A Short Story Excerpt

I haven’t posted much fiction lately, mostly because I’ve been in a writing stupor, blind to everything except the absolute horrors going on in my manuscript. Don’t be alarmed – these things are AMAZING.

A while back I was taking a writing class, but then work came between the two of us and we had to part ways. I started writing a short story for said class, it’s pretty good, if I may say so, but it’s also unfinished. So I’m going to post the couples pages, get some comments and some encouragement to finish. It doesn’t have a title yet…so yeah.

            Cord crushed the cigarette in his fist, watching as the flecks of tobacco spilled from his fingers. He’d promised himself he’d quit, hell, he’d promised a lot of things over the past few years. With a sigh, he fished the crumpled pack out of his pocket. The first drag brought everything into focus. Reaching once again into his pocket, he retrieved the business card and train ticket.

“Hey, you can’t smoke here,” a passing man said, face contorted with righteous disgust.

Cord looked up, catching the signs changing, informing him that his train was running on time. “Fuck off,” he muttered, but the man was already out of earshot. Cord dropped his cigarette anyway, smashed the embers with his boot and headed for the platform, hitching his backpack on his shoulder. The woman there stamped his ticket without looking at him. She didn’t ask for ID, probably didn’t care that the name on the little stub wasn’t his. He didn’t thank her, just snatched up the ticket and strode into the belly of the station, pulling his leather jacket tight around his shoulders. That was New York for you; nobody really gave a shit anyway.

The train ride was long and boring and Cord found himself dozing against the window as the train rumbled past cities and long stretches of what passed for countryside. The woman in the next seat roused him when they reached the last stop. He felt like shit when he couldn’t muster a smile of thanks. He supposed he’d spent too long in the city, watching his life slide by in a steel-colored lull.

Cord palmed the business card as he stepped into the snap of brisk autumn air. It was colder here without the long fingers of buildings to block the wind. Good, he thought, scanning the station, which was much smaller and dingier than the one in the city. He read the tiny words printed on the card for the millionth time.

Congratulations, you have been chosen to attend a weekend of secret festivities.

            Secret festivities, he scoffed. It was the quote that caught his attention.

“If you don’t get lost, there’s a chance you may never be found.”

            He’d found the card and train ticket on his brother’s dresser while stealing money for cigarettes. It was probably some self-help seminar that would leave him cross-eyed with boredom, but he figured, what the hell? Couldn’t be any worse than spending the weekend at home while Mom drank herself into a pathetic stupor. So he’d pocketed the card, ticket, and thirty dollars, and left his cellphone in their place.

Anger burned hot inside of him as though he’d swallowed the flame of the devil himself. He didn’t give a fuck about his family. They could rot in the tiny shithole apartment for all he cared. Besides, if the “secret festivities” sucked, he figured he’d just escape and spend the weekend lost in the unfamiliar town.

He hailed a cab out front and gave the driver the address from the back of the card. Thirty minutes later, they arrived in front of a lonely gated driveway that disappeared into a dark thick of woods. He paid the driver, skimping on the tip, and watched as the taxi pulled away.

Cord looked around, tamping down a frisson fear. He was from fucking New York City; a house in the woods was nothing. He crossed to the intercom next to the gate and depressed the button.

A tinny, disembodied voice answered. “Name?”

“Co—Aaron Adams.” He almost forgot to give his brother’s name.

The black gate swung inward, creaking. Without looking back, Cord slung his bag over his shoulder and went inside.

There it is! Now I’m off to manuscript land once again.

All the best,

Kacey

THE THRILL OF COMPLETION (AND AN EXCERPT!)

Yep- the title means exactly what you think it does. I finished another manuscript. This one is all about faeries, faerieland, and things that go bump in the night. Okay, I lied about that last part. There may be more bump in the second book.

At just over 81,000 words, I’ve left myself room for rewrites and any additional scenes I might need. What I find amazing, is that from beginning to end I can see my growth as a writer. Granted, I did get to work with an editor right in the middle of this project, which probably helped enormously, but I LOVE to see that improvement. Another plus? The writing group I joined. For the longest time all I wanted was a writing support group, and now I have it!

So let’s talk about this manuscript. Faeries…

I love this storyline. The characters are magical (no pun intended). Of course, it’s still in its raw form and has a long way to go, but I feel pretty good about it regardless. I’ve probably mentioned that I plan on seeking an agent for this work, and that still holds true. I have a LONG time before that will happen, have no fear. There will be mass edits, beta reads, and more edits. Not to mention it’ll be subjected to my writing group. Haha…subjected. They really are great, I swear. Subjecting my writing to them is always a pleasure. I only hope one day I can write as well as they do. It’s something to strive for, at least.

Hopefully I’ll have a new description up about REFLECTION POND soon. Blurbs, queries, synopsis’s, and all that jazz, aren’t really my forte. Mostly they make me want to bang my head against the wall. But I’ll persevere. Because now I can have my writing group help me! (They’ll be so thrilled.) 🙂

And, because you’re such loyal readers, I’m going to grace you with a short excerpt from REFLECTION POND.

