Welcome to Mid Week Tease, where my author friends and I post a little something from a WIP, flash fiction piece or from some of our published work for you, the readers. As always, a HUGE thanks to fellow author Sandra Bunino for creating this weekly event.
This week, I thought I would share a little something from one of my WIPs which is in the close, but not quite stage of being completed and sent off to my beta reader.
Ever since writing Tied Up In Wonderland, I've been wanting to write another fairy tale, then one day inspiration struck in the way of an abandoned amusement park as Neverland. If I have Neverland, I must have my version of Peter Pan and the Lost Boys. Only in my version, all of them are bad ass warriors. Great! I had my concept, my laptop, but I also needed a title for this paranormal romance, fantasy tale. So, I asked my FB book group to read a snippet, gave them some character background, and the titles rolled in. Let me tell you they were all great, but the one which spoke to me the most was by the lovely Ursula Avery, and Rise of the Lost Prince was born.
So without further adieu, here's an unedited taste....
Petúr’s trench coat flared out behind him, whipping in the wind—black raven wings. Above him, the moon danced in and out of existence and periodically hid behind the dreary clouds. He’d perched himself atop the rusted metal monstrosity which sat cold and derelict among the ruins of the abandoned seaside amusement park. From the top of the lifeless Ferris wheel he surveyed his realm, just as he did every night, waiting for the faint cries. They always came, those haunting cries, and called him and the lost boys into the darkness.
Cables clacked and Petúr tilted his head in a bird-like gesture, listening to them echo into the rhythmic music of the tied coming ashore. As if on cue, an eerie underlying chorus chimed in from the direction of the closed ticket booth. He recognized the sound of the warped roof when it moaned and creaked. The red painted exterior walls had long since faded and peeled away from the briny wood in elongated streaks, reminiscent of morbid tears.
He closed his eyes and attempted to picture this place he and the others called home, trying to imagine what it must have been during its glory days, but he couldn’t see anything. All he knew was the truth of his surroundings. And the truth was, with every passing year more of his home crumbled—Mother Nature’s way of taking back her own. When she’d claimed a major portion of the boardwalk, the entrance into this collapsing kingdom joined the sea, knocking down the arched sign which once upon a time blinked—Neverland.
At least this parcel of land had done one thing. It gave Petúr and the others refuge from a world who’d discarded them as young boys.
He chuckled, darkly, and allowed his mind to wander away from the image of being a boy. He, Firefox, and his five other brothers may still exhibit the outward beauty of youthfulness, yet this was nothing but a façade. They’d grown into fierce warriors and protected the very people who’d spat upon them in their youth. Who would still spit upon them if they got the chance, he suspected.
Shaking his head, Petúr considered what he’d heard the whole of his life may indeed be true. He and the others may well be mad; because only mad-men would fight to protect those who would never welcome them fully into the world they’d had the misfortune of being a part of.
Balling his fist into tight knots, he knew it didn’t matter how many lives he and the others saved. They were still different from those whom they rescued. And, while they may no longer be petty thieves and beggars, they’d always been, and still were—outcasts. Unnatural. Freaks. Something more. Something not human. Although, there wasn’t a damn thing they could do about it, other than to take out their fury on those darkling’s who sought to destroy the weaker inhabitants of the human race. And take out their fury—they would.
Petúr abruptly stood when he heard a woman’s distressed scream. He took in a deep breath, tasting the flavor of the night. His lip curled up into a snarl right before he stepped off of his perch, shot into the clouds, and vanished into thin air.
Bell watched the body-glittered life’s-a-party gals take turns on the lap of the life-sized Jolly Roger statute. One girl kissed his painted cheek while rubbing the top of his pirate hat. Another, vigorously grabbed his lifeless resin crotch. Things only proceeded to get raunchier when the cell phones came out to take pictures of the, look-at-us-while-we-molest-the-statue event, so she went to her happy place. The place she allowed her mind to go when she wanted to block out the sights and sounds of the noisy world around her. Nothing bad could touch her there. In that world, it was too beautiful for the harsh ugliness surrounding her to take hold. In that world, she could unfurl her wings without fear and fly.
