This week’s excerpt is from an unpublished work, Gho, an urban fantasy about Hildi Schreiber, a young inventor who returns as a ghost to avenge her murder (yes I know my blurb needs work). Originally written as a YA novel, I am now in the process of converting it to an adult novella.
Here’s an excerpt from the middle of the manuscript, just to provide some flavor:
They surfaced minutes later through another trap door inside a dusty shop. At first look Ice wondered if he was trapped in a seventies horror flick. The shelves were cluttered with antique flasks, wooden pendants of various kinds and all sorts of jars containing dead animals or dead animal parts. The shelves were wooden, the price tags hand written. A long oak counter stretched the width of the store, a smoked glass lid nearly as long as the counter with tarnished hinges. Beneath the glass were even more bizarre items, including two skeletal hands, an eyeball floating in a snow globe, and rows of tiny bottle in various colors. An entire section of these bottles, containing opaque liquids in dark colors ranging from maroon to indigo to black, laid beneath a carved wooden plaque with the word Bloods on it.
“Hello young man,” came a crackle of a voice, old yet moist, with a hint of a drawl. “You must be the one they call Ice.”
Ice spun around. A wizened woman, with a mane of thick hair that somehow reminded him of Nishi’s, only gray instead of red, faced him, leaning on a stout oaken staff. She wore an orange cloak, woolen, over what appeared to be a homespun calico dress. She must shop the B Western’s prop department he thought. “Yes ma’am.”
“Lose the ma’am bit.” Almost sounded like a command even through the cackle. And she was leaning on the staff more like a runner resting against a signpost than an octogenarian on a cane. “You may call me Granny Hooper, everybody does.”
“Of course, Granny.” He tried out his best smile, but she was spinning away from him, her cloak billowing behind her.
“Sit. I’ll fetch the tea.”
“There were four tea cups set at the table. Ice tried to catch Nishi’s eye but she had followed Granny to the back of the shop. Rather than risk picking the chair with the white rabbit invisibly sitting on it, Ice leaned against the wall, taking in the shop.
“That replica of a human skull is the bomb,” he said, wondering if he should buy it and mount it on top of his television.
“It’s neither a bomb nor a replica.”
Granny’s tea had the kick of a mule but the smooth aftertaste of three hundred dollar Armagnac. The warm fumes were almost intoxicating. Like really fine weed, not that he’d smoked since the police academy. A long tooth in a glass jar captured his attention. It was curvy. Wonder if the tooth fairy paid extra for the curvy kind, he thought.
He was just starting to wonder if he was being drugged when he heard a wisp of a voice in his head say, “Good shit, huh Ice?”
He shoved the teacup away awkwardly but it was empty. Granny was knitting something large while Nishi sat still, trying hard not to laugh. From the far end of the table, that voice again. “This way, genius. Granny’s tea packs a ginormous wallop, but it won’t last long.”
Ice sat back in the chair, closed his eyes for a second, then slowly rotated his head. Sitting in the heretofore vacant chair at the end of the table was the vague but discernible shape of a sixteen-year-old girl, one that he could easily identify from the many crime scene and media pictures. “Hildi?”
“About freaking time.”
More to come, but not for a while. This one is still a work in progress.