My fourth installment comes from my steampunk novel, Mongrel. Fanule Perfidor, the Eminence of Taintwell, is at (what turns out to be) a very dangerous meeting with his enemies. Lucky for him that his ex-lover, vampire extraordinaire Clancy Marrowbone, has come along.
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For countless moments, chaos reigned. A gunshot tore through the night, a man uttered a strangled cry of shock and terror, Pushbin and Hunzinger tried to duck beneath the table, Will rushed into the tent and immediately dove for Fanule, asking if he was hurt, and Clancy Marrowbone’s voice sounded from somewhere above.
“You can get up now, Fan,” he said, placid as a pigeon.
With Will still touching his back and gripping his arm, Fanule rose to his feet. Pushbin and Hunzinger struggled up from beneath the table. The mayor, his eyes like saucers, stumbled backward and clumsily fell into his chair. Hunzinger’s hand flew to his throat as a startled sound came from his mouth.
Petrified, they stared at the figure in the middle of the table.
“Hello,” said Marrowbone. “As you gentlemen know, I’m not the Eminence of anything, unless it’s a room full of rather short people.” He licked his lips in a leisurely way. “Or lifeless bodies.”
“You always did know how to make an entrance, Clancy,” Fanule said as he resumed his seat.
Marrowbone, who’d been kneeling on all fours, lackadaisically fell back on his haunches. Blood streaked the lower half of his face.