Good morning, little schoolgirl. And Happy F’n New Year!
I just wanted to drop in with a little treat and a sincere wish for all of you to chew a little more bubblegum, and kick a whole lot more ass. Let’s all #Crush2017
I’m a mostly old man now, with kids and a magnificent wife (Not only an amazing photographer, but you should all check out her YouTube show and give her some likes/subscriptions… best/funniest sex ed on the interwebz – TOYLAND BABES) so barfy kids and pizza-induced heartburn aside, I was in bed by midnight and up at 7:30 to keep on chooglin’ on the next #WolfAndDevil book, #DemonDays which is due to the publisher in a few short weeks.
So I sez to myself, I says “Hey! Why not start 2017 off right and share a little taste?”
So here’s part of Chapter 11, aka I’ve Got Dreams To Remember (like the Otis Redding tune) wherein Devil Deville gets some flashbaction:
Fast forward to the same girl, now a woman, tall and thin and graceful. All of the gawky neon and mismatched 80’s color replaced by tight fitting denim, a leather jacket, but with the same mess of dark curls, surrounding a fine, delicate face with the same wide smile.
“Do you like it?” She asks, nodding at the book in Devil’s hands. It’s a paperback copy of War of the Worlds, the same as you’d find in any bookstore in town.
Devil grins, feeling goofy and giddy a the sight of it, at the sight of her.
“It’s fantastic, Rave. Absolutely goddamn fantastic.”
He smiles back at her, across to her, trying to bridge the years. This woman he hasn’t seen since he was twelve.
“That’s the one, right? The one got wrecked that day?” She asks, leaning closer. “That idiot, what was his name?”
“Trevor.” Devil replies, “Chapman.” The name leaving a bitter pool under his tongue. He wants to spit it out onto the floor, but he swallows it back with as small a grimace as he can allow.
“Whatever happened to that asshole?”
“I don’t know. I never saw him again after we moved down here. I heard he got hit by a car, ironically enough.” Maybe it was just wishful thinking. He’d seen T. Chapman, 19, of Edmonton in the obituaries one day, a decade before.
“How the hell have you been, Raven?” Devil grins. He can’t help it. Here she is, in the flesh. More beautiful than ever. The girl who saved him from certain death. The first girl he ever kissed. Raven Eloise Michaud. Look at her. A spectacular goddess of a woman.
“Surviving. What about you, Adam? You sure grew up. Look at you! Nothing like that shrimpy kid that followed me around for all of the sixth grade. You were such a cutie pie!” She swatted at him from across the table, letting her hand come to rest on top of his forearm. Devil resisting the urge to flex and show off his hard-earned muscle.
“You’re still the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.” He said, staring straight into those deep brown eyes.
She didn’t look away. Raven held his gaze and gave it right back, amplified, filled with the intensity Devil remembered from their childhood. Raven Michaud was always the one to step into a fight, always holding off the bullies, the overbearing teachers, the angry adults in movie theaters and convenience stores. She never took anybody’s shit. Not once. And to tiny, mostly-helpless Adam Devil-nerd-boy-Deville, she was a hero. Adam stared at that mouth, letting his thoughts slip to that day when he’d kissed a girl for the first time.
Adam hearing the whimpers behind the dumpster at the back corner of the schoolyard, punctuated with the cruel giggles and cackles of pre-teen boys. Willow Reed, a perfectly named wisp of a girl, sweet and smart, but easily bullied, not unlike Adam himself, was cornered by seven boys, including Trevor Chapman, who were egging her on to show them her “twat-slit”. The boys were chanting and laughing and leering, demanding her compliance. Willow was cowering against the filthy dumpster with a torn pair of Strawberry Shortcake panties clutched tight in one hand.
Adam crept around the edge of the dumpster, the breath catching in his chest, feeling like it might swallow him in darkness any second, terrified of what these cavemen might do to him for getting between them and their prey, but knowing he couldn’t let them hurt Willow Reed. Adam leapt in front of the girl, one hand behind him, reaching for her shoulder to let her know her hero had arrived, one hand balled in a miniscule fist that he held up in front of his face, the way you were supposed to do it.
Unfortunately, the back hand went a little wide and landed on the smallest bud of a soon-to-emerge breast, and Willow Reed screamed bloody murder, slapped his hand away, and ran. Adam turned to apologize, tasting the contents of his bladder in the back of his throat.
The mob of boys in front of him laughed, then moved in close, Chapman at the front.
“You’re a shitting dead man, Devil-nerd.”
“Kill him Trev!”
Chapman paused, just for a second, scanning the periphery, before he leaned in closer.
“Guess your big nigger girlfriend isn’t going to save you this time, shit-face!”
At the sound of that word, the N-word, something broke in Adam Deville. What he came to understand as the rage machine had not only turned on, but it had blown a valve, and the steam was filling every part of him, hot and red and pressurizing his little body to bursting. He felt like the Incredible Hulk, about to swell and pop and expand into something indescribable. Something dangerous and colossal. One fist turned into two, and they came fast and true, a whirling cyclone full of bony daggers, landing one after the other after another across Trevor Chapman’s face. Adam was vaguely aware of the other boys screaming faces, pleading, crying. The hands pulling at him in vain as he unleashed a short lifetime of fury and abuse into the rapidly softening face of Trevor Chapman.
