Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Wednesday Snippet - He could bleed forever

All things being well (and there's no reason they shouldn't be), I am post this from the mountains of Morocco! That being the case, I'm going to get straight on with the snippet-sharing so I can get back to riding camels or eating tagine or whatever the hell I'm doing (I scheduled this to post before I left, you see, so I have no idea what I'm actually doing right now, because technically I'm in the past).

Anyway! Here's a teaser from Through Fire. Enjoy.

Thorn had lit enough candles to throw off a generous amount of light and heat. The flames flickered in the draft whistling through the hut and there was something hypnotic about watching them dance. She watched, quietly entranced, until he spoke and made her jump. 

"Lessons," he said again, rubbing his hands together. "A visual one to start, since it must be done anyway." He drew a knife from within his robes. "Do they still train earth witches to see into the aether?"

"Auras, you mean?" She nodded.

"Good. My last apprentice gave himself nosebleeds trying to do it. Useless." He rolled his eyes and gestured at her with the blade. "Watch, then. And be still."

That sounded ominously like a warning. The goat jerky turned to lead in her stomach as she pulled on her aura sight. The hut exploded with spectral light. The goats were wreathed in ribbons of red and black, whilst Thorn himself was a beacon of oxblood-red. The shimmering play of light was as entrancing as the candle flames, and she watched in fascination as he raised the blade to his throat and nicked the skin. A torrent of scarlet blood flowed forth.

Lola's first screaming instinct was to rush to him and stem the tide. He'd cut the atery, surely, and...and...

And he was a demon and he could bleed forever. She sat on her hands, forcing herself to stay still, praying she wasn't making a mistake.

Beautiful, bold magical energy filled the air, and her second instinct was to grab and it do something with it. Letting that much fresh blood, that much fresh power, simply go to waste seemed blasphemous.

But it wasn't going to go to waste, she realised. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw them gather. They slithered along the floor and dripped from the ceiling, crawled out of the walls in sinuous streams. Black as the night outside and sparkling with cold, stark light, they looked like snakes, or worms, or maggots. Primordial, sightless, seemingly mindless, they swarmed around Thorn, flowing over him until he was lost in a seething mass of monstrous, nameless things.

Lola watched, rapt with horror, as they fed on him. Their black-and-starlight forms took on a blood-red hue, pulsing with stolen life. Her third instinct was to run screaming, but she was terrified of attracting the creatures' attention, so she obeyed Thorn and held still, not even daring to breathe.

She held her breath until her lungs burned, and in that time the creatures seemed sated. They began to melt away, leaving Thorn's aura a sickly shade of yellow. They hadn't just taken blood, they'd Whatever vital essence a demon had, they'd feasted on it. When she blinked away her aura-sight, Thorn was deathly pale and swaying, but clear-eyed and watching her intently. Waiting for her reaction, she thought.

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