Thursday, May 20, 2010
End Intermission ~ Begin 2nd Act ~ The Contest
I prefer it this way. I really wish they wouldn't make me get mad and play with my swords like that.
I did warn them.
So, our intermission is over, and without further ado, I bring you...
Barbara Sheridan Week ~ Act 2
How much greater is the 2nd act? Well let me tell you. We are back with our very first contest EVER! Oh yeah baby *happy dance* awesome. I've been trying for so long, to no avail. No longer. We have a contest! *more happy dance* WhooWhoo!
So, for your winning enjoyment, Barbara has given us an ebook copy of Falling Through Glass, her Paranormal Time Travel... Samurai book. That's right, I said Paranormal Time Travel Samurai book. I friggin' love those kind of books!
*cranks pedestal higher* Thanks Barbara, you are so the best!!!!
My first contest, how cool is that!
Ok, as if the book giveaway wasn't cool enough, she sent me this great excerpt too. So, here's the deal. Leave me a comment by next Friday, May 28th, and tell me *taps chin* ...tell me *ponders*...
...friggin' hell, I don't know!
*pouts* Contests are hard.
Ok. *deep breath* Ok. Let's try again. Leave me a comment and tell me...ooooh, I know...
Tell me what she calls him when he asks if she's a demon. *laughs* Amora, codename Black Mamba uses that one alot throughout her days.
Ok, got that?
Leave me a comment by next Friday, May 28th and tell me what she calls him when he asks if she's a demon . I'll announce a winner next weekend.
Hey, I made a contest! hee hee, yay me!
Kae’s eyes flew open the instant his senses recognized the smell of burning wood. He was on his feet, katana in hand, before his consciousness registered that this was not the fire-prone Imperial Palace and that the smell was distant, somehow not quite real.
Please help me!
Kae looked down at the empty futon. Aneko was gone. She’d had an appointment with an outside customer that she couldn’t cancel. He went to the door leading to the corridor and peered out. Only the usual sounds of merriment and sexual encounters drifted back. There was no smoke smell.
Help me! Help me! Please!
His eyes finally adjusted to the faint light of the small lantern Aneko had left lit, and he was certain that a wisp of smoke came from beneath the cloth covering Aneko’s mirror. Again, the mournful cry for help followed.
Help me! Please!
For a number of years, his father had sent Kae to serve as a retainer to the Matsudairas, the leaders of the Aizu clan. There, he’d learned the wariness of a battle-ready warrior, and now, that training sprang to the forefront.
It was another trick of the oni in the mirror to steal his soul. Yet...
Please, help me.
The terrified wail was too much to bear, too similar to the pain filled cries of his father’s mistress that night when he was ten years old and the palace had caught fire, trapping them both and killing her after she’d shoved him out a window to safety.
The wisps of smoke coming from beneath the cloth grew thicker while the cries for help grew weaker.
The fire that long ago night had caught the hem of Yumi’s kimono even as she lifted him to the window, to safety. As Kae tumbled out backwards, he saw her engulfed in fire, saw her writhe in utter agony, saw her hands reach out, saw her skin bubble and melt...
No. It would not happen again.
Kaemon plunged himself forward, tore the cloth away, and with a loud battle cry, he thrust his hand through the glass. The mirror did not shatter, and he felt his fingertips at last connect with smoldering silk.
He stretched his arm until his shoulder collided with the mirror’s frame then let out another kiai while he used all his strength to pull backward on the handful of silk in his grasp.
The tatami mat scratched Kae’s back when they hit it and slid. It took a moment for him to catch his breath. The smell of singed fabric prickled his nose. Instinctively, he rolled out from under the stunned woman and threw a blanket from the futon over her, patting it to smother any hint of fire.
Within seconds, Emmi began coughing. She flailed her arms and legs, swatting a blanket from her face.
Her brain took its own sweet time processing the Japanese words someone called out. "Calm down. You’re safe now. You’re safe."
Coughing, she sat up and scrambled to her knees as much as the cumbersome layers of clothing and the blanket covering her would allow. She bent forward taking in large gasping breaths, hacking to expel the smoky air from her lungs.
