So since last I posted here I’ve started a new job, worked there three months, got unceremoniously fired from new job, spent a month setting up a new company that will begin operations on July 1 to hopefully provide self-employed income for my family, had a great time at ConCarolinas, shared a booth with Get Some Game at HeroesCon, and written a bunch of shit. I’m still working on In the Still of the Knight, Black Knight Chronicles #5, but we’re moving ahead apace with that one and it should be out by the end of this year. I’m also working on a new Bubba for next month, and the first in a series of novellas featuring a new character for me – Quincy Harker, Demon Hunter.
Quincy Harker is the ridiculously long-lived son of Jonathan Harker and Mina Murray. You might have heard of them – they had a run-in with a vampire a while back. Well, when Dracula shared blood with Mina Murray, it affected her DNA, casing her child Quincy to be born a little more than human. He’s not a vampire, but he’s not exactly human, either. And he’s a wizard. And a bit of an asshole, honestly. He’s the guy you call when the shit has already hit the fan and been sprayed all over the room, because he’s not afraid to get his boots dirty. The first Quincy Harker novella will be available next month. Here’s a little sample – not safe for kids.
Quincy Harker, Demon Hunter Episode 1 –
I fuckin’ hate demons. That’s what ran through my head as I got out of the car and walked up the sidewalk to the Garda home. It was a nice place, for the suburbs. There was a two-car garage off to one side, a neatly manicured lawn leading up to flowerbeds in front of a nice little porch, and an SUV in the driveway because I’m sure the garage was full of bicycles, tools, lawnmowers and other shit that I only see when I get a call out here in the ‘burbs. I live in a condo in the middle of downtown Charlotte, so the only time I see lawn equipment is when I get lost in a home improvement store looking for a new mallet or maybe a new wheel for my grinder.
I walked up to the pale yellow siding nightmare of a home and stepped up on the front porch. The welcome mat was a little askew, the only imperfect thing in an otherwise totally Good Housekeeping image. I took a deep breath and closed my eyes, opening my second sight and taking a look around. My third eye saw nothing out of the ordinary on the porch, no roiling black evil miasma ready to consume my soul and suck me down into the depths of Hell. It looked just as Martha Stewart in the supernatural spectrum as it did in the visible one. Good, I thought, maybe the little darlin’s just on the rag and I can get the fuck out of here and back uptown before the game lets out and traffic gets stupid.
I opened my eyes and snapped back to the mundane world. After a second to adjust back to seeing the world with my eyes instead of my soul, I rang the bell. A dog immediately went apeshit on the other side of the door, as if the real trouble wasn’t already in the house. A couple of shouted “shut up”s later, the door opened and a flushed forty-something man opened the door. The top of his balding head stopped at about my nose, but I’m tall, so I was used to that. His polo shirt had sweat stains under his man boobs, and it stretched tight across his spectacular belly. He looked up at me, close-set brown eyes set deep in a florid face, capped off with a red nose that only happens when you’ve hit the bottle pretty hard for a pretty long time.
“You Harker?” He asked, glaring up at me.
“Yep.” I said.
“You got ID?” He asked.
No. I just randomly wander up to houses in suburbia and pretend to be an exorcist, hoping to arrive at the exact time their appointment was set for. I bit my tongue before that one could escape and just handed him my card.
“You got any photo ID?” He had that belligerent tone of a middle manager, the kind of guy that shits on all his employees’ good ideas until somebody smarter than him hears them, then takes credit for the good one.
I didn’t bother to hold back this time. “You want my badge number, too? This shit doesn’t exactly come with a union card, pal. You called me, remember? I’m here, the right time, the right address, now let’s see if I’m in the right place. I’m Quincy Harker, you got something needs banishing or should I just go back to my sofa and NFL network?”
“Sorry, sorry. No need to be a —“ he cut himself off, but I didn’t.
“Dick? Yeah, I’m a dick. You’re the stupid bastard who lets a demon into his teenage daughter, yanking me off the couch in the middle of the first Panthers playoff run in living memory, but of course I’m a dick because I didn’t immediately take off my hat and wipe my shoes before entering your fucking Ikea palace here. Now point me towards your daughter’s room and get out of my way before I do something really dickish, like turn you into a toad.” I pushed past the stammering jackoff and stomped towards the stairs, registering him mumbling something about the bedroom at the end of the hall. I didn’t need his instructions, as soon as I stepped onto the second floor I could feel what I was there for. This time the sense of evil, of just wrongness was so strong I didn’t need my Sight to find it. It almost knocked me over the second I turned toward the door.
The hallway was just like a normal two-story house, scene for slaughter in so many slasher flicks. There was a small bathroom to the right of the stairs, and three bedrooms arranged around the left-hand hallway. One of these would be the master bedroom, with its own bath, and the other two would be the kids’ rooms. The one on the left had pictures of motorcycles and rock bands with more makeup than KISS, but the one at the end of the hall was unadorned. Just a simple brass nameplate announcing it as Kayleigh’s room.
I could tell from thirty feet away that Kayleigh’s room had some seriously evil shit in it. I rolled my head and cracked my knuckles, then opened up my Second Sight to get a good look at the evil in the magical spectrum.
I slammed my Sight shut almost as quickly as it came into focus, shaking my head to clear the images from my mind. But there is no Visine for the mind’s eye, and I was stuck with that shit forever. Whatever was on the other side of that door wasn’t human, was powerful as shit, and was really hungry. It was also in a really good mood, which disturbed the fuck out of me. There’s nothing worse than a happy demon, at least as far as the humans around it are concerned.
“Mr. Garda?” I yelled down the stairs.
“Yes?” His voice came back. I might have heard ice cubes jingle in a glass. Good, if this was as bad as I thought it was, he was going to need to get seriously drunk.
“Who else is home?”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, who else is in the building? Is your wife here? Your son?” I left off the “jackass,” but it was pretty well implied.
“No, they’re gone. My wife is out of town on business for two weeks, and my son has been staying at a friend’s house since Kayliegh got sick. It’s just you, me and Kayleigh.” And whatever has got its claws wrapped around Kayleigh’s soul.
“That’s good. You might want to leave yourself for a little while.” Please don’t ask a lot of fucking questions.
Shit. “Because what I’m dealing with up here is pretty dangerous, and I don’t want you to get hurt.” And I don’t want this fucker to have another vessel to jump to if your daughter suddenly becomes uninhabitable.
“I don’t think I can -“
“Would you please just get the fuck out so I can quit worrying about your fat ass and save your daughter?” I yelled. Maybe a little direct, but I really didn’t want to have to fight this thing more than once. I heard a clatter of footsteps and then the front door slammed shut. Nice. I didn’t believe he’d actually leave. Maybe that panicked edge in my voice was useful after all.
I turned back to the door. “Just you and me, now, buddy. So why don’t you come out of the girl and let’s handle this like men?”
The voice that answered rang through my head like a dentist’s drill, piercing and ululating. “I can’t come out. Not yet. But when I do you’ll see that I’m nothing like a man.” Then it laughed, and in that laugh were the screams of millennia of tormented souls, all shrieking together to make one terrible sound.
“Then I guess I have to come in.” I said, and strode to the door. I lifted a size 11 Doc Marten and kicked the door just beside the lock. The jamb splintered, the door flew in, and my worst nightmares were realized.