Thursday, April 25, 2013

Wyre-Rat (Part 5)

"I don't know, miss."

"Can we come in?" the taller of the two asked, and I looked at them with wide, innocent eyes. They both looked pretty ordinary, and neither had that particular look that I'd learned to associate with 'special' cops.

I tried to look embarrassed and shy. "Couldn't we go down to the parlor?"

One of the men stifled a laugh. The other made no reaction. "I'm sorry, no. May we come in?"

The hostess stared at the two of them, suddenly concerned.

I breathed out heavily. "I suppose." I turned away and left the door open.

There's a good reason that I meet any guests in the downstairs parlor. My bathroom is almost bigger than my bedroom. The bed fills all of one end of the room, and I skip around the end of it to get to the balcony. No room for a chair. I sniffed surreptitiously, but I couldn't smell any difference in the room.

I motioned both of them to the bed while I leaned against the wall. The one that laughed--dark hair, dark tired eyes and unshined shoes--looked uncomfortable. The other still didn't show any emotion. His shoes were shined to a high gloss, but the edges of his uniform coat were frayed.

I left the door open, a tacit invitation to the landlady to snoop.

The expressionless one pushed the door shut with his foot and I promptly opened it again, glaring.

He let it go.

Part 6

If you want to start at the beginning: Wyre-Rat episode 1

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Wyre-Rat (Episode 4)

I dropped the coat right inside my door and headed for the bath. The water ran hot, and I scrubbed off the worst of the stink before I let the water fill the big tub.

Oh, it felt so good. I sank in up to my nostrils, letting the heat soak even into my eyes. Sometimes I wonder if I could turn into a fish, but I've never tried it. Only about one percent of wyre are able to take more than one form, so I'm technically one of the elite.

I snorted water out of my nostrils. Elite. A rodent sneaking in among other rodents.

Now, I really don't like the furry little critters, but they can get in just about anywhere. Little claws and prehensile tails. They're pretty canny as well, and their survival instincts have no equal. But man, those things are filthy.

I lifted my head, scrubbed at muck caked into my short hair. It floated away. I used my fingers to scrape it out of the water, dumped it in the garbage can I kept right next to the tub. Now the garbage can stank too.

I finally crawled out of the tub after my skin was wrinkled and the water had cooled. No use refilling the tub--what I wanted was sleep. About eighteen hours of it, and then I'd report in. They wouldn't be expecting to hear from me until some time tomorrow anyway.

I slipped off the wide elastic wrist-band and tucked it in an envelope. The elastic stretched to accommodate rat or human (or even smaller things) and the contents had been my goal tonight.

I left the envelope on the table beside my door and fell into bed.

* * *

I smelled a full breakfast as I pried my eyes open. One eye touched the clock and I nearly groaned. Four hours. Four stinking hours of sleep.

My nose twitched, reminding me that I needed to feed it. Since my nose and my stomach were conspiring against additional sleep, I rolled out of bed.

I sniffed, cautiously, decided that the lingering rat-smell wasn't stuck to me and dressed quickly for the day. Today I would be a tourist, complete with a little disposable camera and flip-flops.

I laughed at the thought and slipped into a flippy little white dress. Sunglasses and a bright green purse--perfect.

"Excuse, me, Miss?" The voice of the hostess called through the door. She sounded slightly nervous.


"You have visitors."

I tossed my head, true to the character. I'd had "visitors" nearly every morning, most of them trying to sell me something. "Tell these visitors I'm not interested."

"They're police, miss."

Oh. I looked around. The coat still lay on the floor--the source of the lingering stench. I picked it up and took it out to the narrow balcony, draping it over the railing. The balcony door I left open, hoping that by the time these police actually came up to my room the smell would have disbursed.

I swung the door open, blinked at the two men standing behind the hostess. "Oh." I smiled brightly. "I thought you meant they were downstairs." All of my other "visitors" had been invited into the miniscule parlor.

"I'm sorry, miss. They insisted on coming right up."

I let my smile fade. "Is something wrong?" I looked at her, but let my eyes dart toward the strangers.

Part 5

If you want to start at the beginning: Wyre-Rat part 1

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Wyre-rat (Episode 3)

As a rat I couldn't precisely grin, but I did bare my teeth. I skittered across the ancient cobbles, launched myself at the first of my tormentors and used his body as a spring-board to get to the top of the wall behind the dumpster. From the wall to the roof. My claws scrabbled on the slick tiles of the roof but I was over and out of the alley before either of them could do more than gape.

I looked back from the peak of the roof. The two men argued quietly, but again I could not hear their words.

My claws didn't hold well to the slate and tiled roofs. I hung by my claws for a moment, then dropped into another alley.

I'd only been one stinking alley away from home when that stupid cat cornered me. In the dark before dawn I hurried along narrow alleys and across a single street, watching to make sure no one saw me.

At the back door to the hotel I shifted back to human and pushed the door open. Inside hung my heavy coat, right where I'd left it. I wrapped it around myself and slipped my feet into the waiting shoes, then walked up the stairs as if I was exhausted.

Which I was, honestly. Sleeping in a dumpster on top of a pile of garbage has never been my idea of a good time.

Episode 4

* * * * Author note: You may notice that this episode is shorter than the others. If you don't like the shorter format please let me know, but I decided to test it. The other seemed much too long for a blog post. If you want to start at the beginning: Wyre-Rat episode 1

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Spirit 3

I finished Spirit 3 today. I always feel like laughing when I finish a book, but I'm exhausted as well. It's like the whole letdown thing--for weeks I've been focused, and now I don't have that particular thing to focus on any more.

Honestly, the ending is so perfect I won't want to fuss with it in revisions. I will, of course, but it's just poetic justice.

No spoilers! I'm hoping to have the first three ready to go by June or July. Have to wait and see on that one, but it's a goal anyway.