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Author Topic: NECROMANTIC - Chapter 1  (Read 2445 times)
JBeachum
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« on: August 29, 2017, 11:17:36 PM »

(Three full manuscript requests so far. Keeping fingers crossed. Hope you enjoy.)

Chapter One

I knew from the moment I saw him that he’d be absolutely to die for.

It was his eyes, I think. They were calm, relaxed, a little sly – like he thought he knew exactly what he was up to, leaning oh-so-casually against that bar. My eyes caught them when I stepped through the door, through the smoky haze, past the lights and throngs of people who were probably too old for a club by about five years.

They almost glowed at me, as if to say, “Oh yeah, I’m a bad boy.”

That’s my type, really. What can I say? I’m addicted.

I sauntered over, certain he noticed me. I’m hard to miss, I’d like to think – a little tall (but not too tall), a nice set of curves if I do say so myself, pants so impossibly tight that if I had had a credit card in my back pocket you could read the expiration date. The rest of my outfit wasn’t that remarkable, just a few old things I had lying around. You know how it is.

Halfway there, I saw it. The Look. The look that told me, “Girl, keep coming and you’re going to be in trouble.” The look that causes quaking knees in lesser women. But I could handle it. I’ve seen that look a thousand times, in a thousand bars and clubs and joints, and it always winds up the same way.

But I played along and threw him a sultry flick of the eyelashes anyway, to reel him in.

He flashed a smile – no, a smirk – and I knew he was hooked.

I appeared at his side – close, but not too close – and leaned up against the bar, a smile on my lips, as if I were looking to buy a drink. Please. I don’t buy drinks for myself. Ever.
True to form, the man to my right, the one with the delicious eyes, held up a finger to the bartender as he turned to face me. Without skipping a beat, he looked me up and down and apparently liked what he saw, because he leaned in and spoke above the music.

“Let me guess. You’re a vodka girl.”

“Bourbon, actually. I am from the South.”

When he heard me speak – heard my soft drawl borne from a lifetime in the Deep South – he grinned. He probably thought I’d be easy, a southern girl lost in the big ol’ city.
He ordered the drink, and the bartender was right on time with it. I lightly ran a finger around the rim as if I were thinking about drinking it right there, in one gulp, just to see what the man would say. But I didn’t. I wanted to be coy. So, coy I was.

I looked over at him and smiled the most genuine smile I could muster. “Thanks.”

“Oh, you’re more than welcome.” He leaned in, flashed a set of dimples at me. Oh, be still, beating heart. “Never seen you here before.”

“Me neither. First time.”

“Well, welcome.” He waved a hand casually about the bar. “Not much going on, really. Kind of boring tonight. Until you walked in, of course.” A rakish grin that was meant to be a compliment and a warning to the unwary girl who received it.

I blushed on command (standard southern belle trick) and tossed my hair. “Thanks for the welcome.” I kept running my finger along the rim of the glass, waiting for him to make the move that I wanted him to make. He kept his eyes on me – I could feel them – and I could only imagine the thoughts that were running through his head. Naughty thoughts. Thoughts like – well, I’m a lady. I’d rather not say.

I’m not a prude, mind you. I don’t mind the wilder side of life. But tonight, I had other plans.

He leaned in. “Sorry for my manners. Trent.”

“What?” I pretended not to hear.

“Trent. My name. Trent.” He held out a hand.

I took his hand in that dainty lady way, with a limp handshake barely touching his fingers with mine (ladies, a tip: that always gets their juices flowing), and smiled.

“Scarlett.”

“As in…Johannsen?”

I pouted. “No, as in O’Hara. Don’t you watch old movies?”

He smiled. “You kinda look like her. The hair, for sure. The beauty, naturally.”

Ooh, smooth. I shrugged. “It’s a southern thing. Parents really had an obsession with Gone With the Wind, ya know.”

Note: Scarlett isn’t actually my name. I wasn’t going to tell him my real name, in case things didn’t go well. Besides, the stereotypical irony of it all was just too delicious to pass up. And really, me and Scarlett have a lot in common, anyway.

