Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Wednesday Snippet - Oath Breaker

It's that time of the week again! I've crossed the 10k barrier on Oath Breaker, which is really when the story starts to feel solid and real for me - like it's too late to scrap it and start over! Here's a little bit from this weekend. I wrote this whilst my friends watched Poultrygeist in my living room, which I don't recommend as a film, but do recommend as a thing to put on that you'd rather do anything other than watch.

 Lola couldn't find her tongue. It wasn't quite the same as the baying she'd heard last night, but it echoed down in her bones in the same chilling way. The scratching came again, louder and more frantic this time, and Lola felt as though the house was shrinking around her, caved in by the noise and whatever creature lurked out there.

"Maybe -" Imani began, only to be drowned out by another howl. She dropped Lola's hand, covering her ears and cringing. "What is it?"

Lola shook her head, trying to gather her scattered wits. Whatever was out there, she didn't want to know what it was. She just wanted it to stay outside.

A flare of light caught her eye and she spun to see the stones on the window sill crackling and sparkling. The resinous scent of frankincense filled the air. The image of algiz flashed into her mind and she grabbed Imani again. "I don't think it can get in."

Imani's eyes widened. "I didn't even think of that!"

"Turn out the lights," Lola said, rushing to the window. A second howl crashed in the night just as the lights went out, leaving the flickers from the stones as the only, faint illumination. Lola pressed her face to the window, staring out into the garden. Street lights cast long shadows across the yard and fog rolled everywhere, increasing her sense of claustrophobia. But she saw nothing.

A third time, the howl rang out, and this time something thudded into the front door. Imani screamed, then clapped her hand over her mouth to silence herself. Lola reached for her again and they clung together in the dark, waiting for the next howl, the next thud at the door.

When it came, Lola swore she heard wood crack under the weight of whatever was out there. Dread slammed into her, and she was sure she could smell smoke. She swallowed, trying to push down her fear. "Come on," she said, tugging Imani along.

"Are you crazy?" Imani let her drag her into the hall despite her words, and Lola took strength from that. As the creature outside howled again and the smell of smoke thickened, she needed all the strength she could get.

The creature threw itself at the door again. A halo of blood-red light explode from the wood and the creature cried out now in pain. Lola ran to the door, pressing her hand to the wood. It was hot to the touch. When the light faded, there were scorch marks in the wood, forming the straight, stern shape of algiz.

"What the fuck?" Imani touched it and pulled her fingers back with a hiss. "Is this keeping it out?"

"For now." Lola listened, but there was no sound outside now. She couldn't relax though. A thick, thrumming fear filled the whole house. The stink of smoke pressed down on her, urging her to throw the door open and let cool, clean air sweep in.

A resounding crack shot from the kitchen. Panicked, Lola ran back, Imani right behind her. She had visions of a shadowy monster smashing in the window, bringing fire and smoke in its wake.

Another angry howl rang out, followed by the desperate shrieking scrabble of claws on glass.

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