Deadly Ever After

Archive for the tag “Shinigami”

Flash Fiction Friday: SURPRISE! EXCERPT FROM RUNNING AWAY

TODAY’S BREW: Autumn Roast. Okay, it’s snowing, but AUTUMN ROAST.

By Julie

SURPRISE! I’M EXCERPTING YOU! BOOM!

For today’s Flash Fiction Friday, and because of last week’s Virtual Book Signing Party (http://wp.me/p2x7oj-DX) for RUNNING HOME, and my incessant babble about the sequel, RUNNING AWAY, I thought I would surprise you all with an excerpt! YOU’RE WELCOME.

I have one week to finish this first draft, and my excitement to get it out to all of you who’ve been so supportive of Eliza and crew is making me insane. I hope this little bit leaves you wanting more.

spring snow

Where vampires are made. Japan, naturally.

EXCERPT FROM RUNNING AWAY

By Julie Hutchings

It was dark, and I had no idea where I was.

“Nicholas? Nicholas?!”

I heard noises, and worse, I felt something. I felt it again, death, lurking around me, as invasive and comforting as always.

My limbs shook when I threw off the blankets and threw my legs over the side of the bed, only to discover the bed was on the floor. The noise of my feet hitting the floor made me gasp.

When my eyes adjusted to the light, I saw thankfully, nothing in the room but for the bed I’d been in and a few very small pieces of furniture. Shadows flitted across the walls from outside, the trees swaying in the winter night.

Japan, I’m in Japan, and in my own room. Nicholas isn’t here.

I steadied my breathing, knowing I was alone, and knowing anything could be waiting for me. The vampires had kept themselves hidden during the day, and now they were out, looking for blood.

No. These are Shinigami. They’re not that.

I needed light of some kind. Something. But there was nothing.

“Perfect time for some crap karate test, Nicholas, for the love of—“

A branch snapped. I could hear it as plain as day, the rice paper walls concealing nothing. Two walls of paper lead outside, and there was enough snow on the ground that a branch would have to be stepped on to snap.

Death was all around me. It was the only familiar thing I had here.

The silhouette of a man appeared on the other side of the door, inches from my face, and I screamed, stumbled backwards, and fell onto the bed.

He didn’t move. Didn’t try to run or come after me. He waited. Like death itself.

Death always knew I couldn’t resist. It owned me.

I stood, and walked to the door, never doubting if I should open it. When I slid the door open, the figure made no movement, and didn’t even blink. The full moon illuminated him.

He was breathtaking in his darkness.

The night made him brighter somehow. A full head taller than me, bare chested with only thin white karate pants the same crispness as the snow. Perfectly chiseled, smooth, strength in every pore. Beautiful and fearsome. He looked down at me with onyx eyes, shining black hair falling around his cheeks and chest, the front held up in a traditional knot.

He smelled like red wine and roses.

Rich, heady and slightly nauseating. The scent of looking into something beyond.

The smell slapped me with memory, one I hadn’t touched since it occurred. I knelt at my mother’s casket, eyes on my father’s next to her. My grandmother leaned over me, wine heavy on her breath, the scent of failing roses succumbing to it from the wreaths and bouquets all around us.

There’s shadows all around you,” she said into my ear. I hadn’t budged.

My mouth was opening and closing, no sound coming out as I stared at him.

He was Shinigami. And he was looking at me with as much wonder as I was him, all in his eyes. The rest of him was rigor mortis still.

A crack resounded, one I knew all too well, and the man was gone.

I think I scared him away.

Snow was drifting in over my bare feet. I shut the doors and turned to run back to the bed, only to smack into Nicholas, making me scream.

“You’re late,” I muttered, and breathed in his cinnamon plum scent. A mix of New Hampshire and my new home, Japan.

“Who was that?” he asked, like I’d answered the door to girl scouts, not a vampire.

“I don’t know. But he was the same vampire from earlier, in the shadows.”

Nicholas flashed to the doorway, and looked out but we both knew nobody was there.

I collapsed back onto the bed, still drained. I could have slept for a month. I didn’t know what day it was, or what time it was. But I knew that Nicholas was in the room with me, and that I wanted him to stay.

Dragging myself to sitting, I pushed away the nothingness I’d been feeling, reminded myself that what had happened all around me was not my fault, and wasn’t his. I tried to make it a fact in my head before I spoke to him.

“Nicholas,” I said to his back. He didn’t move. “I know I’ve been—missing pieces—lately. And I wish it hadn’t been you I saw every time I thought of Kat being dead. But I’m trying really hard to fix it, Nicholas, I promise you.”

His shoulders relaxed some, or they sagged. I couldn’t tell which. I didn’t see him turn around or come to me, but he was there, kneeling at the edge of my bed.

“I’m not a man who needs apologies for everything to be all right.”

“Good. Apologizing is awful.”

“But necessary. I’ve nearly killed myself for you, Eliza Morgan, and you resent me for it. Feelings don’t die any faster than I do, and it’s agonizing trying to kill them.”

“What are you saying?”

“I’m dying, and you’re spending the time we have hating me for something I had no control over.”

I stopped breathing.

“What is it, Eliza? All the times you said to me no, it’s not your fault, this is my fate you didn’t mean it? You seemed so sincere.”

“Your sarcasm isn’t making this easier.”

“Nothing is easy! Nothing!”

