Welcome to the Monday Morsel feature. To date I've been sharing short excerpts from the first draft of my adult epic fantasy/fantasy romance, In the Company of the Dead. Today, I am sharing an excerpt from my upcoming novella, Stalking the Demon. This sequel to Confronting the Demon will be the second installment in the Seven Circles of Hell Series.
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Alloran rushed through the citadel halls, heedless of the thick carpets trampled beneath his feet. In his arms, Gisayne hung limp with her black hair trailing over his elbow. A few people in the halls watched him pass; none offered to help.
Help me! But the words didn’t leave his lips. Six months of collapses blunted the urgency and the panic, and the faces turning to follow him bore only mild curiosity, oblivious that this time was different.
Gisayne’s chest barely rose and fell with each shallow breath, and blue tinged the edges of her bee stung lips. Alloran’s breath rasped loudly in his ears as he raced through the halls, his one hand pressing against the cold skin of her arm as he clutched her to his chest.
He shouldered open the door to the citadel’s hospice and backed into a long room lined with severely made beds. The few occupied by sick or injured had curtains drawn for privacy. Breidmar, one of the citadel’s doctors, bustled over at their entrance. His heavy black brows pinched with concern.
Alloran nodded, the lump in his throat choking him. ‘She’s….’ He swallowed hard. ‘She’s hardly breathing.’
'This way.’ Breidmar waved Alloran to an empty bed as he strode to a door at the far end and called out. Before the doctor was even halfway back to the allocated bed, an unfamiliar nurse appeared in the doorway.
Alloran placed Gisayne on the bed with gentle care. She rolled from his arms, her body limp and her skin pale. Her eyelids fluttered as he released her, but did not open. Nausea knotted his gut.
Breidmar waved Alloran off as he and the nurse began checking Gisayne’s vitals, but he hesitated. What would he do but wait, patient and idle, while Breidmar tried again to determine what illness affected her? Tried and failed, most likely.
‘Are you sure it is not the falling sickness? It’s supposed to get worse with each successive bout.’
‘She’s not got the right symptoms; no seizures.’ Breidmar responded in precise, clipped tones.
Alloran frowned. He was no idiot. ‘Then what? Seven hells take you, tell me. Whatever it is, it can’t be too complicated for me to understand.’
Breidmar looked up and sniffed, his severe lips curving down. ‘No amount of genius can assist you to understand a malady I cannot explain, and while you’ve made any number of miraculous discoveries, you have no particular expertise in medical matters. Leave this to me.’
At a nod from Breidmar, the nurse whipped the curtain around the bed in a rattle of rings.
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Thanks for dropping by! Don't forget, this is a first draft, and as such won't be perfect. If you like what you read, and are so inclined, show your support by leaving a comment. Stalking the Demon is expected to be released in August. If you'd like to sample more of my writing, check out the free short stories available on this site.
If this is your first visit to Monday Morsels, find others in the series by clicking on the ‘Monday morsel’ tag, or go to the first installment.
More about Stalking the Demon:
Alloran did everything within his power; he banished the demon and sealed the portal. But the world is still careening into hell.
Six months after Ladanyon's defeat, Gisayne is fading away from a baffling illness. Alloran is desperate for a cure, but he has a secret - the fabric of reality is collapsing, threatening to spill unrestrained demons into the world of Verusia. Is Ladanyon striking back at Alloran from the hell to which he was condemned, or is there a traitor among them?
The only people he can turn to for help deciphering the linked mysteries of Gisayne's affliction and the collapse of the world are the two research assistants set to spy on him for the council of wizards - but he knows he can't trust them.
Everything Alloran loves races toward destruction - and all the answers are locked away in hell.
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