Here’s what happened in the previous post:
I talked about how I’ll donate part of my royalties to Covenant Series #1 to RebuildJoplin.org and I announced I’ve left Mystic Press publisher. So, now that I’m a free agent, for the moment, I thought I’d share part of my still in-progress novel (believe me, I am wanting to get this sucker written).
This is from part 2, “Renati.” Our Vampire friends are being hunted in Joplin, Missouri by the Werewolves who traveled from the fictional town of Covenant, Arkansas to hunt them on the full moon.
DISCLAIMER: This is a rough first draft. Parts are bound to change. But I’ve been yapping about this novel for weeks and I thought I’d share more than chapter one of part one, just to give people an idea of what it’s about.
Race to Sunlight
That’s not supposed to happen.
It’s amazing how stupid someone can get at the worst possible time, like when Werewolves break down the front door and are coming right for you. I had nowhere to go but out the back door.
I ran out the door, Mirabelle and Clemence behind me, and saw a corps of Werewolves on each side of the house, ready to fall in line behind us. My brain was a void, but whatever was what just knew what to do said to run to the woods. I imagined myself a cheetah and tried my best to fly on the ground. I heard the Werewolves’ guttural pants, a massive engine intent on us.
I heard that voice in my head. I did an ankle breaking stop and looked for her. I saw her at the woods’ edge, lounging on the ground, fully transformed. My mother.
The Werewolves had formed a horseshoe circle around me, Clemence, and Mirabelle, who clung to me, the only one who knew these beings in any form. But my attention was on my mother. I knew her word was the only thing between us and death.
Her nose rose and twitched. She smelled our fear and swallowed it in. I watched her, looking helpless. I heard her, whimpering and asking for my help. I read her, and knew she was laughing at me in her mind. I knew, before I could do anything, I had to ask myself one fundamental question that would tell me what to do next.
If she weren’t my mother, if she were a woman I’d met on any ordinary day, would I like her, much less love her?
I heard crying in my mind. I was a little girl who’d had a nightmare, and she came into my bedroom. She held me as I cried and told her about my dream, a dream where I was running from someone who wanted to hurt me, and I couldn’t run fast enough. I was so afraid and I searched for her, for my dad, and found no one. I couldn’t hear her thoughts that night, but they came to me at the moment. She’d sighed. She’d sighed like rolling her eyes. And I knew, without a doubt, the answer. I stepped toward her. Clemence and Mirabelle clung to me, and I seized Clemence’s hand and Mirabelle’s shirt front as we walked right up to my mother.
“I cried for you, Mama,” I said in almost a whisper. “You should have protected me, even if I wasn’t what you thought was a perfect daughter. I was terrified that night when they hunted me. I’d been blindsided but I thought you would save me, and then you handed me over to Derek. You handed me over, like I was nothing to you. You could have stopped it all, but you didn’t. You hurt me beyond anything that could be called hurt, but you might as well stop with the games. I was loyal to you when I heard Timmy’s thoughts saying he wanted a blowjob from you during my sixth birthday party, and yet I was humiliated for that loyalty. Well, you don’t have to be concerned with it, ever again. You might as well drop the ‘I’m so hurt’ act, but I don’t care if you’re hurt or not.”
I took in a breath and let it out. It really struck me, at that moment. Saying it out loud made it real.
“You always talked about family being so important, and yet you handed over your only daughter to be ripped apart by these disgusting things, these freaks.”
I heard menacing growls and Mirabelle squeezed my arm, but I knew they would stay back until my mother ordered them not to.
“I would call them dogs,” I heard anger in the Werewolves’ rumbling growls, “but I have a dog now and he’s a million times better than any of these pathetic Werewolves.”
I stood in front of my mother, close enough to feel her scorching breath on my face as I bent down to look in her eyes.
“And one more thing,” I leaned in close enough for only her to hear me. “I’ve had time to think about you and I’ve realized a few things, one of them being I really don’t like you. If you hadn’t given birth to me, I wouldn’t have wasted two seconds of my life on you.”
I saw her eyes widen. The fury in her eyes, and in the other Werewolves’ minds, didn’t notice when I’d freed my hand from Clemence’s grasp. What I was about to do was suicide, and I was no less afraid of the consequences, but no one would dare say the last thing I did in my life was back down, so I slowly raised my hand to my mother’s snout. And I tweaked her nose.
