Wednesday, March 14, 2012

WIP Wednesday

In this week's post. I introduce a new character. Well he's not exactly a new character; he played opposite Azra Barsonus, my main character in "Lovestruck Succubus."
In this scene, Leonidas has received news of his father's passing. Naturally, he's not too happy about it and, furthermore, feels terrible that he wasn't there when his father died. His emotions out of control, he shifts, and finds himself hunting within the confines of Piedmont Park in Atlanta, Georgia.

Raif Lungren snatched the microphone from the holder, and responded to the call.
"This is unit thirty-four. Whatcha got, dispatch?"
"Got a call about some kind of wild animal running through Piedmont Park."
Raif looked at his partner, sitting in the passenger seat, stuffing a chicken nugget in his mouth.
"You wanna take this, McClinton?"
McClinton licked his fingers. "We're close enough, why not?" He said, spitting little chunks of chicken nugget out as he spoke.
Lungren clicked the button on the microphone, "We're in the area," he said. "We'll take it."
"Roger, thirty-four," the dispatcher's voice resounded through the car's speaker system. "Animal control is on their way, if you'll do some crowd control until they get there."
Lungren flipped the switch turning on the lights and siren, and weaved through traffic. He turned off the siren before reaching the North parking lot of Piedmont Park, but left the lights on to warn any lovers parked in the dark. He didn't really feel like processing a bunch of late-night lovers and giving citations while waiting for animal control.
"Holy shit," McClinton said as Lungren turned the squad car into the middle of the small parking lot.
Lungren looked through the beam of the headlights in time to see a huge beast standing in the light, looking at them.
"What the hell is that?" Lungren said.
Lungren understood why dispatch just said it was a wild animal running through the park. There really was no rational explanation of what he was looking at. The thing standing in the beams of the headlights was more like a bunch of animals put together like some kind of weird medical experiment. It didn't even move from the light. It just stood there motionless, looking at them with a kind of snarl forming across its snout; and they looked back, equally transfixed, from inside their squad car.
"Is that a wolf?" Lungren heard McClinton unsnapping his holster as he spoke. "Or, maybe it's a bear."
It was hard to tell. The thing was standing on its hind legs like a bear, or a man, but it looked like some kind of huge wolf.
"Wait," McClinton said as he pulled the door handle, popping the passenger door open just a crack. "It's a man in a wolf costume. Gotta be. It looks too much like a human."
"Wait," Lungren yelled at him. "I don't think so." But it was too late. McClinton was already pushing the door open, and stepping out of the car as he unholstered his weapon.
As soon as McClinton stood outside the door, the animal charged. Lungren wanted to yell for him to get back in the car, but the animal moved too fast. In the next instant, it closed the distance with his partner, and had him by the neck, ripping at him and dragging him toward the edge of the parking lot into the darkness. The animal only moved about twenty feet back but had already left pieces of his partner in a trail from the squad car. McClinton's arm lay by itself just feet from the car, his lifeless hand still gripping the handgun. Lungren didn't think, simply reacting to the violent display in front of him. The beast moved so fast, McClinton didn't even get a shot off. Lungren was not going to make the same mistake. He felt his face burn with rage. He wasn't just going to let this beast drag his partner away and tear him to shreds. He didn't know what the hell this thing was, but it was no human. He opened the car door and jumped out of the car, slamming the door shut behind him. The noise got the animal's attention, and he dropped his partner, looking squarely at Lungren.
Lungren raised his pistol and fired. He saw blood spray from the animal's shoulder. The beast barely flinched before launching itself toward him. He fire again, three times. The beast flinched each time, signifying a hit, but it didn't stop. Lungren tried to step backward, pulling the trigger until he heard the click of the hammer on an empty chamber. Just as the beast launch itself at him, he tripped over something and fell backwards. The animal flew over him, landing somewhere out of his field of vision with a thump and a growl. But the beast was back, and ripping at him before he could move. He felt his own skin ripping from his chest as the thing tore at him, felt large canines cupping his arm and clamping down until his bones snapped under the pressure.
Darkness closed in on him, moving from the corners of his vision until it was inside him. Everything slowed down, as if time itself was tormenting him, making him live in this brief moment for an eternity. He saw the beast all over him as if looking at snapshots in time--the shiny glint of eyes and bloodied teeth flashing in front of him. He felt the animal's mouth close around his throat, and he could do nothing to stop it. He could not even feel his arms or legs. He was not sure if they were still attached, or laying somewhere in the parking lot like the parts of his partner. Suddenly, he was weightless, as if flying through the air, suspend but out of the animal's reach. Then, just as suddenly, he hit the ground. He heard his head crack against the asphalt but could do nothing. A brief flash of pain, and darkness overtook him.
An immeasurable amount of time passed in darkness. Flashes of light and voices from strangers momentarily brought him from the darkness, but it was fleeting. He heard someone telling him to hold on, telling him help was on the way. He was still alive, he knew that much, and the words somehow sank into his brain and his heart, giving him permission to let go. It was a feeling of relief really, being able to let go and let nature take its course. A sharp stabbing pain brought him back briefly as he felt himself being lifted.
"Hold on, officer." He heard the voice as if it was already inside his head, as if he were talking to himself. But the voice was soothing, and he let go, allowing the darkness to take over him once more, like a warm blanket on a cold night.

