Snippets of Story and Pieces of Prose

I showed y’all snippets from my finished novel, Metamorphosis, but I figured it would do me some good to post some bits from my WIPs.  Have any of you ever plotted out the storyline, got to know the characters well, la-di-da-di-da, then sat down to write and your brain felt like a prune?  I swear it happens every time I begin a story.  I ended Metamorphosis on this high of writerly inspiration, my heart bursting with love for my babies and my life feeling like a beautiful explosion of cherry candies.

Then I began the other stories.  I’m still looking for someone to blame, and I’ve settled on Marian.

I’m sure she had something to do with it.

The scream woke her again, and with a gasp, she shot into a sitting position, staring around in terror. It took her a moment to realize it was all just in her head. Always just in her head.

Dream Dancers

She turned and grinned. “Come on in. No one here bites hard.”

            Those were the words he’d been waiting for. As fast as he could, he stepped into the house and closed the door behind him, plunging the place into blackness, but he could see just fine.

            “My kid and I are downstairs. Landlord’s up here,” the woman slurred, then immediately began the descent as if she’d completely forgotten about him.

            He stared after her in relieved disbelief. He’d done it. He was safe. What luck that she had come by just as he was looking for a place to hide….

To Befriend a Vampire

She came to a thick oaken door, decorations in polished iron accenting the wood. Holding back a choice word, she lifted her hand and knocked.

            “Enter,” came the distracted response.

            She turned the handle and pushed open the door, closing it behind her. “You wished to see me?”

            Sheriff Magar of Derbyshire sat at his desk, his black hair tucked behind his ears and a dark frown on his face as he examined the reports before him. He looked up when she entered, steepling his fingers. His ice-blue eyes bored into her, but she refused to look away. “How did you enjoy the party?” he asked.

            “I enjoyed it well enough.”

            He shook his head, his eyes falling back to his desk, a mocking half-smile on his face. “Still no gratitude.”

Robin Hood/King Arthur Retelling

            Something was wrong … abnormal….

            In his sleep, he slowly realized he wasn’t alone. Fear filling him, he forced his eyes open, beginning to bolt upright, but was stopped by what was before him.

            A small girl-child with wide blue eyes and pale blonde hair in pigtails was staring down at him, a solemn expression on her young face. She cocked her head, watching as he gaped up at her. She was kneeling beside him under the tarp, clutching a ragged teddy bear. “What’s your name?” she asked abruptly.

            He struggled into a sitting position, his head against the tarp, staring down at the young intruder. “Look, kid,” he said, “just don’t tell anyone I was here and let me leave, okay?”

            She nodded solemnly, unblinking. “My name is Piper. I’m five.”

To Befriend a Vampire

            Two months. Two months and a day ago her parents had been killed. She couldn’t forget it, no matter how hard she tried to push it from her mind. Every night her dreams were haunted by that horrible day, the memory of the cold corpses of the people who raised her, blood staining their clothes just hours after they had left for a leisurely ride in Sherwood Forest. They had mounted their horses smiling and laughing, but their faces were blank masks when they were returned.

            She shook her head violently, trying to free herself of the ugly vision that tore her heart to shreds. Nothing could be done, she realized bitterly for the thousandth time. It was all over and finished.

Robin Hood/King Arthur Retelling

            Ryce’s eyes fell to her plate, her expression suddenly reluctant, almost haggard. “Dusty,” she said softly, “I’m not going to college.”

            Dusty felt as if an electric shock jolted her. She jerked upright, staring in disbelief at her sister. “What?”

            Ryce looked up, her blue eyes pleading. “Dust, there’s no way you can pay for me to go. And even if I were to get grants and scholarships, you can’t pay for this place by yourself. We’ll have to leave it soon, anyway, the way things are going. I don’t have a choice. I need to stay and help.”

            Dusty couldn’t comprehend the words coming out of Ryce’s mouth, even if she heard them. Years of planning, their parents’ excitement at the possibilities open to their younger daughter, Ryce’s intelligence – her future was slipping away, swirling down the drain. “Ryce,” she said, “you can’t be serious. Let’s think about this.”

            Ryce’s smile was sad. “I have. I’ve made up my mind.”

