Mors Praetor – part 2

The basement of the 8th street building where Frankie’s kiss was located was dark and damp and I shivered at the memories it tried to pull out of my head. Ant put his hand on my shoulder then passed me – he was going first. I resented the protection a little, but that was just Ant. He would have done that with his father as well. Tony rarely came with us on anything on this, but he had a few times. They could almost be twins if they weren’t father and son. Age wise they weren’t that different in comparison with their long lives. Cari had met Tony when she was training to be the Enforcer with all the Council members. He had been ten. When he was twenty five he and Cari had the sordid affair. And it continued until Cari had been a vampire for about fifty years then Cari did the horrible thing of slaughtering a town in her hunger. Tony and his father helped cover it up. But a few years later the Vampire council found out and forbid Tony and Cari from seeing one another feeling Tony was the reason instead of the true reason. Their last nights together conceived Ant with Magic. And thus begins the story of one of my best friends

Ant was trained by Cari to be a protector. She was not the most loving mother, so Ant and I had a lot in common in that regard. His father was absentee just like mine. And just like mine Ant’s father wasn’t at fault, his father didn’t know he existed for much of his life either. And it’s been a long life.

Ryan was about 18 years older than Ant, but when you’ve been a live for eight hundred years it the difference hardly matters. Ryan had gone from father figure, to brother, to best friend over the years. They were my friends now and I trusted Ant would let me do my job, but he’d also protect me if anything bad were to happen.

We descended into the sub basement where you could hear the train rumbling past below us. The smell of blood grew with each step we took closer to the door at the end of the hall. “I’m glad I ate before I came here.”

“The whole kiss looks like it’s killing.” I said as I passed the last empty room that was covered in blood splattered walls, none of it fresh.

“Mother will look into it. Frankie is this way.” Ant pushed open the door in front of us. The smell hit me long before I saw anything. The stench of decaying blood, the putrid smell of bodies long since drained of blood. I choked back the gag reflex that threatened to empty my stomach from the smell. My senses were already pulled back and I could only do so much before my body reacted to the stench. Hopefully long enough to deal with Frankie.

Frankie sat against a wall with a small porcelain doll in his lap. Except at second glance the doll was just a girl who was nearly dead. Her eyes were glazed over with lust filled eyes. Her body limp and pale from loss of blood. The red stain at her neck stark against her pale skin as Frankie looked up.

He saw Ant and he smiled, his fangs visible in blood stained lips. And then he saw me and he stood up, dropping the girl. I wove air and caught the girl before her limp body fell completely lifeless to the floor. She was human but I wrapped her in the elements a last ditch effort to keep her alive while I felt the fury of the crime. The girl was no more than fourteen. There were other bodies of similar girls lying around the room. Long since dead but she was alive.

There was a growl in the dim light and Ant took a step to the side to keep Frankie from bolting out the door. His face showed no emotion and I was certain I wasn’t as calm. I felt the snarl on my lips. The heat in my face. I was angry. Who wouldn’t be seeing this thing taking the life of the future generation. Killing a child in cold blood.

Ant spoke softly into the dim light, “Your rights have been revoked. The Council sees your deeds as against the clan. And you are now submitted unto Venatori justice per the Clandestine Providence and the Law of the Aeternus. Your death shall not be avenged.” With each word of the formal denouement Ant took a step back towards the door. His only job was to keep the creature from fleeing. Ant didn’t try to protect me now. If I died under his watch it would be all my fault.

The man looked at me, “You don’t kill.”

I grinned at him. “You don’t know me.”

“I know who you are.” He sneered, “Just a weak boy who doesn’t play by the rules. I heard about how you cheat.”

“There is no cheating when it comes to life.” I shrugged. “You won’t play fair, why should I?”

“This isn’t some game.” Frankie growled.

“No, this is the end of the road for you Frankie.”

“Where is my trial?” He laughed.

He should get one. And if he didn’t attack me he likely would at least get a reprieve. He wouldn’t die today, maybe tomorrow morning at the top of the building staked to the top of the roof for the sun to rise. A death fitting of what he’d done. A slow torturous death until nothing but ash.

Ant audibly shuddered behind me. He’d felt the thought, seen it in my head. Sometimes he could do that. But most of the time he stayed out of my head. It was a trick most vampires of his kind had, but Frankie was embraced from the Incubus line – Damien must be so proud of his progeny. Not that I had ever met the man myself.

Frankie lunged for the girl and tried to pull her from the grips of the air. I growled and let the anger rise. In my hand I formed a razor sharp line of air, and in a quick moment the offending Vampire’s head was gone from his body. Spurts of blood splattered the ceiling and the walls, and everything else it’s path as it fell to the ground.

Fire erupted from the body. I stared at the body as I burnt it to the same ash I had been thinking about moments before. And then I left the corpse to burn and went to the girl who was still alive, barely breathing, but alive. “You’ll be alright.” I said as I lifted her gently in my arms. All fury was gone except for the edge that kept the fire going. I let the anger fuel the fire, burn it away like the creature who had invoked it. This was the second kill in my lifetime that had been murder in my heart. He hadn’t attacked me.

