#TeaserTuesday: Theron’s Folly

Theron’s Folly is a short story that may end up becoming the beginning of a novel. “May” as in I have two pages and about fifty-five note cards on said novel already, not counting this short. I obviously have a hard time sticking to a single project; I always need at least two going at once, because my mind likes to have things to flip between.

I’m just posting the very beginning to test the waters, especially as it hasn’t gone through rigorous editing yet, but please tell me what you think!

(Updated August 17, 2010 for edits.)

Theron could hear peels of laughter from the tower, wafting out of the arrow slots as the boys raced each other to the top. There were a few cries of protest, and she knew that someone had attempted to push their competitors out of the way. There was more laughter; no doubt the pusher had been the one sent rolling back to the last landing.

From the sounds of it, they were only halfway up the spiraling stairs. She still had time.

The heavy oak ladder had not been made to be lifted by a fourteen-year-old girl, much less hauled up half the length of a fortress wall. All of her strength only lifted it a few inches from the dirt ground below. Once it was up that far, she was forced to let it fall back down, again and again. Still determined, despite her already tired muscles, she gripped the top run and tried again. It was the only ladder on the staggered wall, and without it her plan would fail.

The base of the ladder hit the ground with another thunk. Exhaling in a puff of frustration, she tried to think of an alternative. She had to win this time around. There would not be any more chances. Even now her husband-to-be traveled over the far fields from the hills beyond, bringing her closer to adulthood with ever step of his horse.

She was a half-step up the fortress wall, standing on a small outcropping that, as far as she could tell, had once been built for soldiers fleeing enemies on the ground. They could scale the ladder, and, if they were in luck, pull it up after them to leave their pursuers on the ground. .

The boys’ voices were getting clearer. They were nearing the top of the tower.

Theron looked at the ancient banner pole that sat, rusty and unused, on the top of the great stone wall. What banner had once flown from it none of them knew, but they had given it a name of their own: Damon’s Climb, after the first child who managed to shimmy his way to the top of it. She was so close to getting up there. All she had to do was get the ladder to cooperate.

Putting her hands on her hips, she cast her eyes downwards, prepared to give it a glare like it had never known before. She was distracted by the sight of an old hook, still firmly attached to the stone. Obviously it was meant to hang some flag or shield off of, though any decoration was long gone by now.

Whatever its original purpose, it solved her problem.

    • Madison Woods
    • August 3rd, 2010

    Very good! I can easily see this scene. In my mind, I’m imagining it to be near the ocean, but you didn’t mention that. If it is, that’d be a good detail to add, along with the salty spray and smell.

    Can’t wait to see how she uses that hook to help her out and I’m sure pulling for her to beat the boys 😉

    • It isn’t, but it’s very interesting that came up! Hmm. Description of where she is exactly comes a page later, about, but I may have to add in other hints earlier so it’s not too jarring a switch.

      I’m glad you like it, though! I was afraid it wouldn’t be interesting enough for a beginning.

      You’ll get to see the first half of the whole story this Thursday, though, I hope! Thank you for commenting. 🙂

  1. Great piece, very discriptive. I really felt like I was in the scene. I don’t really know how I feel about Theron as a name for a girl, though that may be because my female MC’s name is Thera and I originally named her father Theron.

    • Thank you very much!

      Her name is purposefully masculine, as it actually becomes a plot point later on. Funny coincidence, though, that we ended up with such similar sounding MCs! I saw “Theron” while searching through mythological names and fell in love with it.

  2. I am so in love with the energy and descriptiveness of this!

  3. Dear Bethany,

    I think in your work I’ve found a good name for myself. You describe the ladder as allowing soldiers to be able to escape from their “perusers.” That’s my new name. The #teasertuesday preruser. Thanks.

    Nice story with a good “hook.” Run with it and see where it leads you.

    I’m curious about ‘Damon’ and his climb, too. I’ll keep my eyes open for more.



    • Doug,

      Thank you for catching that typo! Though enjoy your new name. Always glad to inspire. 😉

      I’m glad you liked it! If more of the larger story gets posted, you might see Damon later on, though he doesn’t factor into the short much more.


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