Friday, August 20, 2010
I've got a lot of traveling to do this weekend (and next weekend too), but I hope I can get some writing done if I take my laptop with me. I've got several projects I'm plotting/writing, as well as TRS, which I know is what everyone is waiting for.
I hope you enjoy the excerpt. Leave a comment, say hi, and let me know if you enjoy these. I might add a couple more in the future.
Have a great weekend! (Oh, and the cover was made for fun. It is not the official cover)
The Renfield Syndrome Excerpt:
I found myself sinking limply to the floor, warm trails of salty pain streaking in winding paths down my face.
“Don’t fret, pet,” Zagan cooed. “Return the amulet to me, and I will end your suffering. I give you my word.”
The sound of my heavy swallow made a loud crackle in my head, breaking me free of the stupor of grief. I lifted my eyes, meeting Zagan’s ecstatic expression, and I knew I’d choke on the fucking amulet before I handed it over.
“No,” I breathed, clutching at my shirt to locate the damned thing the demon had come for, and twined my fingers around the rounded shape through the thin cotton. I gasped at the corresponding tingle of power that spread through my fingers, heated my palm, and seeped up my arm.
“Do not fuck with me, ghost purveyor!” Zagan brayed. “Accept the course of your destiny. Give me what is rightfully mine, or I will rip out your spine!”
The ripples in the mirror extended, nearly warbling the edges of the frame, and the demon slid past the surface. The stink of sulfur burned my nose and encompassed the small area, surrounding me in waves of heat. Zagan leapt clear of the mirror and started forward when the bathroom door crashed open, sending chips of plaster, paint, and wood scattering across the floor.
Carter’s sidearm was out, the barrel leveled and at the ready. “Get away from her.”
“This matter doesn’t concern you,” Zagan snarled.
“I said…” Carter’s furious voice dipped an octave, and he growled each word distinctly, with an open warning. “Get.Away.From.Her.”
“Rhiannon Murphy has something that belongs to me.” Zagan didn’t seem fazed by Carter or the gun aimed in his direction. “I will not leave until she delivers it into my keeping.”
“Hand it over, Rhiannon,” Carter ordered and advanced into the room. “Peddling in demon magic carries a death sentence among us.”
“No,” I repeated loudly, staring Zagan in the eye.
That did it. Zagan advanced, and so did Carter. They clashed in a horrific display of muscle and strength. Zagan’s slight frame and clean cut appearance was deceiving. The demon was equally matched, engaging Carter easily. The gun slid free of Carter’s fingers and clacked against the floor, spinning as it sped across the way to rest against the far wall. I scrambled for it, kicking at the flooring with my rubber soles, until I was crab walking on palms and heels.
A loud crash erupted from behind me, but I didn’t turn. Reaching for the weapon, I wrapped my fingers around the butt of the gun. Unexpected, cruel fingers twined into my hair, causing a few strands to snap as they ripped from the scalp, and yanked me back.
“You will deliver the amulet into my keeping this time -- of your own free will,” Zagan thundered. “It was smart on your part, handing it over without informing me you’d initiated a blood rite. You’re smarter than I gave you credit for, mortal. I believed you completely ignorant of the workings around you.”
The next crack was my skull making solid contact with the wall. The room went out of focus momentarily, my eyes seeing everything in a hazy and confusing blur. Turning my head, I saw a flash of camouflage -- Carter. For a moment, I thought his clothing was tearing apart, separated as his body contorted, grew, and reformed into something I’d never seen before, something that was definitely not a man.
I blinked rapidly, trying to bring the room into focus. Zagan’s breath was hot against my cheek, his clawed nails biting into my skin, but Carter was the person with my undivided attention. He changed within seconds, becoming something terrifying and totally unlike the stories depicted. Thick dark hair scattered all over his grotesque body; the limbs, torso, and thighs disproportionate and unnaturally large. His face was no longer human, replaced by a broad snout and a multitude of razor sharp teeth. The fists I once observed were now laden with dark claws, each long and absolutely lethal.
He was more beast than man, more human than wolf, a mixture of something in between. The deafening roar that tore from his throat was horrifying, like a bear or lion facing certain death and emitting a final battle cry. A sharp, chilling tendril of terror started at the back of my neck and traveled down my spine.
I was far less terrified of Zagan in that moment than I was of Carter.
Carter crossed the distance in warped speed, grasped Zagan by the throat and sent his body sailing into the mirror above the sinks, giving me room to get the fuck out of Dodge. Water exploded from the gaping holes caused when Zagan’s body landed on two of the sinks and ripped them free of the wall, drenching my clothing and the surrounding ceramic tile in a tidal wave of cold, clear water. I grasped the cold butt of the gun, staggered on slippery feet, and bolted for the obliterated remains of the door and away from the chaos behind me.
“Less than a fortnight,” Zagan screeched as glass shattered. “You have but thirteen days remaining to pay my due! Then I will own your fucking soul!”
The time meant little to me, another crack in the eggs I was continually dancing on. I perceived the drones of fighting when the odd absence of sound superseded it. Gone were the outraged roars and ear piercing hisses, replaced with the shrill shrieks of the wet rubber soles of my Nike’s as they made contact with the tile.
I ran with a pronounced limp, arms extended to maintain a precarious balance. If my knee was protesting, I couldn’t feel it. My mind was too numbed, my heart too god damned heavy. The sounds of impending company sent me into an uncontrollable frenzy, and I lunged for the stairs. Losing my balance midway, I collapsed in a wadded heap at the base. Whatever touched my shoulder sent me into an incomprehensible display of fear, despair, and terror. I lashed out violently with blind fists, swinging the gun in jagged, cutting thrashes. It was do or die, and I was not going to face the oblivion.
Warm hands encased my arms and dragged me forcibly into a solid chest, stilling my wild movements. I was aware of a steady rocking, the motion deliberate and calm. Then the most softly spoken words that didn’t make any sense were whispered into my ear and were accompanied by gentle hands that stroked my drenched hair, over and over, following the indention of my spine. I dissolved into gut wrenching sobs, unable to bear the suffocating weight of anguish. I cried until my chest couldn’t bear the loss of air, gulping in deep, greedy breaths.
“Don’t cry,” a feminine voice whispered.
My breath caught, my heart stalled and quickly restarted, and I lifted my head. Peering past the shoulder casing my trembling body, I met the understanding eyes of Zippo. She nodded, and for the first time I was able to perceive her as an entity and not an anomaly.
Then, they came.
The ghosts of the New York Public Library surrounded me, and with them came the most unexpected surge of power, solidarity, and comfort. Now, their stares were not sightless, and their faces were no longer blank. The focus of their attention was apparent, gazes homed solely on me. The heaviness of my burden lifted, no longer so difficult to bear.
Nothing ever truly died…I knew that.
“You see clearly now.” Zippo beamed in approval.
“Yes,” I murmured. “I do.”
Carter’s questioning voice interrupted us. “Rhiannon?”
I turned away from the gazes of those I’d never truly seen until now and peered into the face of what was now an entirely nude man holding me. I didn’t know what Carter was, and I didn’t care. It didn’t concern me. Something far more important was at stake now.
“You’re going to have to let me go,” I told him in a feather light voice that was enforced by a newfound determination and the one thing I needed most -- hope.