“Cute. Very cute, Miss Scarlett.”

The words rolled off his lips like languid honey, and I knew he was a pro at this. Like I said, I know how to pick ‘em. I was hoping he was a pro. It would make the night so much more fun.
It was my turn. “So, you come here often?”

He shrugged, as if it was no big thing. “Every now and then. To be honest, it’s gotten kinda tired. Not a whole lot of interesting women around these days. Especially not named Scarlett.”
A demure, self-deprecating smile. “I don’t know how interesting I am.”

He turned and leaned back against the bar, gazing coolly out into the crowd. “Oh, I don’t know.  A southern belle in New York City drinking bourbon who’s named Scarlett? I think that’s pretty damn interesting.”

Another blush on cue.  “I guess so.” I shot him another smile and another look that said, Keep talking, I’m listening and kept caressing the glass in that effortlessly sexy way I’ve perfected over the years.

“I come here when my boys are out of town to grab a few drinks. Meet some interesting people. You?”

I shrugged, my lips softly turned up at the corners. “The same.”

“Good. We have something in common.” He turned back to me, leaned in a bit, moved his hand ever so slightly toward my hand. I noticed, but didn’t react. Keep coming, big boy.
I noticed his outfit for the first time – really, everything but his eyes. He was dressed sharply, like a man who knew how to go out on the town. He had a nice build, from what I could tell. His muscles strained against his dress shirt in just the right way, and if I were a weaker woman, I could imagine raking my silver nails across them. The hair was done well, there was a slight tan – nice chin, too. And, of course, those dimples. A nice looking guy.

Too bad for him.

I could imagine what he saw in me. Pale skin, red lips like I had just devoured a cherry Popsicle covered in gloss, two violet eyes like Elizabeth Taylor’s. Dark hair curled slightly. And, of course, my boobs. I had them propped up all front and center, in a perfectly ladylike way. Well, kind of. Okay, not really that ladylike.

Like, at all.

I think he liked what he saw, because he scooted his stool nearer to mine and leaned in so close that I could smell his cologne.

I faced him and left my glass alone.

“So, Trent, tell me something interesting about yourself. And – “ I held up a finger – “not something you tell all the girls. Something unique.”

“Oh, a challenge. I like that,” he said, flashing a grin. “Alright, alright…Well, I could tell you what I do, but that’s not that interesting. And I could tell you where I’m from, where I went to school, but that’s not that interesting, either. Hm, let me think.” He put a finger on his chin. “Okay. I was once picked as a body double for Matthew McConaughey”.

I rolled my eyes. “No way.”

He nodded. “Oh yeah, way. Totally happened.”

“It did not.”

“Did so.”

“Which movie?”

“Ah – not a movie. A commercial.”

I scoffed. “Sure.”

“No kidding. It was a local commercial for some luxury something-or-other here in the city. I think he did it as a favor for a friend or something. You’ve probably never seen it – hell, I don’t even think I’ve seen it – but it was definitely a thing.” He smiled at me, daring me not to believe him.

I narrowed my eyes. “Something tells me you’re lying.”

“Hey, if I’m lying, I’m dying.”

Promises, promises.

“Fine,” I said, tossing my hair and pouting slightly. “You win. I believe you. That is interesting.” A pause. “What was he like?”

“McConaughey?” He shrugged. “Dunno – never said anything to me. Heard he was a nice guy, though. And handsome. I’d probably be into him if I weren’t, you know, into women.” Like you were the unspoken words.

So far, this guy was smooth like silk, captivating, and not being a total prick. I was starting to think I had picked the wrong one. But then again, I never pick the wrong one.

“Well, that is interesting.” Time to feign disinterest.

I politely covered a yawn with one hand, and began looking around the bar, like I was no longer into the game we were playing. I left my drink alone, as if its mere presence were distasteful to my eyes, and gave off every subtle signal that my interest had evaporated.

He, of course, picked right up on it. You see, predators like him – guys who stalk bars and pick up women – are all about dominance. It’s a primal thing. They can’t lose. It’s not an option. If there’s a woman who’s worth going after – and believe me, honey, I’m worth it – then they won’t stop. It’d be completely adorable if it weren’t totally creepy.

