Happy Hump Day. It’s time for #1lineWed and I have a big ol’ snippet to share. This is like hot-off-the-presses first draft so forgive typos, awkward sentence structure and all the other oops that are part of a first draft. I’ll admit that I didn’t have a snippet that felt truly fit today’s theme. But the rough scene I had of Sade doing some…well, we’ll just call it a little magical traveling, needed to be finished. And with **ROUND** as my inspiration, this is where I went.
Sade hit something solid and had enough presence of mind to soften her knees, lean, and roll. She came up in a crouch, pistol in her hand. She had no clue where she’d landed but the place was pitch black. The darkness was suffocating, and both claustrophobia and vertigo hit. She closed her eyes, which didn’t change a damn thing about her environment but she wasn’t supposed to see light with her eyelids screwed shut.
Heavy breathing filled the void and she held her breath. The sound stopped. Oh, she thought, and choked back a giggle, knowing it would shade toward the hysterical side. She was the one breathing hard. D’uh. She reached out a cautious hand, felt the space in front of her and then each side. Nothing. She touched the surface beneath her. Hard but with a layer of…dust? Dirt? Hell, for all she knew, it could be fairy dust. That would be her luck.
It would help if she could remember how she got here, wherever the fuck here was. With utmost care, she twisted to feel behind her. More nothing. Common sense said sit still. Like getting lost in the woods, she should hug a tree and wait to get rescued. Except she wasn’t in the damn woods and as queasy as her stomach felt, she’d likely gone through another fucking portal. Which totally sucked. She’d had enough of that during the Battle for the Realms while fighting the rogue gargoyles with Roman and his little witch, Verity.
The whole Scooby Gang had been there for that final clash, and it had taken them all to prevail. Had the battle occurred in the human realm, the devastation would have been monumental and she couldn’t even comprehend what the death toll would have been. It was bad enough that parts of that war had spilled into Notre Dame and damaged the historic cathedral.
She hunkered down on her haunches and forced her brain to ignore the oppressive darkness. She need to think but more importantly, she needed to remember. She closed her eyes, hoping her brain would realize they were in the dark because her eyes were closed.
Paris. She’d been in Paris. Caleb. With her partner. On a case. Early morning. Vampire. Not Sinjen. Though she’d talked to him on the phone. A different vampire. A car. A…train?
Yes! She’d gotten on a train to go find Nikos. Something happened on the train. Coffee. She’d gotten coffee from a trolley. Her phone. She patted her pockets. There was something about her…Jean-Louis. Interpol. She’d dropped her phone in his car and he’d told her to buy a new one at the station except there hadn’t been time. Crap. Coffee. Her mouth filled with saliva and she tasted something…odd. Metallic. Poison? No. Magic? Oh hell yes.
She’d drunk her coffee and after swallowing the last drop, she’d been hurtled through a motherfucking portal. Her backpack. Where was her… She felt around. Her fingers brushed against leather. She scrabbled for the strap and hauled her pack to her. That was something at least.
Now, to figure out where in the hell of a hundred realms was she.
Something clicked. A light flickered over her head. The grating screech of grinding gears filled her ears. The floor started to move. What in the motherfucking hell? More lights flickered on. The floor sped up. Sade planted her butt and spread her legs in hopes that would help brace her. She wasn’t moving in a straight line. Nope. She was going in a slow circle. Calliope music tinkled in the background. More lights, flashing and dancing in time to the old-fashioned music. Figures emerged as they passed beneath the puddles of light. A horse. White with a golden mane and tail, one front leg lifted and curled. A saddle and bridle, gaudy and gilded adorned the animal. It rose and fell in time to the music. Carousel horse. The next figure was that of a dragon, glittering silver with wings outspread, also wearing a saddle painted red with a blue blanket embellished with arcane symbols beneath it. A wolf flashed by, pitch black with glowing amber eyes, wearing a golden saddle. More horses followed. Up and down. Round and round.
She suddenly recognized the song and sang the words. “Here we go ’round the mulberry bush, the mulberry bush, the mulberry bush. Here we go ’round the mulberry bush, on a cold and frosty morning.”
Sade clamped her mouth shut. What the fuck? Was she dreaming? Or had she truly been dumped through another portal? Bad enough she ended up in the dragon realm the first time. This placer? She had no clue. It didn’t feel fae. Or gargoyle. Not dragon. Not…real. Was she caught in some weird dreamscape?
The carousel was completely illuminated now, lights sparkling and dancing. The music changed tempo. Sade groped for the nearest animal. A black charger, tall and muscled, and covered in fancy armor. She swung up into the saddle, ignoring the St. John’s cross on the horse’s caparisons. She grabbed the reins and held on as the horse shifted beneath her. How did she know that the cloth draping the horse was called a caparison? And more importantly, how did she know the cross emblazoned across it’s hindquarters was a St. John’s cross and not a Templar’s cross?
“Dreaming,” she muttered. “This can’t be real.”
So how did one go about waking up from a crazy-ass dream while basically caught on the Fae’s Wild Hunt of a merry-go-round? She recognized the answer as it passed above her head.
“You catch the brass ring.”
Sounds like a plan to me. Now, if I could just figure out the villain. On a bright note, I think I finally have the title, but I’m not sure so I’m not sharing. Yet. Writers, do you have an round words share? Readers, what makes your reading world go round?