Nov 18, 2010

Slow NaNo Progress

I’m still forging on with NaNo although I’m sure that I am unlikely to finish it on time at this point due to other commitments and since I currently sit at 18, 678 words. I will stick it out until the end of November and continue the story from where I leave off after February. I’ve grown attached to the vampires I have created for the story, so I think they deserve an ending. Meet Clay and Dougal.

Here’s a excerpt as seen on the NaNo site:

Judging by the hand I could see holding a tumbler half-filled with my Glenfiddich whiskey, my guest had already helped himself.

“I see you haven’t managed to rid yourself of that nasty breaking and entering habit of yours,” I said dryly, tossing my keys in a crystal bowl on one of the side tables.

Dougal’s head appeared around the leather smiling broadly, his shaggy dark blond hair unkempt as ever and his pale green eyes crinkling with mirth. “Brother, your fascination with home security always did amuse me. How unfortunate it would be for the human who disturbs you in the dead of night,” he said still with a hint of his Scottish accent remaining after three hundred and seventy years.

I went to the cabinet and poured a tumbler for myself, shaking the bottle to offer a re-fill. Dougal held his glass out only too willingly.

“It’s more mid-day intrusions I am eager to avoid.” I raised an eyebrow. Just as Dougal never understood why I surrounded myself with basic protection, I could never understand why he didn’t. It wasn’t as if we were indestructible.

“Your paranoia is astounding, Clay. After all these years you still don’t trust our natural protections.” He shook his head in disbelief, taking a large mouthful of whiskey and puffing out his cheeks before swallowing. “I can always rely on you for the good stuff.” He grinned in appreciation.

His reference was to the shield around us, the invisible, intangible quality that kept humans from straying too close to a predator. I took a seat in the other chair inspecting the half emptied bottle. I gathered he had been here a while. “I don’t consider it paranoia, more like self preservation. I prefer not to take the chance.” My recent interaction with Alegra only went to further prove I was right to be careful.

Humans no longer had the instincts that kept them from danger, they rushed to it like moths fluttering blindly to a flame. More than that, they found legends of our kind alluring, fascinating. They dreamed up movies and fairytale of vampires with souls, walking in the daylight, resisting their natural desire for human blood and falling in love with human women. Such things were impossible.

I took a drink and enjoyed the warming alcohol slipping down my throat. “So, Dougal, what are your plans?” I asked casually leaning forward to rest my elbows on my knees and rolling the smooth glass between my palms.

Dougal smirked and stretched out his long legs in front of him, just like me Dougal never made it to his twenty first birthday. He was a highlander once, and had the body of one. His muscled arms and shoulders under his black shirt came from years of sword training and his hard stomach was honed in fistfights while he was still human. As a matter of principle he never returned to the highlands after he was changed. Dougal was stoned and banished by his clan when he reappeared two weeks after his apparent death on the battlefield. Although in my estimation he was lucky. Like me, his introduction to this existence could have been so much worse.

He knew me well and I didn’t have to speak my real question out loud. Being older than me, it wasn’t at all likely that it was Dougal being sloppy but his sudden appearance after fifteen year indicated there was something up. Maybe he knew more about what was going on than me.

“I’m getting out of Dodge, Clay. If I was you I would do the same,” he said plainly before taking another deep drink.

I narrowed my eyes curiously sensing his worry. It was very unlike Dougal to worry about anything.

“It’s Abhartach.”

I snorted, almost choking on a mouthful of whiskey. “You can’t be serious.” I laughed.

“Aye, I am deadly serious and if you didn’t cut yourself off from everyone and everything around you, you would have heard too. The news is rampant, what do you think it is that’s attracting the crazies?” He swallowed thickly, the tight muscles of his jaw twitching.

“How?” I asked seriously, quickly realizing that it would make sense if there was a group of foolish vampires intent on raising Abhartach, that there would be others waiting in the wings to welcome him back, hoping for favor.

“No idea.” He picked up the bottle I had left on the ground between us and poured his glass almost to the brim, doing the same to mine. “I just know this can’t be good. There was a reason he was put in the ground and believe me if they do manage to raise him, he will not be happy. We are talking mayhem, slaughter, a blood war… the end of life as we know it. I am not going to be sitting at ground zero when it strikes.”

