Sunday, July 2, 2017
1st 5 Pages July Workshop - Choi
Name: Stacy Choi
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary FantasyTitle: Deity Girl
Shoulders hunching against the chilly fall breeze I rocked forward on the tree stump I’d been using for a chair, unfolded my legs, and dangled one foot to the ground for balance. Looking back toward town I stared down the abandoned road squinting into the distance, like that would give me super-sight.
Slumping back onto the stump I flipped open the lid of Della’s Donuts balanced on my denim-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.
I wasn’t undead or anything. I could be killed. I just didn’t stay dead. My fault, I’d done this to myself. Not on purpose of course.
Someone tricked me.
“Thunk!” My head snapped up at the sound. I caught sight of a fat acorn rolling from the hood of the buyer’s fancy pearl-colored Lexus sitting a few feet away, collecting leaves. I glared at the car through the thin film of magic rippling along the town border. Three hours and still not back. What could be taking so long?
Since cars didn’t work in Belleview, the buyer had left his outside of town and hoofed it 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. An icy breeze pricked its way across my bare arms. Cold by Florida standards, normal for the magic-altered weather patterns of Belleview. Tucking my legs closer to my body, I folded them to sit cross-legged.
A full-body shiver shook me. “Don’t forget your jacket.” The last thing Milt said to me before he’d left this morning. Still half-asleep, twisted up in the sheets when he yelled through the door, of course I forgot my jacket.
“Puh.” Forcing the annoyed puff of air out, I checked my watch again. I’d give the buyer five more minutes.
My hand dove back into the box, feeling for the soft brush of powdered sugar on fried dough. Fingers makingcontact 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 have cost me big time.
Had it been Tomas, the Corpse Witch enforcer, chances were I’d probably 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 just 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.
By now the Corpse Witches would have figured out they’d been robbed and since I’d tried to trade for the Reaper Weed first and they’d refused, the Corpsers would know I’d been the one to do it. Tomas would be out trying to track me down before I finished the sale. 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 an enormous forehead made worse by his receding hairline. The man’s body quaked beneath an expensive looking suit cut perfectly to his slightly thick-at-the-waist frame. Never having seen an expensive suit, I just assumed.
The guy acted twitchy. I didn’t blame him. He either had to have huge titanium balls or no brains to be here, a regular human and 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 again? Didn’t matter. I’d call him Twitchy. It fit and chances were I’d never see him again. Anything magic that left the Belleview boundaries became normal. Once he and whoever he worked for figured that out, I doubted they’d be back.
“There’s a… I mean, I think I saw a unicorn on the way here?” He formed his statement as a question.
“Yeah, probably.” I shrugged. “There’s a few around.”
No big deal to me. I’d been seeing horned horses since the Magic Turn. They’d been regular horses before that—maybe. 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. Well, mostly my fault. I still totally blamed the shopkeeper and her stupid box she’d tricked me into opening.
“Wow, okay.” Twitchy rubbed his arms. “Wow,” he said again. “And the man I saw in town?”
I rolled my eyes. Clearly not working with a genius here. “You kinda need to be more specific.”
“Right, sorry.” He gargled out a nervous laugh. “The one that’s half horse?”
“Yeah, him too.”
No wonder this guy took so long. He’d been sight-seeing.
On my time.
Twitchy narrowed his eyes and dared a step closer. Leaves crinkled beneath his loafers as he moved from the road to the grass. “I heard you were a zombie. You don’t look much like a zombie.”
“That’s because I’m not.” There wasn’t a word for what I was.
“So, what are you?” His unsettling pale blue eyes flicked from my crossed legs to the crown of my head and back.
“Not dead.” I gave him my best crazy girl grin.
Technically I had been dead a time or twenty, but I always came back. All because of the magic trapped inside Pandora’s Box that spilled out three years ago when I cracked the lid.
The magic Turned or killed everyone it touched. I’d been one of the ones to die but the only one that came back. Unfortunately.
“But I heard…”
Knowing Tomas could show up any minute I uncrossed my legs, leaning forward on the stump, and cut him off. “Didn’t you know anything about this place before your boss sent you here?”
“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.”
I mashed my finger into the little black button on the side of the walkie before Twitchy could ask anything else. “Milt?”
“Yo, yo, yo.” My partner’s voice came out of the plastic box. Milt loved to laugh, and he loved making others laugh with him. Everything I wasn’t. I figured that was why we made such a good team.