Archive for the ‘story snippets’ Category

I haven’t done a blog post in a while. Oops. I’ll blame it on writing book 2 of Taisce and Sef’s story. I’m 18k into it now and the character roster this time is already three times what it was in book 1 (not hard to accomplish when I only had two main characters and about 3 secondaries but still…) So in honor of book 2 I’m sharing another scene.

For those of you just joining our program. Book 1 introduced Taisce, an arrogant young nobleman, and Sef, a man with more secrets than any sane person should have. They met. Hijinks ensued. “Hijinks” being a euphemism of course. This time around Taisce and Sef are in Blume (Taisce’s hometown) and surrounded by Taisce’s family. Namely Taisce’s sixteen year old sister, Adeline, who I love. A lot. Can’t imagine why.

At this point in time, Taisce has found Sef giving Adeline drawing lessons. I think that’s all the background you need. Usual disclaimers apply: largely unedited, bad grammar, euphemisms, and Taisce should really know better than to snoop…

 

It was bright in the garden, brighter than Taisce would have expected. The sky was heavy and white with clouds. He shielded his eyes with one hand. Taisce picked his way over the walk, watching for loose stones and unevenly packed earth. He’d taken more than his fair share of tumbles out here and he was enjoying this short moment before they noticed he was close. He paused beside a large spire of arbor vitae, half hidden unless they cared to search for him.

“Your eye will improve with practice,” Sef said.

“My brother has taken quite a liking to you,” Adeline said in reply. It was almost enough to send Taisce tumbling from his hiding place. He pressed a thumb to his lips to seal in his protests.

“Does that have some bearing on these lessons?” Taisce was surprised at the cutting edge in Sef’s voice but Adeline just laughed prettily. He could picture her waving away his remark.

“You’re both so sensitive. I’m not going to tell anyone. Don’t worry. But you should be more careful. The others are stupid but they’ll figure it out soon enough with the way you carry on.”

“They’re not my concern.”

“They should be. You’re a servant. You can’t just bugger the son of a noble and expect to get away with it.”

“Adeline!”Taisce cried in the scandalized tone of a matron. He was stumbling over the walk towards them before he remembered himself and pulled up short.

Sef’s lips twitched with amusement but whether it was from his sudden appearance or Adeline’s indelicate remark it was hard to say.

“Don’t peek!” Adeline cried back. She hurried to turn her papers from his prying eyes.

“What kind of nonsense are you talking, Adeline?” Taisce barked. He could feel the red heat in his face but there was little he could do to calm it. “You’re being indecent.”

I haven’t been keeping up with my show and tell times like I had planned. Oops. I’m a day late but, again, better late than never.

This time I present: a snippet from my current novel. And of course, it’s Taisce and Sef arguing because that’s what they do best. For those of you just joining our program, Taisce is the son of a nobleman. He’s been traveling for weeks, following the trail of his missing brother. Along the way he meets Sef who “kindly” offers to guide him.

I think that’s about all the back story you need. Usual disclaimers apply: largely unedited, typos, beware mild language, blah blah, etc etc and so on and so forth. Happy reading!

*******

“There’s an inn not far from here,” Sef suggested.

He’d almost forgotten his lack of coin while they were traveling through the wilderness but now it came back to Taisce with annoying insistence. It screamed nearly as loud as the cicadas did. “We must find Brannigan and Felix first.”

“It would be better to ask for assistance rather than wandering around an unfamiliar place at night.”

Sef’s logic was faultless but Taisce would be damned before he would say so. “They may be willing to offer shelter as well as… other help,” he said evasively.

Sef leaned forward in the saddle the better to gaze at him head on. “You have no money.” He smirked.

“If you’re worried about your payment…”

“As I said, there are other ways for you to repay me.” Sef waved it away like a bothersome insect.

“I won’t be in your debt.”

“Then you best set about repaying me quickly, milord, if it bothers you so.”

“How can I do that when you won’t tell me what it is you want?” Taisce snapped.

Sef slanted a look at him. “If you thought a moment, you might be able to think of something.” And with that he trotted on ahead.

The suddenness of the comment took Taisce by surprise. There was no mistaking his meaning even if he wished to. It was too blatant. Too obvious to be taken as anything else. Taisce closed the distance between them again. “I’m not some whore,” he hissed, leaning in close for discretion.

“I didn’t ask you to be.”

“You talk in circles but we both know what you meant.”

“I should hope so. You’re much too old to still be innocent. And much too attractive to have gone unnoticed.”

It was such a curiously backhanded compliment in an already exasperating conversation that it took Taisce a moment to find a response. And even then he spent a moment sputtering out his disdain for the whole thing. “I didn’t ask for your services. I could have found my way alone. I owe you nothing,” he said resolutely.

