Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Wednesday Snippet - Blood Witch

This is Tristesse, my tricky demon
So I decided, post Anti-Nano, that I'd quite like to keep sharing snippets every Wednesday. I didn't do it in December because life just got in the way and I didn't actually do much writing until I finished work for the Christmas break. And then I decided I'd write this quick little novella, Blood Witch, over that two-week period because it would be a fast, fun project.

Well, it's not that little any more and it's definitely not getting finished up fast, but it is fun, so that's what I'm working on right now. I know, I know. There was a list. This isn't on it. I don't care. It's fun! It's got demons and witches and murder and it's just super. So before I tackle the list, I'm going to finish Blood Witch.

Anyway, here's a taster. Read on!

Lola loved her cottage. It had belonged to her family for generations. She'd redecorated when she moved in, getting rid of the patterned wallpaper and blush-pink carpets her grandmother had loved, and replacing them with natural, neutral colours. Otherwise it was the same as it had been for years: the open fireplace stacked with rough-chopped kindling, the kitchen full of spices, dried herbs, and bunches of lavender hanging from the ceiling. She'd kept all the antique dining room furniture, restored the old rocking chair, and polished the wooden floorboards until they glowed.

It was cosy, homely, and most of all it was hers. When Tristesse swept in, holding her skirts off the floor like a queen entering a hovel, Lola died a little inside.

“This is small,” Tristesse said, looking around.

“You asked for a sanctuary, not a palace,” Lola reminded her.

“I wasn't insulting it, just stating a fact.” Tristesse slipped out of her boots, leaving them neatly against the wall in the hallway, and went off to explore. Lola followed. She was feeling less intimidated and more like she'd unexpectedly adopted a very big cat. She had to keep reminding herself of that flare of dark, chilling power she'd felt from Tristesse. There was nothing tame about her.

Tristesse was in the kitchen, opening jars of spices to sniff. She was chewing on a sprig of lavender. Lola resisted the urge to scream what are you? at her and instead set the kettle to boil. Their exchanges at the coffee shop and on the way here had made it clear she'd get nothing by pushing at Tristesse. So even though she burned to demand answers about Isako and Tristesse herself, she forced herself to act nonchalant, like bringing wandering goth princesses home was an everyday occurrence.
“Can I get you a cup of tea?” she asked.

Tristesse put away the jar of cinnamon she'd been sniffing. “Is it green?”

“It's Lady Grey.”

“Is it good for me?”

“I don't think it has any overt health benefits, no.”

“Very well.” Tristesse nodded and took a seat at the kitchen table. “You practice magic.”

Lola dropped a teabag in the sink, caught off guard by the statement. Maybe she shouldn't have been, but Tristesse's direct manner wasn't something she experienced often. Once she'd left the Choir, she'd rarely mixed with other magic-users. Even she did, there was usually this odd dancing around the topic, while people sized each other up, tried to decide if their secrets were safe or if they'd be mocked for them.

“Yes,” she said, rescuing the teabag. “And you?”

“What kind of magic? Thelemic magick used to be very popular.”

“Not since Aleister Crowley died, I don't think.” Lola glanced at Tristesse over her shoulder. The other woman was still chewing on her sprig of lavender and toying with a pile of ribbons and scraps of lace on the table. She'd picked up a long strip of sky-blue ribbon and was winding it around her fingers with a look of serious concentration.

“Your friend was not a practitioner.”

“No,” Lola said, heart aching. “She was a client of mine. I was doing magic for her.”

“What do you know already? You followed me from her home; you know something.” Tristesse held her hand up to admire the ribbon, then carefully began unwinding it again.

Lola swallowed. Her throat felt raw and dry all of a sudden. “She was killed for a ritual, a blood ritual, to open a gateway.”

“Know a lot about blood magic? You don't look much like a necromancer.”

“They're not the same thing,” Lola said.

“They go hand-in-hand. If you start down one path, you'll likely walk the other eventually.” Tristesse wagged a finger at Lola. 

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