If you skipped the whole newsletter explanation then my little skeleton draft below will probably not make any sense to you. But I guess even if you tried to understand my rambling, confusion is inevitable. Just… it’s not important what they’re doing or what happened before, okay? It’s just about the dialogue between Hope and Jason. I want you to like it because I really did and I so badly wanted to keep it in the book, but it didn’t fit! So I never “fixed it” (fleshed it out? Changed it from skeleton draft to first/second/third/final draft?). But maybe I’ll find another place for it some day. Some epilogue or something. Unless you all hate it, in which case it’ll rot in the oblivion that is my “trash” folder in scrivener.

So with that said… try to enjoy this tiny abrupt thing just a little bit. 

Ash the Mountain

©Copyright Erica Woods 2023
Setting: Small clearing in a big forest. Hope is sitting on a rock, frowning down at Jason as he wraps her bare feet in strips of torn off cloth. She’s trying to think of a way to change Ash’s mind about something.

Jason: “There’s no use fighting it, love. Ruarc might be stubborn as a mule, but Ash is stubborn as a mountain.”

Hope: “A mountain can’t be stubborn.”

Jason: “Sure it can. Have you ever tried to move one?”  Shake of head. “Hardheaded little shits.”

Hope: “That’s not stubbornness, that’s just…immovability.” 

Jason: “Potato, tomahto.”

Hope: “I don’t think that’s the saying…”

Jason grins. “Don’t change the subject, love.”

Hope sputters. “Me? You’re the one—”

Jason interrupts: “The point is, Ash won’t budge once he’s made up his mind, and neither will a mountain. No matter how much you inconvenience it.”

Hope: “You’re ridiculous. Mountains can’t be inconvenienced.”

Jason: “Ah, but that’s where you’re wrong.” He fakes a sad expression. “Poor mountains. If they could talk, I bet they’d spend all day complaining about climbers and erosion and all the goats always running up and down their stony little faces.”

 Hope: “You’re impossible.” 

Jason: “Impossible is trying to change Ash’s mind once it’s made. Because he’s stubborn…like a mountain.” 

Hope narrows her eyes, then gives into the smile she’s been fighting. “Fine, you win.”

Jason: “Nope, that’s not how it works.”

Hope: “What do you mean?”

Jason: “Well, before I get my prize—”

Hope: “Prize???”

Jason: “Shh, love, don’t interrupt.” Dodges her elbow and flashes a grin. “As I was saying, before I get my prize, you have to properly admit defeat.”

Hope: “Ruarc? Ruarc!”

Jason quickly covers her mouth with his hand. “Shit, that’s not playing fair.”

Hope makes a muffled sound.

Jason grins. “I’ll remove it once you’re ready to concede that the mighty mountains’ feelings are hurt by your callous indifference to their plight. Goats shit on them, you know.”

Hope’s eyes go round, then a small laugh vibrates against Jason’s palm.

“And now you’re laughing at them. Love…” Tsk tsk. “What will the poor mountains think?”

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