“So you say in one breath and the next you’re fretting over how to repay me. One wonders if you’re really so averse to my proposition as you seem.”

“I am.”

“Then rejoice, milord. Your debt need worry you no longer as it never existed in the first place.”

Taisce fell silent again as they wound their way through the curving streets in search of their destination. “I feel as if I’ve been tricked in some way.”

“You’re welcome to feel that way,” Sef said.

I think I might make this a thing. Monday is show and tell day until I either run out of things to show or someone tells me to stop. 😀

And so I have whittled away at the beginning of my old novel Posthumous to make it work as a short story. Usual rules apply: largely unedited, can’t be held responsible for typos etc etc and so on and so forth blahbity blah. (Should I warn for swearing?) I think you get the idea by now. Happy reading…

 

“This place is supposed to be haunted by a whole family or something,” whispered Meg.

Henry rolled his eyes.

“You don’t think it’s haunted?”

“Doesn’t matter as long as you get paid.”

“True enough.”

Meg poked at a tumbled shelf with one toe. Everything was dismal grey and spotted with water damage. The walls ran with dark marks and the floors glittered with broken glass. She had been right to wear her work boots. There could be anything hiding there in the dark.

She shivered.

“Cold?” Henry cast her a sideways look as he turned into the nearest doorway. He paced the length of the room and came back, shaking his head. Empty.

“Just a little.” Meg wrapped her coat around her a little tighter. It had been warmer when they first arrived but sunset had stolen what little warmth there was.

Something creaked from the second floor.

Meg and Henry looked up at the ceiling. A large dark spot was directly overhead, bowed down as if it were reaching towards them.

“Should I check it out?” Henry asked after a moment.

Meg shook her head. “Let’s finish down here first.”

“Do you even feel anything?”

“No. You?”

“No.” His eyes showed his growing impatience.

Meg smiled. “Since you’re so sure the place is clear, you can wait outside. If you want.”

“Not fucking likely.”

“Suit yourself.” She glanced around the living room. The long windows on the far side of the room were a mass of spiderweb cracks. More than one pane was broken all together. “This place certainly looks creepy enough to be haunted. Half the windows are boarded up.”

“People break windows, not ghosts.”

Meg shrugged. She put a hand to the wall. It felt damp.

“Did they give you the story this time?”

“No. I asked them not to. The less I know, the better.” She put her other hand to the wall, feeling along the scarred wallpaper as if there might be a door hidden beneath the paper and plaster. Faint ripples stood out against her palms, scraping at her and leaving her hands feeling chalky with mildew. Nothing. She dropped her hands from the wall, dusting them off. “Let’s go upstairs, Henry.”

Meg turned, trailing off. Henry wasn’t there.

“Henry?”

She poked her head back into the hallway. It was empty, as was the dining room. Had he gone outside to wait after all? She sighed. He’d been awfully unreliable lately. And moody. She wondered why she let him tag along at all. If anything, he was a distraction because here she was once again thinking about Henry instead of finishing the job she was getting paid for.

“That’s so like him,” Meg hissed, stomping back into the living room. She wondered if she could get a peek of the front yard through the broken windows. She doubted it.

High pitched laughter echoed through the empty halls, just barely loud enough for her to hear. Meg counted to five, holding her breath just in case. She heard it again, quieter this time. Then another faint creak from somewhere above. She stiffened, listening, waiting for more. The quick skitter of feet or an echo of memories was all she needed.

Away from the half boarded windows of the living room, the hall was unbelievably dark. Flashlight in one hand and the other hand on the banister she crept up the steps. Her heart was beating so loudly she wasn’t sure if she would have been able to hear a marching band if they came up behind her. The next step gave beneath her foot. It shrieked like a tiny banshee when she put her weight on it. And when it did, Meg screamed too. She put a hand to her heart, thankful that it had stayed in her chest. Ahead of her, another scream, low and guttural, made it a trio. The sweat that had been cooling on Meg’s body sprang up again with renewed vigor. Had someone been murdered in this house? Was that the victim? The sound had come from the second floor. She wanted to charge forward until she’d found the source of the noise. But that was always a bad idea. Especially without Henry around for backup. Meg frowned. Where had he gone?

The upper hallway was an unremarkable stretch of bare wood plank with closed doors on all sides. Or mostly closed doors. One was open just a crack she saw when she turned the flashlight on it. In the darkness beyond something moved, one shadow passing through another. It was impossible to make out from the top of the stairs. Meg moved forward, flashlight always moving, waiting for another sound or an indication of a presence. She got one in the form of a low hissing voice and another moan. Meg couldn’t keep from shaking, anticipation and cold mixing into a furious tremor. Her flashlight shook, strobing over the walls.