Floating through the forest among the huge moss-covered trees exploding up from the lush fern-carpeted ground, Bell glanced up at their branches stretching and reaching for the sky where they almost touched the puffy clouds. Slivers of sunlight fell through that heavy overhead canopy, hit the flora in shimmering pin-pricks of light, and caused the dew on the green leafy vegetation to twinkle like diamonds.
Drifting on the breeze, she passed a small speckled fawn. The young deer was headed toward the burbling sound of the peaceful brook which curved around an ancient boulder. The craggy rock had been claimed by nature long ago, but sprigs of blue and gold wildflowers had somehow found a home nestled within the fissures time forgot.
“One mooore, Babycakes,” Cromwell Darlingheart said in a slur as he slid his empty shot glass across the black slate bar.
She was wrong. At least one thing was ugly enough to penetrate the serenity of the woodland home she’d unwillingly left behind.
Blinking, Bell extended her arm and caught the glass. She rolled her big jewel-green eyes, totally irritated.
“I think you’ve had enough. And if I hear, ‘Babycakes’ one more time, I’m going to call your daughter and tell her where you are,” she said, not bothering to hold her tongue.
Music from the jukebox started. A harsh ding followed by the cook shouting out, “Order’s up,” and the raucous sounds of men playing darts in the far corner swirled around her. She missed the peaceful sounds of nature.
“Come on. You-You wouldn’t?”
“No?” She lifted one thin blonde brow. “Try me.”
“I’m not wo-worried, Baby—”
If she wasn’t in such a public place she could glamour him, or as her beloved sister would’ve said, “Put the fairy whammy on him.” However….
Bell grabbed her pink cell phone from the pocket of the apron she wore tied around her slender hips and brandished it. As she suspected, Cromwell shut up mid-sentence. The threat of his daughter giving him a verbal thrashing for drinking himself into yet another stupor would do the trick. But still, even if she worked for his daughter, Cromwell was ultimately the big Kahuna. Not only was he the owner of Darlingheart Inc., but also the owner of Jolly Rogers Bar & Grill. Sometimes smiling prettily and being pleasant was a hard thing to accomplish, nonetheless she needed to be somewhat careful if she wanted to keep her shitty bartending job. She had to pay her rent, but even so, Bell wasn’t in the mood to placate him as she usually did.
Cromwell frowned, rested his pricy suit-covered shoulder against the huge fish tank which made up the entire living wall beside him, then hiccupped. A second or two ticked by and she practically saw the wheels turning inside his head before he swiped the back of his hand across his mouth and draped his arm around the shoulders of the muscled man seated next to him on his left.
“Well…Jessup. I suppose it’s time to make like a banana and spl-split.” He broke out into an obnoxious chortle.
Jessup glared at Bell, electric blue eyes sizzling. For a human, he was sort of yummy.
“Thanks” he said.
Without removing her gaze from Jess, she placed the dirty shot glass into the container beneath the bar and nodded at Cromwell’s hired body guard. “Any time.”
The burly guy just shook his head, then helped his well lubricated boss up from the barstool.
“Bell,” Sven called. She turned her attention to the slender man dressed in a flouncy pirate shirt and long dishwater-blond dreadlocks. “I need five Appletinis for table six.”
Bell glanced askew at the table in question to see five, skimpily dressed, females. The same females who were putting on a show with the statuary earlier. All sparkly and giggling, they admired their fake, over-the-top costume jewelry now. All of them were draped in the stuff. Huge rings, dangling bracelets in every color of the rainbow, beaded necklaces, and one even wore a bedazzled plastic crown.
“Did you card them?” she asked.
He nodded. “They’re twenty-one, just barely, but legal. They came to celebrate with the blonde who’s wearing the shiny silver dress and the princess tiara.”
Sven was being far too kind when he described the blonde’s clothing. Oh, it was shiny, and silver, but Bell didn’t believe what the blonde wore actually qualified as a dress. More like a sequined Band-Aid. In fact, if the girl giggled any harder, the bountiful bouncing cleavage she was obviously so proud of was going to give way, and the bobbsey-twins were going to pop into full view.
Fairy godmother help her. Later, she’d need to scrub her eyeballs clean. Bell quickly looked away. The last thing she’d wanted to see was the color of birthday girl’s barely there silver panties. Didn’t the tiara-topped princess know how to close her legs when she sat?
