Snippet Saturday is the brainchild of author Lauren Dane, wherein a group of authors selects thematic excerpts from their work and shares them on Saturday mornings. This week the theme is HORRORS! in honor of it being Halloween and all.
Okay, the theme is really just “horror” but HORRORS! is a lot funnier. And so is this.
I’m going to share something horrible, all right: a 3 page piece of glorious pain my friend Monica McCabe (http://www.monicamccabe.net/) and I wrote as crappily as we could to use in a judging workshop. See if you can spot any areas for revision!
Deadly Jewel of Time
When he heard the familiar cloppity clop clop of the approaching carriage, Asp Colten, Lord Deviltree, shoved his black tricorned cap upon his masked head and vaulted atop the thunderous black steed Demon. Fog ghosted across the road through the lonely mores as the elegant covered stagecoach rounded the narrow lane. Lanterns swung from the corners of the coach but did little to alleviate the striking gloom of the dark autumn night.
“Hyup Demon!” he called to the steed. Together, almost as one beast, they thundered down the slope to the point in the road between two hills that made the perfect spot for an ambush. He drew his pistols and fired a shot above the head of the terrified coachman.
“Stand and Deliver!” he cried out in a thundersome voice, punctuating his demand with a shot from the other pistol. They were historically accurate pieces–unlike the laser gun hidden in his vest strictly for emergencies.
He’d only use it if he had to, and he’d never had to. But he would, if he had to.
The coach screeched to a halt, the bewigged coachman tugging frantically on the reins of the four perfectly matched bays. Of course they were perfectly matched.
They belonged to none other than Fidalia Lakeland, the widowed Countess of Hotspur, and she would have nothing less.
Just like her jewels were nothing less than perfection–and nothing less than his.
Fidalia fumed at the incompetence. As coachmen went, Harry was good with horses, but terrible with guns. Whyever did she allow him to escort her to the country estate of her dearly departed? She knew the reputation of this stretch of road thanks to her ne’er do well cousin, Spencer.
Spence was good for one thing at least. Well, two. He taught her a vocabulary any sailor would envy and she enjoyed the cursing. It made her feel sinfully wicked. Secondly, he taught her how to shoot a pistol with so much skill she could split a donkey hair at fifty paces.
She pulled her Flintlock from beneath the seat, quickly loaded it with a smile of relish and a tremor of gleeful anticipation at the prospect of taking out the brazen fool holding up her carriage. As an afterthought she tucked a slim dagger down her bodice and shivered at the cold steel against her skin.
“Don’t shoot, Gov’ner!”
She snorted at Harry’s cowardice and peeked out the carriage window. One highwayman? Harry was afraid of one measly highwayman?
“Stand and Deliver!” Came the demand again.
Mad as a hornet, Fidalia slammed open the carriage door and shooted, “Deliver yourself, ye scurvy dog!”
Then she fired her pistol.
The shot rang out through the dark like an arrow, straight at the highwayman’s chest with unerring aim of long practice. To Fidalia’s surprise when it struck him a shield of light appeared around his body in milliseconds, disappearing again so fast she had to blink to be sure what she saw. But she opened her eyes the light shield was gone and the highwayman was approaching the carriage unharmed, his pistol pointed straight at her head.
“You impudent wench!” He cried. “Hand over the flawless Star Ruby I know you wear at your delectable breast and nobody has to get hurt.”
Fidalia felt a blush steal across her body at the thought of this highwayman thinking of her breasts. Her heart beat faster. She had been widowed long enough that she’d began to think of taking a lover…not that she’d ever had one, her departed husband had not been virility.
“Never!” she responded saucily then fired her pistol again point blank.
Light again flared around the highwayman but this time he flinched. She saw it.
She had hit him with a bullet! It was only moments until he toppled off his horse. Only he didn’t appear to be toppling. Nor bledding. He stared down at her and shoved the cold, hard barrel of his pistol against her vulnerable forehead where she stuck her head out the window.
“Cor, hand the geegaws o’er, Mistress!” Harry agreed his trembling knees knocking the carriage like castanets. “Ye gentry nobs gots plenty where they come from!”
But none like the Star Ruby.
