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Hello visitors. On my blog I'm talking about my books, but also about what I'm currently working on and, maybe, some other stuff. Browse through my posts and don't forget to check out my older posts in the archives. If you are interested in my books, please, visit my website Fictitious Tales for more information and a few excerpts. You'll find more excerpts in my old website Herbert's World. Also, take a look at my second blog Herbert Grosshans, where I talk about fun-stuff and things that concern me.

Monday, February 20, 2006

An excerpt of a rejected story

Last year I sent one of my short stories to Claude Lalumiere in Montreal for his Anthology. It was rejected. I hope he'll be sorry one day, because I think it is a great story. (A rejected writer's lament!) Maybe I'll include in one of my own Anthologies. Well- anyway, here is an excerpt from 'Blood of the Virgin':

A lichen-covered stonewall loomed before us. On top of the wall, two armed sentries crouched, their bows ready. One of my guards called out to them. Moments later rusty hinges creaked in protest as a little used iron gate swung open to let us in, protested again when the gate closed behind us. The courtyard lay in semi-darkness. Silhouetted against the disk of the larger moon the walls and roofs of the castle threw irregular shadows onto the cobbled stones.
We entered the castle through a wide, tall door made out of ironwood. Most castles were ancient, but well-built fortresses against intruders from the ground and the sky. Musty air, laced with the aroma of broiling meat and wood smoke, wafted into my nostrils. Yill are not just bloodsuckers; they do eat meat, as well as vegetable matter. Drinking blood to the Yill is part of their sexual need. They don't do it to survive.
Another fact humans seem to be ignorant of.
The Prince came walking down a wide staircase. He and his followers had landed on the roof, entered the castle through doors in the tall towers. Oil lamps hanging from the ceiling and set into the rough stonewalls bathed his imposing frame with their flickering, weak light. “Don't you know that humans are not welcomed here?” His voice sounded hollow in the large hall.
“And yet you had a human mate once,” I said.
“That was a long time ago.” He stared at me. I couldn't see his eyes, but I knew they were black. “How do you know this?”
I chuckled. “It is not uncommon for a Yill-prince to keep a human female as a mate or slave.”
“She was never a slave!” He spoke sharply.
“Perhaps not.” I looked around for the two females who had been with me, but they were gone. Probably sleeping by now on a perch in one of the common rooms. My armed escort had also disappeared.
The soft whisper of a pair of wings made me look up. A slim figure landed silently in front of me.
A young female, dressed in a thin, gray gown. A virgin.
Folding her wings, she came closer, looked into my eyes. “Who are you?” she asked.
“A prisoner. And who are you?” I countered.
She laughed. “For a prisoner you act much too arrogant.” She trailed a finger along my throat. “I am Princess Arlia.” With a sudden movement she put one hand behind my neck, pulled my face closer to hers. She smelled of Laven-dew; young virgin females of her species loved to bath in it. Her incisors were short, not fully developed. “I will taste your blood tonight,” she whispered into my ear, pressing her tongue into my throat. Her nearness caused a gentle throbbing in my loins. It took all my willpower not to touch her.
“Get away from him!” the Prince thundered. “You are not ready.”
She released me, stepped back. “I am old enough,” she said in a defiant tone.
He looked at me. “I am warning you. Do not let her come near you. She is still untouched, untaught. She will kill you.”
“Is she your daughter?” I asked, wondering if he could see the pulsing of my temples.
“One of many. But she's the most uncontrollable one.”
“You have sons?”
“I had a son, once. But he was Skorrat, not of pure blood.” His wings fluttered in an impatient gesture. Turning, he walked over to a massive wooden bench, sat down. Resting his elbows on a table in front of him, he waved his hand. “Leave me, all of you!” His finger shot out, pointed at me. “Not you. Come and sit with me.”
While the others skulked away I joined him at his table.
“Have some wine,” he said, pouring from a pitcher into one of two bronze cups. When I hesitated he smiled. “Don't worry. It is not blood, and it isn't poison, either.”
The wine soothed my parched throat, but left a strange aftertaste. “About your son; his mother was human. Am I correct?”
“You are. Like I said, it was a long time ago.”
“Did you love her?”
Draining his cup, he slammed it down, angrily. “What is it to you?” He rose and turned away from me. “She was probably the only woman I ever loved, even though she was not of my species.” He spoke softly. I could hardly make out the words. “She promised me a son.”
“She did give you a son,” I said, just as softly.
He whirled. His eyes glowed with sudden fire. “A Skorrat--and a cripple. His wings were deformed, he lacked fangs. I could not bear to look at him, and I didn't mourn when he was captured by slave traders.”
“He was your son!”
“He was an embarrassment. I was glad to be rid of him.”
“What about his mother? What happened to her?”
“She died of a broken heart. Or maybe I sucked her dry in a fit of rage. What does it matter? She was only a human. But now I grow tired of your company.” He let out a sharp whistle. From the dark ceiling a shadowy figure dropped down, landed on soft soles. “Take this human to a place where he can sleep.”
I followed the old female up a narrow staircase, into a dark room. She lit an oil lamp with the torch she carried. “You can sleep over there.” She pointed to a pile of crumpled blankets in one corner. “This used to be his favorite hiding place. Nobody comes up here. You should be safe.”
I looked into her lined face. “You have kind eyes,” I told her.
She smiled, reached out to touch my cheek. “Not all Yill hate humans.”
I watched her climb back down the creaking steps, wings dragging behind her. Then I walked over to one of the walls, drew open the dusty curtain that covered the small window to let in the moonlight, and some fresh air. All three moons were visible now, forming a large triangle in the star speckled sky.
A throbbing inside my belly reminded me of the hunger I needed to still. I took off my pants and shirt, blew out the oil lamp. Naked, I stretched out on top of the blankets, inhaled their musty, damp smell. I lay there and waited.

I still don't know if anyone actually reads my Blog. Of all those people cruising the Internet, someone must stumble across mine, for heaven's sake. If you do, please, leave a comment. Tell me what you think about this excerpt. Somebody? Is there anyone?

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