They were watching Catia’s fangs again as she spoke. Their gazes drifted down when she opened her mouth, and they met her eyes again on a pause, a little too purposefully. Over and over again. Catia touched one tooth with her tongue and glanced uselessly at the mirror behind their little table. She could guess at how each fang must cut her smile, twist her expression. But she had never seen them.
Before they had sunk in below her other teeth, her reflection had started to smear. In low light, she was nothing but an annoying smudge. The sort of thing that made her want to spit on the glass and scrub it with her cuff. In brighter lights she was a shadow that should not exist. Disconcerting. Stomach-turning, and impossible.
She had avoided daylight for months, just to keep herself believing that she was more than that shade in the glass. And to keep the others from seeing the strange way her skin bent the light even under their eyes.
And yet, the most irritating aspect of coming back from the dead was that no one believed she hadn’t gone evil.
If I tell you that I’ve always wanted to be a book villain, I may sound a little crazy. But you’ve been here before, so it’s not like that’s saying anything new.
My friend, Kathryn became a villain over on her blog, and the tag originated with SJ Bouquet and friend, Dash. While I have not been tagged myself, I couldn’t resist.
To begin: Choose 6 books (the original tag says to pick them at random, while Kathryn chose the last six books she read) and get out your ipod (or other music listening device). Prepare yourself.
Your new, villainous name: Every good villain needs a name that inspires awe and fear. Pick one of your six books at random. Flip it open and pick the first adjective you see. Then, look at your bookshelf and pick the first noun you see from all the covers. Put the adjective and noun together. That’s your name.
Animal Farm by George Orwell, page 44:
As much as I might like to use “graveside” as my adjective, by context, that’s a noun. Instead, I have to go with “little.”
A glance at my book shelves and I become…
… the Little Raven. (This smile on my face is the dictionary definition of ‘glee’.) Continue reading
She woke up deliciously warm. Sleep fell away slowly, letting her down easy, and sunlight glowed behind her closed eyes. When she blinked them open, everything was flushed with yellow, edged in soft shadows. The window was closed, but she could still smell the ocean salt outside, locked in on the balmy air from yesterday. There was a faint citrus sharpness from somewhere she had yet to find. And she took a long breath in, pushed it back out, conscious, but thoughtless.
He breathed behind her.
Her back rested against his ribs. His arm laid flat beneath her neck. She listened to him, gently waking into the strange room.
Kadie has a scar now. A straight line, cutting one eyebrow short on the outside and skipping over her eye. It’s darkest over her cheekbone before it fades to nothing above her jaw. A fine line, nearly invisible, except that the best-trained and best-paid physicks couldn’t make it actually invisible. So it stands out.
“You won’t be leaving this town alive.”
Finishing her next step, Jennika came to a slow stop, and made an even slower turn back to look down at the man. As far as threats went, it wasn’t very articulate. It wasn’t at all clever, cutting, or funny. And it sounded especially unreliable. It was difficult to be impressed.
Catia liked breathing. There was something pleasant about the liquid feeling of a breath, pulled gently over her tongue, warmed in her chest, pressed back out. It was soothing, the gentle tug on muscle. It rooted her into the world, with the sweetness, sharpness, spice, sourness hanging in the air.
But she didn’t need to breathe, and just now, it seemed selfish.
The crash and roar of the rockslide had shocked her out of two or three breaths. The sudden darkness and the ringing in her ears made her forget for another long moment. She blinked, and waited, perfectly still. The ringing died down. Her eyes slowly turned the darkness into gray, shifting shadows. Fynn’s breaths began to echo in the newly shortened space.
“Catia?” Fynn called.
She took in air, just to respond. “I’m here.”
The Short Docks was Kell’s least and most favorite place in the city.
Skiffs and dories and skipjacks and cutters all crowded into their moorings, tied up, creaking and bobbing in the tides. Their lines and short masts and rough-bound canvas criss-crossed each other across the bottom of the sky. Cramped and lively, the walkways were carved deep by sea salt, and scrubbed down by the heavy breeze. The warehouses and stayhouses, dry docks and taprooms, slipways and repair yards leaned into each other, until the whole place was a tangle.
Everything smelled like fish. Everything clattered, creaked, or groaned. There was always someone on a corner playing something with strings. There was always someone shouting. Girls and boys ran through cracks between men and women hauling and bartering, and everywhere there was the distinct hustle of living. Noisome, and brilliant.
Kell came once every eight weeks. At dawn, he started down the long line of little boats. In the cool air of his little office, his mornings were steady and sedate. He couldn’t find an hour early enough to keep the Short Docks quiet, and he kept his head down in the gray light, trying not to feel the clamor under his skin. He checked the names of every boat – Second Wind, Island Girl, Zanna – against the list registered to his office, collected their fees, and checked them off with a careful hand. Continue reading
“Heads, I win. Tails, you lose. Your choice.” And the girl smiled as she said it, her mouth a charming, crooked line.
In her chair, she relaxed without leaning either forward or back, her spine carelessly straight. Her dark hair was braided loosely down her back and a too-bright scarf held it back from her face. With one elbow propped lazily against the table, she let the silence stretch. And she waited for the unnecessary reply.
Elida knew every creak in the expansive apartments. She had watched Ness invent them eight months before when they moved in.
It had been pure entertainment, watching him on his hands and knees, teasing floorboards and stair railings and cupboard hinges into making their little noises. He tested them and he memorized the distinctions at the same time. Each was a little warning bell when anyone moved inside his apartment. When Elida stepped forward to help him, he gave her a look the equivalent of slapping her hands away, and laughed at himself after. He trusted her. But he trusted himself more.
So, she just watched him engineer squeaks and groans and creaks out of polished elegance. She hadn’t purposefully memorized them, too, but she liked the look on his face when she arrived in all her usual silence even while he rattled in the spaces he created.
Creeping down the stairs now, Elida had no need to see his surprise. She wished it very far away. Keeping her hands off the railing, she skipped the last step, and slid immediately to the right. A brush of air instead of a body, she imagined. A ghost. A thing already moved on.
He knocked against her with his shoulder, moving gently enough, but she pulled out of his way apologetically all the same.
When they had met, his broad shoulders and his bulk had been so welcome. He was built of warm muscle and she had liked to tuck her shoulder into the curve of his, had enjoyed finding the match in their fingers and the right way to fold herself against him. In the last year though, since he had come back for her, she had simply felt as if all her angles intruded. There were always three breaths between them, always a jarring when he accidentally closed the gap.
She hated it, quietly. She didn’t have the words to demand the return of something she had thrown away.
Leonathan let her take her single step back. He didn’t look at her. The city was dark, lit with distant lanterns that pricked through the black, flickering white and yellow. His face was a shadow, while the light from the room behind them spilled over his tan coat, his dark hair. She didn’t allow herself to watch him for more than a moment.
Leaning forward on the rail, she crossed her arms over each other. She traced the lines of the lights below until she was charting familiar streets by the string of them. She breathed slow. And then he leaned against the rail as well, leaned his shoulder into hers, and the purpose in it made her freeze.