Teaser Tuesday; Sympathy for the Demon

Welcome to the first of two new blog series – Teaser Tuesday (obviously), where I will post a short excerpt from one of the three novel WIPs I’m working on, or maybe something from another project. I’m also doing a guest excerpt post once a month as well so keep an eye out for those. It’s another way for me to highlight authors. There are a few guidelines, but if you’re interested, send me an email!

Anyhoo…here is this Teaser Tuesday’s 1,500 word excerpt from book four of THE WATCHTOWER series; Sympathy for the Demon.

~~~~~~~~~~

“Everything all right, sir?” Lucian’s cockney accent was stronger tonight.

Martin didn’t look up. “I’m fine.”

“Well, if ya don’t mind me sayin’, you don’t seem fine.”

Martin raised his head. Lucian was standing on the other side of the open wrought-iron gate. Martin held out his arm. “Here, help me up please.”

“I can’t.”

“Why not?”

“I’m not…” Lucian waved a hand in the air. “…shall we say corporeal, over there.”

Martin rubbed his forehead in frustration. “What are you talking about?”

Lucian moved his arm through the bars of the gate. As his limb reached out, it became transparent with only a faint outline of his hand. He waved at Martin. “The gate here marks out the perimeter of the charm.” He stepped through the gateway and his whole body became partially transparent. “I can come out here and talk to ya, but…” He held out his hand and swiped it through Martin’s bent leg. “I can’t touch you.”

He stared at his knee in shock. It felt cold as ice when Lucian swiped through him. “But I’ve seen you guys outside picking stuff up and-“

“Amulets.” Lucian said. “Like the one Miss Dole wore to the police station. And they take several hours to charge.” He walked back toward the gate. “You can shuffle your ass over here faster.”

Martin pushed himself back up the wall and walked toward the gate. “I always wondered what this thing was doing here.”

“Yeah, the whole plaza has charms and spells protecting it, but this building in particular has extra stuff.”

“Because of the Acheron portal?”

Lucian looked at him sideways. “You know about that?”

“Yeah.”

“Wasn’t sure if you did or not. The Mistress told us that when it came to you, it was on a need to know basis. Guess she didn’t want you to overload or anythin’.” He frowned. “Are you sure you’re all right? If you don’t mind me sayin, you look like hell.”

Martin trudged over to the large oak desk. He winced as he sat on the edge. His body ached from the pounding and grief. “Honestly Lucian. I feel like shit.”

“Oiy, alcohol’ll do that to ya.”

“No, that’s not it.” Martin glanced down at the floor as tightness gripped his throat. His lip trembled and he swallowed a few times to hold back his sorrow. “One of my friends died tonight.”

Lucian’s posture slumped. “Oh I’m so sorry, sir. Was he a good person? Cos if not, you could give his name to the Mistress. She might be able to put his name on the list. You bein’ friends with him and all.”

Martin gave a slight laugh. The List. He’d forgotten about that. Souls on the list were next in line to enter heaven. “Thanks.” Martin’s voice cracked and he tried to cover his face with one hand as his grief overwhelmed him. “That’s really kind of you.” He nodded. “Yeah, that would make his mother happy. Knowing he made it to Heaven.”

Lucian sat on the desk next to him. “In the end, that’s all it’s about, isn’t it, sir. Makin’ sure people are happy.”

“Yeah, and considering how he died, it would make me a lot happier too.”

“If ya don’t mind me askin’ sir, how did your friend die?”

“Something got him.” Martin’s gaze drifted away. “Killed him right there in the park. Right in front of me.”

“Something as in…”

“Supernatural. Yeah.”  

Lucian’s look of concern turned to interest. “What did it look like?”

“It was a woman, or it was masquerading as one.”

“What did this woman do, exactly?”

Martin composed himself. He didn’t want to recall her face. He was sure have nightmares about her. “She was really beautiful at first, but when I looked at her, like really looked at her, I saw shadows move across her skin.”

Lucian brought his hand to his face and stroked his chin. “Then she was either a half-breed or a vessel. What did she do to him?”

Images of the long talons came to his mind. “She stuck her hand into his back and pulled out some kind of white orb.”

Lucian’s looked worried. “A white orb? That’s not good.”

“Ya think?”

“No, what I mean is, it sounds like she’s a Siren. They lure humans into deals for their soul. Wealth, stardom, beauty, anything they want, but when the deal has been fulfilled, they harvest the soul and take it to their masters to feed on.”

“What are their masters?”

“Usually an Incubus or Succubus.”

“Isn’t Jezryall a Succubus?”

Lucian shook his head. “Half-breed Incubus.”

“There’s a difference?”

