I loved the NaNoWriMo Editions last year, and I’m excited to see it come back around, even though NaNo is passing me by this year in a flurry of edits and revisions. Ah well. C’est la vie.
Don’t forget, because we’re celebrating our guest judge’s new book, there are PRIZES! How’s this sound:
One finalist chosen at random: E-copy of The Prodigal’s Foole
One participant chosen at random: E-copy of The The Prodigal’s Foole and a 5 page critique from me.
Congrats to our finalists! Their entries are below so read and vote if you please. Then come back tomorrow morning at 9:00 Eastern to see who wins!
I’ve seen it every day for the last month. If it started earlier than that, I can’t remember. It was hardly distinguishable from human at first, but I learned what to look for. The tell tale signs.
I tell people I’ve seen a demon, and they laugh. Religious friends think I’m making fun of them, other friends think I’m making fun of religious people. I’ve actually been to see several priests, working my way through denominations, a rabbi, an imam, even a few spiritualists and faith healers I found in the phone book. I describe what I see to them. None want to admit it’s a demon.
Funny those points that belief fades away.
I may have to start my own denomination. Demonination.
It watches me. There’s a hunger in its eyes, nasty black pinpricks that poke out from above its human eyes. I saw them first. Then the mouth, right in the thing’s neck, full of teeth that glimmer with starlight and dread. I’ve seen it open that mouth, I’ve seen right down inside. I know what it has planned for me if I can’t get away from it.
Last night it started whispering to me as I tried to sleep. Horrible words in a horrible language. I don’t know what it is saying. But I know what it means.
I don’t think I’ll be sleeping anymore.
My last chance it to confront it. There, where I always see it. Face it down, let the whole thing end, let it be either it or me.
And so I go to my mirror.
Your main character encounters a demon. Turn left 8 paces.
prompt: invesigate left hallway. what do I see?
You see corpses.
prompt: human corpses?
prompt: Has the demon killed them?
Be more specific.
I don’t understand.
prompt: never mind, ok, is the demon moving?
Yes. He is chewing on your left foot.
Prompt: What happens if I stab the demon with my magic dagger?
There are no magic daggers.
Prompt: no, I have one right here.
You have no magic daggers.
Prompt: what happened to my magic dagger?
The demon ate it.
Prompt: I attack with any weapon.
The demon is now eating your right foot.
Prompt: I run away! quickly!
You have no feet. You cannot run.
Prompt: I scream loudly!
No one hears you but the demon, and he seems very invigorated by your screaming.
Prompt: How do I get out this?
You don’t. this is hell. You don’t get out.
Prompt: but… but…
haha. and here you thought this was a computer game.
Prompt: who are you?
I’m the demon.
Wavy hid behind the trees as she approached. She could tell that there was something more wrong with the boy, beyond the apparent injury that knocked him unconscious. He was witch, she could sense that about him without a problem, but there was something more, something darker.
She sat next to him in the dirt on the bank of the river. His breathing was steady, his pulse strong. She leaned down into his hair and breathed in his scent. Yes, definitely a witch. But there was something else here.
She looked at his face, so peaceful is sleep. Then she touched his cheek. His eyes shot open and she knew instantly what that other thing was: a demon.
Wavy raised her hand to utter the protection charm, but the boy threw himself upon her, sitting on her chest and covering her mouth. She cursed herself for neglecting her mental work. Aunt Pea would kill her if she died because she was unable to produce magic with her mind alone.
“I need to speak to Amber McClintock,” he said. His voice was deep and raspy, the voice of the devil. Whoever was speaking through this boy was not of this world.
Wavy wanted to nod or signal her willingness to help him, anything to get him off of her chest. She could barely breath.
Then she saw what he held in his free hand and it froze that though before it turned into action. Her had her dead mother’s locket.
Alana was terrified as she stared at the demon that stood on her front step. First the whispers and the man following her and now this? What could she have possibly done to deserve what was happening to her? Sure, David explained a bit about what her family was and what they represented but she never expected this.
“What do you want from me?” she cried out weakly.
“Your life and all the life you can create,” the demon uttered, its voice deep and gravely.
Alana took a step back and grasped her spiral pendant tightly. It had no effect on the demon. She looked wildly around for anything to defend herself against the creature, but to no avail.
The demon stood just outside the door, waiting for something it seemed, but she had no idea what. Suddenly, the house began to shake, slowly at first but with increasing vigor. Alana had no idea what to make of this latest development until she heard the cracking of wood.
The door frames and window sills with the engraved shepherds crooks were starting to splinter and shatter, destroying the protection they offered. The demon smiled and finally stepped through the threshold.
“Your guardian cannot help you now,” it said.
“But, Janet, what if something goes wrong?”
“What could go wrong?” I asked, my finger tracing the spiky cursive flowing over the page of the spell book.
Violet paled, her carefully applied blush standing out on the apples of her cheeks. “I don’t know — but when you mess witht his kind of crap, bad things happen! I heard Steve Pinner invoked some kind of demon, and a big whirling hole opened up in the middle of his kitchen and sucked his entire family in. That’s how his dad died, you know. That story about him taking off in the middle of the night was just a front.”
“Whatever. That’s a load of crap.”
“It is.” I glared at Violet, hoping to convey the fact that I wanted her to shut the hell up. It must have worked because her lips sucked closed, chin dimpling with the effort. “Okay, let’s begin.”
I read the words, paying careful attention to the accent marks and hoping I wasn’t butchering the language to badly…whatever language it was. I couldn’t be sure — I’d never seen it before, but what did I know? I was a high school senior with three years of Spanish under my belt.
The second my last syllable died away, Violet whimpered, and the dog — a tiny brown furball of a thing — darked out of the room as though I’d lit his poofy tail on fire. The air grew heavier, an almost oily breeze eddying around me. I dropped the book on the coffee table and waited.
Violet wrung her hands.
I pretzeled my arms across my chest.
Violet covered her eyes with her fingers.
I shifted my weight from foot to foot, impatient and irritated.
Ten minutes later, the living room door…well, it didn’t really fling open, so much as it exploded inward, and in its place stood — nothing.
“What the hell?”
A mouse squeak of a voice emanated from the doorjamb. “You have invoked me, Hruuglen the Demon of Small Places! How dare you disturb my rest! There will be consequences, human!”
I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. It was just a wee thing with purple skin and long black hair only two inches high.
It didn’t matter — my father tread squarely on its head on his way into the house after work. “Is your mother home?” he asked.
He continued through the room, leaving a red-purple splotch behind.
“You’re right, Violet. Bad things happen.”