Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Wednesday Snippet - How many times a year do you find yourself digging unmarked graves?

It's getting harder to find non-spoilery snipped for Lich Queen, but the flip side of that is, that means I'm getting closer to finishing. Huzzahs! My goal is to wrap up the first draft in the next two weeks, ideally sooner, and then get back to work on Imperial Demons (formally known as Through Fire). Wish me luck and enjoy what is probably your last snippet!


Lindsey Look “Manifest"
The ground was iron-hard and it took Dawn and Rhys an hour to dig a grave. By the time they were done, Dawn was dripping sweat under her heavy jacket. She'd stripped off her gloves early on, and now her fingers were aching and shaking, her palms red raw. Spider had stood and watched the whole time, his gaze a pressure on her back. She wondered if he understood what was going on.

"Good enough," Rhys declared, driving the shovel into the ground one last time. "Fuck, this is easier in the summer."

"How many times a year do you find yourself digging unmarked graves?" Dawn asked.

His smile was rueful. "Not gonna tell you without a lawyer present, Detective."

"I'm not a cop anymore."
"Cops are always cops."

She waved him off. "What now?"

Rhys crooked his finger at Spider. "C'mere, you."

As Spider obligingly shuffled his way, Rhys dropped the shovel and picked up the battered metal lunch box he'd kept close to hand.

She wasn't sure what she'd expected to be in the box. An athame, maybe. Bits of bones, bottles of blood, bundles of herbs...All the kinds of things Lola seemed to deal with, she guessed. Blood magic and necromancy didn't seem like they'd be that far apart, after all. But what Rhys pulled out, when she shone her phone on it, looked like a regular bottle of brandy.

"How does that help?" she asked.

He gave her an odd look as he uncapped it. "Help with what? Spider, climb in." He took a swig and pointed Spider to the grave.

Dawn's stomach churned as Spider jumped in. She had a sudden clenching horror that they were just going to bury him alive, leave him down in the darkness, forever aware and helpless. Unthinkingly, she reached for the brandy bottle. Rhys handed it over.

"You okay?" he asked.

She couldn't remember the last time she'd been okay. But it didn't matter. They had to do this, and the sooner it was over, the better. She took a couple of deep gulps of brandy and gave him the bottle back. "Let's just do this."

He rubbed his hands together. "Okay. I'm gonna take control of him, okay? You need to be prepared for the backlash."

Before she had a chance to ask what that meant, he spat a word in a language she didn't recognise. The air around him crackled and whined. Dawn's gut wrenched, as if a great hand had reached in and grabbed at her. She felt a profound sense of grief, so strong it drove her to her knees, crying out. Spider wailed, reaching for her, clawing at the air.

Dawn reached back, but Rhys planted himself firmly inbetween them, blocking her view. He spoke again, a rolling torrent of words that made her ears ring. The world spun, sickening her. She bit her lip, trying to hold back a cry of her own.

Blood flooded her mouth and the shadows sprang to life, crowding in on her. Except they weren't just shadows now, not with Rhys's ice-cold power swirling around her. She saw faces, some twisted in torment, some radiating a saintly peace. They reached for her, some in supplication, some in desperation, fingers grasping or praying or offering. She didn't know. It didn't matter. She had nothing to give them, wanted nothing from them, just wanted them gone. Away from her.

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