Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Snippet Day!

So it is the tradition of Anti-Nano for us to share snippets of our WIPs on Wednesdays, for encouragement, critique and just because. I'm sticking with that and sharing a bit of Nightmare Moon that I wrote over the weekend. I'm really hoping it comes across as creepy and tense, but I feel too close to it to call it right now.

Anyway! Enjoy...

(Scarlett) found expensive coffee and cheap chocolate liqueur in the kitchen and made herself a pot of the two to see her through the night. It was still early, not yet midnight, and dawn seemed impossibly far away. She missed Lola's fiercely. If there'd been a bar in Mercy's Gate she felt remotely comfortable in, she'd have gone and passed the night there. But if she remembered right, the only bar in town was generally full of bikers and and the stink of beer and sweat.
            Instead she made coffee cocktails and read the stack of local papers Amelia had left strewn on the kitchen table. There was no news in Mercy's Gate. Someone had bought the old wine store in the town centre and was refurbishing it. A drunk cyclist had fallen into the fruit stall outside the local convenience store. It was soothingly dull. She wondered if and when Amelia would make the news. Death by animal attack was pretty sensational – it would be hard to keep a lid on and probably impossible to keep local.
            The thought of reporters swarming Amelia's funeral made her add another glug of liqueur to her already-potent coffee.
            Grunt shredded the newspapers after she tossed them aside and she spent some time playing with him, tossing him balls of screwed up paper. He'd catch them and rip them up with charming savagery. It wasn't enough to stave off the waves of tiredness hitting her though. Maybe the alcohol was cancelling out the caffeine? She'd always been a sleepy drunk.
            “I can't sleep here,” she told Grunt, knowing it was inevitable anyway. She couldn't stay awake the whole stay either. But was where it started, this house was where she'd first discovered the fire, where the Tawny Man first found her. And now he was back. Falling asleep in Saint Dymphna was practically inviting him in.
            She drained the last of her coffee and rose to rinse the mug out. The kitchen sink was under  a large sash window. She'd pulled the blinds down when she came in and as she stared at them, waiting for the water to heat up, a chill ran down her spine. Whether that came before or after Grunt began snarling, she wasn't sure. She glanced over her shoulder to see him sitting upright in the centre of the table, lashing his tail back and forth, baring his fangs.
            She faced the blinds again, wetting her lips. When she was a kid, a really young kid, her mother had always pulled her bedroom curtains shut when she went to bed. Scarlett had hated that – it made her feel claustrophobic. But she'd never dared open the curtains again because...because what if you opened them and something was staring in at you? That same creepy-crawly sensation filled her now, leaving her cold.
            “Stupid,” she muttered to herself. But suddenly the dim recessed lights were too dim, filling the kitchen with shadows as if the darkness outside was seeping in. Grunt's snarls stayed soft – if there was something out there, it hadn't freaked him out the way he'd been at the cottage. It could be a cat or a stray dog. It could be an owl swooping past. It could be nothing at all except her imagination and too much cheap liqueur.
            And still, after the demon in New Orleans, after Amelia's death, it could be something.
            Her heart hammered. I am not helpless. She wondered when that had become her mantra. Biting her lip and balling one hand into a fist, she flipped the blinds fast, before childhood fears could swallow her. Outside was darkness. Nothing but darkness.

            And a smeared red hand print on the glass.


  1. Love it! The last line is excellent. :) great tension too!

  2. Sorry for taking so long to read this dude! Its good and I agree with Rose the last line is fantastic. I also really loved the nod to childhood memories that I think we all must have concerning the night, when the thrill of fear and mystery seemed to swell up beyond the unseen edges of your window frame. Awesome stuff as always :)