The flawless gem was hers, the reason she married the old man, the reason she endured cold, and thankfully celibate nights in a drafty old castle. Her plot thickened unto solidity. Allowing a petty thief to walk away with her crown jewel was simply not acceptable.
“Remove your gun from my person you contemptible swine!” she demanded imperiously.
Said swine’s eyes swirled in shock at her boldness. But the gun didn’t move. So she leaned forward out the carriage window, pushing his gun back in the process and flashing her décolletage in hopes that their delectableness proved distracting.
It worked for his gaze fastened on her full bosom. Mere inches separated her and the lusty thief.
“If you want the ruby,” she huskily whispered as she reached her fingers between her two voluptuous globes as he watched entranced. “You’ll die trying to get it!”
She whipped her dagger free and stabbed with its razor-sharpness, only to be blinded by a mysterious white flash.
Was her vision going? Had she developed cataracts, she kept seeing the highwayman encased in bright light. Or was it something else?
What she didn’t know, and Asp was not about to tell her was that her attacks kept turning on his personal force shield, disguised as a tricorn hat so no one in these primitive times would recognize that he was not of this dimension.
Her attacks turned on his force shield but her very lusciousness was turning on his forceful lust! There was no protection against that. Her beatiful body attacked him as surely as a ninja. His eyes strayed to her cream bosoms as her mouth gapped in shock. Gently he took the knife out of her nerveless grip.
You’ll not kill me that way,” he said. Demon flung his massive head into the air and whinned. He chucked the Pocket Venus under her stubborn chin. “Perhaps the little death instead?”
Her hand flung out to strike him across the face but could not reach because Demon jumped backwards, trained to protect his rider in times of war. He kept a stable of well trained horses in his secluded country estate, to use on missions such as this when he retrieved various gemstones from the wealthy aristocracy to test for purity.
Only the purest, most perfect gem would work in his Interdimensional Traveling Machine, ITM for short. His ancestors had invented the machine in the 23rd century, his family retained the patent. They used it to increase their wealth and influence and for humanitarian efforts like historical research. But he had never expected to become stranded in Regency England on a simple field mission! Now he had the task of replacing the dimensional crystal or he would be stuck forever, masquerading as Lord Deviltree, Rake of the Ton.
The masquerade was not all torture. Case in point, the luscious globes of one Countess Hotspur.
“Hand over the ruby, Sweetness,” he said with false brusqueness. “Or your coachman takes a lead ball.”
He didn’t mean it. Sure, he’s killed before, but they were all bad. Not helpless servants quaking in abject fear. Still, there’s always a first time. The legendary fire of the Star Ruby was the only known gem in all of Regency England that could power the ITM and get him back in time to stop an interdimensional incident of galactic proportions.
Fidalia scoffed at his fierce words. Still, even though Harry had served the ancient Count Hotspur his whole life he did not deserve to die on a lonely stretch of more. But in no way did that mean she intended to hand over the one thing that she searched her whole life for. The one thing stolen from her grandfather in an elaborate scam by Hotspur’s scandalous and reprehensible son days before he found himself on the wrong end of a duel.
The Star Ruby belonged to her family. Now that she had it back, fully intended to keep it.
“We have a small problem, Sir Highwayman.” She flounced back on the seat of her carriage. “I don’t have what your looking for.”
Asp leaned his head back and roared in laughter. He knew for a fact that she did. History showed her portrait had been painted with the very ruby at her throat.
“Laugh you imbecile,” she sniffed and turned her head. “You won’t find the ruby in this carriage.”
Dread, like the viper he’d been named for began snaking its way up his spine. He could clearly see most of her creamy chest area, there was no Star Ruby to be seen on it. He had been so sure she would wear it to the social event of the season, the McCabe Ball! He had been planning this hold up for weeks. But her clavicles were barren.
Had he powered up his personal force shield draining its power pack, and risked the dangerous mores for naught? “Where will I find Star Ruby?” he asked. “Speak now or die.”
“I don’t know,” she answered with a toss of her head that set her ebony curls to dancing. “Count Hotspur sealed it behind a wall somewhere in Dragon’s Keep before his oh so timely death.”
If you want to read some actual horror scenes, as I suspect the other authors won’t have intepreted “HORRORS!” in quite the same way I have, click on: