So, between rounds of Azrael questions (he’s here through the end of December) I thought I’d post some snippets from This Mortal Coil. I began rewriting it last week and have almost four chapters finished. It’s bigger, bolder, and a lot better, so I’m very happy with it. I usually don’t enjoy rewriting – it lacks the same energy and creativity as gettingthe first draft down – but this time is a whole ‘nother story. Everything is more fun now that I know who and what I’m dealing with – plus, I get to revisit characters who I’d killed off earlier! Knowing they’re still going to die is a little depressing, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. In the mean time, I hope you enjoy peeking into the shiny-new world of This Mortal Coil.
[I made this wallpaper for kicks and giggles, also for my computer profile. The center is Skata, of course, but from the top left corner are the other star characters: The Villain, Isaac, Cassis, Roma, Rukiel, Esme, Sol, Ishmael, Gideon, Collins, Angel, and Chaville]
“Answer the other questions,” said Skata, holding the paper out.
“I would if I could,” said the vampire. “Unfortunately, I left them blank for a reason.”
“You don’t know where you were born?”
Angel shook his head.
“And you don’t know who your parents were, or if you have siblings?”
“You’re quick,” said Angel, appraising the hunter with his eyes. “It’s a good thing the Guild snatched you up before you went into the medical field.”
“I’ll see what Collins has to say about it, but don’t think about leaving the city until we get this sorted out.”
“I will dream of many things,” the vampire answered, “but not that. You have my word.”
Skata snorted and backed out of the room. “Your word,” he muttered. “That’s funny.”
“Not as funny as your hat,” said the vampire. “You can take the boy out of the cow but you can’t take the cow out of the boy, can you? Where are you from in the states, exactly?”
“Montana,” said Skata shortly.
“Ah,” said Angel. “Everything’s clear to me now.”
Why did all vampires feel the need to be so over-the-top? It was like they thought they were constantly acting in an ongoing opera.
“I’ll be right down,” said Angel, and left the kitchen. Skata found his way back to the foyer just in time for the vampire to come back down the stairs. He wore a long blue coat, black gloves, and a black stovepipe hat. Skata opened the door, and Angel pulled down a black netted veil across his face. It was the only way vampires could step into the open sun without burning their skin, and Skata grinned.
“Nice veil,” he said.
“Thank you,” said Angel, and stepped outside. “One minute,” he said, and walked around the corner.
Skata mounted his mare and waited. A few minutes later, Angel rounded the corner again, his posture straight and elegant atop a sleek Tennessee walker. The vampire rode once in a circle around Skata’s mare.
“Nice mount,” he said finally, mimicking Skata’s sarcastic tone. “I had an Irish Wolfhound once.”
“Now, the assessment is simple. Skata, you don’t mind being the guinea pig, do you?”
“That an order?”
“It will be if you say no,” said Collins affably.
Skata glanced at his watch again. The hands still pointed to three o’clock. He looked over his shoulder at Cassis. The man had to be an unnatural. He was sitting down on the bench, watching every move Skata made with eyes too sharp for the youthfulness of his face. That was the thing with unnaturals. With most of them, you could tell what they were without the watch, if you looked close enough.
They had old eyes. Eyes that had seen more than one lifetime should.
The man had to be wealthy, everything about him – his bloodred, reptile-skin coat, his Italian leather boots, the jewels in his left ear, even the way his hair was styled – said ‘wealthy.’ Everything except his attitude, Skata thought; the man seemed almost as if he were trying to hide in the shadow of his upturned collar.
“Look at her body.” Rukiel motioned to the cadaver. “Emaciated, withered. Reduced to a husk. It suggests naturamancy beyond the power of any werewolf. The throat was ripped out to make those who can’t see past the ends of their noses to believe it was a werewolf. Not very clever. But then,” he added, with a brief, benevolent smile toward Skata, “it does seem as if the killer intended you to find it.”