“What are you doing?” I asked, staring. There was something about all the boys here that made them unbelievably attractive. Maybe it was a faerie thing. My mouth went dry.

            “This is a glamour,” he said. His voice had me searching his face. It was tight, wary, like he wished he was anywhere else but ensconced in the dark with me. The fact that he seemed worried did nothing to calm my already thin nerves.

            “Are you trying to tell me that you’re actually fat?” I said, trying to lighten the suddenly portentous mood.

            Rowan’s lips quirked. “No.” He touched the edge of his ribs and I wished, not for the first time, that it was my hand there instead of his. “Start here.”

            I swallowed and did as instructed. But this time, instead of seeing the hard line of bone and muscle, I found a shimmering edge, a layer that didn’t belong. “I see it,” I said, excited.

            “Good.” The tightness remained in his words. “I want you to peel it away like the dead skin of a sunburn.”

            I ignored how gross that sounded and found the edge again. I imagined it curling, stretching, and pulling away from Rowan’s ribs. I watched, fascinated, as the glamour obeyed, inch by inch. Rowan’s skin under the glamour was littered with raised scars. They crisscrossed over the bone, angry pale marks that distorted the otherwise smooth skin. I only managed to reveal a thin strip before the scars distracted me and the glamour fell back into place.

            Before I could think about what I was doing, I’d pressed my hand to his side. The skin was smooth and firm under my palm. I looked up, confused. “What happened to you?”

            Rowan let out a breath. “So you did it, then. Good.” He stepped out of my touch and went to the fireplace, adding another log. The sound of fire devouring wood filled the room. I stared at his back for a moment, seeing the shimmering edge of the glamour. I peeled it away just above his shoulder blade, revealing more scarred skin. Nausea turned my stomach and I swallowed it down.

            “Rowan?”

            His shoulders tensed and he curled his hands into fists, but didn’t answer. I stood, hands shaking. My feet scraped the dirt floor as I crossed it, but Rowan didn’t turn. The heat of the fire and Rowan’s scent reached me at the same time. I lifted my trembling hands; they hung in the air between us, indecisive. Neither of us breathed. Other than the fire, the room was silent.

            “Go ahead,” he said, voice hoarse. His head was lowered, and his hair obscured his face and his expression, so I had no idea what he was thinking.

            I touched my hands to his shoulders, gentle at first, and then harder when he didn’t pull away. I watched, horrified, as the glamour dissolved, and Rowan—the real Rowan—stood before me. Scars covered his entire torso and arms, some long and straight; others jagged like someone had torn through his skin with a serrated blade. I traced a thick, hard ridge near his shoulder and he tensed further. This scar had a twin on the opposite side, just as wide and rough.

            I wanted to ask him who did this. I wanted to seek vengeance—the sudden and bitter hatred that bubbled inside me was a surprise. I bit my lip hard, trying not to cry. I remembered Rowan’s memories, seeing him as a little boy, taunted and unloved. His foster homes were not a safe place to live; I knew it just as much as I knew that it was the same for mine. Someone had hurt him, and hurt him badly.

            I stepped closer, running my hands from his back, over the bumps of his ribs, to his chest. I flattened them there, feeling the slight down of chest hair. I pressed my face to his back and Rowan sucked in a breath.

            I held him.

            My cool cheek pressed against the fevered warmth of his ruined skin. There was wetness there as my silent tears dripped, warm and salty. I closed my eyes, scarcely breathing. Underneath scars, muscle, and bone, Rowan’s pulse pounded. His skin heated where our energy connected, warming my unsteady hands with restrained possibility. Several moments passed. The fire continued to crackle with cheerful obliviousness to the emotion whirling inside of me.

            It was a while before Rowan turned out of my touch and I let him, dropping my arms to my sides. He faced me, expression guarded and distant. The glamour was back, I realized, his chest and arms smooth. He brushed at my tears with the pads of his thumbs. “Please don’t cry, Callie.” His voice was thick with the emotion he refused to show on his face. I closed my eyes and more tears fell. He caught them with his fingertips, wiping them away. “It was a long time ago.” His breath was warm on my cheek. “Don’t cry for me.”

            “I’m sorry,” I whispered, eyes still closed. His forehead pressed to mine and one of his hands traveled to the back of my neck. His palm was warm and damp with my tears. For a second I thought that he would kiss me. My heart leapt into my throat as I anticipated that, but all too soon he pulled away, leaving my lips parted and expecting a kiss that would never come.

So to celebrate this accomplishment, I think I’ll go to the movies tonight. Snow White is in my future.

All the best,

Kacey

P.S. In two weeks I will post my chapter of BLOOM, a round robin blogvel that all started with Michelle Simkins. Read up so you’ll be ready!