Sunday, July 9, 2017
1st 5 Pages July Workshop - Choi Rev 1
Name: Stacy Choi
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary FantasyTitle: Deity Girl
I flipped open the box of Della’s Donuts sitting in my lap and pulled out a plain glazed. My fourth donut of the morning because, why not? Despite an out of control sugar addiction, my figure hadn’t changed. Not since the first time I died.
Not changed much, anyhow.
Looking down at my old t-shirt, it puckered and pulled a little tight across the middle. Whatever. It would fit right soon enough. When I died again—and that’d probably be soon considering who I just robbed—I’d come back looking exactly like I did when I’d been a half-starved sixteen-year-old runaway, with the worst haircut of my life.
“Thunk!” My head snapped up at the sound. I caught sight of an acorn rolling from the hood of the buyer’s fancy, pearl-colored Lexus. It sat a few feet away, collecting leaves.
Three hours and the guy still wasn’t back. I glared through the film of magic rippling along the town border, between me and the car. The magic looking like oil slicked water when the light hit it just right.
I hunched my shoulders against the chilly fall breeze and rocked forward on the tree stump I’d been using for a chair, dangling one foot to the ground for balance. Turning back toward town, I squinted into the distance.
Just a rusty sign warning outsiders in big bold letters that they’d crossed into Belleview. As if the dingy gray unicorn scratching its rump against the post didn’t give that away. Not exactly the majestic beast legend described. Its silvery rolled in my direction. Baring big square teeth at me, it heaved from the sign post and clopped away.
Behind me, I heard another acorn plink off the Lexus.
Since cars didn’t work in Belleview, the buyer had left his outside of town and gone on foot to his early morning meeting with my business partner and BFF, Milt. The buyer should’ve been in and out of Belleview in an hour. Maybe less if he walked fast. What could be taking so long?
Worry needled me. Pulse thumping a little faster, my heart knocked against my ribs, like a moth trapped in a jar. What if the deal went sideways? Could something have happened to Milt?
No. What had gotten into me?
I did the dirty work for a reason. If anything happened, it would happen to me. It always happened to me.
An icy breeze raked its way across my bare arms, feeling like frozen fingernails. Cold by Florida standards, normal for the magic-altered weather patterns of Belleview. I tucked my legs closer to my body, folding them to sit cross-legged.
“Don’t forget your jacket.” Milt’s reminder echoed in my head. I’d still been half-asleep when he yelled through my door, so of course I forgot the jacket. He coulda just left a note.
I pressed a fist to my aching back, knuckles rolling along the spine for relief. I’d give the buyer five more minutes, that was it.
Feeling around in the half-empty donut box, I grabbed another. Powdered sugar rained onto my chin as I shoved number five into my mouth.
Jaw freezing mid-chew, I turned toward the voice and slumped in relief. Just the buyer. I’d been so distracted I hadn’t heard him coming. A mistake that could’ve cost me big time.
Had it been Tomas, the Corpse Witch enforcer, chances were I’d already be dead.
These days, almost all the deals Milt and I made were accomplished by barter. But some things weren’t for trade and this job was too good to turn down. So I’d climbed into a silo full of drying, sickle-shaped stalks and stuffed a duffel bag full of Reaper Weed.
I’d tried to trade for it first, but Reaper Weed being the key component Corpse Witches used to raise new ghouls, they’d refused. By now the witches would’ve figured out they’d been robbed, and know I’d been the one to do it. Tomas would be out trying to track me down. I needed to hurry this up.
My question came out with a mouthful of crumbs, “Payment made?”
“Yeah,” the man croaked, nerves clogging his throat.
Licking the powdered sugar from my fingertips, I extended my hand. Sugar-free fingers wiggling impatiently.
“Oh, sorry.” He fumbled a walkie-talkie from his jacket pocket and scooted close enough to hand it to me before scurrying away, putting distance back between us.
Sweat plastered wispy strands of brown hair to the man’s enormous forehead. He pulled out a yellow-silk handkerchief and dabbed it along a receding hairline. Rocking from one foot to the other, the man noticed me watching and quickly shoved his hands, and the handkerchief, into his pockets.
I didn’t blame him for being twitchy. He either had to have huge titanium balls or no brains to be here, a regular human with no way to protect himself, trying to steal from the Corpse Witches—witches whose magic dealt with the dead.
My money was on the no brains thing.
“Uh,” he stuttered, a question obviously on the tip of his tongue.
I arched a brow, “Yeah?”
What was this guy’s name? Didn’t matter. I’d call him Twitchy. It fit and chances were I’d never see him again. Whatever Twitchy and his employer planned, it wouldn’t work. It took Reaper Weed, a corpse, and a Corpse Witch to raise a ghoul. Since they’d never find a Corpse Witch outside of Belleview, the world wasn’t in danger of being invaded by ghouls.
“There’s a… I mean, I think I saw a unicorn on the way here?” He formed his statement as a question.
I shrugged. “There’s a few around.” Probably the same one who’d been using the sign for a back scratcher.
No big deal. I’d been seeing horned horses since the Magic Turn. They’d been regular horses before that—maybe. I didn’t really know. I’d been passing through Belleview and had the unfortunate luck of being here when the magic hit.
Maybe more accurate to say Belleview had the bad luck. I mean, it was my fault the Turn happened.
“Wow, okay.” Twitchy rubbed a hand over his mouth. “Wow.”
No wonder this guy took so long. He’d been sight-seeing.
On my time.
Narrowing his eyes, Twitchy dared a step closer. Leaves crinkled beneath his loafers as he moved from the road into the grass. “I heard you were a zombie.” The man’s unsettling pale blue eyes traveled from the frizzy mess of Crayola-red hair on my head, down to my crossed legs, and back. “You don’t look much like a zombie.”
“That’s because I’m not.” Scowling, I tried to run my fingers through the snarled mess on my head.
“So, what are you?”
“Not dead.” I gave him my best crazy girl grin.
There wasn’t a word for what I was. I wasn’t undead or anything. I could be killed. I just didn’t stay dead. All because of the magic trapped inside Pandora’s Box that spilled out three years ago when someone tricked me into cracking the lid.
The magic Turned or killed everyone it touched—did a bit of both to me.
“But I heard…”
Knowing Tomas could show up any minute I cut him off. “Didn’t you know anything about this place before your boss sent you?”
“Yeah, but come on. Who’s going to believe it without seeing it?”
I snorted. “Stupid people that come here and get themselves killed. Or worse, Turned.”