Form: Story – incomplete
Topic: Places
Genre: Dystopian/Utopian Fiction
Word Count: 1,578 words.

I wrote this for the Terry Pratchett First Novel Award Competition for 2012 but by the time I saw that Mr Pratchett was holding this competition, it was already September 2012 and the competition closed on 31 December 2012.  It was hardly a good time of year to start writing a novel, which I would have to try to cram into three months.  It was asking too much.  This is what I managed of it.  I thought I would post it here.  Let me know what you think and if you think it’s worth pursuing.

Beyond Our Land

Rahjet took a deep breath and stepped out from the warmth, comfort and safety of his dwelling. The icy wind blasted his face and the solidified raindrops pounded the top of his hard hat. He squinted through the darkness, waiting, counting time ticking away. Out here, time slowed to a crawl. Every minute became ten minutes. Finally he saw the dim light flickering in the distance. It ebbed and flowed as it drew nearer to him. And then he heard the shouts of the men and the synchronised screams from the packs of wolf-dogs. At last the group was upon him. They pulled up with a flurry of snow and ice spraying out into the atmosphere. The front man jumped lightly from his cart and ran, in that padded puffin kind of way, which was the only way to walk with snow shoes, toward Rahjet. The man was completely covered in a thick full-body blanket, only his eyes peeked through tiny slits in the top but Rahjet knew immediately who this man was. “Brother,” he called as the man came to within hearing range.

The man raised his hand in greeting and, in a muffled voice replied, “Brother.”

The two men embraced, briefly. “How were your travels, Mahir?”

“Good, my brother. The wolf-dogs behaved themselves for a change.” And he laughed heartily.

Rahjet laughed with his brother. “You must all come inside for refreshments before we commence the return journey. The wolf-dogs can go into the sheds down the bottom. There is fresh water, heat and some meat for them.”