Thursday, June 6, 2013

Reading Red and Black

From my first manuscript, All the Gods' Children. The two main characters, Elizabeth Proctor and Tanqueray Collins, have black and red hair. So...


     It should not have been possible, given the night she’d had, for terror swell queasily in her stomach again – but it was. Tanqueray swallowed before asking, “Was it you, then?" Her voice was high and thin.


     "Did you kill all those people?” 

     “Which people?” inquired the man, looking at her sideways. 

     “The cultists.” 

     “I did that.” 

     Though her whole body trembled at the memory of that slaughter, Tanqueray raised her pointed chin. “You killed my friend,” she said accusingly. “Well, not friend exactly. But a nice boy who was helpin’ us out.”

     “Did I?” asked the man. 

     “You did.” 

     “Then I will repay your loss.” He held out his hand. “A friend for a friend.”

     Tanqueray hugged the rabbit closer, which wiggled in protest. “Like hell I’m--” 

     The rabbit bit her on her already cat-clawed forearms, and with a yelp
Tanqueray loosened her grip. That fast, the stranger’s rough hands snatched the kicking, wide-eyed rabbit away. Turning swiftly, he trotted up the road.

     “Hey, what are you...give her back!” shouted Tanqueray. Scrambling out of the car, she saw him already some little distance away, at the top of the hill. He’d pinned the rabbit to the ground with one hand and was pulling something out of his pack with the other.

     Tanqueray saw the gleam of the axe’s blade as he raised it over the rabbit’s head.

     “No! Stop!” she shrieked. Her hands sparked and snapped with blue lights, but he was too far away, and there were no helpful ghosts here.

     The axe came down. Tanqueray watched the little head roll down the road, spraying black as it went. Stupidly, she stopped to pick it up. The pink eyes looked blankly back at her. 

     The next blow came down upon the rabbit’s tail, separating the little bit of fluff cleanly from the round hindquarters. 

     “I’ll kill you!” screamed Tanqueray, as the man stood up from his bloody task. 

     “Calm yourself,” said the man. “Look.” He pointed at the tiny, still-quivering body. 

     From the bloody cavity of the neck, a slender white hand emerged. It became an arm, groping along the pavement. The head was next, black hair slicked over the face, mouth open and gasping. Tanqueray dropped the rabbit’s head and watched as, with grunts and groans, Elizabeth pulled herself fully out of the rabbit’s body. Climbing to her feet, she kicked what remained of the white corpse off her foot like a dirty sock, sending it flying into the trees.


     "Sorry," said Tanqueray, a little dizzy from lack of oxygen. She tried to hand the bottle back, but Grettir wrapped his enormous hand around her own and wouldn't release her.

     "Come here," he said. His tone was low, but the words hit Tanqueray like a shock, far more powerful than her own blue sparks. Almost shaking, she slid off the hard plastic seat and let him tug her nearer. Not until she was standing in front of his chair did he release her, and then it was only to slide his hands into her armpits and lift her into his lap, settling her astride his legs. 

     Breathing shallowly, Tanqueray turned her head to the side, unable to look him in the face. Grettir's calloused palms slid slowly over her shoulders, toying with her neckline, and up the back of her neck, to touch her red hair.

     "Wait, wait," said Tanqueray breathily. She'd had her hands braced against his chest. Now she leaned back and reached up to unpin her braid. Her hair was tangled and it took her a long time, in her general state, to pull out the bobby pins--and even then, she tore out some hair.

     "Sorry," she said quickly, embarrassed.

     Grettir effectively silenced her by putting his hand under her chin and bending down to kiss her. It was a chaste kiss, close-lipped and soft, but it stilled her completely. Her hands dropped from her hair. One fell upon his neck, and she moved it slowly down its length, feeling his warm skin.

     Grettir broke the kiss. She rested her cheek against his bearded one and felt his hands deftly undoing her braid. Soon the waves fell around her shoulders, reaching down past her waist, and she felt him bury his hands in it. To her immense surprise he gave a trembling little sigh, almost more of a gasp. 

     It was then that Tanqueray finally understood that he actually desired her. She pressed her lips to his stubbly cheek, until he turned and caught her mouth with his own.

     They kissed again, this time not nearly so chastely.


  1. Wow, wow, wow, this was fantastic!! A human crawling from a rabbit corpse and then the kissing scene... very, very nice ;)

  2. When will it be published? :D

    1. That depends. Are you friends with any agents? ;)

  3. first half: omg human crawling out of a rabbit. second half: omg you stopped it before the naughty part!

    1. It's a bit of a fade-to-black scene, to be honest. More room for your imagination!

  4. This is awesome work! In a way, posting your writing is almost more personal than posting outfit photos, so thank you for sharing this!