I guess it really should be a scary story, but, well, I just don’t write those. As a Halloween treat, here’s a scene from Chapter 5 of BLOOD WILL TELL, which at least features a werewolf.
Chimeria is the very real world from which all of our mythical creatures originally came, connected to this world by portals. To Chimerians, we live “on the other side” of the portals. Valeriah is half-werewolf and when this scene starts she’s not in a good mood, having just quarreled with her cousin, Cristel:
Valeriah sat in the corner of the common room, where she could watch the other patrons. It was habit after so many years in the Watch.
The common room was the usual mishmash of styles for Chimeria. Some, mostly the younger members of the crowd, affected what they believed was in style on the other side. Of course, the combinations were often as not way off, like the kid mixing a Goth long black coat with oversized cargo shorts and a crisp, button-down dress shirt. Valeriah’s jeans and T-shirt weren’t at all out of place. Some stuck to the traditional Chimerian clothing–ankle-length gowns for the women and tunic and trousers for the men. Some of those, like Cristel, wore clothes of traditional cut, but made of the easy-care and more comfortable poly-blend fabrics and knits from the other side. And then there were those wearing an eccentric mixture of the two, like the barman, wearing jeans and a traditional tunic.
Valeriah watched Cristel, sitting alone at a table near the middle of the room, delicately eating her salad and vegetables. Half the men in the room were watching her, too. Well, word would have spread that she was the heiress to their grandfather’s magical collection.
If Cristel wasn’t careful, one of those men would turn her head and then take everything, like that too-handsome blond fellow who had just invited himself to the table, sitting down opposite Cristel. Well, it would serve her right.
Human, by the look of him. At least he didn’t show any sign of belonging to any of the other races. Possible, she supposed, that he was a hybrid like Cristel and herself. But a human might well have aspirations to become a wizard and a collection like Grandfather’s would be the quickest and easiest way to accomplish that.
Valeriah’s view was obscured by a large expanse of dark green. She looked up to see a bearded man standing at her table, grinning down at her.
“Want some company?” he asked.
“No, thank you.”
“Come on. A pretty little girl like you doesn’t want to be alone on a dark night. We could–”
“I said no. Now shove off before I get angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.” She had gotten the line from a campy TV show on the other side, but she liked it.
“Now, you don’t mean that–”
“Look, I’ve had a bad day and I would really love something to beat up right now. So, unless you’re volunteering, I suggest you move on.”
The man blinked, but didn’t move.
Valeriah smiled wickedly and started to stand. Some men just couldn’t be gotten rid of the easy way. Right now, she wouldn’t mind a good fight at all. The relative quiet of the inn’s common room was shattered by a scream. That sounded like Cristel.
Valeriah vaulted over the table, shoving the man out of her way. She heard the clatter as he fell into the neighboring table. She paid no attention as she focused on the scene in front of her. Cristel sat on the floor where she had apparently been pushed. The blond man who had been sitting with her stood in front of what had been Cristel’s chair with a knife protruding from his shoulder. Another man–Valeriah caught a glimpse of a dark green tunic–was bolting out the door.
Valeriah hesitated. Cristel seemed to be fine, for the moment. And the fury that had been simmering in her gut all day had finally found an outlet. If she could catch the man who threw that knife, she’d have someone to beat her fury out on at last.
She surrendered to her werewolf instincts and gave chase, drawing her belt knife as she ran. She was faster than most men. She would catch him soon enough. As she pelted after the fleeing man, she saw him turn a corner around the stables. She smiled. That was a blind alley and she was close behind. This chase was almost over.
Then she turned the corner and stopped in amazement. Nothing. There was no one there. The alley was empty. She scanned the area for an escape route. No doors and all of the windows were too high. Even she would have difficulty making that leap. It was impossible.
She sucked in a long breath. It was impossible unless, of course, someone had the ability to open a portal. Just like the portal that had been used to kill her family. She had been searching for this for the last eight years. Valeriah looked carefully, trying to spot the telltale shimmer. Nothing. She walked the length and perimeter of the alley. If there had been a portal there, it was gone now.
She shook her head. This hunt was over. She’d better get back to Cristel.
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I’m still working on the second draft of the sequel, BLOOD IS THICKER.