Then they ran, all of them. And he was alone with Trevor Chapman’s face. Trevor was bawling and begging for mercy. Then Adam heard her. Raven. She was calling his name as she ran, in that urgent, life-or-death way that only happens before puberty, when everything is The Best, or The Worst, thing that has ever been, and all of life is lived at extremes. Raven was different. She heard things that other people didn’t. She knew things. Saw things.
Adam sat back on his folded knees, staring down at the bloodied, weeping face of Trevor Chapman, the kid who’d made his life a living hell, the kid who’d literally tried to throw him in front of a bus. Adam didn’t feel triumphant, and he didn’t feel avenged. He just felt sorry for this poor, beaten, angry kid who tried so hard to be tough and mean and terrible. And Adam realized that just like his own loneliness and awkward desperation, it had to come from somewhere, and he began to weep too.
“I’m sorry, Trev.” He cried. “I’m sorry.”
Raven was next to him then, pulling him to his feet, walking him away as the teachers finally came running across the field.
After school, after the story had been told and re-told and re-told again, and Willow Reed had been coaxed out of the girls bathroom and had her say, and Trevor had been cleaned and bandaged and taken to the office to await his parents, and Adam was sure that his own mother had been called and would be waiting for him at home, with a glass of wine in one hand and a cordless phone in the other… he found himself outside, on an empty playground, idly kicking against gravity on the swing. Suddenly there was another pair of legs beside him, moving in opposition, sailing out in front of him as he fell backwards and up against the clouds.
“They asked me what happened.” She said.
“I told them I didn’t get there until after.”
“Uh-huh.” Adam, just wanting to wallow in an empty space. Wishing for Raven to disappear, just for a little while, so she didn’t see him worry. So she didn’t see him cry.
“Willow told me what you did.”
“What? That I grabbed her boob?”
“No. She knows that was an accident.”
“That those guys were after her. That you saved her. Like a real hero, Adam.”
“Yeah. Still got in trouble.”
“They told me what Trevor said.”
Adam felt a strange discomfort like a golf ball had suddenly formed in his chest cavity. It was swelling and hardening. He tried to swallow past it, sure it was going to become a bowling ball that would pull him higher on the swing with it’s dense center of gravity, then pull him forward into the open air and crush him when he fell, bursting out of his chest like an alien xenomorph.
“Thank you” Raven said softly.
Adam mumbled an incoherent reply as the bowling ball suddenly burst into fireworks inside of him. He could see the reflection of them behind his eyelids as he let go of the chain and sailed through the air, the world slowing to catch him as he felt his little body lagging behind until he thudded feet-first into the gravel.
He turned and shoved his bruised and bloody hands into his jeans, wincing as the scabs on his knuckles scraped against the seams.
“He shouldn’t have said that.” Adam shrugged.
“Lots of people shouldn’t say it, but they do.” Raven tucked her legs under the seat on the upswing, slowing her velocity, and then stretched her legs out to dig her feet into the gravel and slow herself to a stop, digging dual trenches that lay behind her as she stood and left the swing rattling behind her. She stepped up to Adam, dwarfing him in the glow of the single streetlight that cast their long shadows across the ground.
“Nobody ever stood up for me before.” She said, stepping even closer, now almost chest to face with Adam.
Adam gulped air as Raven’s sweater, and the mysterious swollen things beneath, came closer to his face.
Raven reached down to take his hands from his pockets, examining the bloody fingers and making a nearly inaudible tsk tsk sound. She bent down and kissed them, first the left, then the right. Then she put her dark hand against Adam Deville’s cheeks, still wet with tears. She leaned in, kissed one eye, then the next. First the left, then the right.
Adam sucked in a deep breath, a cloud of peanut butter and jelly breath and cherry lip-smacker, not knowing what the hell was happening, and not wanting it to ever end. He held that breath for an eternity, as Raven Michaud pressed her soft lips against his, and pulled him close.
“It is so good to see you, Adam!” Raven says, her hand still warm on Devil’s forearm. He could still feel those kisses, on the left hand and then the right. The left eye and then the right. He’d never forgotten. How could he. He stared at those lips and remembered the taste of cherries.
Like I said, just a little taste. If it strikes your fancy, keep an eye out for WOLF & DEVIL: DEMON DAYS coming August 2017 from Tyche Books. And go pick up the “first” book, FURR (it’s a prequel I guess? Like Rogue One. Leads to this new series, but focuses on a different cast of badass characters from which the Wolf and Devil emerge and head towards their own shenanigans) #FURR is on sale on Amazon for a buck! Also still available on KOBO, and in Paperback, anywhere books are sold. Go check it out! 5-stars, local Canadian best-seller, Amazon best-seller in Gothic and Supernatural.
If you’ve already read it, do me a New Year’s solid and put a review up somewhere!
Love and kisses on your festive pieces,