So sorry for the delay-by-a-day folks, but technical issues plague us all sometimes… Today’s post is an excerpt from a delightful author I have had the pleasure to “meet” online. Teehee – I love that I get to “meet” people regularly now, from the privacy of my own home. Sometimes the online world fascinates me… (Of course sometimes it freaks me right out, but that’s a conversation for another day.) Today, let’s focus on the good stuff – the excerpt from Lea Ryan! Be sure to check back next week for another guest post from Lea on writing – and for the chance to win your very own copy of Lair of the White Wyrm!
Lair of the White Wyrm
By Lea Ryan
Sometimes when you run from your problems, they follow you.
Eric Duncan wants nothing more than to be an ordinary, sane guy. He believes he can escape his troubled past by leaving home. However, the voice in his head, that of his dead friend Benjamin, fights him every step of the way.
Eric finds his new home is a place filled with secrets far darker than his own. A monster prowls the grounds, and it wants to keep him close.
He will discover that his inner demons aren’t the only things he should fear. In order to confront the wyrm and survive, he must also face the worst parts of himself.
Intro: This scene begins with Eric photographing museum specimens in the penthouse apartment at Ducat Tower. The night before, the monster visited him in his bedroom. Isabella is a shapeshifter, and the wyrm is her other form.
His next subject was another beetle with another set of horns. It was smaller than the first. When he finished, he turned to put it back on the shelf and noticed someone sitting in the armchair across the room.
Just like the night before when she appeared in his room as the hideous beast, his skin crawled. His heart pounded. He cleared his throat to keep his voice from shaking. He gripped the beetle
tighter to keep from dropping it.
“I’m glad to see you.” She sounded tired, but there was still an air of slyness to the way she spoke. Circles under her eyes were dark like bruises. The night was as hard on her as it was on him.
He asked, “Were you in my room last night?”
Isabella lounged sideways in the chair against with her legs draped over an arm. Her hair, that shining platinum blonde spilled over the deep brown leather. She smiled at him with a hint of a sharp canine between her lips.
Eric continued working, which meant putting his back to the monster. He didn’t think she would attack him during the day, not while she was in human form.
“I thought it was you.”
“Unfortunately, I don’t remember every little thing I do when I change, especially when the change is complete.” She was so nonchalant about the threat to his life, and that visit was a threat to his life. Maybe she didn’t realize, or wasn’t conscious of what she had actually done.
“You don’t remember what happened last night?”
She yawned. “Not really. Would you mind describing your experience to me?”
Eric felt himself being backed into a corner. How do you recount an event so horrific that you can barely speak with the memory of it at the surface of your mind? He didn’t want her to know how scared he was.
“I woke up and you were in my room. You didn’t look like yourself. You were…”
“Monstrous?” She gave a coy smile.
“Bigger. Less…human.” He stopped himself there.
“Yes.” That’s all he was going to tell her.
“She calls herself the wyrm.”
“You didn’t look like a worm.”
“Wyrm as in dragon. That’s what people used to call creatures like me.”
“Creatures.” He repeated her word.
“A creature isn’t all I am. We all have components. Have you ever known anyone who is only one thing?”
Usually only one species.
“I guess not.”
“Look at you, for instance. You’re a student, a son, a nephew, a photographer, a young man, someone who had a bit too much fun in the past, and a friend, a better one than that dead boy deserved, certainly.”
“Those are just roles.”
“You’re a different person in each. You may be a combination of a few of them at a time, but never all things at once.”
“You transformed, Isabella. What you’re saying doesn’t apply.”
“Oh, but it does. The wyrm is just part of me, the most ancient part and the most regrettable. You have parts of yourself that you aren’t proud of. I know what you did to that girl.”
Lacey. They rinsed her off in the shower after they got her out of the pond. She was semi-conscious, but she would’ve let anyone touch her. The sight of her lying there in the bed, her white skin and wet hair was more than he could resist. He was so far gone that he couldn’t help himself.
“Stay out of my head.”
“Fair enough.” She braided a strand of her long hair idly. “You should feel fortunate that the wyrm allowed you to live. More often she values humans for the taste of their blood.”
She remembered more than she let on.
“You know what she did to me. How could you let her? It was like she force-fed me the blackest parts of my soul.”
“Never fear the worst parts of yourself. They’re the truest. In sin lies honesty.”
“Just, please keep her away from me. I can’t do that again.”
“When she takes over, she takes over completely.” She shrugged, “She’s dormant during the day, so I have full control. I’m almost completely human. Night is her time when she wants it to be.”
For reasons unknown to him, maybe it was the way she lounged, or the way the light dazzled in her hair, he put the viewfinder to his eye to photograph her. She posed and smiled for him. The fact that she could be so breathtakingly beautiful and mind-blowingly hideous fascinated him.
“I try to hold on to humanity, but there are occasions in which she gets away from me.” She found the fact quite amusing. “Then, oops, that’s when the bodies pile up. Alas and alack. What ever will I do with her?” She rose from the chair, then went to the shelf to look at moths. “I like to believe that I’m more woman than beast.”
He found that difficult to swallow. As the wyrm, she had exhibited only malice and a dash of morbid curiosity toward him. A creature so outwardly vile felt nothing beyond hunger and an apparent need to play with its food.
He took another picture of her.
She leaned against the shelf and crossed her arms.
“I often wonder if I could have children. I would like smaller versions of me, looking to me for advice and learning from me. There’s also the whole passing on the legacy business. I believe I’m one of a kind.”
Eric couldn’t think of a way to ease into the question he really wanted to ask, so he laid out his concern bluntly.
“How can I protect myself from the wyrm? What should I do when she comes to me?”
Isabella leaned in close to his ear to whisper, “Pray.”