But first, an unfortunate reminder. Friends, I cannot stress enough how much I want submissions to this blog and queries to me as an agent kept separate. Thankfully, I haven't been getting much - if any - overlap, but I have been getting multiple pre-queries sent to my Glass Cases address. Writers, this will not give you preferential treatment, and, as a general rule, I do not answer pre-queries even when they're sent to my Curtis Brown address. Just send your query. But if you want me to actually answer it, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and do your research first to make sure I represent what you write. The links on the side of the blog, under my bio, are constant fixtures that discuss this in more depth. I still want your stories and I still want your queries - but they are not the same thing. Please don't make me kill my blog. I like it. Thanks.
Moving on - and speaking of why I like this blog so much - STORY TIME! This week's story, as I mentioned above, is an excerpt from a YA urban fantasy novel called Half-Blood. The author, Jennifer Armentrout is a writer with a background in psychology, sociology, and criminal justice. She currently lives in West Virginia with her police officer husband and his "K9 partner," Diesel, a hyper Jack Russell named Loki, and a pet turtle called Michelangelo (to which I'll add, to all of her pets' names, "!!!") As always, enjoy!
By Jennifer Armentrout
My eyes snapped open, my freakish sixth sense kicking my fight or flight response into hyper drive. The Georgia humidity made it hard to breathe, as did the dust that covered the rotten carpet I was using as a makeshift bed. I had been staying in the abandoned factory since I fled Miami. It wasn’t the Hilton, but at least I thought it would be safe. I was wrong.
The daimons were here.
They were on the lower level, searching each room systematically. The sound of the doors slamming made me re-live throwing open the door to my mother’s bedroom in our tiny house just a few short days ago. The image of her crumpled body flashed in my mind and twisted my gut with a raw ache.
Halting in the narrow hallway, I strained to hear how many daimons were here. Three? More? The slim handle of the garden spade cut into the flesh of my hand, reminding me of what needed to be done. Daimons loathed iron. Besides decapitation, which was way too messy, iron was the only thing that would kill them.
Somewhere in the building, a floorboard groaned and gave way. A deep howl broke the silence, starting as a low whine before hitting such an intense shrill pitch that I winced. The scream sounded inhuman, sick and horrifying. Nothing in this world sounded like a daimon—a hungry daimon.
I darted down the hallway, my tattered sneakers pounding against the worn out boards. Speed was in my blood, and strands of long, dirty hair streamed behind me. I rounded the corner, knowing I had only seconds—
A whoosh of stale air whirled around me. The daimon grabbed a handful of my shirt and tossed me aside. I slammed into the wall, momentarily stunned. Black starbursts dotted my vision as I scrambled to my feet. The once beautiful pure-blood rushed me, now resembling a ghoul strung out on crack. Those soulless, pitch black eyes stared at me like I was his next meal ticket.
Reaching for me again, the daimon grabbed my shoulder and I let instinct take over. I twisted around; catching the surprise that flickered across his pale face seconds before I kicked. My foot connected with the side of his head. The impact sent him staggering into the opposite wall. I spun around, slamming my hand into his chest. Surprise turned to horror as the daimon looked down at his chest.
He made a guttural sound before collapsing into himself. By the time his body hit the floorboards, nothing but a thin layer of shimmery blue dust remained.
With the garden spade still in my hand, I whirled around and took the steps two at a time.
I ignored the ache in my hips and sprinted between the discarded work benches and stools. I had to make it. I was going to be super pissed in the afterlife if I died a virgin in this craphole.
“Little half-blood, where are you running to?” called a voice not far from me.
I stumbled and fell into a large steel press. Nothing stood between me and the daimon. Like the one upstairs, he initially looked like a freak, but when he moved closer, the dark magic—the glamour took over, revealing what he used to look like. Adonis came to mind—a blond, stunning man.
“What are you doing all alone, little half-blood?”
I took a step back, my eyes searching the room for an exit. Wannabe Adonis blocked my way out.
He laughed, the sound lacking humor and life. “Maybe if you beg and I mean, really beg, I’ll let your death be a fast one. Frankly, half-bloods don’t really do it for me. Pure-bloods on the other hand,” he paused, letting out a sound of pleasure. “They are like fine dining. Half bloods? Well . . . you are more like fast food.”
“Come on step closer, and you’ll end up like you buddy upstairs,” I growled. “Try me.”
Wannabe Adonis’ brows rose. “Now you’re starting to piss me off. That’s two of us you’ve killed.”
“You keeping a tally or something?” I asked. Backing up, my heart stopped when a floorboard behind me creaked. I whirled around, spotting a female daimon. She was inching closer, forcing me toward the other daimon.
I was smart enough to realize they were caging me in, giving me no opportunity to escape, and another one shrieked somewhere in this pile of crap. Panic and fear choked me. My stomach rolled violently, and my fingers trembled around the garden spade. God, I wanted to puke.
The ringleader advanced on me. “Do you know what I’m going to do to you?”
I swallowed and fixed a smirk on my face. “Blah. Blah. You’re gonna kill me. Blah. I know.”
The female’s ravenous shriek cut off Wannabe Adonis’ response. Obviously, she was very hungry. She circled me like a damn vulture, ready to rip into me. My eyes narrowed on her. The hungry ones were always the stupidest—the weakest of the bunch. There was a good chance I could get past her. The other one . . . well, that was a different story.