She put a hand out, preparing herself to open the door, wondering what was on the other side.

“I wouldn’t open that,” Henry said, appearing at her shoulder without a sound.

Meg would have screamed again if she wasn’t busy having heart palpitations. Her flashlight slid through her fingers and hit the floor with a clatter, painting the walls in swirling light as it rolled away.

“I told you not to do that!” Meg said, wishing she could hit him. She knew better than to try. Last time she’d only gotten the wall and a set of badly bruised knuckles. “Where did you go?”

“I just popped out for a minute.”

“Popped out. You popped out. Oh, of course.” Meg retrieved her flashlight to hide her agitation. “Why shouldn’t I open the door?”

“You don’t want to see what’s in there.”

For a moment, Meg could only stare at him. Henry with his perfect hair and his perfect calm, arms crossed over his perfect chest. He didn’t seem the least bit distressed by whatever was behind the door. So why should she be? Meg had already seen plenty of terrible things in her life. Headless ghosts, anguished souls caught in their own death echoes. She had watched people burn to death over and over again. So what could possibly be so terrible that he wouldn’t want her to see it? She was immediately insulted.

“I’m not so delicate,” Meg said, charging forward. The moment the door slid open and her light fell on the bed she froze. Her mouth fell open. She wanted to look away but she couldn’t. She just couldn’t.

Henry’s hands wrapped around her, covering her eyes, but she could still see through his fingers. It was impossible to look away.

On the bed, the woman screamed, no, not a woman, she was only a girl, no more than sixteen. When she saw Meg standing in the doorway, she pulled the boy down on top of her, trying to cover herself. The boy, his back to them, kept thrusting, grunting, unaware that they were being watched. The girl slapped at him and pointed. Meg gave him credit for not screaming himself. It wasn’t every day that you got caught having sex in a supposedly haunted house. The two of them were caught in Meg’s unwavering flashlight beam, spotlighted while they grabbed for a sheet that wasn’t there. The boy’s ass was round and white like a perfect moon.

Then Meg started laughing. She couldn’t have stopped even if she wanted to.

“I told you not to look,” Henry said in her ear.

And Meg just laughed.

“Is that the ghost?” the girl asked, still trying to use the boy for cover. He was trying and failing to find his pants.

Meg finally tore her eyes away, closing the door while the two of them searched for their clothes. She even managed a tiny, “Excuse me,” as she did. She leaned against the wall.

“Why didn’t you tell me?” Meg asked.

Henry hid his smile between one hand. Badly. “I tried to.”

“All you had to say was ‘not a ghost.’ Is that so hard?”

“But it was a lot funnier that way.”

The bedroom door creaked open again. The young couple appeared, avoiding eye contact, and scrambling like ants fleeing from the magnifying glass. They hustled to the stairs, hitting the creaking step so hard that it made Meg jump. As they turned the corner and disappeared onto the landing, Meg heard the girl ask, “Who was she talking to?” She couldn’t hear the boy’s response. Assuming there was one.

“I suppose there’s no point in looking around anymore tonight,” Meg said. “Is there?”

Henry shrugged and followed her down the stairs.

By the time they made it to the front door, the couple had already disappeared. Meg was glad. She had nothing to say to them. And now every time she looked up at the full moon she thought of teenage behinds.

She rubbed her eyes. She hadn’t found a single scrap of paranormal activity. Well, not anything that she hadn’t brought with her anyway. But she could hardly charge for that.

She trudged out onto the front lawn. The night air was heavy with fog, compounding the dampness she was already feeling.

“I’m tired. I don’t suppose you could drive,” Meg said, already rounding the car and opening the driver’s side door. She looked at Henry over the roof.

“Har de har har,” Henry said dryly. “Are you trying to piss me off?”

“Yes. Yes, I am. You totally abandoned me in there. Again. Where did you go?”

“I’ll explain later.”

“That’s what you always say.” Meg slid into the car and Henry was already there waiting for her. She rubbed her eyes and put her head down on the steering wheel for a moment. She was suddenly very tired.

“Meg.”

She shook her head, eyes closed. “What?”

“I’m sorry.”

“Yeah, me too. Next week’s the anniversary. What kind of flowers do you want me to put on your grave?”

Henry thought for a moment. “Surprise me.” He smiled faintly, almost glowing in the moonlight.

Meg pulled the car into the nearest driveway to turn around. She checked the mirrors even though there were no cars out so late at night. Immediately her eyes strayed back to the house with its boarded up windows. What a disappointment.

Then the door opened, reversed in her mirrors. A thin childlike form stepped into the moonlight, glowing pale blue like Henry, and waved.

