Sunday, November 13, 2011

Heavy files and fun.

Here's just a fun little scene between Daph and Eric right after the first meeting at the Met. Daph is given a heavy set of files to read and Eric pesters her to let him carry them :) Enjoy!

“Daph? Want me to carry those files for you?”
In all my effort to valiantly ignore him, I’d forgotten my cool in carrying the weighty homework around, and had grunted shifting them from one arm to the other.
A firm hand on my shoulder stopped me short when I’d tried to continue onwards.
“Daphne, stop walking for a second and give me the files.”
“Maybe I don’t want to.” I tried to move but the hand didn’t budge. “Let go of me.”
“Then stop trying to walk away from me.” I ignored the unspoken ‘and us’, that I knew he was thinking along with it.
“Then I’m not letting go.”
I heaved the files up a little and whacked him with them. Or at least I would have if he hadn’t side-stepped, catching the impact of the blow partially on the side, just enough to set me off balance and cause me to topple over. The files scattered around my head and I lay winded on the floor. A woman walked past with her children and shot a condescending glance in our direction.
Eric leant over me with a smirk. “Right, darling?” Right, dahlin’?
I flipped him the bird but he only laughed and grasped my hand to haul me upright. Then, with seemingly super-human speed – I wasn’t sure how much was my imagination and how much was that other supernatural thing – he gathered up the files and wouldn’t give them to me.
“You’re not being fair!”
“You’re not being reasonable; the files are heavy, just shut up and let me carry them for you.”
“You’re not winning macho points here, Eric. I’m not falling in love with you as you heave those things over your arm.” I crossed my arms and glared at him as he did just that.
Eric only grinned, holding the files in one hand like they weighed nothing. “That’s only because you never stopped loving me to begin with. You can’t fall in love if you already in love with someone.”
I poked him in the stomach. “Yeah, but you can fall out of love with them.”
“Oh honey, who are you kidding? Not me.”
I bit my right palm to smother a frustrated moan. “You haven’t changed, you are still the arrogant son of a bitch that I first met in London last year! Jesus, just carry the frickin’ files then if it means that bloody much to you!” And with that I self-righteously turned my back on him and stomped away.
I was barely five feet ahead when he called me again. “Darling, how about we drop them in my office for a bit and I take you on a tour through the museum? I know you want to, you’re just too proud to admit it.”
I looked back at him, to see him standing next to a door that read ‘Dr Keanu Roberts, PhD’. “Eric, that’s not even your office.”
“Well not anymore – now my office is next to Frank’s back in London.” He pointed out, and I rolled my eyes. “Kay is in Morocco on sabbatical, which is part of the reason I’m back in New York. So I’m using his office to keep my stuff and get my work done until I head back to England. So how about it?”
On the one hand, I was supposed to be avoiding Eric at all costs – per my own refusal to give in to him, and Mim’s earlier warning about getting into trouble. But on the other hand, it was still Eric – no matter what I had always felt safe with him around, and I had missed him so much what was a little innocent company? So long as he kept his grabby hands to himself.
Besides, he was right; I really, really did want to see the museum, and Eric knew the place better than most people.
I weighed my options up, and figured there was no use in denying myself a perfectly good tour of the place just because my were-cat was paranoid.
“Alright, show me the Met.”
“’Show me the Met, please.’”
I rolled my eyes again and said, “Eric, show me the Met, please.”
He nodded and unlocked the office door, flicking the wall light switch on. “There now, was that so hard?”

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Mim doesn't understand modern invention part one.

 Mimotosef the were-cat was stuck as a cat for about three thousand he doesn't really understand modern colloquialism or inventions. This is just another little teaser from Operation Osiris, in which Mim's faux pas causes hilarity for Daph. Enjoy! And remember, it's all unedited!

