The Ember Files

Tongue Box – A Teaser Post for Chimera and Curses

At one point, early in my parenting career, I thought that my youngest son would never learn how to speak. There’s no reason to learn if someone is going to do it for you. I can’t hazard a guess how many times I had to stop my older son from answering for his brother. What can I say? Parenting remains the foremost of where my ideas develop. Before I say more, I am going to share a section from my upcoming book in The Ember File Series:

. . . we all sit looking at the box. It has a rough surface with tiny bumps and veins.
“Inside?” Fin asks.
Lord Bradig does something to the underside of the tongue box. There’s a faint click, and the box flips open from the tongue’s tip. We all recoil. A grey-black tongue is wedged into the box. I can see thin hairs on it, with large papillae. As we look at it, the tip of the grey-black tongue flicks.
“Is that someone’s tongue?” I’m not sure how I manage to speak because the moisture in my mouth has disappeared.
Lord Bradig closes the lid. “He’s a wee sleeven, this one.” He stuffs the tongue box into his shirt and pulls out another. “This is the one I should have shown you.” He flips it open and it’s empty. It’s shaped perfectly for the dips and grooves of a human tongue. It appears to be moist inside and has a pinky-reddish hue. I sit blinking stupidly and moving my tongue in my mouth. Belamey has turned forward in his seat and is chuckling at my discomfort. I’m questioning my initial feeling of thankfulness about this box not having a tongue in it.
Fin eases the Willys off the shoulder of the road. “What happens with the tongues you put in the box?”
Lord Bradig shrugs. “I keep them and attach them to the owner when I need a spoken response.”
“Why do you take tongues in the first place?” Belamey turns his head just enough to be able to see me in his periphery, giving me the distinct impression that he already knows the answer.
“To teach respect and silence, of course . . .” – Chapter 2, Chimera and Curses

In the case of the tongue box, I would say my older son can take the most credit for this idea. That boy has the gift of talking so much so that sometimes my husband and I look at each other and silently communicate that this child needs to have a mute button. The shared look also communicates that a sock duct-taped into the mouth is frowned upon and not an option. It doesn’t end there though. As my boys have moved closer to their teen years, they have both become increasingly mouthy, testing the boundaries of just about everything and most of those challenges involve words coming out of their mouths. Somewhere in all that my brain developed this idea of a tongue box and from there a character with the power to use such a fabulous contraption was born: Lord Bradig.

Where doesn’t your creative inspiration stem from?

By Shari Marshall – 2023

Chimera and Curses: Book 2 of The Ember Files will be available for purchase on March 29, 2023.
Advanced Reader Copies available through Bookfunnel.

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