Hey all. I figure I’ll do something that was suggested to me by one of my facebook friends, who happens to also run a successful marketing business. (Not a pyramid scheme but he advertises for other people. He runs http://marketingninjas.com/ )
He suggested I put up a short excerpt from my novel to see if it drums up interest. I figure, meh why not. So without further ado, here is a relatively spoiler free, yet attention grabbing excerpt from my novel, Wild Hunt. A paranormal romance that involves gods and goddesses of the Norse Pantheon, most notably, Loki and Odin. I feel I do quite a good job at trying to portray the Gods and Goddesses in a modern-ish light and stay true to their lore at the same time.
Miriam stood outside the Greyfriars Kirkyard. Staring at the forlorn statue of Bobby, the little Skye terrier that guarded his master’s grave for thirteen years was supposedly buried there. The damp cold of the early Edinburgh autumn seeped into her bones, the cold wind tugged at her crimson hair, which was secured in a braid at her nape.
Luke better have known what he wanted by asking her to wear that dress. It was damn chilly out that night; almost unseasonably so. Mist started to form around the grave stones and mausoleums that filled the haunted spot, adding to the chill that had already permeated her bones.
Miriam reached into her purse and pulled out a smudging stick and a lighter as she approached the circular stone structure beyond the Covenanters Gate, she hoped that it would grant her some protection from the poltergeist beyond the gate as she waited for Luke to show up.
Who am I kidding; she thought to herself, this has been tried before. Mackenzie’s energy is stronger than this.
Bluddy Mackenzie was Sir George Mackenzie, the Lord Advocate in charge of the Covenanters Prison at the church during the mid-1600. He was responsible for imprisoning twelve-hundred Presbyterian Covenanters after the battle of Bothwell Bridge in 1679. During this time, he had many tortured and executed, the rest, died of maltreatment.
He caused countless suffering. Despite his treatment of the Presbyterians, he actually defended an alleged witch during her trial. He wrote in one of his essays, that witches weren’t as common as the people thought they were and most confessions were garnered via means of torture, therefore were not reliable. His poltergeist carried with it, the weight of the souls he actually did send to the grave.
He targeted unbelievers as well as believers when they walked through that gate during the guided tours, leaving bruising, bloody scratches and other physical signs of assault.
For some reason, the Covenanters Gate remained unlocked after the last tour went through. It was usually kept barred to protect people from any attacks from Mackenzie, despite people being skeptical, he was one of the most documented paranormal events in history and the overzealous United Kingdom health and safety department ordered the gate kept locked at all times, except when guided tours were being held
As she stepped closer towards the black mausoleum where Luke told her to wait for him, she heard braying of dogs and the pounding of many hooves on the ground.
Is that what I think it is? Her train of thought continued, this is in modern Edinburgh. No one rides horses anymore and fox hunts are illegal now in the United Kingdom.
She heard a horn sound as the hoof beats and dogs surged closer to her. There was nowhere to go to get out of the way, except Bluddy Mackenzie’s tomb which was locked, even if it were a good idea. She closed her eyes and hoped for the best, that the riders would move around her. She felt a cold hand grasp her arm. She gasped in shock and fear and then she then heard a blade whistle from its scabbard followed by an eerie hollow cry, as the hand that was grasping her limply slid from her arm.
As the hoof beats slowed down and came to a stop, Miriam heard the snorting and stomping of horses, the hounds whined and yipped at being kept from their prey.
“Been trying to get him for centuries now! You have our thanks!” a kindly and familiar voice said, startling her out of her trance.
She looked up and found herself surrounded by 9 horses, one of which had 8 legs. The one she was facing was shining white, no mud splatter on its fine hide and its rider was a man. His hair was as red as a summer bonfire and his eyes were as green as the finest emeralds. His face was young and boyish, with a definite impish cast to it.
“You’re welcome?” She stuttered. “I was coming here to see if I could exorcise him anyway, I’m supposed to meet…” Miriam’s jaw dropped
The Fire Haired Rider said “Me, actually. Mackenzie has been eluding us for so long during our Hunt. We needed a pretty lass like you, to lure him out so we could send him to Hellheim”
Soon as the rider said that, the woman’s eyes widened and she knew what she had seen. A sense of doom sunk down on her and she started shaking.
The flame haired rider, the woman realized, was Loki, but he also looked like Luke. He wore a chain mail tunic over a tough leather jerkin; His legs were cloaked in chain mail as well.
The man on the eight legged steed, Odin, bore a striking resemblance to her old guidance counselor from high school. The others, their faces were a blur…but she felt a few other Divine presences in the host.
Loki slid off his horse and walked towards the stunned woman.
“It’s ok. You will not be harmed, I called you here and you are under our protection; the Hunt will not harm you. If anything, you are invited to join if you so wish. But not on my steed. See, my Brother over there is a man of very few words when He is around mortals, but He knows you. He knows your potential. He would like you to ride with Him.”
The woman looked at the man on the eight legged horse. His black hair tied at the nape of his neck. Silver eye patch gleaming on its own and his black goatee highlighting a very strong and masculine jaw. He wore a chain mail jerkin over a hardened leather chest piece. On his back, he wore a fur cape made out of a wolf pelt.
”L…L…uke?” Miriam stammered, “Mister Baley?” she said looking up at Odin. “What on, oh my…” She collapsed on the ground trembling as the full force of the realization came crashing down on her. For a good portion of her life, she had been monitored and mentored by the Norse Gods.
Loki knelt down and helped the dumbfounded woman back to her feet. “Shh, it’s ok. I’m still the same person you’ve been with. I haven’t changed. I just had to do that to get close to you, without causing suspicion from everyone around. As much as I would like to, it’s not a great idea going around going ‘Hey look at me! I’m a GOD’ everywhere I go” He explained to Miriam.
She looked up at the imposing form of Odin. “Mister Baley? Odin? Why?” she asked.
“Because I promised my brother to keep you safe while he couldn’t be there himself.” Odin replied.
Loki looked deep into Miriam’s eyes with love and longing. “You know, I’d really like for you to come with us. It’s not like you have anything waiting for you and think of it as an adventure, as training.”
Miriam swallowed her fear and asked “Why do I ride with Odin? Like I can’t get it out of my head that he used to be my guidance counselor back in the day.”
“Because, His steed is the one with the broadest backs, giving you less of a chance to fall and hurt yourself.” Loki replied. He didn’t dare tell her that Odin wanted her first in order for her to be allowed on the hunt. “So what do you say? You wanna come with us? Will be pretty fun.”