Oasis for YA is having a romantic blogfest in honor of Valentine’s week, and are asking people to post swoon-worthy scenes. Since I just signed a contract on my upcoming verse novel AUDACIOUS (Orca Books, Fall 2013), I probably shouldn’t post from it here. Instead I’ll give you a scene from my WIP, a YA/chicklit/scifi/romance. I haven’t quite got to the really swoony scenes yet, so I’ll share this one, where an alien invader meets a human girl for the first time. Unfortunately he knocks her unconscious.
Ah, no. What have I done?
The girl human lies unmoving on the floor at my feet, blood blossoming from a gash in her forehead. Her cheeks are wet with tears, her mouth slightly open. That last little cry never quite escaped.
Her chest rises and falls once. My own breath catches somewhere near the back of my mouth.
Breathe again, please.
I press my fist into my chest. Sixth used this sign with me. It’s an imperative. You Must. Right Now. Obey. It feels different when I do it. More polite.
Breathe, human. Obey. Please.
Her chest rises and falls again, and begins a slow rhythm.
Stupid, stupid, stupid. That was so stupid. She’s tiny compared to me, like a bird that has fallen from its nest. She couldn’t hurt me with those pathetic knives. Think. Not anger. Not fear. Think. I don’t hate humans. Not this one, anyway. I have instructions. I know the instructions. I can’t…I can’t do it…not this one.
Her friends are gone. They ran down the hill. Will they come back for her, I wonder.
I look at her crumpled on the floor, her arms splayed at awkward angles, knees falling to either side. It seems, vaguely…indecent. I gently move her legs together, not even sure why it matters.
Wake up, little human.
Sweet painless death, her hair is beautiful. Like a spider web or a cloud with the setting sun shining on it.
If she woke up now she would scream and scream. I could not make her believe I wouldn’t hurt her again. No one could blame her for putting one of those knives in my throat.
I trail my fingers in her cloudy hair. It feels like the wisps of dandelions. Why do I even know about dandelions? That seems like the kind of thing that might be a waste of my diminished brain power. Dandelions, spider webs, setting suns. Why do I even notice such things?
Would it be wrong to smell her hair?
Don’t be scared, little human girl. I won’t hurt you.
Ah. Her hair smells like the rushing river and pine needles.
Pine needles. Think. I need to think.
I can’t leave her here. What if her friends don’t come back? It’s getting cold. She could freeze. Humans can freeze. What if my people come back? They would kill her.
She breathes. Her chest rises and falls. Her eyes move behind her eyelids. Her eyelashes are like a caterpillar’s feet, though I’m not sure that caterpillars have feet.
I slide my hands under her legs and shoulders and lift her up. She sags, limp in my arms, but I hold her tightly, like…like…something I can’t quite remember, something behind the door. She is as light as a dandelion, or a spider web, or a snowflake, or a wisp of cloud. I can smell the tears on her face.
There is no sadder smell in this world, than the tears of a human girl.
Stupid defective eighth, what have I done?