Excerpts

These are all excerpts from WsIP. Enjoy.

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Rez coughed, turned his head and spat something vile. He sat up, gasping, his eyes wide and blind and blinking, as his hands clapped over the broad, blank skin of his chest, fingers dabbling in torn shirt and spilled blood.

Ah, again, he thought, nodding as his heart lurched in his chest, staggering onward to find a rhythm that suited.

The price of immortality was stranger than he’d ever imagined — and what he hadn’t factored at all in was that he might one day think it wasn’t worth it.

“You whole?” The voice came in the darkness.

Rez looked to his hands, and smiled grimly, staring past them as he wiggled his fingers in front of his face.

“Rez!”

The bite of the word was sharp, and he turned toward the person flinging it, baring his teeth. He growled his answer, waiting for the muddiness of the dark waters of his vision to recede. “Never have been. Let’s go.”


*****

The next morning, Hedda woke to a settled stomach, she warily ate some of the bread that had been left next to her. The milk was disappointingly warm and nearly sour, so she didn’t chance it, but gnawed on the stale crust until her jaw was tired and she was bored of bothering. She got up and dressed herself in a fine dress, combed her hair and put it up, and walked out into the kitchen to find Jorgen reading a book while Adi played with his breakfast.

Jorgen nearly dropped his book when he saw her. “Good morning!” he beamed, rushing to her. He was all thumbs and heavy limbs, squeezing her and trying to smother her with kisses. “You’re up!” Delighted, he picked up Adi and swung him around. “Look who it is! It’s mother! That’s right! It’s mother! Look who it is!”

Adi burst into a snot-nosed wail, and reached out for Hedda, struggling to squirm out of Jorgen’s arms. Fat tears rolled down pink cheeks, and Jorgen immediately moved to put him in Hedda’s embrace.

Hedda, not ready for such a thing, nearly dropped the boychild.

Adi screamed, clinging to Hedda’s fine dress, wiping his face on it, grabbing for Hedda’s braided hair with sticky fingers. “Ma! MA!”

“Jorgen!” Hedda snapped. “What are you doing?” She thrust the child back into his arms, attempting to smooth her dress, to wipe the grimy handprints off, to tuck her curls back. “I’ve only just gotten up; I haven’t been out of bed in days and you drop him on me?” Her heart and head felt heavy to raise her voice to him, but his mulish expression of innocence only made her more exasperated.

“I just thought it would be nice for you to hold your little boy,” Jorgen said. “Think of that, Hedda, what more could a mother ask for, eh?”

What more could a mother ask for? Hedda hardly knew. She knew what she longed to ask for, but couldn’t bring herself to say it out loud. Imagine the horror, the rebuke she’d get, for saying such things. What kind of woman, what kind of wife, what kind of mother, dreaded the touch of her husband and child, honestly?

Adi wailed, and Hedda shook her head, picking up the child and tending to him. “Nevermind, I’ve got him, Jorgen,” she sighed, cooing in babytalk to the infant.

“Oh, good. You know, since you’re up–”

Jorgen must have seen the panicked look on Hedda’s face, because he immediately followed up. “Oh, don’t worry! Taya said she would come by fairly soon. It’s just that I have some work I have to get done. Perhaps you could just keep Adi with you for a little while? Surely you can handle just a tiny little while with your son?”

“Surely,” Hedda said, looking faintly lost.

“Oh, wonderful,” Jorgen beamed. He kissed Hedda, ruffled her hair affectionately, and grabbed a bag before zipping out, waving. “Bye bye! Daddy says bye bye to his perfect little family!”

As soon as the door shut, Hedda set Adi down on the floor, turned hard left, and vomited.

Adi began to cry again.

So did Hedda.

*****

Asif held Sajid’s face in his hands pressed his hot cheek to Sajid’s cold one, and wept. “You fool.” He gently brushed Sajid’s thick ringlets back from his face, saying, “How could I love such an idiot, hm?” Asif kissed the other man’s brow, and laid his forehead against Sajid’s, sighing. “You should not have followed me, hayati,” he whispered, sitting up from where he knelt at the fallen man’s side. “You should not have come.”

He took his time, gently arranging Sajid on the dusty floor, straightening his limbs and crossing his arms, laying him out straight. “What were you thinking, hm?”

He moved to get to his feet, and headed for the final door. Sparing one last glance back to the body on the floor, he took a deep breath, pulled the battered notebook from his vest, and moved to push through the doorway, holding his hands up over his head.

“I’m coming out!” he called. “I’m coming out — don’t shoot!”

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About Catastrophe Jones

Wretched word-goblin with enough interests that they're not particularly awesome at any of them. Terrible self-esteem and yet prone to hilarious bouts of hubris. Full of the worst flavors of self-awareness. Owns far too many craft supplies. Will sing to you at the slightest provocation.
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