Over the next couple weeks I’ll be sharing additional excerpts from the novella Hood & Fae, the first of my new urban fantasy series Daughters of Little Red Riding Hood. Hood & Fae is currently available in the fantasy bundle Faery Realms: Ten Magical Titles on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords or Google Play.
Navigating the buses with my new picnic basket, loaded with five pies and a gun, nicely occupied my mind for a while. On the bus, though, I couldn’t escape the fact that public transit serviced a lot more of the undead than I had ever noticed before.
I saw a flickering zombie with a gaping chest wound, two softer ghost ladies rather frayed about the edges, a hooker who had demon horns and shiny red skin, and something naked, male, and gray that had a hard-on and the head of a squid. Ew.
Those spirits had no bodies, so I noticed them first. The passengers looked different too, though I had to peer deeper, past the flesh suits, into their souls. Sometimes the souls mirrored the body; just as often, not. The lady across the aisle from me turned to watch me watching everyone else. Her soul had no color and her eyelids had been sewn shut.
I shuddered. Did my soul look like that? Willfully blind?
In the interest of science, experimenting, I took off the red leather jacket. The ghosts and the souls disappeared. The bus looked a lot emptier and a lot less freaky. But now that I had seen the other reality, it made me itch to sit there blindly. What if one of the spirits decided to creep up on me? What if another one thrust its claw into my chest? I’d never know until I doubled over with a heart attack.
I slipped the red jacket back on. I could see the ghosts now. One of the monsters turned and winked at me, leering. I sank into my seat. The world is a more crowded place when you see spirits, but surprisingly, it also makes a lot more sense.
I put my hands in my pocket. The gun was packed inside the false bottom of my picnic basket, but there was something in the pocket. The little black business card.
Domitian Drake, you sly scoundrel. This jacket is worth more than $100,000. I bet that line you fed me about it belonging to your momma was bullshit. It had to be. He’d claimed my mother bought the jacket from his mother’s estate sale, but I had noticed my grandmother wearing this jacket in the photo taken in the 1960s. I knew both my grandmother and my mother had worn special clothes while speaking to the dead, though I’d never been allowed in the room during those sessions. Now I was 99% certain they’d worn this jacket.
I’d always thought they were ashamed of how they fooled gullible people, and that was why they’d never let me watch them conjure the dead. Now I realized they kept their work secret because it was honest-to-God necromancy, if that wasn’t an oxymoron. The dead were scary bastards.
WARNING: This novel is only appropriate for older teens and adults, because it contains #$%*&@ words. Spelled out for real, though. Even that one that starts with “F.” Yeah, it’s in there, in a couple places. Also, “dumbkof,” but that’s in another language, so it won’t bother you.