Hope you enjoyed this scene. If you would like to get to know this new character, Raif Lungren, you can find him as one of the main characters in the aformentioned story.

Also, I am in the process of outlining a short story involving Raif, his transformation, and promotion to Police Detective. I would offer this story free like my historical fantasy about Azra in China "The Fifth Beauty."

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

WIP Wednesday

In this scene, Joseph decides to go to the Pink Pony and see Paulina (Alexis). He's still confused about her pushing him away the night before when he thought they were making progress and getting ready to become intimate.

Now, he walks right into another situation because Norman "Knuckles" Taylor is at the bar, and he wants desperately to take the man in. I'll explain here in case I did not post the prior scene. Previously, Joseph went back to the bond office and was given a skip ticket for none other than Norman "Knuckles" Taylor. Only thing is, Knuckles is a big time player in the local crime underworld, and noboby really thinks he can be brought in. Joe takes the skip because Knuckles' bail is set at a cool million dollars. This means that Joseph's cut would be one hundred thousand dollars.
By sundown the next day, Joe couldn't stand it any more. He had to see Paulina. He had to know why she suddenly pushed him away the night before. Was it something he did? He wasn't ready to confront her at the Pink Pony, but figured she'd be working, and besides, he may just find Knuckles there. He needed to make some progress on cornering the thug, and he wasn't going to do it chasing some woman around.
He saw Knuckles as soon as he walked into the Pink Pony. The man sat at a large round table in front of the stage, surrounded by his bodyguards. Paulina stood in front of him with her order form in her hand. He said something to her, and she held her hand up, shaking it as a gesture of saying no. He said something else to her, Joe couldn't quite make out through the noise in the bar, and she put a hand on her hip while pointing a finger at him. She looked upset, but she wasn't yelling loud enough for him to make out her words. Knuckles said something else to her and she flipped him off.
"Fuck you," Joe heard her say this time, over the din in the bar.
She turned to walk away, but she must not have seen Knuckles' cronies get up from the table and walk around behind her when she flipped him off. Sam stood behind the bar, watching everything but not doing a damn thing. Knuckles reached forward and grabbed Paulina's arm, yanking her violently into his lap. That's when instinct took over, and Joe sprung to action.
He ran directly to the table using his momentum to smash his arm into the head of one of the thugs moving in on Paulina. The thug flew into the man beside him, their heads clunking like empty coconuts before they both fell to the floor with a thud, like a fifty-pound sack of flour. The third man was pulling his arm back, getting ready to pop Joe in the head, but it was too late, Joe swept his leg around and caught the man at the knee. He went down like the other two, falling into a table and breaking it, sending glasses and customers flying. He turned and prepared to face down Knuckles. He was already moving when he heard the faint but distinct sound of a hammer being drawn back and clicking into place. He stopped, dead in his tracks. Knuckles had one hand around Paulina's neck, and the other around a handgun. Oddly enough, Paulina didn't look scared in the least little bit. She looked angry, something animal in her eyes. She had the same look he thought he'd seen from her in the alley the night he brought Lefty into the station. Only this time, fighting back could get her a bullet in her chest, and Knuckles' file suggested he wouldn't hesitate to pull the trigger. On top of all that, he was smart enough to lawyer up and claim self defense. If he hadn't already jumped bail, he'd probably walk, but Paulina wouldn't.
Joe backed away, bringing his hands up over his head. The other three thugs were getting up, and he knew they were going to get some retaliatory punches in on him since Knuckles had a gun aimed at him. He could take the three of them out. Knuckles held the gun in his right hand, to the side of Paulina, exposed, and vulnerable to attack. He could reach his left hand forward with his finger extended, catching the hammer in the webbing between his finger and thumb. He could follow it with his right palm into Knuckles' nose, rendering him useless, or possibly, dead. He couldn't do dead; he needed the money for bringing him. He knew he couldn't stop Knuckles and his three goons at one time. No, he was going to have to take a few punches, and try to snatch Paulina away somewhere in the confusion, shoving her safely away from the gun poking into her side.
He looked at Paulina, trying to send her some kind of mental message, hoping she could see his plan in his eyes. She didn't look scared in the least little bit. In fact, she had a look in her eyes that was predatory. Her eyes even seemed to glow, as if they picked up some unseen light source and reflected it back. He wondered if she had a plan, although, if she did, he feared for her even more. Especially, if her plan was anything like the one she had with Lefty.
