Fiction and Writing

Rogue Redcaps: A Short Story.

A few of my lovely friends regularly put short stories and other fiction up on their blog. They’re great writers and it’s fun reading those bits. I feel a little bad as I want to share more with you guys, but I’m so focused on my Infernal Hunt series, and possibly two others, that I don’t have the energy to do shorts and stuff.

Today I want to make the effort, it’s a bit of a compromise. This is a story written within my Infernal Hunt world, set before Infernal Ties, from the point of view of Evie. It’s written for you guys, because I want to share, I want to make you smile with my fiction the way you do with yours.

This is first draft, so you’ll get to see how horrible my grammar is. Don’t worry, my published books go through extensive professional edits 🙂

The blurb/premise:

In a world of lycans, witches, and fae, Evie and Quin are hunters. Normal humans who keep the beasts in line and stop the innocents from finding out what they’re sharing their city with.

People have been vanishing from the metro. Bloody, mangled limbs have been found hidden on the outskirts of the city. Someone, or something, isn’t playing by the rules.

 

Quin handed me a plate of French toast, a smile on his face as he ushered me over to the small table in front of the large window looking over the city. I waited for him to sit next to me before I said, “It happened again last night. They’re getting bolder.”

Quin shook his head and sighed. “I’m beginning to agree with you about exterminating the redcaps, they’re more trouble than they’re worth.”

Triumph bloomed within me as I took a bite of the toast. It would certainly make our lives easier removing them as a species. “We’d lose out on some money though, their fangs and such give us a steady income.”

I wrinkled my nose, I could feel my victory slipping away. My dear twin would no doubt start on the lecture about everything was balanced and had its purpose if I tried to push the point. “What’s the plan then?” I asked.

He shrugged. “I’ll stop by Kadrix’s workshop and pick up some alchemical supplies then we’ll ride the metro from sun down. The people have all vanished from the A line, they’re bold enough that we should see them.”

I tried not to curl my lip, the prospect of riding the metro up and down for a few mind-numbing hours didn’t appeal but I didn’t have a better plan. “You’re spending a lot of time with that alchemist.” I prodded Quin.

He didn’t look up from his food. “Alchemy’s fascinating and has its uses.”

I narrowed my eyes, “It’s magic.”

He sighed and carefully placed his cutlery down. “Magic isn’t inherently evil Evie.”

It was an argument we’d had many times over the years. We were hunters, we didn’t deal in magic. Magic was for the beasts of the city that we kept under tight control. We were protectors of the innocent. Yet Quin lived in that state of grey where everything had its use, where balance ruled. I didn’t retort, it wasn’t worth it. We’d circled around the topic far too many times as it was, he was all I had in the world, I wasn’t going to risk losing him.

“I’ll be back before sundown.” He said with his usual smile.

I placed my hand on his as he stood, I wasn’t going to let him leave on a bad note. He smiled broadly and the tension between us dissolved. We were all that was left of our family, I wasn’t going to allow a disagreement to tear us apart.

** **

I leaned back against the faux-marble pillar and glanced at the digital clock that said how long I had to wait in the cold for the next train. It blinked showing 5.59, I groaned, I hated the waiting game. Quin on the other hand had his hands casually tucked in the pockets of his jeans, one foot braced against the grey pillar with a calm expression on his face. He gazed unseeing at the greenish yellow bowl like patterning on the far side of the tracks. It looked as though we were inside a particularly sickly darlek.

The desire to fidget and spin my blades grew with each passing moment, I wanted to take down whatever was doing this. I wasn’t made for the slow and patient thing. The familiar rumble of the train finally came, and not a second too soon. Quin slowly pushed off the pillar and took a couple of steps to take his place near the edge of the platform. The platform was almost empty, word must have got around the city. We were losing our edge and that pissed me off.

People pushed off the carriage no doubt eager to get home. Despite the empty platform the carriage was still quite full, people were crammed into the seats and stood packed around the varying poles. Quin slipped between them all to lean against the far doors, the eerie expression of peace still on his face. I glared at a pair of older men who grudgingly parted to allow me to stand next to Quin, my hand on the cool metal bar more to stop me from playing with my blades than any need for support.

When we reached the terminus we almost had the carriage to ourselves, only a student type boy remained and he was entirely absorbed in his phone. “Relax Evie, don’t waste energy fretting. You’ll need it later.”

