Monday, July 30, 2012

Chapter 7

Chapter 7

When Regan signed her lease for the townhouse, her father had come to her student apartment with a very serious look on his face.  It had reminded her of the talk she had gotten before her first date with a boy, repeated before her first date where she was picked up from the house, and a third time when she moved into her freshman dorm.  This last time, however, he did not ask her to sit down.

“If you’re going to live alone, we need to go shopping.  Please get in the car.”

He was never a man of many words.  In fact, Regan would usually describe him as distant, or removed.  He did work a lot, never talked about retirement, and when he wasn’t buried in a spreadsheet he was holed up in the basement tying fishing flies.  At least her mother had signed him up for a perpetual online art fair and had managed to move some of the stock of flies out of the house.

He had not said where they were headed.  Her first assumption was up to the sporting good store to buy some pepper spray or something.  Instead he turned off the highway near Woodward, and brought the car to a stop in front of a gun shop and indoor firing range.  The clerks had been profoundly helpful and set her up with eye protection and ear muffs.  Her dad went through all the basics of loading and firing his 22-bolt action, and she squeezed off several rounds into the paper target.  She had actually been within a few inches of where she was aiming.  

To her father’s disappointment, however, she had refused to purchase a gun.  One of the clerks, a rather cute guy actually, had offered to let her test fire a handgun of some kind.  She had declined and promised to come back in a week or two to try one and maybe change her mind.

There were probably a dozen reasons she regretted never going back to the range, and all of them, it seemed, were armed with assault rifles.

Friday, July 27, 2012

A Promotional Interlude

If you would like to own a copy of Mind the Thorns Issue 1, Mr. Osterman is giving them away via the popular book review and discussion site Good Reads.   We promise not to direct you to other websites often in this blog but this is one opportunity to get something for free.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Mind The Thorns Issue 1 by Rob Osterman

Mind The Thorns Issue 1

by Rob Osterman

Giveaway ends August 03, 2012.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Chapter 6: Addendum

Chapter 6 Addendum

The back of the SUV became eerily quiet.  The last real sound was that of Jeremiah sliding the bolt back on the assault rifle, the metal resonating.  One of the bottles of blood had broken during the crash.  Regan could smell its contents through the casing.  Was there a vampire saying for crying over spilt blood?

Shaking her head to focus it, she looked back at the case.  Nervously she reached out for the gleaming steel of the samurai blade.  Simple and elegant she could handle that.  If Arya Stark could master swordsmanship in three episodes, she should at least be able to manage to defend herself.   She paused.  For a moment she thought maybe it was over, that the hunters had done their damage.  She looked out the back window.

Several rapid gunshots caused her to duck again, leaving white crack marks on the bulletproof glass where they had struck.

“Screw that,” she muttered and grabbed one of the handguns, reaching at the same time for the clip of ammunition resting below it.  She lined up the clip with the opening in the base of the grip and slid it home. 

She was going to fight fire with fire.

Our story continues into Chapter 7

Monday, July 23, 2012

Chapter 6

Chapter 6

Regan watched as the girl across from her dealt out the cards, her motions smooth and practiced.  She carefully picked up her hand and eased them into a fan in front of her.  She had not even processed what they were when the dealer interpreted her thoughts.

"The betting will be opened by Ms. Fairchild.   There is no maximum at this table.”

She reviewed her cards and nodded, trying to focus on what she had and what she could make:   three of clubs, five of heart, queen of spades, ace of spades, and seven of diamonds.  It was a fairly lucky hand.  The queen guaranteed her at least a pair, and the ace made it a high pair.  She took up some of her chips.

“One hundred dollars.”

Friday, July 20, 2012

Chapter 5: Addendum

Chapter 5:  Addendum

Regan looked at her small stack of chips, then stole a glance towards Paul’s.  The night had not been overly kind to him.  She could smell his frustration as easily as she could smell the cheap scotch he was drinking.  Even so, there was still a good amount of money there, and forcing him all-in would be a challenge unto itself.

She picked up a pair of chips and tried to suavely roll them between her fingers.  Having no talent for such, the two discs slipped free and rolled into the center of the table.

The dealer nodded and turned to Serenity to wait for her ante.

Regan sat back in her chair and nodded, trying to look smug.  She was fairly sure she failed.  Now it was just a matter of goading him into wagering the pen.

Our story continues into Chapter 6.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Chapter 5

Chapter 5

Regan let the warm water flow across her face and down her body.  She lifted her hands and smoothed back her auburn locks, feeling the warmth against her scalp.  She definitely felt more energized than she had last night.  Apparently blood straight from the source was better than out of a bag.  Closing her eyes she thought about the delivery girl, some innocent student, probably an liberal arts major, just trying to make enough money to pay for school by biking all over town at night.  There was a flash of guilt that she had discounted a fellow math nerd as the girl’s major.  Of course when she had been a student, Regan had barely had time to breathe, let alone hold down a job.  Her forty grand of college tuition debt attested well to her failures to procure timely financing.

She allowed herself a smile and turned off the water.  Finding time to breathe was no longer an issue.  Unless she made a point to breathe.

Wrapping a towel around her naked form, Regan stepped out into the tiny bathroom.  Without thought she put her hand up to wipe off the mirror only to find it completely free of fog.  She blinked at it foolishly a few times before realizing that her idea, now, of a warm shower was probably much cooler than it had been in the past.  

