Where Demons Fear to Tread ~ Chapter 6

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Almost forgot to post Chapter 6 today, but here it is!

 

The next morning, I walked into the morgue’s front lobby and immediately wished I’d stayed away. I hadn’t slept well the night before. My brain had been wound too tightly for sleep to be anything but a couple minutes of downtime interspersed with long bouts of tossing and turning. My entire body ached from the night before as did my hand.

I wasn’t ready to deal with anybody else’s drama. Unfortunately, I wasn’t going to be that lucky.

A wash of agitated panic cascaded over me. It was nearly a physical blow to my already raw and exposed system. I had to pause for a moment to catch my breath.

“Agent Powers, you got my message.” Mel Stevens, the head medical examiner, was a behemoth of a man. As far as I could tell, he was completely human, but at close to seven feet of nothing but bulk, he towered over everybody. Short grizzled hair clung to his head and face, nearly obscuring his dark brown eyes and bulbous nose. The hair on top of his head always stuck out at the oddest angles as if he either didn’t brush it in the morning or he ran his hands through it and tugged on it throughout the day. Despite his haphazard hair, his clothes were always freshly pressed.

He was also as skittish as an over-caffeinated cat.

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Where Demons Fear to Tread ~ Chapter 5

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I regretted my decision to walk home before I had gotten more than two streets away from the bar. It wasn’t that far a walk, but I was a bit wobbly on my feet from having danced for so long. I’d used muscles I didn’t realize I’d been under-utilizing. It was perhaps time to take up a more comprehensive work-out program.

Thankfully, the night air was cool and helped clear my head. If my earlier shadow sparring had been like unfulfilled sex, then the last few hours were akin to the ultimate orgasm. All my limbs felt loose and languid. I was going to be sore in the morning, but for now I was euphoric.

My euphoria was short-lived. I was passing the high school football field when a red pickup truck skidded to a halt at the corner of the side street in front of me. Kurt and several friends hopped out of the cab, nasty smiles aimed in my direction. All of them sported variations on the “biker tough” look – lots of leather, chains, and tattoos.

“Well, lookie what we have here,” one of his friends laughed. “Nice hair. Does the carpet match the drapes, I wonder?”

All four men laughed, menace and lust pouring off them in waves thick enough to drown in.

Can you get any more childish? I thought irritably. My entire body went into high alert for the second time that day. I had wanted this level of heightened awareness in my shadow-match, but there were too many variables here, too many chances for somebody to get seriously hurt. Relaxing back into a fighting stance, I let them come to me while I examined my surroundings for anything to help me if things got ugly.

“Too good to dance with me, but you spent the entire night with that God-cursed freak,” Kurt spat as he advanced toward me, his hands clenched into fists.

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Where Demons Fear To Tread ~ Chapter 4

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I missed posting Chapter 4 last Friday due to the craziness of Christmas. Sorry about that.

 

Dinner for one, as usual. Not that a pint of Friendly’s black raspberry ice cream could appropriately be termed dinner. It was more a psychological balm to soothe my frayed nerves. I’d pay for it later; I always did, but I couldn’t be moved to care at the moment.

I couldn’t be moved to do a whole lot of anything it seemed. I’d come home and immediately curled up in my favorite green armchair in front of the fireplace, detouring only to kick my shoes off by the back door. The chair’s dark fabric cocooned me, but the comfort it normally provided was nowhere in evidence. I fussed and fidgeted trying to find some solace in its softness.

The events of the day had thrown my mind in turmoil and I wished I had somebody to talk it over with. There were only a limited number of people I considered friends and none of them could help me sort through the jumbled mess that was my brain.

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Where Demons Fear To Tread ~ Chapter 3

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Skullhaven, formerly Springfield, was vampire territory.

After their grand entrance at the end of the Human/Fey Conflict, the local bloodsuckers either scared off or killed most of the human inhabitants of Skullhaven, claiming it for their own. Within days, the fourth largest city in New England was nothing more than a ghost town.

