Welp! I’ve been talking about it and working on it, so I think it makes sense to give you guys the opening of the short story I’m writing for my new friends over at the local college. The piece is tentatively named ‘Club Night’ and was received with encouraging enthusiasm by the 200 ish studends I read it to. Woohoo!
This is a stupid idea. We’re going to get caught. No one sneaks into Lunar without getting caught.
Cheryl glared at the mirror and kept her depressing thoughts to herself. Instead, she nodded at her reflection, happy with the makeup and curly afro hair it showed. “That will do.”
Her friend, Maxine, fair haired and heavily made up, frowned and shook her head. “Wrong. Purple suits you better.” She handed over a tube of dark lipstick. “Try that. And hurry up, we’re gonna be late.”
Though unsure of the colour choice, Cheryl trusted Maxine. Just. Besides, she couldn’t see her reflection properly anyway. The sudden rush of her new vampire powers left her eyesight fantastic in all situations except in front of a mirror. Which sucked.
As she put on the new colour, Maxine checked the door to their shared bedroom. A moment later, soft footsteps approached and Ishaan stepped through.
“You ladies ready?” he asked, arms folded tight across his skinny chest. Yeah, skinny, but strong. Like most werewolves, there was more to him than his gentle looks. He was dressed for a hot night out, tight jeans and pale shirt with the sleeves rolled back. “Hey, Chez.”
“Don’t call me that.” Cheryl watched him in the mirror. “Did you get us clearance for the club?”
He grinned, and his eyes, though usually brown, shone with a golden light. “Do wolves eat helpless little lambs?”
“Gross!” Maxine smacked his arm, flirting like always, chest thrust out, full lips pouting. Hard to believe she was the oldest of the group. She lowered the neck of her top—not that it needed it—and flicked out her black skirt before sitting on the end of the bed like some sort of magazine model.
Cheryl shook her head. Though she loved her friend, Maxine seemed desperate to prove herself the vampire stereotype. All she needed was black lipstick and a widow’s peak to match her pale skin.
Ishaan ignored Maxine and moved closer to Cheryl, flipping the mirror up so she could no longer see it. “You don’t need that. I think you look great.” Ishaan smiled and pushed a chunk of curly hair off her face. “You look . . . vampish.”
She rolled her eyes. “I don’t need to look vampish, I am vampish.”
“Not until you graduate.” With a giggle, Maxine dragged the conversation back to herself. Like always. “Not long now, though, fifteen months? Anyway, Lunar is an adult club, you need to look more than vampish, you need to look . . .”
“Adult?” Ishaan offered. Not that he’d have much trouble. He looked much older than sixteen, probably because of the tattoo on the side of his neck. But all the young wolves had those, it was just their pack symbol. Besides, Lunar was a werewolf club, surely they wouldn’t turn him away.
Maxine leapt off the bed and landed by the door seven feet away. “Ready?”
“Yeah, let’s do this.” Cheryl swallowed her nerves, tightened the corset-style cord at the back of her dress and pulled on her boots.
Ishaan took the lead at the door. He cocked his head, one hand cupped around his ear. “Professor Sharra is in her study. I can hear her pacing.” A pause. “Sergeant Reaper is patrolling far end of the back corridor, but he’s blind and half deaf, he’ll never hear us.” With that, he shot off, a dark streak against the hall’s wooden panelling.
Maxine followed, making no sound on the hardwood floors as she darted along in Ishaan’s shadow.
Cheryl licked her lips.
My turn. Right. Okay, I can do this. Of course I can do this.
She closed the bedroom door.
She could hear other students in the academy, some sleeping, some studying, all in their rooms like good little supernaturals. How she let Maxine convince her to sneak out was a mystery, but now there was little to do but get on with it.
She stepped into the corridor.
A floorboard creaked.
At the other end, standing by the window, Maxine shot her a furious stare. “Shut up!” she mouthed.
“Sorry.” Cheryl just couldn’t move that quietly. Or that fast. Her vampire powers only came in three months ago and the blurry-speed-thing took practise. Still, she made it to the end of the corridor without knocking anything and only two of the boards creaked.
Ishaan had already opened the window and stood on the narrow platform of the fire escape outside it. “You sound like a herd of elephants, Chez.
“Sorry. And don’t call me ‘Chez.’”
Maxine rolled her eyes. “Stop being sorry about everything. You don’t want to be apologising to any of the guys at Lunar. They’ll eat you alive. Literally.” Her lip quirked. “Just, you know, be more like . . . like . . .”
“Yeah.” Her smile faded. “Wait, Cheryl, you’re sweating.”
Until that moment, Cheryl hadn’t noticed the wetness on her forehead. Now, when she touched her skin, her fingers gleamed with the it. “Uh oh.” Her arms began to prickle, the flesh on her right side heating up. “Ramni’s coming.”
Since discovering her vampire abilities, Cheryl had learned enough to recognise the feeling of her mentor. Normally she didn’t mind seeing him. At six foot, dark haired, dark skinned and gorgeous, Ramni was the very picture of what a vampire should be. A male one anyway.
But now, sneaking out of the Academy to visit an illegal werewolf club, he was the last person she wanted to see.
Maxine shoved her way out the window, with panic in her eyes. “We need to get out of here. Go, go.”
Ishaan jumped off the fire escape on to the grassy area at the back of the Academy’s dormitories.
Cheryl swallowed a spiky lump of nerves. The prickle on her skin became stronger. Sweat dripped down the back of her neck.
Maxine leapt on to the handrail. “Follow me.”
“No, no, wait—”
But Maxine was already gone. She hit the grass, rolled and bounded to her feet. “Get down here, Cheryl!”
This is insane, she thought.
Cheryl stepped out the window, onto the rail.
I can’t do this.
The stiff curls of her hair flew in the wind. Goosebumps prickled up and down her bare arms.
What if I break my neck? I don’t have all the healing powers yet.
“Chez, come on.” Ishaan’s voice held a hint of panic. “I think Vestas is coming.”
Thought Principle Vestas tightened Cheryl’s stomach. Vestas was nothing like Ramni: short, bald, old—even for a warlock—with the worst temper she had ever seen. His punishments were not unlike torture and everybody across the Academy talked about him in hushed tones. Even the teachers avoided him if they could.
Cheryl closed her eyes. Spread her arms. Before she could jump, two strong hands closed about her waist and dragged her back through the window. The hands held her a full foot off the ground, spinning her round to meet a pair of huge purple eyes, framed by an angry frown. “Where do you think you’re going?” said Ramni.
Oh. Cheryl sighed. Busted.