Sunday, May 19, 2013

Sunday Snippet: The Beast in the Belfry


I have to open with kudos for one of my favorite shows currently airing on television: Orphan Black. Seriously, the writing, the acting, the pacing…top notch stuff. I can't say enough about how awesome this show is. It always takes me by surprise and never quite goes where I think it will. If you're not watching…give it a whirl. You won't be disappointed. :D

Tonight's post is from The Beast in the Belfry, a novella about a woman cursed to be alone by her mad professor. The funny thing about curses? They're not always made to last and sometimes a stronger magic will render the hex null and void. And man, oh man, is it fun to write. :D

Here's the tagline:

A curse leaves artist Vittoria Blahm disfigured and marred for life. But Cal Gilligan sees the true woman under the scars and he falls hard for her when she saves him from plunging to his death. Vittoria can't quite believe anyone wants her and fears risking her heart to the possibility.

And a preview snippet…

"It's your choice, Vittoria. It should be simple enough to decide if you want to live or die." Hessler Shaouk made a slow circle around the wingback chair.
Vittoria Blahm kept her silent and stony countenance. She wouldn't feed into her professor's madness any more than she already had.
"Hess, dear brother, you know I won't stand by and let you kill her."
Vittoria's eyes focused on the beautiful blonde for one brief moment before she blinked and cast her gaze downward again.
Hessler scowled. "Jejune, my sweet, you have no business meddling in my affairs."
Jejune laid a hand on her brother's shoulder and Vittoria's eyes widened when he slumped to the floor, struggling against unseen bonds.
Jejune knelt beside him. "Maybe not, but no one else will rein you in when necessary."
"Let me go, you damned fool woman." He writhed on the floor, but remained prone. "She needs to die, Jejune. By my hand. She spurned my love."
The lovely blonde sighed. "Vittoria, do you have any feelings for my brother?"
Her hand remained on his shoulder, but Hessler could move his head. He angled slightly to meet Vittoria's gaze.
She answered honestly. "Not the kind he wanted me to have. I respect his work. And his brilliance." She focused on Jejune. "But I'm not attracted to him otherwise."
Resignation settled over Jejune's features and she nodded. "Did you give him any reason to believe you held him in high regard?"
High regard? Vittoria wondered if she'd somehow crossed over into an alternate timeline. No one she knew spoke with such formality.
Her head shook back and forth. "Not intentionally. Your brother sees what he wants to see." And he'd mistaken her thirst for knowledge and technique for something deeper.
To date, she hadn't managed to feel what qualified as love for anyone, always choosing to neatly sidestep emotional entanglements. Too many goals to achieve to get involved in a relationship.
Jejune closed her eyes. "And now? What do you feel for him?"
Again, Vittoria answered with honesty. "Pity."
Hessler went wild at the admission and finally broke free of his sister's binding. He shot to his feet and rushed Vittoria, stopping barely a foot away.
He roared, "You stupid bitch. I don't want your damned pity." Hate and venom laced his words. "I deserve more. Better. What I've shared with you has a price and if you're not willing to pay up, your life is forfeit."
He raised his hand and Jejune rushed to his side, grasping his palm and jerking it hard.
Her voice rose. "You will not kill her. I won't allow it."
Hessler shouted. "I demand recompense."
Jejune spoke softly. "Then curse her to be alone as you are."
A sinister smile graced Hessler's face. "So be it."
A terrible feeling of dread settled over Vittoria, but nothing could prepare her for the horrifying pain a flick of his wrist brought. Her face burned, the left side peeling away or melting or both. Vittoria screamed, agony tearing through her. She struggled against the restraints, the need to flee overwhelming.
A harsh gasp from Jejune gave Vittoria something else to focus on, but didn't end the brutal carnage taking place.
Jejune called her brother out. "Hessler, I demand you stop. You've maimed her sufficiently."
A madness-fueled grin twisted on his face. "I don't think so, dear sister. Not until she's suffered the same amount of pain I have."
Through a haze of agony, Vittoria's eyes went wide when Jejune summoned up a whirlwind of power, sending Hessler flying into the next room. The door slammed shut and Jejune rushed to Vittoria, laying a hand on her face. The pain stopped, but the heartache didn't.
Jejune spoke quietly, "I can't remove the disfigurement. But I can get you away from here." She cut the physical bonds and waved a palm, freeing the invisible ones. "Hessler will have no choice but to leave, I'll see to that, too."
Vittoria said nothing, her mouth and lips marred too badly for speech. Jejune hauled Vittoria out of the chair and dragged her out of the sitting room, through the house, and out to her vehicle.
Shoving Vittoria into the car, Jejune rushed around and got behind the steering wheel. "I'm taking you to the quad. The groundskeepers start early, 6 am, they'll find you."
Vittoria slid her gaze sideways, the pain creeping back in an intense wave. Jejune flicked her wrist and Vittoria fell into blessed unconsciousness.

So far, this manuscript is coming together very nicely. I'm enjoying writing something a little darker with spots of humor. J

That's it for this week.



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