Dream Dancers

            All too soon, Piper was back, four plush creatures in her arms. Holding onto her teddy bear and a fluffy white unicorn, she handed him a black cat that looked as if it had endured too much attention and a bead-filled snake that probably cost fifty cents at a yard sale. “This is Blackie and this is Choker,” she told him, gesturing at the toys. She studied him for a minute, and despite her smile her eyes held that strange solemnity so wrong in someone her age. “They like you.”

            He had no idea what to do. Not a clue. He’d never had things like this when he was young.

            She looked shocked, and he realized in mortification that she had somehow read his mind. “Don’t you know how to play?” she asked incredulously, almost in a whisper.

To Befriend a Vampire

            “Stop pretending you don’t care,” a woman’s voice drawled.

            Djin turned, finding Valkyrie in the doorway, clothed in her typical black leather. A spiked leather belt was slung around her hips, and her piercings caught the light of the glorified closet. “And you don’t, Valkyrie,” he said with a hard, closed-lipped smile.

            She shrugged. “No reason for me to.” Swaggering into the room, she snatched a pair of toe shoes from the wall.

            Tsuyoshi straightened, his thin, innocent eyes watching her curiously. “Did you wear through your shoes again?” he asked her.

            “Yep.” That was the only reply she gave before she left, closing the door behind her.

Dream Dancers

            “You realize those look terrible?” Kay said, dropping into Arthur’s abandoned chair. “Mother’s been trying to make you get rid of them for ages.”

            “They’re the most comfortable pair of shoes I own,” Arthur replied primly. “They and I have been through much and I don’t intend on leaving them out of any adventures that may befall me.”

Robin Hood/King Arthur Retelling

            A dark shape screeched, spinning in front of him, and before he could stop himself he had rammed into it, the glass of the car’s windows shattering under the force of the collision. Through the pieces of windshield, he saw the grim face of a hunter, and with a gasp, he rolled off the hood. Where he had been a moment before, a bullet of wood dented the metal. He tried to run, but another car blocked his path. The men and dogs had caught up, and he found himself surrounded.

To Befriend a Vampire

            “Excuse me?”

            Dusty whirled at the sound of a man’s voice behind her. “Yes?” she asked in surprise.

            A handsome young man stood before her, his caramel-colored hair styled fashionably. He had striking blue eyes and a wide, angular smile. He glanced down at her nametag and said, “Dusty? Can you tell me where the men’s department is?”

            She smiled back at him and gestured to her right. “That direction, sir. You’ll pass the Joe Fresh and Adidas sections and should come right up to it.”

            He glanced in the direction she had pointed, then shook his head, staring at the ground and still smiling.

Dream Dancers

            “Piper,” he said, “I need to get some bullets out. Turn around for a second, okay?”

            She cocked her head, frowning. “I’ve seen bullets before. Andrew has lots of guns.”

            “It’s in my body. Under my skin,” Nicholas clarified. He felt uncomfortable telling her that, lest it disturbed her.

            Her eyes widened and her gaze travelled over him. “Where?”

            He blinked. Apparently, there had been no reason to worry. He shrugged off his jacket, trying not to wince, and turned so she could see the bloody wound on the back of his upper arm. “I’m going to have to dig it out.”

            “Okay.” She seemed completely unperturbed, so he dug his fingers into the hole. Pain shot from it, but this certainly wasn’t the first time he’d been hit. He’d had many closer calls. Finally, he pried the wooden bullet from a clump of muscle, then held his bloody hand out to Piper, showing her the object in his palm. She made a face. “Ew,” she said.

To Befriend a Vampire

            “What?” Marian breathed, staring in horror at the smith. “How – why– This can’t be happening. Not after all those years my family has protected Nottinghamshire from the terrible things happening all over England.” Wilhelm said nothing, and Marian gripped his arm. “Wilhelm,” she said ferociously, “I will put a stop to this. I will go see the sheriff of Derbyshire right now and it will be finished. If all goes well, the soldiers should be out by tomorrow morning.”

Robin Hood/King Arthur Retelling

            Hugo was in his room, a book open in his lap as he stared into space. He was bored. The only books in the library that he hadn’t read were Twilight and all its equally revolting sequels. There was nothing interesting on TV and he’d gone through so many math books he dreamed in numbers.

            He wanted out. Ever since he found himself here, he’d wanted nothing to do with Dusty and her generic woes or the predictable people sharing her mind with him. The only interesting one was Valkyrie. Her face flitted through his mind, and a smile threatened to tug at the corners of his mouth. She certainly was beautiful, and her lack of scruples made her more intriguing than goody-goody Dusty and Ryce.

