Excerpts From Unfinished Novels #3: Love Is A Strange And Tentacled Thing

Genre: supernatural romance

Warnings: none

Word Count: 1,069

Summary: Jake’s eager to explore their human side, especially the realm of dating and romance. However, their eldritch nature and…tentacles, might not be such a hit with potential partners.

 

Excerpt is from around a quarter of the way into the novel.

“Okay I’m done. What do you think?” Jake asked me with a grin as he leaned back from his laptop.

I placed a hand on his shoulder as I leaned down to read over what he’d written. I grimaced as my eyes scanned over the words. “Ummm….”

“What’s wrong?” Jake asked, the grin immediately falling from his face.

“Nothing,” I said quickly.

He stared at me flatly until I sighed and said, “It’s just a bit…much.”

“In what way?”

“Well you’re very…honest.”

“I thought it was good to be honest.”

“Not on your dating profile,” I said grimly. “I mean, it’s good to be honest to an extent but there are some things that are better left to when you get to know the person you’re dating better.”

“Oh.”

Jake stared forlornly at the laptop screen, his pitch-black eyes somehow managing to look emotionless and melancholic at the same time. “Maybe I should just forget about this whole thing,” he sighed. “It was a stupid idea in the first place, I mean, my father always said that when I meet the right person I should just drag them to the underworld and make them my undead spouse, but that just doesn’t feel right you know? I want to try dating and romance, and all the other human stuff…which is a completely ridiculous notion.”

“No it’s not,” I said firmly, squeezing his shoulder. “I think it’s great that you finally want to put yourself out there and date and try to find love in the…conventional way.” I looked back at the laptop and waved my hand at it while adding, “What you’ve got here is great, it just needs a little…editing, that’s all. Here, let me help you.”

Jake brightened up and shot me a grateful smile. I pulled up a chair beside him and turned the laptop towards me. I scrolled back up to the top of the profile and started reading aloud.

“Okay, so first of all you’ve said you’re bisexual and genderfluid. That’s definitely the sort of thing you want to be honest about, though you should be aware that it will make finding someone a bit more difficult – there’s still a lot of biphobia in the community and then gender identity is a whole other ballgame, but if you’re not honest about it from the get-go it’ll only lead to issues further down the line. Right, let’s see…okay here, this part needs to change – ‘I wake in the mornings with an urge to devour mortal souls.’”

“But I do. I mean, I never actually do it, but it is my first thought in the morning.”

“It’s just a little intense you know? Like, if I read that I would be afraid that you would end up trying to devour my soul if I ever slept over. Or I’d think you were some sort of crazy serial killer.”

“I see what you mean. So what should I say instead?”

“How about ‘I’m a bit of a grump in the morning.’ And then you could add a cheeky ‘but that could change depending on who I’m waking up next too 😉’”

Jake laughed and nodded. “That sounds good. Okay what next?”

“…Oh, right here, where it asks about your favourite food. You’ve said ‘I feast on the hearts of the mighty beasts I slay.’ First of all, again, very intense. Secondly, most of the time those ‘mighty beasts’ are mice and rats that we’ve caught in our traps, and thirdly you also eat other food.”

“But hearts are my favourite,” Jake protested.

“How about you just put down that you like rare steak.”

Jake sighed and nodded and I quickly made the changes.

We continued through the rest of his profile, editing the highly intense and revealing passages. These included his favourite childhood memory (being taken to witness and glorify ritual sacrifices with his father, an eldritch god), his hobbies (taking on an animal form in order to glory in the primal wildness of nature), his most embarrassing moment (accidentally causing a tsunami during puberty), and his favourite feature (his tentacles). I tried my best to steer him towards focusing on his more human qualities, like his love of scrapbooking, his volunteer work at the dog shelter, and how he was part of a local rugby team. Whenever we butted heads over an answer (he REALLY wanted to mention his tentacles), I would write something vague and semi-misleading as a compromise.

“Okay done,” I said proudly, turning the laptop back to Jake. “What do you think?”

Jake read over the changes that I’d made, and though he tried to keep his face impassive, I could tell that he wasn’t one hundred percent comfortable with them.

“What do you not like about them?” I asked as he continued to stare at the screen a frown firmly in place, his lips pursed.

“It’s not that I don’t like them…it’s just that they’re a little vague.”

“It’s mysterious,” I said in my most persuasive tone. “People like a bit of mystery, it gives them something to talk about, a reason for them to want to get to know you. You see, when you fill in a dating profile it’s about giving enough information to reel them in without giving too much away.”

“Why is this so difficult?” Jake whined slumping forward onto the desk. “I mastered ritualistic summoning spells and ancient blood curses by the time I was six, but human dating profile etiquette is beyond my capabilities.”

“That’s why I’m here,” I said soothingly, throwing an arm around his shoulder. “I’m your wing-buddy, your guide to human dating rituals. Whatever it is you need help with just let me know okay?”

“Okay,” Jake replied with a bright smile as he leaned against me. “Thanks Alex.”

“No problem. So, happy to leave the answers as they are?”

“Yeah.”

“Great. Just one more thing to do,” I said, pulling out my phone. “You need a profile picture. Up you get.”

Jake grinned and stood up, moving to stand in front of the wall I gestured at. I stood in front of him and held up my phone as he cocked his head to the side and sent me a roguish grin.

