It's that time again. Been keeping up with the HBM Round Robin? If not, here's where you can find the first two sessions! We have decided to write slightly longer episodes and do a little more streamlining of the story so it will feel more like a coherent narrative. Feel free to let us know in the comments what you think should happen next!
"Ooph." Delphie landed face first in a pile of something wet and gooey. "Get off me, you big tree." She shoved at the weight on top of her and rolled out from under it.
The vampire--or fake vampire, the jury was still out on that one--lay on the squishy ground in all his tempting glory. Well, not all his glory. Delphie could see the grass and muck underneath the guy, right through his muscled chest and broad shoulders. Despite how heavy he'd been on top of her, he didn't look substantial, somehow.
He stood up and shook the black gook from his cheap cape. "Thanks a lot. I'll never get my deposit back on this, now."
"I can see you," she said in a low, dreamy voice. "But you're not really there." She reached out her hand and tapped his chest with her fingers. Solid enough. She sighed. Almost too solid for comfort.
"Two fangs," he said, looking at her as if she were stupid. "Two drops of blood." He spit the fake teeth into his palm and held them out. "I need one more to finish off the cure."
Delphie scrambled for her compact and popped it open. The warts were gone, at least. But her beautiful, pink hair was now a dull, dishwater blond. Her adorable face was plain and boring without a single dimple.
At least most of the votes were safe back home.
She scanned the area around them and tried to figure out when and where they'd landed. In the distance, she spotted a modest castle. They stood in the middle of a road leading right into the gates.
"Well?" the fake vampire said in a gravelly voice. "How about that last drop of blood?"
She put her fingers to her lips and waved at him to be quiet. A carriage had come up over the rise when they weren't paying attention. It was too late to hide. They'd have to meet whoever it was and hope for the best.
A minute later, a tall woman with hot pink hair, yellow snake eyes, and an enormous gold crown covered in rubies approached them. Two footmen stood on either side of her.
"Girl," she said. "Why aren't you in the kitchens? And you, boy. Get back to the monastery with the rest of your kind before the Djinn King finds you gone." (http://www.rlnaquin.com/)
"Of course, Madam." The pseudo-vamp stood and bowed. "This way, wench. At once." He yanked a stunned Delphie after him into the forest on the far side of the road and whispered, "Run, you idiot."
Delphie wanted to argue, but the part of her brain that didn't want to get dead ordered her legs to run. She stumbled after him, her spike heels awkward on the rough terrain. A few steps inside the cover of the trees, he turned around and lifted her, tossing her over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes.
She started to complain, but heard booted footsteps crashing behind them, so she kept her mouth shut and held on. He didn't seem to mind her weight, and his chest, well, it really was nicely muscled. She let her fingers glide across his back just a little and looked down at his world-class ass. If she squinted, she could almost forget he was translucent.
Whoever or whatever he was, her accidental companion seemed to know where he was going. It didn't take long before they left their pursuers in the dust. He slowed his pace to a steady jog after maybe five minutes. They were on a path now, and darkness was falling fast.
"Put me down," she whispered, just in case. "I can walk on the packed dirt. That way, we can find some sticks or something to use as weapons if we need them."
"We can't slow down," he said. "We need to get out of these woods before sunset. That's less than five minutes away."
"How do you know that?" She sputtered as he ran faster again, bouncing her against his back. "How do you know any of that?"
"Because, you little trouble maker, I grew up here. Now shut up. There's an old gamekeeper's cottage not far ahead. It ought to still be vacant."
Delphie had no idea how to respond to that, so she did as he'd said. She shut up.
He was true to his word. In another minute or so, they found a small clearing that was obviously being reclaimed by the forest. A tiny thatched cottage stood in the middle, its door hanging crookedly to one side. He hefted her up to the stone stoop and set her down more gently than he'd carried her. Their bodies brushed each other as she slid down to look up at him.
Delphie swallowed hard. "Thanks for the rescue." She licked her lips and looked into his eyes. "Goblin balls. You're one of them."
Even in the dim light, she could see his pupils were slitted vertically--just like the queen's. (www.cindyspencerpape.com)
PART TWENTY TWO
The faux vamp turned away and pushed inside the cottage, completely ignoring her. The nerve!
