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 sharing from my 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, and will give them an eventual happy ending, with lots of Sturm und Drang.
This comes right after last week’s excerpt. Dr. Salvetti has come to the house to treat Beatrice, who unexpectedly collapsed outside alone at night, very ill and injured. Because Dante’s stepmother wants nothing to do with this situation, his much-younger halfsister Tana has agreed to assist.
Tana took my hand, and we walked down the hall to the ladies’ guest room. Dr. Salvetti sat in a chair, rubbing his temples. Despite the lack of natural light, I could see his face was pale.
“The lady has a very weak pulse and heartbeat, her skin is alarmingly hot, and her eyes aren’t very responsive,” he reported. “I believe she’ll outlive the night and eventually recover, but it’s of vital importance that she stay right where she is. Her condition could deteriorate if she’s moved. I also suggest summoning a priest for Last Rites tomorrow, just to be safe.”
I bowed my head. “Do you still want to record her injuries? My sister is willing to help us.”
The ten lines end here. A few more follow to complete the scene.
“Yes, that would be very much appreciated.” Dr. Salvetti smiled at Tana. “Can you remind me of your name?”
“Gaetana, but everyone calls me Tana.”
“Your brother and I will stand outside the door while you help his lady friend with undressing. I need you to tell me what kind of injuries she has and where they are. If you’re able to, it would also be a great big help if you could try lifting her up or rolling her over to check her back. Since she was able to walk here and put her arms around your brother’s neck, I doubt any of her limbs are broken.”
“Should I help her put on a sleep chemise afterwards?”
“That won’t be necessary, as long as she’s covered by a sheet. People with very high temperatures need to cool down, and that means wearing little to no clothes. But you can help with putting cold rags on her skin.”
Dr. Salvetti stood up, walked out of the room, and turned his back. I also turned my back, though I stayed as close to the door as possible. To make sure I wouldn’t accidentally see anything forbidden, I both closed my eyes and covered them.