By the time I got back to the Plaza and was soaking in a bubble bath specifically designed to calm the muscles aching from carrying the files so far, I was no closer to being less pissed off, and not even the thought of getting dressed up and seeing a show was helping.
I imagined Roy thought he was helping his pal, Eric, but I was going to knock his pearly whites out when he came to pick me up in an hour. Or I was going to tell that blonde he’d met that Roy had herpes. Or lice.
Something icky.
James was drifting in an out of the bathroom, reading Arthur Conan Doyle with pipe in hand, and occasionally marvelling over something amusing that Holmes had said.
I’d have asked him to read it aloud to me if the only thing between him and him seeing me in all my naked glory was something more substantial than a couple of bubbles.
I had my hair up on top of my head to keep it from getting wet, and closed my eyes. The hot water was finally starting to soothe me and I sighed.
It had already been a long day – overnight flight from London, full day of sightseeing and Museum activities. And that wasn’t even including the disturbing imagery of Nailah’s final moments, Adarian’s surprise visit or Eric’s mind games.
None of which I had told Mim about yet, even though he was stretched out on my bed filtering through some New York brochure he’d pilfered from the lobby.
From what I’d gathered of what James told me, after my anger over the spooked maid incident, Mim had gone downstairs in human form to patrol the perimeter – despite my warning.
Whilst down there, he’d dazzled a couple of the hotel maids with his brash masculinity and aloof, and they’d all offered their help when he’d asked for maps of the city. Which was why he now had about five different maps, a collection of tourist brochures, and a bunch of vouchers for free stuff. I’d told him off, but was secretly pleased for the promise of free stuff. Poor girls didn’t even know what hit ‘em.
I waited for James to drift out again, scowling over some section of the text, before raising from the tub and wrapping a towel around my body. I’d hung my dress on the back of the door with my underthings beside it, assuring I could just get dressed in here and preserve at least some dignity for today.
Since it was Broadway, the idea was to suit up in style, and the dress I’d chosen for night one was a sleek emerald green satin A-line skirt with an empire waist. It was retro looking, perfect for the 1960’s theme of the musical.
I dried off and had the dress zipped up before James floated back in, book gone and pipe replaced with what looked like a small foil packet.
“Mimotosef has asked me to bring you this – one of the girls he spoke to this afternoon gave it to him, and told him it was for pleasure and relaxation.”
I opened my hand to accept what James offered, and looked down at it in confusion. Realisation dawned, and with it the utter hilarity of the situation made me burst out in a fit of laughter.
In my hand was an unopened condom packet.
Apparently one of the girls had given Mim the ultimate come on, and he hadn’t even realised.  
James’ eyes twinkled in amusement as I had to hold my sides to keep them from splitting, and threw open the bathroom door to point at Mim, who looked up from when he was on the bed in confusion.
“Did you not like my gift, Priestess?”
“Mim, this is a condom!
“I do not understand.”
I laughed harder.
“Priestess, I do not understand what is so amusing.”
“Mim,” I said breathlessly, between giggles. “The girl who gave you this...meant for you to sleep with her! She...fancies you!”
Mim gazed back, perplexed. “Sleep with?”
“Have sex, mate with, make love to! She wanted you to be her lover!”
Mim’s eyes widened in sudden understanding, the image only making me laugh even harder, and rose to his feet. “Forgive me, Priestess! I did not mean to encourage those maidens!”
James, who had followed me back into the bedroom when I’d bolted out of the bathroom, rubbed a hand over his eyes. “Relax, Mim, you are only encouraging her to laugh more.”
“But I do not make love to maidens when I am protecting my Priestess!”
“Oh my god, stop!”
“Mimotosef, we are aware. Madam Priestess is only amused at your failure to comprehend modern invention – the ‘gift’ you gave is used to prevent pregnancy during intimacy.”
Mim’s eyes shifted to me, then back to James, and he asked: “But how?”
“I don’t quite understand myself, they are after my time, but from what I observed of Daphne and her beau what happens is –
            “Argh! James, shut up!” Suddenly, it wasn’t so funny anymore and I clapped a hand to my forehead. “Not the kind of thing to share!”
            “Red? What are we sharing?” Roy’s voice drifted through the doorway.
            “Argh! You two be quiet!” I hissed at the duo, then raced from the bedroom and pulled on my coat. As I moved to open the door to Roy, I realised that the condom was still in my hand and hastily shoved it into my pocket.
            “Mimotosef, I will explain later...”