“Wait.” I moved forwards and gently rearranged his beard so that his tentacles were hidden from view. “Much better.”

Excerpts From Unfinished Novels #1: Even When The World Comes Crashing Down

Genre: Zombie Apocalypse/Horror/LGBT/Fluff

Warnings: mild violence, mild gore, mentions of blood

Word Count: 3,568

Summary: Moira’s been in love with Charlotte forever, so when Charlotte asks her to take her dog for a walk in the middle of the zombie apocalypse, she says yes straight away. Only then Steve the pug is kidnapped by zombies. With the help of her best friend Niamh, Moira needs to find and rescue Steve before it’s too late.

Excerpt is from the start of the novel.

“Okay, okay, breathe, kiddo. It’s not the end of the world – okay, I mean, technically it is, but you can handle this.”

“You are really not helping,” Moira huffed, pinching the bridge of her nose. “And don’t call me kiddo; we’re the same age.”

She could feel a headache coming on, creeping up the back of her neck and settling in her skull. She groaned and curled up tighter, rocking slightly, ignoring the dampness seeping through her jeans and how the mud beneath her shifted slightly with her movements.

“I’m three months older than you,” Niamh replied with a dismissive wave of their hand. “Have you tried praying to Saint Anthony?”

“Saint Anthony is for lost objects; a dog is not an object,” Moira replied tiredly.

“Saint Francis then?”

Moira groaned loudly, a drawn-out sound that started as a deep growl and ended as a high-pitched whine, as she buried her face in her knees and pulled futilely at the short strands of her pixie cut. Niamh squatted beside her and rubbed her back soothingly.

“Okay, clearly having a meltdown in the middle of the park is not faring so well,” they said carefully. “So what do we need to do?”

“I don’t know,” Moira whined, slumping sideways against her best friend. “How am I going to explain to Charlotte that I lost her dog? More specifically, how am I going to explain to her that I lost her dog to zombies?! I mean, what the hell was I thinking? What the hell was she thinking? Who hires a dog-walker in the middle of the apocalypse? Why did I agree to do it?”

“Because you think Charlotte Farrell is the hottest person on the face of the planet,” Niamh stated with a wry grin. “And because everyone needs to keep busy to avoid going bat-shit crazy over the fact that there are now zombies living amongst us, so you decided to keep up your weekend job.”

“I should have done something else; I could have taken up knitting, or, or, read all those books of yours,” Moira said angrily.

“You suck at knitting, and you fall asleep every time you try to read.”

Moira sighed. “That is true.”

She uncurled her legs, wincing as blood started circulating through them properly. She stared at the ground, absent-mindedly tracing shapes in the mud, while mulling over her options. Eventually she sighed and squared her shoulders.

“Okay, we need to go looking for Steve. And pray to whatever Saint is responsible for lost animals that he isn’t dead.”

“I’ve never heard of zombies eating dogs; maybe they just wanted to play with him?”

“That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard,” Moira scoffed, eyes narrowing.

Niamh gasped, placing a hand over their chest dramatically as they stood up. “You wound me! Tell you what, if they’re playing with Steve, you owe me dinner and a High School Musical marathon.”

“Fine, but if they’ve eaten him then you owe me dinner and a Studio Ghibli marathon.”

“Deal.” Niamh grinned, their dark eyes twinkling, and held a hand out to Moira. Moira took it and Niamh hauled her up before they shook hands solemnly. “Let’s get some hurls from the flat just in case.”

The two friends set off towards their shared flat, Moira’s face gloomy as she pondered Steve’s fate; Charlotte would never forgive her if he died, or turned into a zombie dog (was that even possible?), and Moira would never have the chance to ask her out. That is, if she ever worked up the gumption to do it.

“You look irritated and melancholic,” Niamh observed. “Normally you’re one or the other, it’s a bit strange seeing both expressions on your face.”

“I really want Steve to be alive, but on the other hand, High School Musical…ugh,” Moira said, wincing at her feeble attempt at a joke.

Niamh simple stared at her calmly as they left the park and walked along the road towards their flat. Moira tried her best to ignore them, she really did, but Niamh had this knack of looking at her that made her want to tell them all her deep dark secrets. Like the time she “accidentally” burned the chǎo má shi, because while Moira loved everything else about her Chinese heritage, she couldn’t stomach the food, much to her parents disappointment. Thinking about that lead to thoughts about all the other things that disappointed her parents… Moira quickly shrugged it off and focused instead on trying, and failing, to avoid Niamh’s gaze.

Her resolve crumbled far too quickly in the face of her friend’s look. “And I was also thinking about how I’ll never get a chance to ask out Charlotte if her dog dies,” she mumbled, feeling her face heat up.

“You’ve had chances to ask her out for ten years now,” Niamh pointed out, rolling their eyes. “When are you actually going to do it?”

“I’m waiting for the right moment,” Moira said defensively.

“There will never be a right moment,” Niamh argued. “First it was because she was new to the school, then it was because you were just getting to know each other and you really wanted to be friends first, then it was because she came out as trans and started transitioning and she needed friendship and support instead of a girlfriend, then it was because you were both going to different universities, then it was because you were getting to know each other all over again and you didn’t want to rush it, then it was because of the apocalypse, and now…well now I have no idea what’s holding you back.”

“Right now, the impending death of her dog is what’s holding me back,” Moira snapped irritably.

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