Ant’s arm around my shoulder made me look over at him. “Don’t make it more than it is. His life was over. If you did not end it I would have been back to do the job on the Council’s order. My mother already said he was the Venatori’s problem now.”

“My problem.” I sighed and started the slow walk out of the building.

Mors Praetor – part 1

The city was still bright with street lights even though it was closer to midnight than not. The Night Life building was a bright beacon in the ever-changing skyline of New York. Every light was on it was busier now than it was during the day. The lobby was a mall full of all types shopping. I felt vampire energy but there was also dragon and therian energies all around me. And there were even humans shopping in the Macy’s and stopping at the coffee shop with the bright red plus sign as a logo. Sinful Delight was big around the City and was growing popularity around the world thanks to a great marketing team.

I headed for the stairs to run up and visit a friend. Though this wasn’t a pleasure call. We had business to attend to. A vampire was running around killing kids and leaving the bodies for their parents to find the next morning. Dealing with dead bodies was painful to begin with, but when you were dealing with grieving parents my heart ached. I had to bring someone in to pay for the crime.

I pushed the doors open and I stepped through a ward set by Il Cane to prevent random people from entering. It didn’t prevent me any longer, but it once had. My relationship with her son had its perks. I didn’t need to call out to see if anyone was around. A blond stuck his head out of the door with a bright smile that reached his green eyes. He looked no more than sixteen but he was over eight hundred years old. “Hey Nox!”

“Hey Ry. Ant ready?”

“He’s finishing up. You can hang here, he’ll be by when he’s done.” Ryan Elliot was Il Cane’s Chevalier – one of many – but the only one who was bound in life and death. Kill one and you killed the other. But you be just as hard-pressed to kill Ryan as to kill his master. She trained him, and eight hundred years was a long time to pick up a lot of tricks on surviving.

Ryan lead me into a small apartment that served as a waiting room. I went straight for the coffee machine and made myself a cup of hot black coffee. “Your bosses pushing for a kill.”

“No more so than usual. But this is five kids dead, Ry.”

He sighed. “I know. Cari warned him.”

“What she say?”

Ryan’s smile said more than what he did, “Not much. It was mostly in Italian.”

“Which you completely understand,” I noted sipping on my coffee.

“It doesn’t translate well. Something about losing your head in the most uncomfortable way possible.” Ryan smirked, “As if there was a comfortable way to do that.”

“With Cari, I think there might be.” I joked.

Ryan’s smile grew wider as he nodded knowingly. “She leaves it to you. You have given us enough time to deal with the situation. And if the Venatori get involved maybe it’ll send a message.”

“What message is that Ry?” I sighed, “That the Venatori have no problem taking a life?”

Ryan’s smile never faded. “No.” But he said nothing more as Ant stepped through the door with a damp towel in his hand. He smelled of fresh blood and sex and I tried not to judge. A vampire had to eat after all. His partners were willing and able but most importantly willing.

Ant sighed, “I should have eaten sooner I apologize.”

I shrugged. “You have to eat.”

He grinned. “If I’d known you were coming sooner…” He let the sentence trail off into what could have been as he sat down next to me. For being completely straight he did enjoy flirting with me. Ant’s hand fell against the back of my neck as he put his arm over the back of the couch to rest comfortably. I tried not to nestle into the comfort he was offering. I was working.

Ryan stood up and took my nearly empty coffee cup from my fingers, “Let me refill that. Afterward, it might be necessary to have a spar or a run. Though I think the comforts of the fist might work better. A bad day?”

I shook my head, “No worse than any other – except this case.”

Ant sighed. “Mother says Frankie lies. She would have killed him herself but she has no proof.”

“Why does she need proof?”

“Same as you. The Council requires that there was wrongdoing but Frankie has not been caught in the act. Only what you smelt on him and in the room.”

“The Venatori don’t care.” Ryan added, “You could just kill him, and no one would say anything.”

I growled, “And if he’s not the one!”

“We all know he is.”

“And if he isn’t?”

Ant sighed. “Then it was murder.”

Ryan added, “But the Venatori would be happy and off your back. And the Vampires won’t retaliate.”

“And there would still be dead kids.”

Ryan sighed, “You can’t save everyone. Frankie is hiding something.”

I shrugged, “And until we figure that out, he lives and I cover up the deaths of drained children because some sick vampire is draining them and leaving them in creative positions suggesting the things they did with them afterward.” My heart was racing. My fists were driving the black painted nails into my palm.

Ant squeezed the back of my neck and I released the tension. Fuck! I groaned as I stood up and started pacing.

“Mother says we can find him with the rest of his kiss down on 8th.”

I didn’t say it was time to go, but Ant stepped in next to me as I headed out of the door. “Good luck!” Ryan called out after us. His voice was tinged with sadness as he didn’t get to come. His job was to protect Il Cane. He stayed at her side, but sometimes he came with us. But not tonight and I didn’t ask what the difference was. Not that anyone would tell me – it was vampire business, not mine. The pain of not belonging ached in my body.