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Teaser Tuesday: Stowaways.

If there was ever a time in my life that I felt like a princess, now was it.
            Of our entire team, I was the only one to get a room to myself; Harry and Gloria were sharing, Roy and Frank were sharing, and Eric was staying at his old apartment in Greenwich Village. So, I got one of the smaller suites to myself.
            But, man, what a sweet suite it was!
The room was quite large, set out with a main sitting room complete with coffee table, television and chairs, a separate bedroom and pearly white ensuite bathroom.
I did a quick self tour; I checked the bathroom, marvelled at the fresh fluffy white towels, expensive looking soap and collection of scented bath oils and shampoos; I browsed the television’s cable channels; and scouted the mini-bar.
The bed was probably my favourite part; a large, overstuffed king bed with a lacy, white satin duvet and matching pillows draped with sapphire blue and golden fringing.
In all honesty, it looked like the most welcoming bed I’d ever seen in my life.
So, I did what anyone would do in this situation: I did a run up and leapt onto the bed, bouncing gleefully until the tiny satin throw pillows had framed my body.
It was as comfortable as it had looked, and I considered myself well and truly satisfied with my room from the embroidered bathrobe hanging behind the bathroom door, to the little milk chocolates on my pillows.
I relaxed for a minute, popping the chocolates in sweet sensation, before squinting over at the little bedside clock and figuring that it may be time for a shower and change of clothes before Roy started beating down the door. He had said 10, and it was already 9.14.
Remember, we had that weird thing about time. I still didn’t quite get it.
I chucked my plane clothes, leaving them haphazardly splayed over one of the arm chairs in favour of dealing with them later, and put the bathrobe to the test as I tested the water in the 4-person shower. I had the feeling our entire Egyptology team could fit into it.
I sighed in relief when the hot water slid down my back after stepping into the spray, bathrobe hooked onto the shower door, and took a second to moan aloud. That out of the way I washed my face, hair and body with the assortment of nice-smelling little bottles arranged by height order within. It didn’t take too long, but when I was satisfied the unappealing scent of air travel had been washed away I turned off the spray and wrapped back up in the robe, and stepped out of the shower.
My luggage had arrived while I’d been soaping up, and arranged neatly in a row by the front door. I scooped up the purple one, the main one with my clothes, and plopped it on the bed to fish through.
I lost about ten years off my life when a bright light erupted from inside and a large, sleek black and white cat came bounding out of nowhere where a tiny statuette had been seconds before.
The cat jumped from the bed and shook itself off, before shuddering and morphing into the shape of a man – naked and stretching like you would after a good sleep. An odd, bell-like pendant around his neck.
Mimotosef, Guardian leader of the Princes of Bast, army to the Goddess Bastet from the very-real Egyptian pantheon and protector of the Priestess of the Gods, scratched himself behind the ear in my hotel room.
When I had specifically told him to stay in London.
Before I could get over my stun and demand an explanation, Mim unhooked the bell from around his neck and tinkled it a few times.
“Good job, Mim.”
I spun around to see my ghostly roommate brushing off what looked like a travel cloak and bowler hat, and carrying a newspaper.
“That was a long journey – though I am certainly sure it seemed shorter for you, Con,” James said with a smile, tipping his hat to me.
By this stage my jaw was mobile again and I felt my cheeks heat in anger. I clenched my fists and pointed an accusing finger at James as he shucked his coat.
“What. The. Hell!!” I huffed. “I told you both to stay in London! I said I would be back in a few days!”