Trent pointed to my glass. “Can I get you something more to your liking?”

I casually glanced at the bourbon. “Maybe. Maybe I’ll take you up on your offer for that vodka. Maybe it’s a vodka kind of night.”

He grinned. “Sure thing.” He went down the bar to order my drink, and I watched him out of the corner of my eye.

Sure enough, it happened.

He was so good, I almost didn’t catch it. But then again, I know what to look for. As he took the drink in his left hand, his right hand came up oh-so-slightly and passed over the top of the glass. I could just barely see it go in. He smoothly transitioned the glass to his right hand, and no one noticed. Except for me, of course.

He came back and pushed the spiked drink my way.

I smiled politely, took the glass, and took a sip.

“Mm. Good.”

“I thought you’d like it.”

“Cheers.” I raised the glass and in one swallow took it all down. I felt the warmth, the sting, the clean taste – the tang of the roofie.

“Yummy.”

He looked impressed. “Nice. A woman who can handle her liquor. I think I’m in love.”

“Ha, well, let’s say I’ve had plenty of experience.”

“I think there’s a story behind that somewhere.”

If you only knew.

“Well, I hope you enjoy your drink.” He winked at me and focused on his own drink, and I turned back in my seat and faced the bar.

A few minutes passed in silence. Then, I shook my head slightly, as if to clear it of cobwebs. I put a hand on my forehead and exhaled, then pinched the bridge of my nose.

Trent noticed, as I knew he would, and tapped the bar. “Hey, you okay?”

“Yeah…I think so. Just…feel weird all of a sudden.”

“Feel weird?”

“Yeah, like…stepping off a bitch of a rollercoaster. I’ll be fine.”

“You sure?”

“Totally.” I smiled, looking embarrassed.

He smiled back and turned back to his drink. I hid a smirk and continued the act, even going as far as to weave back and forth a bit on my bar stool, as if I were about to tumble off it head over heels, sticking my ass up in the air for all to see.

He turned back and looked at me. “Took that last drink a bit too fast, eh?”

I shook my head. “No, nothing like that. I…I don’t know, I feel…off.”

You know, that Meryl Streep woman gets all the Oscars, but acting isn’t that hard. I’d like to see her do some of the things I do for my job.

I got up from the stool – and promptly made myself almost fall over as I buckled my legs. Trent grabbed me around the waist and helped me back up.

“Whoa there, you okay?”

“Yeah, I’m fine.” I flashed him an embarrassed grin, then reached for his hand. I leaned in, putting my face right next to his.

“Come on. Let’s get out of here,” I whispered.

A flash of something – triumph? – went through Trent’s eyes as he looked around before taking my hand.

“Sure, let’s go.” he said back.

Yes. Let’s.

I led him away from the bar by the hand. We moved away from the main entrance and toward the back, where there was a side exit behind a rear curtain that led to the alley. I chose that route because it would avoid the security cameras that were strategically placed throughout the club. Naturally I had the place scouted out well in advance. I’ve been doing this for a long time, sweetie.

We moved past drunken dancers, then singles, then through the seating section with tables and booths full of clubbers on either side. No one paid attention. On the left, some Jersey Shore extras were taking shots. On the right, what looked like a bachelorette party was filming their pseudo-raunchy escapades.

Right as we passed by, one of the liquored-up bridesmaids (I detected an odor of peach schnapps) stumbled, bumped into me and cackled. “SOR-rrrry!” she slurred, as her friend filmed it all on her iPhone. I flashed a smile back at Trent and brushed it off to show how classy I was.

Eventually, we found the exit and stumbled through the doorway into the street. The sultry nighttime air hit us in the face as we took a right and walked half a block before turning into an alley bordering the club.

As we walked, I picked up the pace and poured it on a little thick. I swayed on my feet, rubbed my forehead, mumbled words here and there. Then I stumbled, and he caught me around the waist. For a creep, he was surprisingly gentle, although his hand was perilously close to No-Man’s Land.