“One’s male, the other female.” Lucian stood and walked toward the wrought iron gate. “Are you sure she plunged a claw into his back?”

Martin’s grief erupted into anger. “I know what I saw, Lucian!” 

Lucian raised his hands in defence. “No offence, sir, but I have to know for sure.”

Martin lowered his head. He knew Lucian was only trying to help but his emotions were too raw. He looked up at him. “So the orb I saw…”

“Was your friend’s life-force.”

“And her master would be a creature like Jezryall?”

“A full blood, yeah. Sirens are the Overlords of the Second realm of Hell.” He looked at Martin. “Ya know about the levels, right?”

“A little.”

Lucian motioned him to follow. “Come on, we have to check on this.”

Martin stood and followed Lucian down the hall and past Daniel’s laboratory and the Conference room. This part of the corridor was dark and ominous. The shadows felt darker here and the light from the drippy candles barely lit the hall.  

“You know there are nine levels of Hell,” Lucian said, as they walked deeper. “Each reserved for those who ‘sinned’.” Lucian made air quotes and didn’t look overly impressed. “Now Sirens, they reside in the second level. Nothing too nasty there. Just those souls who succumbed to lust and greed.”

Artemis’s voice echoed in Martin’s mind.

‘Lured by Sirens into a life of their own selfish needs. They put their desire for sexual pleasure, money, anything, ahead of everything else, and at the expense of others.’

A shiver ran through him. That kind of sounded like Mike.

There was a bricked-up archway at the end of the corridor and Lucian walked right through it. Martin stopped and looked around. He snorted and put his hands on his hips. “Hey, how am I supposed to follow you, when you walk through walls?”

A moment later, Lucian stepped through the bricked archway. “Sorry. Forgot. Go down the hall to the wooden door right before the stairs. I’ll meet you on the other side.” He turned and walked back through the wall.

Martin’s heart pounded as he hurried down the corridor. He’d never been anyway other than the two floors, and even though he knew what lay inside the building, he was anxious about venturing into new territory. Anxious, but curious.

He stood in front of the wooden door. This had to be the one Lucian meant. It was the only door between here and the stairs. He recognized it immediately. Something about this door memorized him. He’d been trapped by it way back when Jezryall first brought him to the living quarters. His heart raced at the idea of what could lay on the other side. Was this the doorway that housed the portal? The wood looked the same as the large door that guarded the one at the Spire. He looked into the grain on the wood. The oblong circular knots were hypnotic as they swirled into deep vortices that pulsed to some unheard rhythm. He reached up traced the lines with his finger. They shimmered in silver under his touch.

A hard smack against the back of his head snapped him out of his trance.

Lucian’s voice bellowed from next to him. “I said go through the door, not stand there and stare at it!”

Martin shook his head and rubbed the spot where he’d been slapped. “I was going to. I just…”

“Don’t worry. Not your fault. All the doors on this level are charmed into distracting anyone who looks at them. Keeps unwanteds from entering this part.”  

“Unwanteds?”

“Yeah, every now and then one of those tree-huggin’ Liberal do-gooders manages to sneak past Lizzy and make it up here.”   

“Wait? Live people make it this far?”

“Personally, I think Lizzy lets them get by on purpose. Just to keep me on my toes.” Lucian turned the knob on the door. “I have no idea why they want in, but they sure do give it one heck of a try.” He pushed the door open and walked through. “Door stops them, every time.” The darkness engulfed him and Martin had second thoughts about being so curious. He didn’t need to know what the rest of the building looked like. As a matter of fact, he’d be perfectly fine not knowing.

He squinted into the darkness. “Are you sure it’s safe for me to go in there?”

Lucian re-appeared. “Don’t know. I don’t think any live human has come through here before, but Jezryall wanders around here, and she’s half human so….”

 Again, Lucian disappeared into the inky darkness.

~~~~~~~~~~

Still a little rough in places, but not bad.

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About Darke Conteur
Darke Conteur is a writer at the mercy of her Muse. The author of stories in several genres, she prefers to create within the realms Science Fiction and Dark Fantasy. A pagan at heart, her personal goal it to find her balance within nature; exploring the dark through her stories and the light through her beliefs. When not writing or working with crystals, she enjoys knitting, gardening, cooking and very loud music.

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