Now, the only day-walking residents were vamp slaves, soon to be slaves, and those beings too tough and stubborn to be run off.

At night, the maze of burned out and abandoned buildings became what many Agents called, accurately enough, The Vampire’s Playground. Here, their prey was set loose to run the city streets in a deadly game of cat and mouse.

All within the law, hopefully; vamps caught chasing human prey without a signed and notarized release form earned themselves an immediate death sentence. In any case, they weren’t lacking in volunteers. Death by vampire was the fastest growing, legalized form of suicide in the country.

It made me sick to my stomach just thinking about it. I loathed vampires. They were nothing but evil, lying parasites. I would gladly exterminate the lot of them if I could. Read the rest of this entry

Where Demons Fear To Tread ~ Chapter 2

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Two hours later, I paced between the two desks in my office, my nerves too jittery for me to form coherent thoughts. After Death’s unceremonious exit, I’d spent an hour lying on the floor in my darkened office performing a deep-breathing exercise Mom had taught me right after my first change. It didn’t give me complete control over my self, but it would keep me from ripping the head off the next person to look at me funny.

I needed to talk to Tommy about this new case, but my mind was a jumble of emotions. Worry tinged with panic nestled in my stomach, gnawing at my insides. I needed to call my Mom as well. A million questions ran through my mind, tumbling around and over each other.

Would my demon-half always be stronger than my human-half? Was my human lifespan shortened? Would I always feel like I was standing at the brink, ready to plunge over into the darkness? If I wasn’t careful, it’d be all too easy for me to become exactly what I’d fought against my whole life. I’d rather die than give in to the evil residing in the bowels of my soul.

And what was this debt Death seemed to think I owed?

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Tis The Season of Giving

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It’s been a very long time since I last posted here. Not so surprising considering my posting track record, but to make up for it I have a special treat for everybody!

My first novel, Where Demons Fear To Tread a.k.a. Lost Souls has been shopped around to almost all of the trade publishers and, despite some very encouraging comments by the reading editors, been rejected by each and every one of them. The purpose of me writing something is for people to read it and I don’t want WDFTT to go unread. So, in honor of the holiday season, every Friday I am going to be posting a chapter of WDFTT here on the blog.

Without further ado, I present for your reading edification the first chapter of WHERE DEMONS FEAR TO TREAD!

 

People appearing in my office without an appointment are always a sign of bad things to come. Today was no exception.

A useless morale-boosting meeting had devoured the better part of my morning. Useless because people who work in blood and death on a daily basis aren’t much for the “Rah rah rah!” speeches used to raise morale. Those of us who work in the Violent Crimes Division are more subdued, and none of us chose this line of work for the kudos. We did it because it needed doing. Because we possessed the abilities to get the job done.

But what did I know? I didn’t have the title of doctor or a string of fancy letters after my name. Just a gun, some ass-kicking skills, and a nasty demonic heritage few people cared to mess around with.

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I Can Now Speak Like A Dragon

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Well… sort of.

One of my best friends got me Dragon Naturally Speaking for Yule this year because she knows I’m starting to have issues with my wrists and I’d like to minimize the damage I do to them before it progresses to carpal tunnel. I installed the software and began using it today.

My initial review is that I like it, but it’s odd. When I’m typing, I don’t have to actively think about what I’m going to type as long as I have a rough idea of how the scene should play out. I simply let my fingers fly free and watch the scene unfold in words. With Dragon, because I’m not used to speaking so much, I have to stop and think over every single word I say to make sure it sounds right. I’m hoping this will fade over time and allow me to “write” in a smoother manner.

It’s also odd for me to talk so much and, as a result, I’ve been drinking more tea today to help ease the discomfort in my throat. As you might imagine, my bladder isn’t quite so happy with this arrangement. And it’s going to take my poor husband a bit of getting used to since even when I’m talking softly my voice carries through the house. It freaked him out a bit since I don’t normally talk to myself… when he’s home at least.

Ah well… learning a new skill for the New Year. I hope this trend continues. 🙂