She let out a piercing yelp, which stunned everyone.
I grabbed Clemence and Mirabelle’s hands. I pulled them into the woods just as it dawned on the Werewolves that I’d just disrespected the Alpha’s wife in the worst way imaginable.
“What the hell did you do?” Clemence said.
I ran, blindly, looking for a place to hide, so I had no answer for Clemence. It had seemed like such a great idea to assert myself. But I realized if I just got my new family, my real family, killed, I would have to turn myself over to the Werewolves because being torn apart was the least I deserved.
I heard the scream in my head before I heard it in my ears. I turned to see Clemence’s feet off the ground, her neck in a Werewolf’s claws. I felt a hand grab my wrist, but it wasn’t Mirabelle. She’d moved away from me. She stumbled away, staring at Clemence, tears soaking her face. I looked around me and saw no one. Then I heard Derek’s voice.
He clamped Clemence’s neck, but looked at me.
“You can come back to us, Eliza. Your father wanted you to know that. He can accept what you are, because you are his daughter, his only child. All you have to do is stand back while we hunt.”
I felt something in my hand. A wooden handle. I couldn’t look down because I was transfixed by Clemence’s terrified eyes looking not at me, or at the Werewolf with the massive, long claws just inches from her face. She was looking at Mirabelle.
In the split second before I raised the hatchet, I thought of how pathetic it was that these Werewolves’ sense of decency were below the bottom of the barrel that they would think I would betray my friends. That I would be like them, knowing what they had done to me.
Derek took my silence for what it was, and he raised his arm to swipe Clemence.
I didn’t need to look down. However it had happened, I knew I had a weapon in my hand, and I meant to use it. Derek’s arm was raised, his eyes, and bared teeth, were focused on Clemence. Just as he jerked to swipe, I sank the hatchet into his arm.
He let out a thunderous roar, but he dropped her. Mirabelle was there to pick her up while I kept the hatchet ready for another strike. He held his injured arm. He looked at me and growled like he was gurgling my blood.
Clemence staggered in shock, but Mirabelle and I were able to pull her away. I saw a bridge ahead, and led the way to it. We nearly floated as we ran for our lives, seeing nothing but the bridge to who knows where, but away from here was good enough for a start.
We were close enough for me to let myself breathe. I could see the rails on each side. I could see the bridge was narrow, but plenty wide enough for three Vampire girls. We were close, we were close, we were close, we were close, we were there, we were…
The three of us stopped like we’d hit a wall and looked around. I saw nothing but the slightest whisper of a glittery black gown shimmering in the moonlight as it disappeared behind a tree.
I started across the bridge, and then I saw.
The bridge was only there maybe six feet in. The rest had fallen into the dried creek bed below. We would have fallen from the bridge that was no longer there and plummeted probably twenty feet. Maybe the Werewolves would have had to lick our splattered blood off the concrete hard creek bed.
“Wow,” Clemence said.
That pretty much summed it up.
It was an urgent command, from Aingeal. I saw Clemence and Mirabelle startle, so I knew they heard her, too.
Follow Raoul. He knows what to do.
I turned where I stood, but I couldn’t see her.
Where are you?
No, she answered, the question is where is Raoul?
Clemence fidgeted and sighed.
Okay, I heard her say telepathically. Then where is Raoul?
Run away from the moon. Run west.
The moon was behind us. I felt safe in these woods. I knew Charlie and Gracie ran here because they intuited these woods’ safety, too. Being here was like being in another existence, some other there out there.
Raoul’s low, raspy voice echoed in my brain.
Be here. Now.
Not needing any more boost up my bum than that, I ran west, fast as I could fly. I heard Clemence and Mirabelle behind me, Clemence encouraging Mirabelle to run faster. I stopped and reached back for Mirabelle’s free hand, and we took off like a speeding train toward Joplin.
I heard them blazing behind us, coming closer, running faster than I’d ever seen Werewolves able to run. I had no time to wonder what they’d been smoking to put those jets in their heels, because, almost as soon as I heard them coming, I was knocked off my feet.
