Welcome back to Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday, weekly Sunday hops where writers share 8–10 sentences from a book or WIP. The rules have now been relaxed to allow a few more sentences if merited, so long as they’re clearly indicated, to avoid the creative punctuation many of us have used to stay within the limit.
I’m now sharing from a brand-new project, an alternative history with the working title A Dream of Peacocks. It starts on May Day 1274, when Dante met his great love and muse Beatrice Portinari. Though he never said whether or not they actually exchanged words or if they just saw one another, they become immediate friends in my story, and meet while Beatrice is making flower garlands. They’re now walking in the garden after finishing and distributing all the rest of the garlands.
I decided to occasionally break the fourth wall in this book because Dante himself does that in his own work, directly addressing both present and future readers with comments like “Oh, Reader, you can hardly imagine how terrified I was!” and “I wish I could tell you more about this wonderful experience, Reader, but I’ve used up all the pages I planned for this canticle.”
At last we proceeded out through a door leading into a lush, verdant paradise of sweet-smelling, brightly-colored flowers and blooming trees. Scattered about were several strolling young couples and two men playing the lute. In the center of the garden was a gleaming white stone fountain ringed by red roses and herbs. When we drew closer to the fountain, I saw it was decorated with carvings illustrating the Zodiac signs, people and events from the Bible, and the history of the Roman Empire.
“The garden at our summer villa in Fiesole is even grander,” Beatrice said. “We have many more flowers and trees, the fountain is bigger, and there’s a reflecting pool. I spend most of my time in the garden when we live there.”
I gave her a slight smile, restraining myself from the much wider smile my vital spirit wanted to make.
The eight lines end there. A few more follow to complete the scene.
“My father and I have a summer villa in Fiesole too, though we don’t spend the entire summer there. We usually go there on weekends or for a fortnight. At most, we might spend a month there. My father’s business is too important to interrupt for three entire months.”
“My father has a very important business too, but he’s able to go away all summer. May I ask what your father does for a living?”
God forgive me, Reader, I told a partial untruth to avoid admitting Babbo was a moneylender. “He does something with money, but I don’t know the details. My father doesn’t tell me much about his job. He says it’s too adult for me to understand.”
“Maybe he’s a banker like my father. He doesn’t talk very much about the details of his work either, not even to my oldest brothers. But your father must have an important job, since my father invited him to our party. Perhaps you can visit us in Fiesole this summer.”