because I totally forgot it was my turn to post this morning, and I have nothing prepared. So, instead of me sitting here trying to think of something interesting to say (which is asking a lot at the best of times!), here’s a snippet of my upcoming offshoot series (which has the working title of Dark Angels, and which features a grown up Risa). To set the scene, Risa’s just come out of a hospital, having discovered that something–or someone–has ripped the soul out of a little girl’s body (Please note–this is totally unedited, so forgive the mistakes!):
It was raining again outside and I didn’t give a damn. I just stood there on the top of the steps and raised my face to the sky, letting the moisture soak my skin and run down my neck, washing away the scent of death and the feeling of wrongness.
It was only when I began to shiver than I opened my eyes and looked around me.
And saw my reaper.
He was standing at the bottom of the steps, staring up at me. He was still half naked, the rain beading lightly on his warm, suntanned skin, and running lightly down his defined abs. The leather holding his sword in place seemed to emphasize the width of his shoulders, and the wet denim of his faded jeans clung to his legs, hinting at the lean strength of them. Stylized black tats that resembled half a wing swept around his ribs from underneath his arm, the tips brushing across the left side of his neck. He stood like a fighter. Lightly, warily, as if he expected trouble at any moment.
If he was coming for me, he was certainly going to get it.
I continued to stare at him and didn’t say anything, not entirely sure whether it was wise. I mean, speaking or moving might just bring on the actions I had every intention of fighting.
Besides, for all I knew, this sword carrying reaper might be responsible for the atrocity that had happened upstairs. And if he could do that, then God only knows what else he might be capable of.
“So,” he said, after what seemed like age of us simply standing there staring at each other. “You can see me.”
His voice was mellow and rich, the total opposite to what I’d expected. On any other man it might have been sexy, but this wasn’t a man. He merely held that form.
“I can.” I kept my voice soft. I wasn’t sure whether others could see him, and I didn’t particularly want to be spotted talking to thin air. Mom was a media star, and a daughter caught talking to imaginary people would certainly make good fodder for the gossip magazines. “And you’d better know that I know it’s not my time to die. You try to take me and you’ll have a goddamn fight on your hands. Sword or not.”
Something akin to surprise ran through the bright depths of his odd colored eyes. “Reapers do not steal souls. If you can see us, you should be aware of that fact.”
“The only fact I’m aware of is the one lying in room six-eleven. Someone stole her soul. If not a reaper, then who?”
His gaze rose upwards briefly then met mine again. “Wait here,” he said. “Do not run, because I will find you.”
“If I’d wanted to run, I would have done so before now,” I said. “But in case you haven’t realized, it’s raining and cold, and I need to warm up.”
He obviously didn’t. I could feel the heat of him even from where I stood. It didn’t do a whole lot to warm the chill from my skin, but maybe that was due more to the fear of why he was here.
“If the moisture bothered you so,” he said, “you would have moved out of it before now.”
Had any other man made that statement, I might have suspected he was being sarcastic. But he said it without inflection and without the slightest hint of amusement.
Did reapers even feel amusement?
I had no idea. I might have been aware of them for most of my life, and I might be related to them by virtue of my Aedh blood, but that wasn’t much help. Even Quinn–the half-Aedh vampire who’d taught me to control my Aedh gifts–hadn’t been able to tell me a whole lot about the reapers.
I glanced down the street and spotted McDonalds. “I’ll be in there.”
He glanced briefly at the building then back to me, his expression giving very little away. “Good.”
And with that, he disappeared again.