I bounced off the ground, and tumbled like I was in a clothes dryer. I heard voices in my head, murmurs, a voice, male, not Donal, almost in a battle with Aingeal…
“Hear my command…”
“Goddess, protect them…”
“Grant them the strength…”
“Give them the speed…”
I kept rolling. I heard Clemence and Mirabelle struggling against the other Werewolves a few feet away. I landed on my side and was violently twisted onto my back. I looked up into my father’s eyes. He bared his razor teeth at me in a smile that savored, devoured, my fear. He hovered above me, patiently waiting, wanting to drain all my will to escape. He wanted total surrender from his prey, to not only take their life, but their hope. I saw him ravage many defense attorneys as a prosecutor, and many political rivals when he went to Little Rock. And now he was doing it to me. Nothing less than complete domination was good enough for him. He could play with his meal all night. Usually, no one stopped him. Good thing he’d forgotten one thing: his past conquests didn’t have his blood in their veins. I’d learned about connections between people since I came out as a Vampire, and I knew I would always be connected to my parents because we shared what kept us alive, our blood. My parents didn’t like that connection, and neither did I, but that wouldn’t change the reality that would be the death of them.
“Your wife has the funniest little peep when you tweak her nose, you disgusting snotrag.”
His wide smile faltered. Clemence and Mirabelle stopped struggling. I could almost feel their gaping, wide eyed, stunned silence. I knew what I was doing. I was doing what I had to do.
“It must really be a blow to your ego for a Vampire to talk back to you, but this Vamp is your daughter, you pathetic piece of…”
He rared back, stuck out his chest, threw his arms back, and let out a roar that made the Universe stop. I was about to die. My whole body rigored in fear. And that’s when Raoul’s silver tipped spear ripped into his shoulder.
I reacted quickly to push him off of me. I got to my feet and wrenched the spear out of his shoulder. He wasn’t dead, his chest rose and fell in a rhythmic unconscious sleep. As the silver worked its way through his veins, keeping him in a comatose paralysis, I wielded the spear against the other Werewolves. They eyed the silver tip, but held Clemence and Mirabelle tight around their upper arms, dragging them along as they backed away from the spear.
The Werewolf holding onto Mirabelle tripped over their entwined feet, sending them both to the ground. Mirabelle untangled herself from the Werewolf’s hold and began beating him, taunting him with every punch and slap.
Mirabelle swung like a woman possessed, with strength that seemed to come from some Divine well. We couldn’t help it. We just sort of stood there and watched.
I saw the Werewolf clutching Clemence was distracted, his big, furry head aimed at Mirabelle, his eyes as wide as the rest of ours. He didn’t see me coming until it was too late to stop the spear from whacking him across the head. The hit hurt him and he let go of Clemence. She grabbed the spear from me, turned, and, like channeling some ninja, forced the silver tip into his side. He collapsed, helpless against the paralysis. With a feeble snarl, he drifted into unconsciousness.
Mirabelle had straddled the stunned, humiliated Werewolf, and she was still swinging away at his arms, his head, his back as he shielded himself in the fetal position. Clemence put her hand on Mirabelle’s shoulder. Mirabelle turned at the waist and slapped Clemence’s hand away. Her eyes focused and she recognized her girlfriend with an apology. Clemence’s eyes sparkled. She looked ready to put a hot, wet, lickery one on Mirabelle, but, instead, she gently offered the spear. Mirabelle took it and ran her hand over the wood before raising it, tip down, over her head and thrusting it into the Werewolf’s arm. She stood from the still hairy mass and looked pleased with herself.
“What just happened?” Clemence asked me, like I would know. “What’s that on the spear?”
It was silver, I knew. I thought it would be funny if silver really did do something to Werewolves, when all the Werewolves I knew laughed at the movies where silver was used to beat the big bad…
Lysander’s telepathic voice filled my brain only a second before he grabbed me around the waist and pulled me away. His hand slid down my arm as we ran until his hand found mine. I looked back to see Clemence and Mirabelle, hand-in-hand, close behind.
I smelled the blood before I heard the death rattle in my head.
“Don’t look,” Lysander said out loud, so, of course, I looked…
…And wished I hadn’t….
