Marshall McLuhan said, “Turn to page 69 of any book and read it. If you like that page, buy the book.” Over the next few Wednesdays, I’ll try this on my own books and works in progress.
We’re All Human. Even When We’re Not.She’s a young witch whose goddess is a house cat of unusual size. He’s a Warden policing a delicate truce between those who are human and those who… aren’t. Urban Fantasy anthology coming soon from Hartwood Publishing (NOTE: until final formatting, I have to approximate where pg. 69 falls)
Claire hadn’t fought in the Nonwars, but she’d heard plenty of Nana’s stories. She supposed some battles might have sounded as bad as the noises coming from the woods, but she couldn’t see how they could have been any worse. The hell with that. Pulling both athame from her hair, she raced for the sound of shrieking and snarls coming from the woods. Reaching the small clearing, she was just in time to see Bygul in her battle avatar, a lion-sized feline screaming defiance at a dark figure in the shadows ringing the clearing.
But it was the three black, vaguely dog-shaped creatures who brought Claire to a careful halt. Each had one glowing green eye, centered above grinning jaws lined with exaggerated teeth. Barghests, Nana’s stories had named them. The Black Hounds. As the hounds spread apart to surround her, their swaying heads panting ropes of drool in their eagerness to attack, she backed toward the largest tree.
Mind racing, she reviewed the spells she’d managed so far, but none seemed likely to take out even one of the creatures facing her. Okay, we do this the old-fashioned way. Nana said the barghests had been after Bygul’s power forever, and that’s why the Danielsen’s originally left Norway. If all three attacked together, she wouldn’t have had a chance. But the creatures seemed as mistrustful of each other as they were of her, retaliating in a slash of claw or fang when another got too close.
Their swinging heads, she realized, compensated for their one-eyed lack of peripheral vision. Finally, one broke and leaped for her, jaws wide and spittle flying. She ducked low, coming up under its blind side and slashing at its belly with her silver-bladed athame. Not all creatures reacted to pure silver, so she sucked in a huge breath when the screaming barghest convulsed around the already smoking wound, its green eye flashing to red. The other two paused, and sniffed the air as the wounded beast dragged itself out of the clearing.
The two remaining barghests turned back to her and resumed circling. This time it was Claire who attacked, whirling to fling one athame at the creature attempting to move into position behind her tree. It caught the barghest high in back of a meaty shoulder, sending it into a snarling frenzy as it ripped chunks from its own haunch in a vain attempt to reach the smoking silver knife. The third monster crouched toward the ground, slinking on great padded feet as Claire transferred the remaining athame to her right hand and resumed her watchful stance. At a further snarl from Bygul, Claire risked a quick glance. The dark figure was backing away into the shadows, followed by the remaining barghest. Bygul gave a final screaming challenge, then limped over to drop something at Claire’s feet.
How about you? Post your Pg. 69 (your own or a favorite) and list the link below or tweet #Pg69!