Curious she slipped her medical thermometer under her tongue and let it sit while she dried her hair.  It was always a pain to manage when it was long, making her think about getting it bobbed again.  Would it grow back?  She thought about scenes in vampire movies where the girl would chop her hair and in the time it took the camera angle to change was back with the same hair she had before.  The thermometer beeped twice, announcing that its task was complete, and she dismissed further thoughts of mane mutilation for the time being.

Eighty point two.  Well below normal, but slightly higher than room temperature.

She stepped out of the bathroom and froze.  Half of her closet was displayed on the bed, hanging from the door, and draped over the chair of her small home workstation.  Emma paced between various garments.

“Did my closet explode?”

Friday, July 13, 2012

Chapter 4: Addendum

Chapter 4 Addendum

Regan held her face in her hands.  “Anything is better then waiting around for Harrison to show up.”  She turned to look at her friend, Emma.  “I can’t face him tonight.”

Emma shook her head sympathetically.  “Certainly not with blood dribbling down your chin.”

Her hand shot to her mouth to wipe it clean.  “Right.  So.  I’ll take a shower and then we...”  Her voice trailed off for a moment.  She was really quite lost.  She felt drawn towards retreating to her regular hiding place at the pub, the one retreat both on and off campus where she could just relax and forget about work, forget about classes and forget about life. On the other hand, she knew so little about her kind, had no vampire contacts to turn to and was truly alone.

She had never really been alone before.  Roommates, boyfriends, family, there had always been people there.  No?  It was just her and the world.

And it scared her witless.

Regan could see Emma watching her, waiting patiently.  “Right,” Regan started again.  “I’m taking a shower and we’re going to see this J.”  She pushed off of the couch.  “What’s the worst that could happen?”

“We could both die?”

Regan did not look back as she took the stairs up to her bedroom.  “I’m already dead.  It’s about time you started to catch up.”

The story continues into Chapter 5

Monday, July 9, 2012

Chapter 4

Chapter 4

“My best friend is dead.”

These words were the first that Regan heard as she tried to rouse herself.

“My best friend is freaking dead and I found her.  What the hell am I supposed to do?”

The voice was familiar.  Regan tried to clear her thoughts and recall exactly where she was.  She opened her eyes, relieved that she was not in a coffin.  Her hopes that the last night was a dream were fairly well dashed as there was no Harrison next to her, and she was not in her own bed.  Instead she was still sprawled on the old futon she kept in her tiny basement, a hold over from her days in an undergrad apartment.  She was not alone, as she had been when she had poured a glass of wine and all but fell onto the mattress to sleep.

“Do I call nine one one?  She’s already dead.  What the hell are they going to do?”

Regan pushed herself over onto her back.  She had literally crashed onto the futon, face first, and fallen asleep.  So much for vampires sleeping neatly on their backs with their arms crossed.  “Emma?”

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Chapter 3: Addendum

Chapter 3 Addendum

Regan looked back and forth between Daryl and Harrison. She had already left Harrison once before, though at least time time there was only a tiny fraction of the number of witnesses. And while Daryl was proving to be loyal and sweet, she still did not know who she could trust. She hung her head.

 “Harrison, I love you. I barely remember a time when we weren’t together,” she started.

 Harrison moved to invite her into his arms. “I know, hon,” he answered, not even looking towards Daryl. 

But instead of bringing her into an embrace, he stopped with her hand on his chest. “But,” she continued, “I can’t be with you tonight. I just can’t.”

 She turned to look at Daryl. “I need to be alone.”

 Daryl nodded. “I’ll make sure the car’s taken care of.” He turned and started down the steps towards the street. Regan watched him walk around the car, and wave at her quickly before slipping back into the driver’s seat.

 Harrison was a lot less charitable. “I can’t believe you’re giving up on us.”

 Regan shook her head and turned back to him. “I’m not. It’s one night. I just need one night.” She put down her hand and folded into him. His arms did feel warm around her.

 It seemed like an eternity but she had to pull back. She pushed up on her toes to kiss his cheek and slip inside, leaving him on the porch.  She finally allowed herself the yawn that had been brewing and stretched.

 She could survive one day alone.

The story continues into chapter 4

Monday, July 2, 2012

Chapter 3

Chapter 3

Her fist clenched around a set of keys, Regan angrily sulked along the gravel road connecting the farmhouse to the barns and garage. She was not even sure which car she had selected, having only been shown a box of arranged keys and chains. Her other hand was still holding onto the plastic Meijer bag containing what was left of her blood-splattered, mud-soaked, dirt-coated wedding dress.

She was alone, in the middle of the country, in nowhere’s-ville Oxford. So far the only people she had met was a vampire had been a jerkwad of an aristocrat, his haughty witch of an assistant, and two thralls who were all about cleaning her clock with digging implements.

“Hey,” a voice said ahead of her.

“Daryl?” Regan stopped. He was leaning against the building, under one of the lights. She had been so busy glaring at the wide car doors that she nearly did not see him at all.

“Yeah,” he said a little sheepishly, “that would be me.”

Regan crossed the distance between them. “I thought you left.”

“We’re supposed to be running some stuff back down to His Lordship’s offices, but I just felt bad leaving you out here.” He reached up and scratched at the brown stubble lining his cheek.

Regan folded her arms. “You wanted to beat me in the head with a shovel.”