I miss my old characters.

It’s funny. A few weeks ago they were driving me crazy and now I’m sitting here thinking “Gee, I miss Dade a lot. I wish I could write him again but I’m writing this other thing now. *siiiiiiigh*” I spent the better part of the last year with Dade and co. (aka: the Supers) so I guess I should have expected they wouldn’t stay away long. They’re like the friends you can’t help loving even though they do nothing but get you into trouble.

It was a normal day in Pantser-ville, about a year ago, when I decided to write a romance about a superhero. I tossed around ideas. Should the love interest be a reporter? A cop? Another hero? A villain? I had no idea. I didn’t even know which one of them would be the superhero. All I knew was “superheroes”, “big fight scene”, and “romance.” I started writing. Before I knew it Dade was born and I had an entire series on my hands. So far I’ve only got one novel and a couple of shorts but it continues to grow like the literary equivalent of The Blob. I never meant for it to take off like this.

Case in point:

I was innocently taking a shower last week (dun dun DUN) when Rory (Super name: Rocket) popped in to discuss his short story (which I hadn’t finished.) And by “discuss” I mean he offered me another amusing scene to tack on to his short. No big deal. A few hundred words never hurt anyone. Then he went on to explain why his sister-in-law hates him. Which is another story entirely …or maybe a novella. *headdesk* And have I mentioned that Rocket only appears in the original novel for about a paragraph?

Unfortunately, I can’t spend much quality time with Dade and co. until I’m done with my Camp Nano novel (sorry, Dade) but I can do the next best thing: offer up a snippet of the Rocket short story. (And before you ask, no, it’s still not done.) Hopefully that will appease the Supers (and my nostalgia) for the time being.

(Usual disclaimers apply. This story is largely unedited so I cannot be held accountable for typos, wonky grammar, abuse of the English language, or the fact that it still has no ending. If you like it please leave me a comment and boost my ego. If you don’t… I suppose that’s okay too. Thank you.)

Rory used to be up with the sun but these days he’s hard pressed to catch 9am and today is definitely not going to be one of those days.

“Breakfast is gonna get cold if you don’t hurry,” his wife Sarah calls from the kitchen, voice barely muffled by the walls and doors in the way. The woman could probably out scream a banshee when she’s in one of her moods.

Rory pries open one eye to check the light coming in the window. It’s still much too close to the hour of nine. He rolls over, pressing his face into the pillow and considering the likelihood that he can skip 9am and head straight to 10 instead. He’s just starting to drift off again when the door flies open, hitting the wall so hard it’s sure to leave another dent.

“I thought you were up!”

He knows what she looks like without even opening his eyes. Red ponytail flying behind her like the tail of a comet, hands on her hips, bare feet planted like the roots of a willow. Beautiful. And still pissed off.

“I know you can hear me!”

Rory squeezes his eyes shut and tries to hang on to that last fleeting tangle of sleep, a half remembered dream, but it’s already gone. He sits up. “Dammit, woman, I’m trying to sleep!” he roars back, menace lessened by his sleep puffy eyes. “It’s Sunday. People are supposed to sleep in on Sunday and I WAS UP UNTIL 3AM PULLING PEOPLE OUT OF A BURNING APARTMENT BUILDING,” he continues, volume increasing with every syllable. He drops back onto the pillows, energy spent and closes his eyes again.

“And whose fault is that?” she asks. Her bare foot taps against the hardwood floor in a steady tattoo. “You didn’t think maybe you should call me?” She pauses for the barest moment before she goes on. “You too good for a sidekick now? Is that it?”

He groans, giving up on the possibility of sleep, maybe forever. “I didn’t say that. But you were doing your girl’s night out thing,” he says, wincing. “You know your sister already hates me.”

“She does not!” Sarah sputters in the tone that means he’s absolutely right.

“She still calls me Rob.”

“She’s bad with names,” Sarah says, wincing too now.

“We’ve been married six years,” he deadpans.

She chews on that a moment, brow creasing as it sinks in that she’s rapidly losing this argument. “Okay. Fine!” she snaps, dropping on to the bed so hard that Rory nearly pops right out of it. She curls a leg under her, nestling into his side. “Maybe if you came up with a better excuse next time…”

Rory groans. “I don’t think that’s gonna help.”

“Yeah, but it couldn’t hurt, right?” She squirms in closer, soaking up the heat that Rory radiates like a man shaped sun. She slings an arm around his shoulders. “How many did you save? Were there kids?”

“Men, women, and children,” Rory says, smile growing.

Sarah’s answering smile is practically blinding. “That’s my man.”

That’s all for now, folks. Thanks for reading. 🙂