Just a snippet from my upcoming novel, SOLOMON’S CHOICE. I’m actually really excited about this snippet. It means so many things, and represents character choice truly significant to the heart of this tale.
Want updates for this crazy thing? Sign up for the newsletter and be the first to know when it’s published!
I didn’t mean to look for Terrance. It just sort of happened.
Why did I do this? The last time we saw each other, he panicked me into running, lest he attack and… do something. Whatever it is Night-Children do. I don’t honestly know, now that I think about it.
Well, my bizarre and broken brain brought me to him here and now, in the moment of my stress, and I blink stupidly at his activities as my open robe dangles half-off my arms.
Terrance and Liza are doing some kind of sparring.
They both have knives – strange, black metal that shoots orange sparks and purple sparks and white sparks when hit, strange, black metal that leaves afterimages with every graceful stab, making it hard to see where hands go and where the next target could be.
Gods, they’re… beautiful.
Perfect movements, nothing wasted, arching smooth and lunging sharp and landing solid at angles I don’t think human bodies can do, and there are no pauses in their fight, no moments of indecision or rest, and all the while, hypnotic sparks fly overhead like a rainbow shattered.
They fight the way music sounds. There is a rhythm, and I want to join the dance.
At some signal I do not see, they stop and fall apart, grinning. Their clothes are torn, and tiny streaks of red indicate where skin was compromised, but there is no sign of injury now.
“You could hold off Feather-Ass himself, moving like that,” says Terrance.
“That’s Lord Feather-Ass, to you,” says Liza, and they laugh.
Then they’re both grinning at me, right at me, and the green of their irises leaves its own afterimages with a glow so bright.
“Want to join?” says Terrance with an eyebrow-wriggle that ought to be completely illegal.
There’s an awkward pause (at which I excel). “In what?”
Liza twirls her daggers like they’re part of her fingers. “The fun.”
“I… don’t know anything about fighting,” I say.
“Yeah, you do,” says Terrance. “You been doing it all your life. This isn’t that different.”
I sputter. “Be that as it may, I am fairly sure knives were not involved.”
They laugh again.
“Gods, what a cutie,” says Liza as if in awe.
“Right? Come on, Sol. You smell like you’re gonna explode. You need an outlet.” He grins, and – maybe in response to Liza’s twirl – spins his dangers so fast that they become a round, black blur.
My defenses are weakening. “I don’t know anything about knives, though.”
“We’ll show you.” Liza smiles, eyes lidded.
And suddenly I want to join so badly, I want to embrace this ask to be a part with everything I have, want to leap on the rare and wonderful moment in which I have actually been invited along.
This doesn’t happen to me. Ever. Am I being foolish over it? Yes. But maybe tonight is a time to be foolish. “Does it help?”
“Yeah.” Terrance isn’t smiling now. “A lot.”
I need to not think for a bit. Or think about something other than dual extinction, anyway. “Then teach me.” And I drop my robe to the floor.