“And miss all the fun? Mimotosef has never been to the Americas, I did not think it entirely to fair to deprive him of such a cultural opportunity.”
            I turned my glare on Mim, who was casually rifling through another of my bags to retrieve his signature black leather pants, black cotton tee, and boots. I wondered why I hadn’t noticed them beforehand.
            “Mim, remember to put on your coat, as well – the weather for today is expected to carry a slight chill.”
            “Coat?!” I stamped a foot, not knowing exactly what else to do at the time. “Are you telling me the two of you stowed away because Mim hasn’t been to New York?!”
            James smiled and clicked his fingers to produce his pipe, rolling up his shirtsleeves. “Well, of course. And to make sure you don’t get into too much trouble, my dear. Mim is after all your protector.”
            I just stared back at him in disbelieving anger. Between the ever-overprotective Mimotosef and the ever-stalking James the sardonic ghost, I barely had any alone time at home in England. And now, on my genuine holiday – one I needed, mind you – I wasn’t going to get any peace from them.
“You guys have got to be kidding me!” I sputtered angrily, throwing open my bag and pulling out the first pair of underwear I could find, a dress, leggings and heeled boots, threw them into a pile on the bed. “I’m on a business trip with holiday time, in New York City – what do you seriously need to protect me from here? Spending my savings on Broadway memorabilia?”
And with that I stomped back into the bathroom to change. I knew they wouldn’t follow – we’d had many mishaps before, and by now they were well trained to not bust in on me naked on pain of doom.
I quick-dried my hair, and pulled on my clothes and shoes in record time, and was just slapping some makeup on my face when satisfied, I stormed back into the bedroom.
“Alright,” I said, noting the time. “I have business to do here, and Roy will be here in four minutes, so I suggest you both make yourselves scarce. Or I will use my powers to kill you both.” I looked at James. “You, again.”
There was a funny thing about being the so-called ‘Priestess of the Gods’, that came with having some wicked cool powers. I didn’t know their full extent yet, I hadn’t had them for long and they hardly came with an instruction manual, or what exactly I could use them for.
But so far, I had been able to send both Mim and his most hated enemy – my darling Eric – flying after Eric’s identity as the reincarnation of the leader of the Jackal army had been revealed, and Mim had gone for his throat. I hadn’t meant to do it, or even really knew how I’d done it, but the force of my will and throwing up my hands towards them had released some sort of energy in their direction and separated them.
Like I said, wicked cool.
So since then I’d been practising all sorts of little tricks to try and figure out what they were capable off, but so far I’d discovered that unfortunately telekinesis and mind-reading were not on my list. Communing with the dead and the Egyptian gods? Yeah, those got a bit tick – bonus points for being scary as hell.
“You cannot kill me, Priestess, I am your Guardian Prince.” Mim raised a brow, not quite comprehending the prospect of an empty threat when he heard it. “Destroying me would only leave you vulnerable to the mercy of those that would see you harmed, like the bastard dog, Danukaric.” His sentence ended on a hiss, eyes squinting like those of a cat in testimony to his nature.
I gritted my teeth in frustration. “Just shut up and stay in here, would you? I’ll deal with you when I get back in a few hours!” Then I shrugged into my coat as Roy knocked on the door. “I don’t believe this, goddammit!”
Sometimes, when you think everything is going according to plan, and cruising along, you can learn that you’ve been so very, very wrong and what can go wrong will go wrong.
Yet, from experience, I refused to believe that things couldn’t get worse.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Monday Morning Magic