The first blow came to his midsection. They were going right for the kidneys, but he reflexively bent over to absorb as much of the punch as he could. The second punch landed squarely on his jaw, just as he anticipated. With that, he stood back up, straight into the arms of the two thugs standing on either side of him. As they grabbed onto his shoulders, he used them as leverage to kick his left foot up, knocking the gun out of Knuckles' hand. The gun flew off somewhere behind him. Another punch came to his kidneys, and he wasn't quite ready for it, a deep grunt escaping him.
Knuckles suddenly released Paulina, pushing her off to the side as he moved forward to get his licks in. Joe took the two punches to his ribs, but he was more concerned with Paulina. The punches made him bend forward, more grunts surely giving his opponents a thrill, but he straightened after each punch and looked for Paulina. She had moved out of sight, probably standing beside the bartender behind the bar. Knuckles squeezed his hand around Joe's neck, and moved close to him, talking in a whisper.
"If I ever see you again, I'll fuck you up." His breath reeked of whiskey and cigarettes. "You understand me, boy?"
Joe said nothing, and it took all of his restraint not to head butt Knuckles, and lay out his thug buddies. No one called him 'boy' if they wanted to live. Besides, there were only four of them, all bunched up against him. Hell, he could take them out two at a time, but for now anyway, he needed to just stand there and take an ass whooping. He couldn't take a chance on this thing turning into a gunfight, and there was no doubt, they'd all go to guns if he started kicking their asses.
Knuckles stepped back, looking at him, sizing him up. Joe gave him nothing except some feigned struggling against the two losers holding him by the arms. Knuckles slapped him hard across his face, another thing that would get him killed if the situation were different. The sucker punch landed next, right to his midsection. Joe absorbed the punch but exaggerated the pain, allowing his knees to buckle. Knuckles turned to retrieve his gun, and his two goons dropped Joe to the floor, stepping over him as they followed. The third goon got one last kick into his gut as he stepped over him. His posse reassembled, Knuckles left the bar.
Joe waited until the door shut behind Knuckles and his gang to stand up. Paulina ran out from behind the bar and toward him. He was happy, thinking his act of heroism would convince her to finally explain herself to him, lower her guard and admit her feelings for him. He was certainly ready to admit his feelings for her. He opened his arms as she approached, waiting for to jump into him with a big thankful hug. Instead, she stopped short and slapped him over the same cheek Knuckles slapped earlier. Her slapped stunned him. He stood motionless and confused as she pointed a finger at him, and started a rant he would probably never figure out.
"What the hell did you think you were doing?" Paulina seemed genuinely pissed, not at all thankful. "They were giving me great tips."
Joe could do nothing. There simply was no way to respond.
"I'm so sick of you showing up and trying to play hero. I'm sick of you walking around thinking everyone needs to be saved."
Something gave Joe the sinking feeling she was just getting started.
"I can take care of myself, you know. I had the situation under control."
"Yeah," he said. "I like the way you controlled that gun pointed at you, and some thug practically having his way with you right in the middle of the bar." He realized it was wrong to say it, but it just slipped out.
Paulina fell silent. The whole bar became silent, even the music had stopped, as if they were in some surreal spaghetti western, and the gunfighter just challenged someone in the saloon. Paulina opened her mouth to speak, her finger still pointing at him, and he prepared himself for the onslaught.
"You know, Joe, you’re an asshole." Paulina didn't look mad anymore, she looked like she was about to cry. "Just get out," she said. "Get out the bar, and get out of my life." She turned, and ran behind the bar and through the doors to the kitchen.
There was nothing left for him to do, but leave. The entire bar was silent, every eye upon him. Without another word, he left the bar, half-expecting Knuckles and his thugs to be waiting for him outside. May have been waiting for him but luck was on his side. They were too busy discussing something in the parking lot. Joe found, in his experience, every failure presented in itself, opportunities for future success. Joe stepped into the shadows and quietly waited. With luck, Knuckles would give him the opportunity he was looking for.

Hope you enjoyed this week's work in progress post. I may skip ahead in the coming weeks as I complete the draft and begin the initial edit. After finishing the first edit, I'll send the entire manuscript out to anyone willing to read and comment on the project. I'm willing to take whatever feedback I can get, from grammar comments to story concept, character development or overall feeling of the story. Thanks for joining this week.

Until next week, then...

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Giving It All Away

I happy to announce I am participating in Read an Ebook Week by offering all my works FREE at smashwords.

Just follow this LINK and enter coupon code RE100 at checkout.

Hope everyone takes advantage of this, and reads at least one new ebook this week!