Hi, all! It’s been awhile since I’ve had the time to think about writing another blog post, (I’ve had good intentions, really I have) but I have been busier than a prostitute on buy one get one free nights. (I’m sorry! That was an awful joke. I apologize.) Anyway, I have been busy, dealing with a slew of this, that, and the other, along with trying to get all the kinks and wrinkles in the second installment of my So’ladiun series ironed out. It’s taking more time than I originally thought it would, and I’m still finding things I want to tweak. However, I wanted those who have asked about when I will release book two to know I’m working on it as hard as I can and to not give up on me. I don’t have a concrete timeline, but I will let you know when things are starting to roll. Soon, I hope (fingers and toes crossed). In the meantime, I thought I would share a short snippet from the book, tentatively entitled The Veihl Coast, but let me set the scene for you first.
An international trade conference is set to begin in the capital city of Muryne, and its walls are filled to near bursting level with thousands of citizens from all corners of the country pouring in to take part in the exciting events scheduled to entertain the foreign dignitaries. Crime is on the upswing, stretching the city guard and local law enforcement’s abilities to stamp out all the sordid activity flaring up inside the city like erratic pockets of wildfire. So, when a series of gruesome murders start to occur, showing signs that the dark faction dedicated to Obsudius, the Brothers of M’gelidia, were most likely involved, Elhrin, assistant to the Minister of the Department of Specialized State Defense, and her partner, Kyne, are called upon to conduct an investigation to find who is responsible before the public realizes a serial killer is on the loose.
Hold on to your hats, folks! That is only the beginning. Like climbing over the first hill of a winding rollercoaster, the story will explode into motion and drop you into a whirlwind of a ride that traverses the country of Anderan.
Now, to the snippet:
“I tell you, miss,” Jyrah said as she unlocked a padlock and slid the rickety door of the stables grinding across its rusty mechanism with an agonizing squeal. “In this section of town there are all kinds of strange things going on constantly, but this was a first for me. I nearly lost my insides when I seen him hanging there with no eyes.”
“I bet you did,” Elhrin answered as she waited for the squat woman to finish wrestling the door open. Talking with Jyrah, the innkeeper of the Canal Street Inn, had been an endeavor in patience, and Elhrin’s was beginning to evaporate. She and Kyne had been at the inn for nearly an hour, sitting in the common room and listening to Jyrah’s overly loud voice jump from one complaint to another about how no one cared about the rundown state of the waterfront district, and the city guard did nothing to protect the innocent, hardworking folks from the cutthroats and thieves slinking about the streets. If it hadn’t been for Kyne rudely interrupting the woman, they would still be inside, choking on thick tobacco smoke. Elhrin swore every individual who passed through the inn’s doors owned a freshly lit pipe, and wouldn’t have been surprised if the rats she saw scurrying along the baseboards had pipes clamped firmly in their teeth, as well.
“Ugh,” Kyne gagged on the horrible stench wafting out of the stable door. “Is he still in here? What is that smell?”
“What smell?” Jyrah frowned, making her wrinkled face almost comical since she didn’t possess any bottom teeth. She disappeared inside the shadows of the stables, but her loud voice carried back to them clearly. “There’s nothing in here but some curing meat up in the rafters. We don’t get much livestock down this way. Most of our patrons come off the docks. I couldn’t tell you the last time one of those stalls harbored any cattle.”
Kyne leaned in to speak quietly in Elhrin’s ear. “If that smell is coming from the meat they serve here, remind me not to eat in this place.”
“I wouldn’t eat here, anyway,” Elhrin whispered, as she stepped just inside the stable door to wait on Jyrah to light a lamp. The stench was almost unbearable, but she was able to keep her displeasure to herself.
After several unsuccessful strikes, Jyrah managed to light the wick of a rusty lamp hanging on a nearby hook. She picked it up and turned to point at an exposed rafter over their heads between the front and back wall. It was well away from the loft, which meant suicide was definitely not a possibility. “Right there is where he was. Horrible sight, I tell you, just horrible.”
“Do you always keep the stable door locked?” Elhrin asked.
“Of course, I do. There have been too many scoundrels trying to sneak in here and sleep for free or steal my stuff.”
Elhrin scanned the dusty and cobweb infested interior, seeing nothing but a few tools and broken furniture. Not much worth stealing. “Was the door locked when you came out here that morning?”
“Yes, it was. That’s what’s so puzzling. There’s not another way in here, but through the door.”
“Madam, do you mind if I look in the loft?” Kyne asked.
“Help yourself.” Jyrah offered the rusty lamp. “You might need this.”
Taking the lamp, Kyne climbed nimbly up the ladder to the loft. The light he carried cast his distorted shadow onto the ceiling as he moved around the creaky floor. Elhrin wasn’t sure, because Jyrah was still talking, but she thought she heard him gag again. She could only imagine what the meat above looked like if it smelled worse than a rotting corpse.
“I told that man from the investigative place I don’t see how anyone got in here. I keep the key in my room all the time and nobody needed it that I can recall, and he wasn’t here when I locked up right before dinner time.” Jyrah crossed her arms over her ample bosoms. “I distinctly remember we needed two roasts to put in the pot that night so they would be ready by morning, and I didn’t come out here again until right after dawn the next day to get some potatoes. I keep them in the bin over by the back wall.”
“Jyrah, you’re needed in here,” a voice yelled from outside.
Elhrin and Jyrah turned to look out the stable door. An old man stood at the back door of the inn.
“Vic, can’t you handle it?” Jyrah screeched so loud, dogs somewhere down the canal started to bark.
Elhrin winced, resisting the urge to slap both hands over her ears.
“I swear, you old bag of bones, I can’t leave you for five minutes before you come hunting me down.”
The old man waved a frail hand at her, beckoning her in, then turned his stooped body around to shuffle back inside. He slammed the door firmly shut behind him.
“You’ll have to excuse me, miss. That old man can’t do nothing right. I don’t know what I ever saw in him thirty years ago,” Jyrah grumbled. “Look around all you like. I’ll be back shortly.”
“There’s no hurry,” Elhrin said, grateful for a break from the woman. “I know you’re a busy lady. We’ll come back inside when we’re done out here. I still have a few more questions for you.”
“That will be fine. Just lock up when you’re through.” Jyrah waddled across the stable yard and climbed the shabby steps to the inn, straining the time-worn treads to their limits.
“Kyne,” Elhrin called up to the loft, “did you find anything?”
“Maggots, lots and lots of maggots.”
Well, guys and gals, I hope you enjoyed that brief bit of raw storyline. This snippet was tame compared to the rest of the book. A breather, if you will. (I may share another excerpt here and there, who knows?) And, like I said before, the story is still in the rewrite and edit stages, and subject to changes, but one day I will have it ready for those of you who are waiting, I promise. Now, I have to go do mom things. I’ll talk at ya later.
Have a blessed day!