"So what are you?" She was quick on his heels, determined to get answers. "Kobaloi? Demon? Some kind of alien I've never heard of? Tell me."
"Has anyone ever told you that you talk too much, little one?"
"I'll have you know--"
Her words floundered as Delphie grew momentarily distracted by the sight of the very chiseled, very perfect and very naked male specimen that emerged as he stripped out of his cape and clothes in front of her. Before she could fully comprehend the size of his package--whoa, mama--her eyes were drawn to his world-class ass again as he bent over and began rummaging through an old trunk, flinging garments left and right and flexing some very nice muscles in his back as he did so.
Mmmm. Have mercy.
He straightened, holding a pair of drawstring pants that looked as if they were made of some black velvety material. She watched as he stepped into them before snapping out of her lust-induced trance.
Why was he changing his clothes anyway?
She planted one hand on her hip. "I'll have you know I studied at a very exclusive school for supernatural creatures. I'm fluent in 300 magical languages and knowledgeable of more than 5,000 beings." Delphie glanced at her surroundings for the first time. Aside from dust and a few cobwebs, the place reminded her a bit of Bilbo's cottage from The Lord of the Rings movie. Except...were the walls kind of glowing blue? Weird.
She pinned his backside with her gaze. "I don't have a clue where I am or what you are. I need answers, dammit. I've still got a few hours left to finish my assignment. I need to get back to where we came from. Now, please."
He turned to her and smiled. "Great. Just give me one more drop of blood, and I'll tell you everything you want to know."
Tempting, but no. All of the vote spells she'd already cast would be undone. Not to mention, it would give Faux Vamp Guy an unwanted advantage over her. She crossed her arms. "Tell me your name first."
He hesitated, but only for a few seconds. "My birth name is Ainmire, but my friends call me Dash."
"Seriously?" A tiny giggle lifted from her chest. "How do you get Dash from Ainmire?"
She'd barely blinked when he disappeared before her very eyes. Goblin balls! Had he turned invisible again? She was so going to sue that company for giving her a bad batch of fairy dust when she got home.
A startled gasp tore from her throat as a strong, muscled arm slid around her middle from behind, pressing her back into a hot, hard body. She saw the glint of a knife in his other hand, slowly moving toward her neck.
"Don't worry, sweetheart." His warm breath teased her left ear. "This will only hurt for a second." (http://www.angelacampbellonline.com/)
PART TWENTY THREE
"OW!" Delphie slapped her hand to the tiny nick he'd made in her jugular but his tongue was there first, sealing the break in her skin. Hmm, was he lingering too long over that licking business? Was Dash a shifter of some kind? Delphie kicked away from him, since he appeared to be a bit intoxicated on her blood.
He was completely visible now, every inch of him. Delphie staggered across the cottage, falling into a chintz covered chair. "Now you've done it!"
"You're beautiful, and your hair glows with pink health. Why the long face?" Tucking the knife into the waistband of his trousers, Dash started searching through the cabinets over the stove.
"All my hard-won votes just poofed, thanks to you breaking the spell," she said with a pout.
"Your attention to civic duty is admirable, but time runs differently here. The election is long over." He turned around with a jar of Nutella in one hand and a tin of crackers in the other. "Looks like this will have to be dinner."
Swallowing hard at the sight of the Nutella, Delphie forced herself to ignore the rumbling of her hungry stomach. "Can we please focus on getting out of this dimension, wherever we are, and going home? I have to work tomorrow! Wait, can I go to work tomorrow?"
"Yes, we can use a time portal to return, but we’re stuck here until daybreak.”
Delphie rubbed her forehead. She hated thinking about the sciencey aspects of magic. “But if we return before the election, the vote spell will be broken.”
“Technically, no, but space-time continuum babble is uninteresting. And it has so many pesky paradoxes. I thought you wanted to know my story?" He sauntered closer, waving the food. "I had some ideas for how we could pass the long night. And nights are very, very lengthy here."
"I just bet you did." Delphie made a grab for the crackers. Well, maybe it wouldn't hurt to have something to eat, get some information on this place…get a bit cozier with Mr. Tall, Dark and Snake-Eyes.
Wait, what? No! "Are you casting a spell on me?"