NaNo day (technically) 7 and I'm pretty behind at the moment due to thesis and end-of-thesis celebrations, I simply haven't had much chance to write this weekend. Alas, I plan to dedicate a good deal of today to doing so :) 

I've been reviewing a scene from Angst and Egyptology, because Daphne needs to go back over it in Operation Osiris and I don't want to be too far off what I've already written last year. And I remembered how much I really love this scene because it was the first chance I got to play with a Ouija board: 

I wished that Eric could have been with me later that week when I finally managed to stop crying and numb myself from the pain enough to get my head around what I had to do. I had to contact the gods.
And I was hoping that it was going to work.
I’d thrown myself into the work for the Spring collection and avoided Eric as best I could all week while I’d gathered the few supplies that I’d need.
Standing in the flat then, a little after mid-night, with James beside me and Mim dressed to the nines in leather pants and a black t-shirt, I lit the last of the black candles that I’d collected from around the city. In all there were over fifteen of them, sparkling dimly in a circle on the floor around an Ouija board that had been a bitch to find. It was hardly ritual sacrifice or Wicca, but I figured that it was a start and knowing James as I did indicated that it really might just work.
So, I stepped into the circle of candles, set out the Ouija board with its pointer to the centre and took a deep breath.
“James – you and Mim have to extinguish all the candles and get me away from the board if anything starts to happen, something negative.”
“Con, this whole farce is negative – I am the only spirit in this room and you have nothing to suggest that you can contact the Otherworld through this toy. It is just a joke with which Americans like to scare one another.” The Egyptologist scolded, tapping his pipe against his thigh in total disapproval. “Mim might be immortal but even he might not be able to stop what you could potentially unleash if this does work. You could die, you know – malarkeying around with things you don’t understand is a sure way to be killed. You have heard the adage about curiosity – well this is not your precious Wonderland, con, and you will not wake up if something goes wrong.” James looked at me dead on from outside the circle, face illuminated by orange light. “Don’t do this, con.”
I sucked in a breath, forcing down the fear that had settled in my stomach. “No,” I shook my head. “I need to try, I need to understand if we are going to figure out the deal with Mim, Ye Vanck Amun, and Eric. I need to know, James.” And without pausing to let him reply, I placed two fingers from each hand onto the the pointer and closed my eyes. “Spirits of the other world, hear me now, guide me to the gods of the Egyptian pantheon and hear my plea.”
I had my eyes closed, so I felt it rather than saw the candles flare up higher around me, sway in the cold draft that from out of nowhere raged through the flat.
I felt a weight suddenly on the pointer and my heart started to pound heavily as it began to very slowly move around the board, signalling that someone was on the other end.
Ask us what you will, Earth-Walker.
I opened my eyes to see James against the far wall, trapped by some unseen force, silent like his power of speech had been temporarily removed. Mim had transformed into his cat form and sat alert just outside the circle, his mouth opened to show a hint of feline fangs.
The pointer, when I looked down, was not back in the centre after all; it was over a word. I peered down at it and through the glass of the pointer I saw: hello.
Holy shit, my mind whirled, wondering if it really had worked. I glanced back at the gold and black of the Ouija board, fingers flexing as I made myself stay on the pointer when my instincts were to remove them. I couldn’t risk breaking any connection I’d gotten at the moment.
I’d done my research into this before I’d gone ahead and ordered my board, and I knew what to look for and when to sever the connection but this wasn’t it so I forced myself to keep going. I was playing with fire doing this, and I knew it, and Eric would have been horrified, but it was the only way I could think of to connect the Otherworld.
Besides, it was always something I’d wanted to try back home but neither George, Lacey or any of my friends had been game.
“Are you here?” I asked out loud so that both James and Mim could hear.
The pointer moved to the right. Yes.
“Who am I speaking to at this moment?”
The pointer moved again, this time across the numbers flicked across the alphabet pausing to numbers briefly before moving to the next. I followed with my eyes, putting the word together as quick as I could. W - E – A – R – E – M – A – N – Y.
We are many.
I gulped, knees beginning to tremble although I did my best to ignore them.
“You are many. I greet you and beseech you, and ask your favour. Will you answer me what I need to know?”
Ok, Daph, just breathe. You can do this, you need to do this.
“Do you represent the gods of the Underworld; will you carry to them my questions?”
Ok, so far so good, and nothing had yet happened to force Mim or James to intervene, or myself to break the connection. I was feeling slightly more relaxed in my ability to control the situation.
“I need to know: Who are the Princes of Bast?”
“Who are they the guardians of?”
The Ouija boards pointer, I later found out that this was known as a planchette,  began to move once more. N – A – I – L – A – H. Then it stopped and slowly edged back to the centre.
I took a deep breath and just stared at the word the spirits had spelt out for me.
James blinked, breaking out of the spell or  just shook his head, horrified. Frazzled as I rarely saw him. “This is not me doing this, con, I swear. The spirits that you have contacted do indeed stem from the Underworld, I can feel it. They are not on the mortal plain as I am.”
Mim mrowled his agreement, bearing his fangs in the direction of the board, waiting for something to happen, I prayed it wouldn’t. But I had one final question.
“Who sent you to me?”
“Anubis,” I croaked.
“Yes, con, sometimes they are used to contact Anubis.”