“Daijoubu desu ka? Daijoubu desu ka, oni?”
Was she a demon? What the hell kind of question was that?
Still kneeling, Emmi straightened and swiped her tousled hair from her eyes. She then turned to look over her shoulder. Had her mother sent some distant relative to watch over her and taunt her with the demon epithet in her stead?
“Are you a demon?” the man kneeling before her asked again.
Emmi blinked and wiped her eyes; they still stung from the smoke. She glared at her supposed rescuer. “Yes, I’m alright and I’m not a demon, you idiot.”
She looked around. This did not look like the sound stage. Where was the storm? Why were there no firefighters or paramedics?
Where on Earth was she?
Emmi looked back at the confused man. He was around her age and seemed rather familiar somehow.
“What?” she asked in answer to the very same question from him.
"Nani? Nan desu ka, oni?" he repeated.
“Look, I know I should be grateful to you and all, but...”
She broke off as his look of bewilderment grew. She closed her eyes a moment. She hadn’t carried on any long conversations in Japanese since she'd last seen her grandparents at the funeral. In fact, that hadn’t been quite normal since a lot of the time they chose to use the old, classical Japanese...
...which was exactly what this guy was speaking.
She spoke to him slowly in Japanese, hoping he’d get it straight that she was not a demon and that she was indeed all right.
"What is i-di-ot?"
Emmi coughed and wondered if coughing more might distract him from wanting to know what idiot meant. However, when he repeated the question, she knew that wasn’t much of an option. She looked at him and translated 'idiot' as best she could.
She gave a start when the look of bewilderment, which she thought might be his natural expression, turned to one of fury. When he jumped to his feet and grabbed the katana lying on the floor a few feet away, Emmi knew without a doubt that he was not holding any movie prop.
It didn’t look like any unsharpened practice or prop swords she'd ever seen, but it did look exactly like the antique sword her father had owned. She knew without a doubt that this katana was very much the same, very real and very deadly.
She looked around the room again. Why wasn’t she in the same room? Why wasn’t it a shambles? Where were the security people or the paramedics, the police, and the firefighters? Where the hell was she?
Before she could figure it out, the man ordered her to stand. She knew that to refuse would not be wise--even if he insisted on calling her a demon.
He pointed the katana at her. “Go back to where you came from, demon. Now!” he ordered in Japanese, pointing the blade to the mirror lying face down on the floor near a small lacquered cabinet.
Emi ran forward, fell to her knees and picked it up, making sure it was unharmed.
It was her mirror, but it was different. It looked newer, shinier, and while it had a dent on the right side, the other nicks and dents were missing from the base. Where did the cloth tacked onto the back come from?
“Go back inside, demon! You will not have my soul! Not now or ever!”
“Wha--?” Emmi's voice died the instant she turned. The man had the tip of his katana a fraction away from the base of her throat.
“Go back inside to where you came from.”
What was happening?
Was she dead and in some kind of hell for causing the accident that killed her father?
Was she unconscious and having some freakish dream?
“Go back now, demon!”
Shaking in fear, Emmi blinked back the tears that formed in her eyes and prayed she wasn’t screwing up any old Japanese pronunciations. The last thing she wanted was to say something wrong, something that would push this guy over the edge.
“I’m not a demon. I swear I’m not. I don’t know how I got here. I was caught in a storm at a place I was working. The wall fell on me. There was a fire. That’s all I remember. I’m not a demon. I swear I’m not. My name is Emiko. Maeda Emiko.”
“Maeda?” he asked.
“Yes. My family comes from Kanaz--the Kaga han,” she added.
His eyes narrowed suspiciously. “Then how did you come to be in the mirror? If you are human, and truly a Maeda, what did you do to disgrace yourself? Why would your family send you here to Shimabara to be a whore?”
He pointed the tip of the sword to her throat.
“Prove to me that you are human.”
And to go with this awesomest of prizes we have this awesomest of excerpts. Yay! How great is she. All this uber goodness just started raining down upon me. Now that's a good day! *cranks up pedestal* Thanks Barbara, that's so friggin' cool!!!
So, here's the deal. Leave me a comment