(Blog Edit: Big Plot Point Here and I Can’t Give Everything Away)
In what seemed like forever in a second, we were spotlighted by Range Line Road. Supper time traffic clogged the street, neon restaurant lights buzzed beneath the throngs of people looking to shop at what stores weren’t leveled by the tornado, and the people there to get a look at the carnage for themselves. Despite the damage, it was typical for the time being, so it was ridiculous for us to be there. After it was over, I ran it through my head a few times.
Hello, my name’s Eliza Beck. I was born into a Werewolf family, my dad’s the Alpha who’s also an Arkansas State Senator, but I’m actually a Vampire, who the Werewolves hate, so they hunt us every full moon. I was wondering, um, golly, could you possibly give us a place to hide till sunrise?
Sure, it sounds unbelieveable, but what seems logical isn’t always the reality, so we ran with every speck of energy we had onto Rangeline, daring the Werewolves to follow us. We passed Red Lobster, and then I heard Raoul’s voice.
Here. Across the street.
Raoul stood in the Office Max parking lot. He pointed north and began running on his side of the road, occasionally causing a car to squeal to a stop to get a look at the massive bulk zooming down the sidewalk. We ran on our side of the road. I chanced a glance back and saw no one following us. But before I could feel secure enough to slow down, I heard growling in my head.
They were coming.
We headed north on Range Line, part of the flurry, until we reached the tornado’s path running west to east. It was still, otherworldly, a tangible vision of life and death decided by the snap of the fingers. We passed through it quickly and were soon on the other side of it, back into the dazzle at Northpark Mall. I heard them come closer. They’d come, fully transformed, under the lights, in front of who knows how many people.
They weren’t hiding, though their ability to mask their true nature gave them power in society over the Vampires. Did they want to kill us so much they were willing to reveal themselves?
A police car cut us off at the KODE-TV station. It’s siren lights blinded me in red and blue. We stopped, hoping their bullets had silver to paralyze the Werewolves, and waited for the officers to slowly get out of the car. The officer on the passenger’s side hoisted his belt up as he sauntered to us.
“Do you have ID?”
ID? Did he not see the Werewolves chasing us?
I looked across the street for Raoul. He was gone and I couldn’t hear his thoughts. I turned back to the officer, who had looked across the street, then back at me, suspicious.
I stammered. The officer hiked up his belt and shifted his feet.
“We’ve had calls of a bunch of kids trying to loot the stores that were damaged by the tornado.”
“It wasn’t us,” I said, and instantly regretted how forceful my voice sounded.
Werewolves were chasing us and this guy was talking about looking a store?
“Honestly, Officer,” I took a breath to steady my voice and sound submissive. “We didn’t loot any stores. We’re actually being chased.”
“By what?” He sounded ready to act, though he looked behind us and creased his brows like he thought I might be lying.
I turned. And there they were. They’d stopped maybe ten feet away and were glaring us down. I turned back to the Officer and pointed at them. I turned at the waist and jabbed my finger at them as I faced the officer.
He looked at them and shrugged.
“Are you saying you were running like a bat outta hell from a bunch of mutts?”
The other officer joined him and they had a laugh.
“Don’t tell me you thought some ankle biters would hurt you.”
I looked at Lysander, Clemence, and Mirabelle. They were as stunned as I was.
“You can’t be serious,” Mirabelle said, still feeling brave after kicking Werewolf tail. “Ankle biters? They could bite you head off.”
The officers collapsed in hysterical laugher.
The driver gasped for air, then said, “I know a Chihuahua can yap at you, but it’s gotta jump pretty high to bite your head off.”
I looked at the Werewolves. They bared their teeth and laughed at us.
“I guess that toy poodle could do some damage,” the passenger’s side officer pointed to a Werewolf I recognized as Sheriff Jack Swartz, Derek’s father.
I couldn’t believe it.
“Look,” the driver said. “We can’t prove you were the ones looting the stores, so we can’t arrest you. On the other hand, thanks for the laugh.”
As they walked back to the car, or, I should say, stumbled with laughter, they agreed the guys will love this one.
Good for the guys.
The officers stopped at their respective car doors.
“Wait,” the driver said. “What about those dogs? Should we call Animal Control?”
Everyone stopped breathing, even the Werewolves.
Finally the passenger checked his watch and shook his head.
“Shift’s almost over, but it you wanna call ‘em.”
The driver shook his head. With a wave to us, they got in the car and backed out of the parking lot.
“Your move,” Jack Swartz said to us.