He nodded. "You have the most delicious blood I've ever tasted, pixie girl. Makes me want to taste...other things."
"Didn't that creepy queen call you a monk? Wouldn't want you breaking any vows." Delphie left the chair and sidled toward the door. "And I don't do tasting on the first date."
Capturing her by the wrist, he laughed. "You admit this is our first date? That's promising."
Delphie cocked her foot back to kick him. Spell or no spell, this guy was not pushing her around. Before she decided on the best place to drive her spike heel into Dash, the door burst open.
"Unhand that woman, uh, pixie!" Amazing Male Specimen stepped into the small space, flaring out his jet black wings and shaking rain drops everywhere. (http://veronicascott.wordpress.com/)
PART TWENTY FOUR
“Oh, brother,” Dash said with a growl.
“You’re no longer my brother, infidel.” AMS advanced on Dash and Delphie, and Dash dropped her wrist, holding up his hands. “You committed treason against the Djinn Order, and I have tracked you through twenty-seven dimensions. Now you will be brought to justice.”
“Not tonight, though.” Dash slammed the door behind AMS and secured a series of deadbolts and locks. When the last one slid home, the wavering blue in the walls ghosted its way across the thick door. “Good thing for you I hadn’t sealed the wards yet.”
“I would have found a way in.” AMS glared at Dash as if the man…or whatever he was…had committed treason. Which he apparently had. “The Djinn King ordered it, and so will it be. I have come much closer to being eaten in his service than I was tonight.”
“Eaten?” Delphie exclaimed. Holy Dryad! What kind of dimension was this? Normally supernaturals were the apex predators; they weren’t preyed upon.
“The creatures that lurk in the forests at night are much less…hospitable than the djinn,” Dash said. “Which is what we are, by the way.”
“So you aren’t myths.”
“We are supposed to keep to ourselves,” AMS said, “except for traitors like this one whose lusts drive him to violate his oaths.”
“Again and again and again,” Dash said, giving Delphie a lascivious wink.
Lusts. Right. Which brought Delphie back to what had been going on right before AMS showed up.
“I’m glad you showed up, by the way.” Delphie thought about shaking AMS’s hand but, uh, he was still starkers. She trained her gaze politely on his face. He too had slit pupils. “This guy was putting a love spell on me or something.”
“He would,” AMS said darkly.
This prude was the guy who’d kissed her in the closet? Maybe the fairy dust had been responsible for that, too. “So what’s your name?”
“Ainmire of the Ainmire Clan of the Djinn, loyal subject of King Ainmire, long may he reign.”
Ainmire? “But that’s…”
“You may call me Stride.”
“It’s a djinn thing,” Dash whispered, popping up behind her like a poltergeist. She shot him an eat-dirt look. “You wouldn’t understand.”
“I don’t think I want to understand.” As Dash and Stride glared at each other, Delphie grabbed the crackers from the table where Dash had left them and fixed herself a treat. “Just promise me Romulus isn’t going to show up next.”
“No, the mouse man has been dealt with.” Stride, like his not-brother before him, finally went to the chest and dug out a pair of pants. His black wings contracted like a folding fan until they disappeared, leaving an ink-black tattoo down his spine.
Interesting. With wings like that, the djinn had to be part of the fairy family tree somewhere. Her wing tattoo was, of course, pink. And Dash’s back…had been as bare as a djinn-man’s bottom.
“So tell me, Dash,” Delphie said after she licked Nutella off a finger. “What happened to your wings?” (www.jodywallace.com)
Come on, everyone. SURELY there's a story behind those missing wings... What do you think it is?
Author, Cat Person, Amigurumist
http://www.jodywallace.com * http://www.meankitty.com
All images from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Main_page
Thursday, November 15, 2012
Round Robin: Part Three
Posted by: Jody W. and Meankitty
About us: I'm the world famous Meankitty who lives with Typing Slave (Jody Wallace), Food Slave, Pink Thing, Loud Thing, and Big D (another cat). Typing Slave is a published author who's supposed to be at my beck and meow, but instead she sits in front of the computer muttering to herself. This is our shared blog to discuss her career and the mean things I do to her to maintain my status in the SOHC (Society of House Cats) as well as assorted musings and felinious advice.