“My car is down this way, sweetie,” he whispered. “Just a bit farther. Then I’ll take care of you.”

“Mmmmmm,” I replied, acting like I was stoned off my butt.

We walked down the alley. It was dark. The streetlights didn’t reach this far back, only shadows did, cloaking the alley. No one else was around. No rats, no bums, nothing you’d expect to find in a NYC alley. It was just us, and I think that’s exactly what he wanted.

We made it probably halfway down the alley when I lunged forward, as if I could no longer keep my balance.

Trent caught me and hoisted me up. I “resisted” for a moment, slurring indecipherable words and leaning up against the brick wall behind me. He put his hand around my waist, then grabbed my wrist with his strong hand and leaned in close.

“Hey sweetie, hey there,” he said. “It’s okay. I got ya. Calm down, okay?”

“Where…where are we…”

“Going?” He smirked. “You’ll see. Just a bit farther.”

I gurgled. My head snapped forward. He caught it, placed a hand on my cheek, and lifted my head so that I was looking him in the eye. I was trying my best to look disoriented, making my eyes not focus on anything in particular.

He took in a breath.

“Good God, your eyes are gorgeous,” he breathed. “I saw them in the bar, but out here, they’re…amazing.” His eyes went all over my face, then down my throat, then down my chest. I could hear him breathe faster, lighter.

“Amazing,” he repeated.

And just like that, he leaned in for a kiss.

His lips touched mine. They were soft, a little sweet – delectable, even. His hand squeezed. He moved his body closer to mine.

Then, in a flurry of movement, it happened.

I broke my hand free and flicked my wrist. A sinister-looking dagger made of swirling purple light appeared out of nowhere. My hand jerked.

And plunged the dagger into his chest.
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Repped by Marisa Corvisiero of the Corvisiero Literary Agency
jcwrites
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« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2017, 09:20:50 AM »

Unique voice, and craftsmanship was spot on--not a bobble anywhere. And that was a clever way to reveal the narrator's physical looks without breaking POV conventions.

That said, I have two concerns: First, it takes 1,700 words of club-scene repartee to get to the scene turning point (the roofie), by which time I was really hoping things would speed up. Second, I wouldn't want to follow this character through an entire novel--which is implied by the 1st-person narration.

Anyway, nice work.
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maryj59
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« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2017, 09:27:54 AM »

I agree with jcwrites; this is really well written. Not my kind of book; it seems noirish, and I don't really do that. But it kept my interest, and kept me guessing (I'd been assuming dark urban fantasy, and that the narrator was a vampire hunting for her next meal. I'm glad I was wrong.)

I think, for the right audience, this would be spot on. Perhaps you could speed up the opening sections in the bar a little, but I'm not sure you have to.
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B.W.French
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« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2017, 09:50:42 AM »

HI!
I have a problem with the sentence : "I’ve seen that look a thousand times, in a thousand bars and clubs and joints"
The reason is the following :
You build up from the beginning the unusual and mysterious and fascinating eyes look of the stranger, and then, you come out with :"I’ve seen that look a thousand times,..."
 Now, our mysterious attractive hero is just a dude. This sentence castrates him.

I also have problem with :
 "I appeared at his side – close, but not too close – and leaned up against the bar, a smile on my lips, as if I were looking to buy a drink. Please. I don’t buy drinks for myself. Ever.

The sentence : Please. I don’t buy drinks for myself. Ever. Seems to be addressed to somebody but the punctuation indicates the opposite. I'm lost.

Next, I'm lost again with the sentence :
 "True to form, the man to my right, the one with the delicious eyes, held up a finger to the bartender "

Whos is "the man to my right"? So far you only have talked about one guy, with a weird look! If you are still talking about him no need to call him "the man to my right" it seems that you talk about somebody else.
And again! The eyes!!! Now they are delicious.!!!

Look! You write very well, but you don't seem to be consistent with the characters and the scene.
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samcantcook
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« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2017, 01:09:05 PM »

Get this published already so I can read the rest  Thumbs Up
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