He paused for a moment seeming to gauge my reaction but I wasn’t sure what reaction I should be having. I only knew about Abhartach from legends. Surely if there was a way to bring him back someone would have found it before now? On the other hand I trusted Dougal, it was Dougal who showed me how to exist in this life. He took me under his wing when others would have walked away and left me to rot. I owed him my trust. If he said this was going to happen, I had to believe it really was going to happen.

“Come with me, brother,” Dougal said seriously. “She hasn’t evaded you for all this time by being stupid. She’s long gone from here.”

I frowned into my glass, watching the liquid ripple from the tiny movements of my hands and realized I was shaking. He was right of course. Three months and I had no indication she was still here. So why did I feel a strange tugging in my stomach as the idea of leaving. I should go. I should go tonight. Regardless of anything else going on, there was nothing left for me here in Dublin. Still, I felt hesitant. I tipped the glass back, draining the last drop and returned to staring, this time into the empty glass.

Dougal laughed, breaking into my thoughts and I turned my head to see him scrutinizing me with interest. His smile was wide, his teeth gleaming white in the darkened room.

“I know that look,” he accused shaking his finger at me. “I’ve seen it in my own stupid reflection too many times. Who is she?” He leaned forward sniffing at the air.

I sat back dismissing him with a way of my hand. “What? There is no-one.”

“Really?” His eyebrows rose disappearing into the disheveled hair that fell across his forehead. “By you pallor I would say you haven’t fed in at least thirty six hours and you reek of human.”

“I’ve come from the city,” I explained, standing up and moving away to pull a fresh bottle from the drinks cabinet and suddenly feeling the need for more alcohol.

“Aye,” he chuckled but I got the distinct impression he wasn’t agreeing with me at all.

I opened the bottle and poured more whiskey glowering at him which seemed to amuse him further. He tilted his head back, closed his eyes and inhale deeply as if tasting the air around him. I sat again, in a stony silence for a moment and observed him. Finally he smacked his lips and smiled.

“A tasty wee morsel, brother.”

I flinched and as if of their own accord my fingers of my free hand curved in, my nails biting into my palm. There were several scents trapped in the fibers of my clothing, but I was well aware the strongest was of coco, coffee ground and adrenalin – Alegra.

Dougal’s eyes flashed to my fisted hand and his eyes instantly darkened on reflex, blood red seeping into the edges. “You’ve been alone far too long, Clay,” he started darkly and I could see the tips of his fangs emerge past his lips. “Believe me, there is nothing I would rather see then you happy with a companion.”

“I would never consider a human companion.” I looked away and shook out my hand, releasing the tension.

“I did.”

“Yes, and look what happened. You watched her die,” I said bitterly. Why were we even having this conversation? It was irrelevant.

When I looked back to Dougal his fangs had retracted and his eyes were once again green. They tightened pulling his eyebrows together as he looked at me with an almost fatherly concern.

“Aye, she died and I would do it all again in a heartbeat for just one more second with her in my life.” He sighed deeply. “Regardless, now is not the time. You need to leave.”

I pursed my lips, tossing the full bottle in my hands. For some reason I still could not make myself move. “You are wrong. She is not a potential companion, she is a potential victim. She knows Dougal, somehow she knows. Once she finishes work I’m going to follow her home and clean up my mess. I’m going to kill her.” The words felt like barbed wire being dragged through my throat and the alcohol did nothing to relax me. True, I didn’t kill every time I fed, but I have killed and for almost all I didn’t blink, let alone feel uncertain as I did now.

Abruptly the bottle was snatched from my hands and less then a half second later Dougal was standing in front of me pouring into his glass.

“No you won’t,” he said assuredly. “But if you want my advice.” He tipped the bottle toward me and the amber liquid swished around inside the glass.

“I don’t. Not on this,” I cut him off.

He shrugged unaffected by my bluntness and then smiled. “You know you are going to get it anyway. My advice is take the girl and get the hell out of here before it’s too late.”


  1. Saw Jennie's review on her Random Chalk Talk blog for Shades and decided to visit your site. I headed straight to your blog and am very happy with what I found. What you have written really intrigues me. Do you have plans to complete this and publish it? I hope so because just this limited excerpt makes me want to know more about Clay and Dougal.

  2. I also read a great review about Shades. It sounds great. I've added it to my TBR list!

  3. I'm late...sorry! The holidays rushed me. I seriously hope you plan on doing something with what you've written. Just as your work intrigues me, it will interest others.