I was terrified that he was calling my bluff. I was terrified that I’d pushed him too far.

But I was pissed that he was treating me this way, knowing what I’d seen, what I’d been through, and what I was leaving; my life.

“I lost my best friend,” I said.

“And so did I. I spent my immortal life with Roman. Until you. Do I hold it against you? No. Because it’s not your goddamn fault. And for the number of times you’ve said to me through gritted teeth that it’s not my fault, it’s yours, maybe I started to believe you. You and I both know we need this to be somebody’s fault.”

The wind was knocked out of me. It felt like I was losing him, and of course, I was. He was melting into nothing because Roman took Kat’s life and he hadn’t. All this death for nothing, and no explanation except that there was no choice.

“I think we both need to remember what it feels like to be alone,” he said, and in a sickening flash, he was gone.

The only scent that lingered was red wine and roses.

 

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Eliza and the Bethlem Royal Hospital: Julie Gets Choked Up

TODAY’S BREW: Something from Costa Rica. Or Target.

By Julie

THERE IS A BIT OF A RUNNING AWAY  SPOILER IN HERE. IF YOU ARE AFRAID, TURN BACK NOW.

I’m hot and heavy into the sequel to RUNNING HOME, and RUNNING AWAY has become a part of me. Eliza has grown, transformed, and her new life has been forged in a lot of suffering. When writing this book, I needed to pay close attention to keeping the tone and themes of it as dark and complex as Eliza has become, so when I wrote the scene of her first feeding as one of the Shinigami vampires, I needed to make it more than just a bloodfest. Embracing a little darkness when writing a vampire scene isn’t always hard, but keeping it a thing of beauty and depth without any form of eroticism is a bit more difficult. It needed to be significant, symbolic. The first feeding needed to carry a lot of the tone of the book, and so I took my sweet ass time working on it.

I knew where I wanted her first feeding to occur, and there is plenty of reason for it which I won’t be so cruel as to divulge to you now. It had to be a place that had patched-over horror, hidden ugliness in plain sight. It needed to be dank, riddled with ghosts, melancholy and be the variety of dirty that can’t be cleaned. And I wanted a pinnacle of light and glistening freshness in the middle of it that couldn’t escape her fate, no matter how brightly she glowed in its dimness.

http://stlawrencesbodmin.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/kitchen.jpg

Inspiration for my Bethlem Royal Hospital scene. The Kitchen. http://stlawrencesbodmin.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/kitchen.jpg

I was so disturbed by the research I did on the Bethlem Royal Hospital of London (http://wp.me/p2x7oj-j7 ) for our March Madness blog series last year that it never left my thoughts. I wanted to do more to commemorate what had happened there, to show my respect for this terrible piece of history the best way I knew how; to write about it. When the idea hit me to make it the scene of Eliza’s first feeding, it worked itself in so perfectly that I breathed a mental sigh of relief to write it. Now that it’s done, and the end of the book is just a series of falling dominoes, my pride in this scene is a little overwhelming. I mean, I’m kind of a jerk about it in my head. I love this scene and all the subtext to it, the meaning it has for all the characters–I just can’t wait to share it.

This Flash Fiction Friday, I’ll let you see it. I’m desperate to share it, and also entirely horrified about letting go of it. It still feels so much a part of me, entrenched in me. But I promise to loosen the grip, and give you some of this scene come Friday. Unless you don’t want me to. Then say so and I shall cling to it like a tiny life preserver for a while longer.

Character Expo: Chris Lynch of Running Home

TODAY’S BREW: A gallon of this S’mores coffee, and then I will pour the grounds into the air conditioner to see what happens.

by Julie

Kristen will be pleased, today I feel like talking about our resident psychopath, Chris Lynch.

Charming, hot bastard. He’s nuts.

Running Home‘s most obvious villain is the sharknado of an attorney, hunted down in Boston by the old guys who work at the sad excuse of a “law firm” that Kat works at, to bring in some fresh, new blood. No pun intended. (Totally intended.) Young and wealthy, worldly, polished and calculating, Lynch is a fish out of water in Ossipee, New Hampshire, and fits together with Kat as well as Paula Deen fits into a waffle house. Kat could not fall harder for the smooth talker.

Desperate to rid himself of his eternal babysitters, Roman and Nicholas, Lynch is eager to head to New Hampshire, if only for new hunting grounds. Lynch is one of the Shinigami, with fated victims to put to rest, chosen for him, but that doesn’t stop his killing nature. Killing humans isn’t just a job for Chris Lynch, it’s something he’s worked at his entire existence. His carefully hidden twisted mentality combined with the unmatchable weapons of his charm and vampire abilities makes him a danger that needs reeling in. Nicholas and Roman are just the vampires to do it, no matter how much they resent it. Obligation is obligation, and the Shinigami don’t turn their backs on their calling.

Chris is more trouble than he seems to be worth. His need to kill isn’t only based on his thirst for blood, but the sick mind that fuels it. Kat sees none of this, and Ellie can’t convince her of the impossible to believe. And Lynch loves the problems he causes like a kid setting fire to things to watch them burn.

I wrote a couple of short stories from the sick bastard’s point of view in The Love Abominable, here http://wp.me/p2x7oj-fi and The Love Abominable, Part 2, here http://wp.me/p2x7oj-kg. And you’ll get a faceful of him in Running Home.

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