Dream Dancers

            “Go!” Nicholas gestured frantically, his watch still dangling from his hand – it finally broke after two hundred years. The clock snapped from the silver chain and flew across the room, landing on the cement. Nicholas threw himself after it, but Piper had already picked it up.

            “Here!” she cried, her small fingers wrapping tightly around it just as the doorknob turned behind her. He snatched at the watch, and the room disappeared.

To Befriend a Vampire

            Something had to change. And she couldn’t resolve anything until she was ready to do so. Sardonically, she smiled. Perhaps Magar had been right. She was not prepared – her selfishness had prevented her from doing anything but bask in her grief. If she really wished to honor the memory of her parents, she would fight for what they believed in. And they believed in an England where everyone was entitled to justice and happiness.

            It wasn’t the nineteen-year-old Marian that descended the stairs, but a woman. Her dark hair was held back by two braids secured over the rest of her curls, and she wore an ivory-toned dress that shimmered as she walked. As she entered the dining hall, Magar rose, his eyes locked on her. “Lady Marian,” he said quietly as he approached, “you look stunning. You are your mother’s duplicate.”

Robin Hood/King Arthur Retelling

            “Who are you?” a voice whispered, and an inhuman snarl roared from his lips. Instinctively, he swung Piper into one arm, clutching the watch with one hand while his other hand remained open, ready for a fight.

To Befriend a Vampire

            “I think,” he replied slowly, “that if you are the true king, why have you not yet begun your reign?”

            Arthur laughed. “I would if it were that easy. I have a few nobles that stand by me, but most of those that accept me as their sovereign have not an inch of land to their name. Now, to business: this is the very reason I have paid you a visit. Would you be willing to join me and uphold a just, free England?”

            The baron’s lips twitched downward. “I would gladly follow you, but I fear the danger if other nobles disagree with me.”

            Arthur sat back in his chair, regarding the man thoughtfully. “You mean,” he said gently, “you want to know what’s in it for you.”

            His eyes widened. “My liege, I beg to differ—“

            Arthur held up a hand to silence him. “It does not offend me that you do not wish to join me without good reason. But I do appreciate honesty. But to answer your unspoken question, there will be no immediate reward. Protection by myself and my troops, of course, a position in the rising kingdom, security in your title and livelihood, but mostly what I am able to offer is a place in a peaceful country. One where there will be no wars, no sentences without fair trial, and where everyone has equal share. A land of justice.” He spread his hands, looking amiably into the baron’s face. “But I promise that it will be worth it.”

Robin Hood/King Arthur Retelling

            Laureila stepped closer, frowning, then suddenly held out her hand. “Give me your watch.” Her voice was smooth and rich, calm yet commanding. She walked with a regal air that spoke more clearly than words of her status.

            He clutched it to his chest. It was his. “Why do you want it?” he asked, slightly mocking as he watched her. He stared at her, one inhuman to another, challenging her.

To Befriend a Vampire

            To Hugo’s slight indignation and surprise, Djin burst into laughter. Still chuckling, he picked up a strange-looking instrument from the perfectly-aligned hooks along the wall and set to work on the design Hugo had ordered on the table. When he didn’t explain the reason behind his merriment, Hugo began to get irritated.

            “What?” he demanded.

            Djin’s green eyes flicked up and he said, “You mean you haven’t realized that you’re the vainest man since Louis XIV?”

Dream Dancers

            Merlin immediately brushed past him and muttered a few words, tapping the handle of Kay’s door. Arthur could hear Kay growling something that sounded threatening.

            “Merlin—“ he began, but the old wizard interrupted.

            “There is no need to thank me, my king,” he said, frowning as he bent his tall frame to peer closely at the handle. “We have no time. More men will be here shortly. Come kick this in for me.”

            “It’s about time!” was all Kay said as the door crashed inward.

            “Gratitude, Kay,” their father scolded as the four of them turned and ran down the hall, Kay and Arthur in front, the three fighters preceded by their swords, Merlin’s blue eyes examining everything in the darkness that Arthur knew made no difference to the powerful sorcerer.

Robin Hood/King Arthur Retelling

That’s probably a little much, but heck, I’ll survive.  These are my babies, and I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.




4 thoughts on “Snippets of Story and Pieces of Prose

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