Thursday, June 16, 2011

16321--In Warm Blood (Ch. 1)

Happy Thursday. To help keep my own feet to the fire, I'm using Thursday as my public accountability day. That means, posting a bit of coherently creative output for you to read and feedback on every week. If I perform according to my own intent, what I put here will be available as a whole elsewhere at the same time or shortly after appearing here.
In Warm Blood is currently available as a part of The Official Private Eye Handbook, first book in the CITY OF MAGICK series.  Please, feel free to take a look here, though, and at subsequent chapters. Let me know how you feel about it.  For those of you finding your way here relatively late, no problem. The start of the story is just a click away.

Chapter 1
People lived and died in the streets of The City. I was on one knee over the body of one of the dying. Her name was Whitney Gregg. She and I had been negotiating over what to do with a pound of marble-sized diamonds we’d recovered from a storage locker along with a few other random-looking clues. We had talked about some of the things that had happened to others in connection with the mysterious box I was supposed to be looking for: turned to stone, shot with a dozen arrows, drowned inside a car. There had been others. Of course, the results that people remembered were the most dramatic. Whatever was in the box was supposed to be cursed was all I could figure, but there must’ve been something enticing inside, too. Who the Hell would be crazy enough to keep going after a magic thing that was just waiting to kill whoever tried to get it? Whitney had sworn that one guy had been turned into an oak tree. Thanks to the bullet in her chest, her biggest concern had become living beyond the next few minutes.

The attack could’ve been meant for me. I had plenty of enemies and they had notoriously lousy aim. Regardless of why we were in the situation, she had a bullet in her chest. I propped her head up, but she was getting paler as blood flowed from her chest. I could see her trying to focus her eyes on mine and it looked like she wanted to say something. If we were in a movie, I’d probably be telling her not to speak and to save her strength, but I knew it was ridiculous trying to stop a woman from talking so I figured I’d save my strength instead.



“Am…Am I gonna…die?” she sputtered.

“Yeah, looks like.”

“Thanks for be…being straight with me, Br…Brick,” she coughed. “Knew I…could count on you.”

“Anytime. Does it hurt a lot?”

“Like Hell. It burns…and I‘m cold.”

“Try not to think about it.”

“I…I don’t want to…to die, Brick,” she began to cry, getting weaker every second.

“Who does? Try not to be a wimp about it.”

“Sorry, Brick. One favor?”

“What do you want me to do, Whitney?”

“Get ‘em for me, Brick. Get ‘em.”

“You got it, kid. They’re as good as in the ground.”

“And take this,” she said, holding her amethyst pendant up to me. “And…don’t forget me.”

“That’s three things, babe,” I said. Then her sapphire eyes fluttered shut one last time. I didn’t even know if she’d actually heard me, but I was pretty sure I’d find whoever shot her. I figured there was a good chance they’d come to me.

The ambulance jockeys finally arrived and I got out of their way so they could take Whitney’s body. Some cops put in an appearance and said something about taking me downtown, but I convinced them that it could wait. I was about to walk off into the rain when an odd shout caught my attention.

“Hey, look at this!” one of the paramedics called out. “The blood!”

I pushed back through the small crowd that had gathered to see Whitney’s body again. Holding a corner of the sheet up, away from her corpse, so that he could show the oddity he had seen, the paramedic could only shake his head. The blood that had run from the bullet hole in Whitney’s chest had…moved on her, spelling out “thief” on her clothes. Without a doubt, odd, but it said a lot. Someone had gone to the trouble of not only shooting her, but using an enchanted bullet to do the job. Someone actually was gunning for her. It had to be a message, a warning, not to cross the Big M maybe. It had to be about that box…again. Was I gonna need to talk to a certain wizard?

I saw more work ahead. I was gonna need some rest.

     That's all for now.  More to come.  Take a few minutes to make some comments.  I love to get feedback from outside my creative isolation.  Thanks for stopping by, as always.


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