Here’s the latest excerpt for you guys. Take a little break from this rainy day, grab a warm drink, and read. To catch up, below are previous excerpts:
Part 1: What Was That Thing?
Part 2: Meet Andie and Max
Part 3: Poor Jules
Part 4: Two Worlds
Part 5: Meet the Rat King
Part 6: Let’s Go Mole People Hunting!
Part 7: Found: Mole People
Part 8: Shady Shit
Part 9: Home Sweet Home
Part 10: Meet the Parents
Part 11: Not Your Average Blood Suckers
Part 12: A Little Taste
Part 13: Danger Signs
Part 14: No Rest for the Weary
Part 15: Bestia Medicus
Part 16: Bestia Medicus 2
**Also, check out this short story I wrote: The Thing
. . .
Max woke slowly. He turned to face the large sliding doors that opened to the wrap-around balcony, hanging in a rapidly dimming red sky. He didn’t like naps. They made him feel groggy and unfulfilled. He stretched languorously out in bed. For a second he almost forgot about the car chase, vampires, and magical beasts but as he quickly retracted into a ball from the pain in his lower back, neck, and upper chest, he wondered what more he would witness. And a small voice, one that he been ignoring up until now, asked how much more he could take of it.
He lay still in his fetal position, listening for the familiar noises of Andie moving about in the apartment. Sure enough, she approached the door, softly knocked, and asked if he was awake. He didn’t answer. He could see the blurred shadow of her feet through the crack at the bottom of the door and watched silently as she slowly shuffled away.
A pang of guilt made him grit his teeth. All he wanted was to go back to sleep but instead, he jumped out of bed and opened the bedroom door. “Andie?” he called out. He could hear her clanging away in the kitchen as he walked out into the hallway toward the living room. Sarah was standing in the middle of the room, facing the torn up sofa that was now covered with dresses.
“I’m still feeling the green one,” she said loudly, fingering a sleeveless forest green dress with a jeweled collar.
“You don’t think it’s a little flashy?” Andie answered from the kitchen.
“Are you guys going out tonight?” Max asked, picking up a black backless mini dress from the couch.
Andie walked in from the kitchen, wiping her hands on a towel, and saw Max examining the dress before snatching it out of his hands, “We are going out tonight. Do you have anything nice to wear?”
Max’s face was blank, “Huh?”
“Go bring your bag out,” Andie ordered.
“It better not be all flannel shirts and skinny jeans, you hipster bastard,” Sarah barked.
Back in the living room, Max dumped the contents of his bag on the floor and began sifting through. He had a lot of flannel shirts. He had packed so quickly he wasn’t sure what he had in his bag. He pulled out two pairs of pants, one of which was part of his uniform, and the other pair was wrinkled dress pants.
“Oh, perfect!” Andie cried when he held them up to show her.
The rest of the items were a hodgepodge of shirts Sarah didn’t approve of, graphic t-shirts, and an inordinate number of white tees. After a bit of haggling, they settled on the least offensive flannel button down, a dark blue and green plaid.
“So, what is this for, exactly?” Max asked as Sarah took his clothes into Andie’s room to iron.
Andie had her back turned to him, holding up a red dress against her torso and smoothing it down. She mumbled something in reply.
Max leaned forward, “Can you repeat that?”
She made a noise in her throat between a cough and a sigh and very quickly announced, “We’re going to see the last remaining vampire tribe in the northeast.”
“More vampires?” Max yelped.
Andie turned to Max, the dress still pressed up against her, “These are good ones, I promise. The High Council has a treaty with them. We don’t harm them and they don’t eat . . . people.” She could tell Max didn’t seem convinced, “And they give us really important information!”
“Really?” he said skeptically, “like what?”
Andie put her hand on her hip, “They can tell if something’s going on in The Otherworld and in exchange, we give them space and protection.”
Max was unconvinced, “I thought the High Council already knew what was going over there.”
“Not everything. The High Council doesn’t strictly control The Otherworld, not that they haven’t tried. But, it’s more of an overseer. So, they have Otherworlders in their employ that give us valuable information. Like the vampires. They have their own network of informants. Also, they can just sense stuff cause of the whole supernatural undead thing,” Andie said putting the dress down and surveying the others.
“So, we’re going to these vampires because they might have information. What makes you think they’ll give it to you?” She asked pointedly.
“Doesn’t hurt to try,” Andie replied, shrugging her shoulders as she picked up another flowy blue number.
Max wasn’t sure if it was because he was still groggy but he didn’t see the connection, “Ok, wait. What does this have to do with dressing up?”
“Ah. Well. This particular tribe is very formal. Their lineage goes back to the very first vampire in Romania, so they’re basically like royalty. And since we’re trying to make a good impression, we have to be respectful of that,”She curtsied.
“Or else?” He aised an eyebrow
“They won’t give us what we’re looking for. We’ll be fine. Just follow my lead,” Andie assured him. “This tribe is called the Niferescul and their leader’s name is Ghregore.”
“Rege to you guys,” Sarah said coming back with Max’s clothes wrinkle free. “You should get into the shower now,” she pointed at Andie.
Andie picked up two or three dresses at random before heading back into the bathroom in her room. Sarah grabbed the green dress she favored earlier and followed her as Max shuffled away to get ready.