the second day that she realized why there were so few beggars around. Whispers made their way through the streets as more and more people made their way to the center of the city.
The new Queen was giving away food. And, apparently, there was no one left in the Palace to stop her. The result was a mad-rush toward the palace.
Allie, however, remained on the corner, refusing to go back. She knew what Serenity did to get that food. She’d seen the fear in those soldiers’ eyes; soldiers whose families were likely still in the city. What would their families do?
On the third day, she felt oddly conspicuous as she was the only person remaining in the street, and a gnawing fear prompted her to move. If Serenity was looking for her, it was only a matter of time before she was found.
For the thousandth time that day, she thought about going back to Serenity, considering the possibility of disguising herself to not be recognized. But she didn’t want to take that chance.
What she really wanted, was to go back to the caravan and retrieve her pigs. They could go back to the farm and start over, but she knew that was foolish. Someone else would have taken over her farm by now, and there was nothing she’d be able to do about it.
Allie forced herself to make a decision, her mind wandering, lacking in the energy necessary to focus. She didn’t want to move. She didn’t want to do anything except drink and eat.
“I’m gonna die here,” she whispered, her throat itching.
That realization finally prompted her to stand, nearly falling over in the process. She couldn’t worry about the future. If she didn’t get something to drink, she would have no future to worry about.
And with that thought in mind, she tore up her shirt, rubbed dirt on her face, and made her way back to the palace.
Everyone has their own style of writing. Some like to use long drawn out sentences filled with commas, semi-colons, etc… and others are more simple. But everyone has tendencies, and, if not checked, they will be very obvious to your readers.
What is universal, however, is the need for a rhythm to your writing. As you practice, this will become second nature to you, just as most things will, but only if you practice the right way.
So what do I mean by rhythm?
Here’s what I don’t mean:
He looked out the window. She slapped him on the shoulder. He laughed and looked at her.
This is a very common series of sentences for writers and it’s completely unnatural. Writing in this way will constantly pull your reader out of the story, forcing them to work that much harder to read your book/novel/etc.
She rolled her eyes, frustrated at the day she was having. She walked to the coffee pot, picking it up before realizing it was empty. She pouted all the way back to her chair, even more frustrated than before.
That example is harder to tell than the first, but it’s still unnatural because all three sentences are structured in the same way.
So how do you write in rhythm? Don’t hit the same beat over and over and over again. Mix it up. That simple.
He hit the drum with his sticks, testing out his new drum set. He immediately regretted it as the sound of the drumbeat echoed through the house, waking up both of his children and his wife. Afraid for his life, he threw the sticks into the backyard and hid underneath the couch. He was going to have to get comfortable.