Ant sighed, “Ryan’s right after this we need to get some of those bad vibes out of your head. A good beating should do it.”

I laughed, “From someone else that could be taken in a very different light.”

Ant rolled his eyes, “Only with your old circle. No one here would think of touching you.”

I pouted. Ant shoved me across the stairwell with a laugh. “You know what I mean.”

I grinned at him. “I do.” The banter helped lighten the mood as we descended from the top of the Night Life building and on to the street to find the child-murdering vampire that was plaguing the City night after night. I let my anger fester inside of me even as Ant tried to calm me. But his empathy wasn’t as strong as his mother’s or father’s, he was a warrior not a nurturer though I loved how our friendship had grown.

No Outline to Cannon Fodder

So yesterday I said AJ had no outline. Her and her Alpha Reader were discussing a possible story idea. They’ve been throwing around ideas all week as a matter of fact and the one that really stuck with AJ was:

What if the kids were playing some sort of soul sucking game and Alex commented to me, Remember that time when I gave up my soul? And I’m like WHAT?

So Alex basically goes on to tell us the story that he now remembers since he has his soul back and we sort of broke the magic holding all those things at bay.

AJ has to write it. But I think we can manage 3000 words in two days.

But I won’t leave ya’ll hanging. AJ will post last weeks story Friday/Saturday/Sunday. And I think that will be the way we’ll do this from the get go.

AJ can plan and write the story this week. And then next Weekend you get this weeks story. This gives AJ 7 days to write the story instead of 4, since we could look up the prompt on Friday but we offer it to you on Monday, this will make it easier and give us a little more time to figure out what to write.

And remember I’ve got a new story coming to Wattpad on Monday. We’d really appreciate a few reads from ya’ll if you can manage. Check out yesterday’s post for the link.

Much appreciated!

And we have a story to write so I’m gonna let AJ get to it while it’s good in her head.

No Outline

This short story coming up isn’t going to have an outline.

AJ’s gonna just play it by ear and write whatever comes to mind. We have a funny idea we’ll see how it goes.

But AJ got around to writing last weeks short story. So we’ll start with that here soon.

I wanted to let you know that AJ is sharing the short stories over on Wattpad

We’d love it if you could go on over and give it a read. We started with the Practice session, and we’ll post a new short every Monday. You’ll of course get them all here first. AJ’s trying to pull in an additional audience.

Not me but maybe

This prompt doesn’t really fit into my world. The devil takes your soul and gives it back needing a favor.

I can’t see turning that into anything useful in my world. But it could be fun little story to tell. AJ hasn’t thought about it. The world is getting back to the usual and it’s very much not the usual. But it’s life and everything will move on.

So maybe the story is more like a crossroads demon thing. Why did I sell my soul? To become a great cook? One of the best chefs? Or an artist who is alive and famous?

But whatever the reason why would the devil need my help?

What if it’s not my soul that was taken. What if it’s a demon who promises to help Dee? Sage is suffering because his wife is now suffering? Would I do that?

What would Alex say to all that? He is pretty big on hating demons right now.

What if it was pre book 2 where Alex saves me from my demons? Phobeter comes to me with his problem that only I can help. Maybe someone is killing off is nightmares for ghoulish things.

A thought anyway.

I don’t think AJ’s going to actually have a short story for this one. We are still dancing in a fog. Maybe it’ll get better soon.

Question of the Day

KM Weiland posed a question on facebook. “What is the inciting incident of your WIP”

AJ of course answered it.

It depends on which one you want as I have the book plot, the multi-book arc story, or the multi-book multi-arc overall story.

The inciting incident of the book is when my MC is first tasked with hunting down the dragon who robbed a bank and showed herself to the human world.

The inciting incident of the arc story is at the end of the first book (the plot above) when my MC finds out that he was supposed to die as a baby and that he has a twin sister.

The inciting incident of the overall story of the current multi-arc story is in the first chapter of the first book (the plot above) when he meets the blue-eyed man at the club who was sent to spy on him by the big bad.

AJ’s currently reading Save the Cat! writes a novel and going through the exercises for the Last Phoenix and this all sorts of plays into that. But right now she’s questioning whether or not the first book is about me, or Alex. And it really becomes more of a question which story is being told. Alex changes more than I do in book 1. He goes from trusting no one to trusting me and essentially forgiving me.

But if we look at the next larger picture. Does Alex grow beyond that one thing? Yes he’s an integral part of my life. But for the Ascendant and his own supernatural growth does he? He trusts more people. He accepts me, Ant. He’s my hero but the hero of the story? Is his story more interesting than mine? AJ wants to write Alex’s story. But it’s not my story. So I think we are going with I’m the hero of this story.

Because overall while Alex plays a big part of it, it’s still revolving around me. Me becoming Ascendant, then falling and fixing things, and ultimately saving the world. I mean isn’t that the chosen one’s shtick?