But for the past 24 hours, I've taken a break.
I mean, I've still gone to work and answered phones and helped paint a wall. But I took a break from literary work. No writing! No thinking about agents! I watched a movie with Ryan Reynolds ('nuff said)!
Because of that, I feel like a mild failure. (the not-writing, not Ryan) SO! My answer to the dilemma is simple: post something I've done and see if you guys think I'm going in the right direction. Cuz I redid the first few pages and need input. In fact, I need input on the whole damn thing.
No joke, I'm thinking of giving out a few copies for critiques. If you're interested...
Anyway, I'm going to go write a few snippets of book two. And watch Black Butler.
Yes, this is how I spend my Friday nights.
Teaser after the break:
Teaser after the break:
“And with our greed, a great sin was born unto this world
and like Eve to the apple
that sin shall consume us.”
- Caius 8:22
2 P.R. (Post Resurrection)
Humans are losing.
Those aren't exactly the words anyone wants to hear, and thinking them doesn't feel any better. In some ways, saying we're on the brink of destruction is a good thing; it means we aren't gone yet, we're still fighting back. The demons we created seven years ago haven't swallowed us whole. But they're trying. And they're winning. And we Hunters the only ones holding them back. Days like this, and it's hard to understand why we're even trying.
The lakeside town swept out below my dangling feet, a twisted mass of empty streets and shadowed buildings. Everything was grey, from the roiling sky above to the rain-slicked sidewalks; even the wind was tinted with the metallic mist curling off the lake. It was stupid, sitting on the edge of the high-rise apartment, but the risk felt nice. At some point in the next twenty-four hours, my chances of dying were going to skyrocket. This, at least, was a risk I could control.
I leaned over, felt my heart leap into my chest as vertigo snaked its way up my throat. I could jump. The words drifted through my thoughts like fog, obscuring everything just for a second. I could imagine it, could almost feel it: the momentary weightlessness at the height of my leap, the sudden connection with gravity. I could see the beauty of my blood diffusing into the puddles, slowly seeping out into the surf...
I shook my head and leaned back. My pulse calmed down just a little bit. I was supposed to be on the lookout. Suicide wasn't an option right now, even if it was much less messy than the other ways I'd most likely die. Guys like me didn't really have a life-expectancy.
Closing my eyes, I visualized the Spheres just like I'd been taught ages ago. They pulsed along my spine, five points of whirling energy we used to call Chakras, before we learned how to tap them. My first instinct was to reach for Water—the first Sphere I'd been Attuned to—but that was dangerous. Water was the Sphere of healing, but also of emotions, of regret. And that's a loaded gun when you're sitting on the edge in more ways than one.
I reached deeper, past Water to the Sphere of Earth. It curled in the pit of my pelvis, green and brown and growing. The moment I reached for it, it reached back, twining and blossoming through my body. It pulled me down, down through the steel girders and concrete and asbestos of this twelve-story complex, down into the feral soil far below, grounding me like a root. In that instant, I could feel everything within a mile of the building, was connected to the dust on the decaying sofas below and the rust on the cars piled up just off the interstate. I could feel it all, was a part of it all. My skin hummed with the melody of Earth. It felt like peace.
But there was another, more pressing reason to be open to Earth. Like I said, I was on the lookout. Earth would let me feel the footsteps of the vampyre army lurking somewhere out there. In theory, at least. Nothing was moving. Nothing save the rest of my troop a few blocks away.
If I wanted to, I could do more than just sense things. I could push through Earth, use it to manipulate the very fabric of the world. Years ago, about a year before the vamps were created, we learned how to Attune ourselves to the Spheres. In doing so, we learned how to wield magic. In doing so, we damned ourselves to this: a near-empty world ravaged by vampyres and human stupidity.
Vampyres were magic's bastard offspring. The Spheres were like batteries in the body, fueling our basic needs, giving us life. When you used them to manipulate the outside world—to do magic—it used up the Sphere. And when it drained completely, it imploded. Then it would stop being a battery and would become more like a leech, sucking the body dry of that Sphere's element and leaving an insatiable hunger in its place. It wasn't like death. With the other Spheres working overtime, your body adapted, grew strong in new ways. A half-life of hunger and pain, each Sphere creating a completely unique type of vamp. Each had its own strengths, its own cravings. Each was mad with torment. No one would willingly do that to themselves, save for the cult that rose up the same time as the vamps: Necromancers. They were magic-users, the masterminds. They herded vamps around like private armies. But even the Necromancers were nothing compared to the Ancients...
“Lost in thought, Tenn?”
I yelped and jerked around. The movement was too fast. I slipped off the oily ledge, felt that piercing shock of adrenaline as my connection to Earth shattered and gravity kicked in. The streets below opened like a maw.
I barely had a moment to re-imagine falling to my death before Jarrett's hand latched onto my arm, pulling me off the ledge and onto the concrete roof in one swift motion. Pain shot through me. Welcome pain: the scrape of bared skin on concrete. Much better than the potential crash of a hundred-foot drop.
“Careful,” he said.
He hovered above me, the Sphere of Air glowing blue in his throat. It wasn't the first time he'd snuck up on me like that. Fuck Air mages and their ability to fly.
“It would have been your fault,” I said. I looked down at my forearms, to where my black coat had pulled back to expose now-bloodied skin. “You know I don't like it when you do that.”
I opened to Earth and forced my skin to stitch itself back together, ignoring the pain of a thousand burning needles that accompanied the act. Healing hurt, no matter what anyone said to the contrary. That done, I pushed down my sleeves, hiding the black sun tattoo twining around my right forearm.
He just chuckled. He wore the same clothes as all of us, the black jeans and overcoat of a Hunter. The hilt of his sword peeked up over his left shoulder, and another dagger was belted at his waist. His blond hair was matted down from the rain, barely hiding the scars that crossed his face like pale lines on a vellum map. He was grinning, and that made his blue eyes shine. He really was proud of himself for nearly killing me. No, he's just happy cuz it means he won this round. Small gusts of wind whipped around him, making his coat flutter out like wings. Then the Sphere in his throat winked out and he landed lightly on the roof.
“Sorry if I scared you,” he said. He took a few steps forward and helped me to my feet. “But you have to be ready at all times.”
I sighed and looked off to the right, staring blankly at the rooftops.
“Don't do that,” he said.
“What?” I asked.
“Make that face. That I'm pissed at you face. You know I didn't mean it.”
Then, before I could say anything, he took a half-step closer and wrapped his arms around me. I tensed, wanted to push him away. But habit got the better of me; I squeezed him tight and buried my face in his neck, breathing his scent like cologne.
“Whatever,” I mumbled.
He kissed my neck. “Don't be mad at me.”
“I'm not,” I replied. I couldn't be if I tried.
“Good,” he said. He leaned back slightly, forcing me to look into his eyes—just for a moment—before he leaned in and kissed my lips.
I chuckled. Not exactly romantic.
“I'm on the lookout,” I said against his lips.
“And I'm your commander,” he mumbled. “Obey.”