Thursday, July 04, 2013

Mongrel 3? Here's the opening.

Now that the publication of Merman is approaching, a notion has taken hold of me. A duology in the Mongrel storyverse simply feels incomplete. I need a trilogy. Then I'll call it quits. I'd like to explore where and how Branded Mongrels originated, and find out more about Fan's parents, and see what happens when the two central couples' commitment is tested.

I don't know if Machine (a very tentative title; it could change to Miscreant, or something else entirely) is going to appeal to anybody or not. Too soon to say. If the interest isn't there, I'll either scrap this story or, if I finish it, offer it as a free read. Hell, maybe I'll just write it for myself. :)

Stay tuned.


Starless midnight. November had begun. The air, bearing small blades of frost, hinted at December’s cruelty.

Like a gilded and festooned ark, a showy wagon crept down Division Highway. Its wheels creaked laboriously as they made their slow revolutions through the dirt. The highway was deserted. A team of black horses plodded silently before the wagon, their hooves never touching the ground.

The driver paused at Whitesbain Plank Road and, considering, directed a narrow-eyed look down its shadowed length.

“Not yet,” he whispered after a moment.

Team and wagon resumed their trek.

On Whitesbain Plank Road, Simon Bentcross breathed irregularly in his deep sleep. Dreams bounced from jagged peak to jagged peak. Alone and restless, he swaddled himself more snugly in his quilt, as if this bunting would protect him. He sensed things he had no desire to know. And he knew only his lover’s presence would calm his mind.

Clancy Marrowbone, concluding his feed from a willing booth-tender at the Marvelous Mechanical Circus, swiped his tongue over the puncture wounds in the man’s chest. His saliva would hasten their healing.

Gods forgive him, he'd imagined it was Simon’s chest pulsing beneath his lips.

A sickening feeling suddenly lassoed his ribcage, squelching his arousal before it reached its natural conclusion. He stumbled backward as his host slid out of his grasp and crumpled to the floor.

Something was coming.

All he was sure of in his guilt- and blood-drenched daze was that he wanted no part of it.

A brown leaf dove toward the glass like a sparrow, tapped once, and swirled away. Darkness concealed the path of its flight. Soon, another gust coaxed a rustle and rattle from the withered vegetation in the yard.

 Fanule Perfidor continued to stand at the window, trying to see beyond his reflection. He couldn’t. The night would not allow it. The night pushed his image back at his eyes. He felt like a seer without sight.

Strange thought….

“Fan?” William sounded half asleep and wholly bewildered.

Fanule turned. “Yes?”

“What are you doing?” Sluggish movement stirred the bedclothes. A moan, inadvertently enticing, fell into a pillow. Then a mumbled “Come back here,” muffled by a clot of feathers.

“In a minute.”

Air seeped between frame and glass, raising gooseflesh on Fanule’s bare arm. He lowered his hand from the window. Winter whispered through the wind.

Something’s about to happen, he thought with an added chill of apprehension.

Stuporous, a fat fly buzzed and spun on the windowsill.

Damn it, something’s about to happen… as the bottle-green fly, twitching wings powerless beneath its back, sputtered through its death throes.

Fanule made his way toward William and warmth. And the fragile comfort of certainty.

Chapter One     

The tradition had begun when Alphonse Hunzinger owned the Mechanical Circus. On the first of November, the last day of the carnival’s season, peddlers, spiritualists, amateur entertainers, spreaders of cultish fervor—anybody who hungered for attention or had something to sell—were allowed to gather at no charge beyond the Circus’s high fences and take advantage of the crowds.

The entire city of Purinton looked forward to this chaotic spectacle. And why not? Solemn women conjured ghosts in tents. Mr. Dulhorn sang operatic arias for the sheer satisfaction of having, finally, an audience other than his collection of indifferent cats. Politicians and preachers stood on crates and shouted their evangels, hoping the messages would lodge in at least few listeners’ ears. Whittlers sold carvings, housewives sold pies, gypsies sold spells.

Even in the rain, the first of November was a glorious day.


Anonymous said...! I haven't even read Merman yet (and I can't wait to) and now I really, really want to read this one as well. You set the scene so beautifully in such a few words that I had chills reading the prologue. Oh well, I'm waiting, ever so patiently mind you, for the 17th to immerse myself in the wonderful world of Mongrel once again.

K. Z. Snow said...

Thanks so much for your words of encouragement, kali-mar. :)

Anonymous said...

Can I cast my vote?



K. Z. Snow said...

You can ALWAYS cast a vote, Blue!

I'm working on it. :)