In which Azrael misbehaves, and Rooney is no help

PaperHeartsWhile I’ve written nothing but tiny snippet-scenes and lines in it, Paper Crowns already has its own novella, called Paper Hearts. The story centers around the wysling Azrael (whose real name is Digby, but don’t let on that you know or you’ll burst his entire well-built bubble) and his human apprentice, Rooney. She wants to visit the world of fey, and so her ultimate goal is to create a rend and hop through, but she can’t do that until she’s a master wysling. Azrael is, of course, an extremely difficult person to work with. He’s a neat freak (aside from the kitchen counter, but who’s noticing), he’s demanding, unreasonable, difficult, childish, and heartless – which, of course, makes him the perfect teacher for the persistent spitfire Rooney.

They have some marvelous conversations.


The cello in the corner twanged wildly, and I turned to face Azrael. “You forgot to feed it, didn’t you?” “I did feed it,” he replied, casting an irate glance at the instrument. “It’s just being obnoxious.”


Azrael snapped his book closed and fixed me with a bright smile. “Come right in! Thanks for ignoring the closed door and ‘do not disturb’ sign; I only did that out of boredom.”


“I know violence isn’t the answer,” he said, giving me an injured look. “I got it wrong on purpose.”


“You might consider saying ‘please’ once in a while,” I said, stalking over to the kitchen and plunking the dishes in the sudsy, luke-warm water.  “I might stick a fork in the toaster,” he answered.


 Azrael flung open the door with a flourish. “I’m back!” There was no response except the faint tick-tick-ticking of the clock on the mantlepiece. Azrael sighed. “That’s the trouble with being punctual,” he said to the glassy face. “There’s never anyone around to appreciate it.”


“What’s this?” Azrael picked up the note and held it so close to his nose I thought his eyes would meet in the middle. “It’s a note,” I said crossly. “Nothing I actually say seems to get your attention, and so I thought maybe if I wrote it you’d notice. The pen is mightier than the sword, and all that.” “Mmm, and considerably easier to write with,” he said, letting the paper drift to the floor.


I squeezed my eyes shut and took a deep breath, trying to steady my nerves. I can do this, I told myself fiercely. I can. “I’d offer you moral support,” said Azrael, lounging on the stairs, “but I have questionable morals.”


A triumphant “A-ha!” came from upstairs. “Oh, Rooney, I’ve found your nose! It was all in my business again!”


Azrael leaned his elbows on the mantle and stared dolefully at Patrick. “She terrifies me,” he stated. “As any proper woman should,” was the marionette’s response.  “I wouldn’t know,” said Azrael, sighing. “I don’t know any proper women.”


 “It isn’t that I’m afraid of heights,” said the wysling, peering over the edge of the roof. “It’s more like the actual falling that bothers me.”


“He doesn’t seem to have much personality,” I said doubtfully, eyeing the marionette, all tangled limbs and string. “Well, you’ve never given one caffeine, have you?” asked Azrael, without looking up. “Believe me, they have plenty of personality.”


“But – but what if you lose?” I twisted my hands in the apron, hoping I only looked half as nervous as I felt. Azrael smiled indulgently and patted my head twice. “Don’t worry,” he said. “I never lose.” “But what if you do?” I cried. He paused, staring thoughtfully at the ceiling for several seconds before saying with utmost confidence, “Then you will have been witness to the single most unlikely thing ever to happen.”


A wave of heat scorched the side of my face and knocked me off my stool. I sat up, head spinning, and screamed when I saw Azrael standing in the middle of the room, flames shooting up from his shirt in every direction. He saw my horrified face and laughed. “Don’t mind me,” he said. “I’m very flammable, particularly on Wednesdays.” “It’s Thursday,” I said, rooted to the ground where my fright had knocked me. Thoughtfully, he said, “So it is. Get me a bucket of water, would you, Rooney? I’d like to douse this before it spreads to something really valuable.”


32 thoughts on “In which Azrael misbehaves, and Rooney is no help

  1. OMG. I. love. Azrael. ❤ I can't wait to read Paper Hearts!

    Could you explain what beta-reading is? 'Cause I'm pretty interested in doing so for Paper Crowns…that is, if you have room for another person…:3

  2. I was, quite literally, laughing out loud. Brilliant dialogue! Azrael’s wit is killing me, and…they feed the cello? I’m quite curious how one goes about feeding a cello.

  3. ”It isn’t that I’m afraid of heights,” said the wysling, peering over the edge of the roof. “It’s more like the actual falling that bothers me.” XD ❤

    and this may have to hold me until Friday and my next test…but oh, I hope you know how much I look forward to finishing each week. XD

  4. Alas, your writing is too delightful. If I was not beset by college I would jump at the chance to beta-read the Paper novel and novella.

    And I have the sneaking suspicion that my fool of a character would warm up to Azrael if given the chance. …which is just perfect. Apparently Michael can’t have nice friends.

  5. Brilliant! Witty and tangy! Real! Oh, it’s like my favorite ice cream with the chocolate-covered cherry on top, and it’s not even finished yet!

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