I shot him a dark look but did my best to stretch out my muscles and relax when we stepped out onto the platform to wait for the train to go back the other direction. It was going to be a long night. My ears pricked, and I was instantly ashamed, it was something the beasts did. Still, the sound of skittering claws across the faux-marble floor caught my attention. Quin’s back straightened just a little, his hands remained tucked in his pockets, his gaze distant. The wind howled somewhere upstairs, I almost missed the skittering.

The faint scent of copper and iron carried on the cool breeze that unfurled around the base of the escalators. The lights flickered sending shadows dancing across the walls. Quin glanced at me, his fingers moved up to his belt where his alchemical pouches were attached. The skittering sound was increasing in volume and tempo, the sickly sweet scent of rotting carrion filled my nostrils. Redcaps.

The lights flickered before we were plunged into darkness.

Pain exploded in the back of my head. My knees crumpled under me. “What the fuck was that?” I shouted.

The stench of old blood and rotting meat surrounded me while I tried to clear my head through the agony. A nail slowly ran down the side of my neck following the line of one of my butterfly tattoos there, I punched in the direction of creature it belonged to. The darkness shattered, bright white light filled my vision before it settled into a warm light that allowed me to see again. I wished it hadn’t.

A redcap, complete with blood-soaked cap on its greasy head, was leaning over me. Its grey cracked tongue edged out towards my face as it leaned closer. I punched it in the nose. It howled and shot backwards giving me the room to stand, the agony was clouding my thoughts but I wasn’t going to die at the claws of one of those filthy beasts. A trio of white orbs floated in the middle of the platform, Quin had a grin on his face as he squared up to a group of redcaps. I located the source of my agony, a crimson cap, a redcap alpha. It stood on the far side of the platform, behind Quin’s group. The hunched little creature stood at just below five-feet tall at a guess. Its clothes, for lack of a better term were all soaked in blood. Dried blood coated its lips, it’s clawed hands were clenched around a pair of hearts, each dripping with blood. I hated redcaps.

They were one of the many forms of fae that inhabited the city, they were also the filthiest, stupidest, and most likely to cause trouble. They all responded to the name Red, I hadn’t decided whether it was because they were too dumb to comprehend separate names, or if it was some part of their twisted social workings. Either way I pulled my blades and tried to figure out how I was going to kill the crimson cap. We’d been told that they were capable of blood magic, but I’d never been on the receiving end before. My vision was clouding around the edges, the redcaps that were trying to close in around me blurred a little. That wasn’t going to stop me from slitting them open from navel to sternum.

Quin was quite something to behold when he really got to fighting. He threw explosive alchemical orbs between graceful sweeping arcs with his blades, blood soon pooled on the floor around him. Pain bit into my leg and reminded me I had my own problems to deal with. One of the little shits had sunk his yellowed teeth into my thigh, the pain barely registered over what the crimson cap was doing to my skull. I drove my blade down into the base of its neck causing it to yowl and release me. Blood bloomed over my jeans, the others closed in around me, frenzy in their yellowed-green eyes. I took a long breath to steady myself before I allowed my instincts to take over. It was all I could do.

Where Quin remained reasonably rooted and allowed his attackers to come to him I spun and danced slicing them down when they got within reach. The screams and howls were almost as satisfying as feeling my blades cut through their firm muscles. My foot almost slipped from under me when I hit a pool of blood. I caught myself just in time for the pain to vanish from my skull. The world cleared and popped into technicolour. I had one redcap left. A broad sinewy creature, his shoulders were jagged points poking through the fibrous muscles surrounding them. One lip was torn revealing almost brown pointed teeth. He circled around me, careful to avoid stepping on his fallen brethren.

I spun my blades in my hands, the movement caught his eye and made him pause. I closed the eight foot gap between us in a few long strides and landed a kick squarely on his sternum sending him stumbling backwards. A sweeping kick removed his legs from under him, I wasted no time in stamping down on his throat. The satisfying crunch of breaking bone brought a smile to my face. I crouched and slid my blade between his ribs and drove it through his heart, to be sure.

Quin stood in the middle of a collection of twisted corpses and blood. He was on his phone, no doubt calling in some clean-up crew. The problem had been resolved, the innocents could travel on the late-night metro without fear. For now.

 

This is set before any of the Infernal Hunt books and definitely a rough draft, so play nice 😛 I hope you enjoyed it, I’m glad to share something of this world and characters with you.

 

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