“Celebrate what?” Being a skank? Bell bit her bottom lip; glad she only thought the last part of her question. How some females chose to portray themselves didn’t really matter to her.
“Her twenty-first birthday,” Sven answered.
“Ah.” She would never understand why humans actually wanted to celebrate the fact they were getting old, but whatever. She arranged five martini glasses in a straight line. “I’ll be a minute on the drinks.” Bell turned and stretched up on the toes of her pink and black lace-up platforms to snag a bottle of Vodka from the neon lit liquor display behind her, then twirled gracefully with the bottle in hand in time to see the local frat-boy pack come wandering in.
The self appointed leader of the group, Blain…Blain…what was his last name? No matter. Blain something-or-other would eventually work his way over to the bar, flirt and do so horrifically, and then attempt to regale her with NOT jokes.
Crap on a cracker.
He smiled at her—all teeth. Could the night get much worse? Then she figured the night sure could, and so would, when part of the testosterone frat pack broke off and gravitated toward the table of over-the-top glitter-gals, leaving Blain something-or-other—whom clearly, and to her great dismay—was headed in her direction.
From Petúr’s vantage point on the rooftop, he witnessed the horrified expression on the young woman’s face as she backed herself down the dim lit alleyway. Her conservative pant suit was disheveled, and her autumn colored hair had partially fallen free from the clip placed crookedly on the back of her head. The dangling strands halfway obscured her pale cheek.
With blue eyes rounded, she tore the purse from her shoulder and threw the accessory in front of her. “Here. Take it,” she said with a quivering voice.
The purse skittered a few feet then came to a stop by a dumpster before the contents spilled out. One lone tube of lipstick kept rolling, making a warbling sound as it continued its getaway.
“It’s not your money I desire,” came a lisping low voice as the cloaked figure stalked forward, gliding across the pavement beneath him then stopped. His hooded head lifted, and Petúr knew he could smell her essence. Her fear. “Innocence.” He made a show of sucking in the night air. “My favorite. Always sweet, and the most addictive soul to feed upon.”
Petúr swooped down, coat tail flapping in the breeze, the bottom swishing about him when he landed in a cat-like crouch between the dark one and the terrified woman. Senses honed as sharp as razors, he became acutely aware of everything. Even the way his wavy hair dangled around his face and how his warriors braid tickled his right cheek.
Behind him, the human let out an ear piercing scream.
“Woman,” he said through gritted teeth. “Do not move.”
Slowly, he glanced up to see the face veiled beneath the black hood. The features distorted and took on the appearance of melting wax. Petúr growled low in his throat, watching the drips on the deformed face until they finally took shape and froze into a fixed sneer. Rotted teeth came to sinister points. When hollow black holes for eyes met Petúr, he stood up to his full six-foot-seven height and moved forward.
“She smells good enough to eat, doesn’t she?” the being asked.
“Name yourself, darkling.”
Shivering in horror, Wyndi stared at the silver cross bone buckles on the heavy looking boots of the man who’d apparently dropped from the sky. They glinted within the slice of light slashing over him in a forbidding focal point. Forcing herself to look at more of him, her gaze trailed up. And up. He was a giant. Even taller than that monstrous thing who’d been stalking her.
The monster laughed, causing her attention to snap back to him. Or it.
“I am called, Kros.” He flicked a nasty sharp tooth with one tip of his forked tongue? “I do not fear you, Petúr of the lost boys.”
Her tall, gothic-looking hero gave a deceptively pleasant smile before he said, “That’s your first mistake.” With a flip of his wrist, he threw his hand forward, releasing a black throwing star.
The four bladed weapon whooshed through the air. Kros made no move other than to lift up a skeletal thin hand. The star slowed. Stopped and hovered midair? Terror stricken and confused, Wyndi watched as the weapon did something impossible. The star reversed direction. Okay. What was going on? She needed to consider she was having a horrible nightmare. Maybe she was home, in bed, and….
Before she could even flinch, the man who told her not to move grabbed her, and had taken her to the ground in a tumble.
They rolled, and Petúr, the thing had called him, positioned his much bigger body overtop hers. The weapon imbedded into the brick and mortar of the wall where she’d been.
“Stay down,” he commanded, pulling away.
She lay, in a whimpering heap on the dirty gray concrete. If this was a night terror, it sure felt real.
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