Derek Thompson, man of colour, enters Once Upon a Time




Pleased I am that Derek, project developer and one of the floundering fathers of A Word with You Press has submitted a little something for our contest: Once Upon a Time.

The plan of our contest is to give you an appropriate size crow-bar to pry that damned writer’s block off your keyboard and get you to write that novel!

But if you have already written that novel, we would like to help you promote it.  Won’t be eligible for the competition (prizes for all semi-finalists with a $250 cash prize or a date –dutch–with the editor-in-chief at the McDonald’s of his choice in Moscow, Idaho, for the winner) but we WILL post your prologue and first two chapters with a link to your website or Amazon. Have a friend who has a published novel?  Sendum this link. Or enter the contest yourself for a chance to win stuff and impress personages of your favorite gender!

Derek is a man of colour, because those damned Brits don’t know how to spell color!  That kind of mis-spelling riddles the prologue to his novel Covenant, which can be purchased here:

Forgive his spelling, and if you feel you need to correct his spelling, scold him on his website here:

And here is his prologue to


By Derek Thompson

For an hour Errmoyne had sat, facing the altar where the stone Tablet rested. His patience was at an end; he traced the grooves of the pentagram with his index finger, moving it purposefully to focus his intent. If the Guardian wouldn’t come to him then he would cross the boundary by force of will and face it in its own domain. His mouth dried at the prospect and his own dread mocked him – the very thing that he sought above all else was that which terrified him most: communion. He lifted his hand free and turned to each of the five candles that encompassed him within a ring of sacred fire. Then he took a final glance at the Tablet and treasured the image for fear that he might not live to see another. His breathing came under practiced control, narrowing his awareness, and the world around him faded like a memory.


Pressure. So much pressure at his temples – a crushing darkness that propels him across the divide. There is no time or distance, only levels of consciousness traversed.

In the stillness that follows, patterns of reality shift to frame this higher world, colouring the terrain in muted shades of indigo and purple. A wall appears, the seamless stones defining the Guardian’s domain on this plane of reality. And, as Errmoyne’s awareness stabilizes, a rainbow-arched gate emerges from the mist.

“Hosanna!” he cries, making a sign of invocation.

“Who calls me from the Realm of Shadows?”

“It is I, Errmoyne – Keeper of the Tablet.”

The Guardian approaches, magnificent and terrible. Swathes of energy shimmer behind it like heroic wings; yet whether it is more angel or demon, Errmoyne cannot tell.

“Why have you come here, Keeper?”

He bows low. “For months now I have sought to be your servant, but you have denied me. Am I unrighteous? Have I lost my way?”

“The Way is as it has always been,” the Guardian proclaims, dulling its emanations for his benefit. “The Way is Sarrell and the path is founded upon sacrifice.”

“Yes, Master,” he trembles.

A gate opens and the Guardian bids him enter. Errmoyne crosses the threshold, gazing in wonder as exotic trees and fleeting, morphic creatures burst into colour and form. The Guardian leads him silently, allowing him to glimpse what he will.

They move to an ancient well, where the deep, dark waters touch some hidden part of the physical world, so that Errmoyne may discern the path that awaits him. At first all he sees is his own reflection, for the Gods are content to hide truth in the simplest of guises. Then he stares harder into those limpid eyes and a vision takes hold.

The Guardian stirs and myriad flickers of light bustle around it like attendant flames. They are the slumbering souls of the lost, trapped in this realm – awaiting the second death to another level of existence or rebirth to the one they left behind – as yet denied entry to the Holy City of Sarrell.

“The Enemy knows of my existence,” Errmoyne reveals with tempered conceit.

“You see clearly, Keeper. You must leave the life you have known.”

“And the Tablet?” he wavers, clinging to his role as if it alone sustains him.

“A successor will be chosen. So it has been, so shall it be again, until one who is righteous claims the Tablet and reveals its wisdom.”

Errmoyne kneels before the Guardian and confronts its hollow eyes in realisation. There is no room for compromise in the pattern of perfection. “So shall it be,” he defers, humbled by a terrible acceptance. His awareness retreats, cascading back through levels of consciousness, crushed finally into the fragile form that he calls ‘life’.

9 thoughts on “Derek Thompson, man of colour, enters Once Upon a Time

  1. Parisianne Modert says:

    “Covenant” is presented to us and I must curtsey to our English master of the written word due to both my love of the English language as spoken on the better side of the pond, but as well to an excellent fantasy prologue of Wiccan intrigue with science fiction applicable dimensions. I applaud the rapidly developed path with tablet that leaves us with many questions encouraging us to explore further as the novel prepares to open proper in chapter one. A good prologue sets the table; while an excellent one provides a feast under silver serving dishes. As a fan of this prologue I can hardly resist the horrible manners of taking the lids off prematurely and in offending begin said delights of imagination. Shall we be seated and pray for Derek Thompson’s chapter one to be served? Quite…

  2. Michael Stang says:

    The first time I read the novel, I read it in the context that “Derek wrote it” “Derek wrote it”. I read through it. Second go round, I read it for myself, and let myself be led down paths, twists, and turns that finished with fantastic entertainment. The complexity of the characters are up to the plots. The whole things astounds me when I realize the level of composition, and then there is your eye towads discription. Conservative in colour, but exact as ice. I danced from star to star how good “Covenant” was. I wait for another.
    Your American fan

    • Derek says:

      Thanks, Mike. At the risk of this becoming a transatlantic love-in, I’m a fan of your writing too. Covenant is my firstborn and the sequel, Restitution, is backed up behind some literary traffic. Fingers crossed, I might have some good news on that front in the not-too-distant future.

  3. Mike Casper says:

    Well written, darkly. I much prefer well written, lightly. Let me explain: when I write, I try to embrace goodness and light…your writing embraces darkness and (dare I say it?) evil. We each have our ways, and I tip my imaginary fedora to you and your prologue to ‘Covenant’.

    Ever since I was little, when I read, I see the plot unfold as a movie plays in my mind’s eye. It’s weird, I see it. Descriptions, characters, plot, sequence…it all unfolds as if I’m watching it happen on the silver screen. I’m inside. I’m There. An aside: happily, my olfactory sense isn’t quite so…involved. lol

    Your ‘Covenant’ was crystal ice clear and terrible.

    My own bias tells me I didn’t like your setting or any of that. Perhaps I can compare a rusting railroad yard photographed in sepia or black and white versus a mature rose garden in dawn’s dewy technicolor glory. There’s no comparison.

    Yet if one is reflective, perceptive and above all, honest, there is a great deal of depth, symmetry, chaos, darkness, and thematically nuanced beauty to be found in both. Both.
    Beethoven vs Death Metal. Each has their place. Each is better than the other, in their own way. Each has audience appeal.

    My unbiased thoughts are that your setting, characters, descriptions and so forth are very well done indeed — and, in so few words. Impressive. That’s the mark of a writer who has embraced the legendary Strunk’s exhortation, “Write tight”.
    Well done, sir.

    Bon chance in the contest, Derek, something tells me there’s alot more to ‘Covenant’ than meets the eye. I look forward to further unveiling in my mind’s eye.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.