This month is NaNoWriMo for many of my writing compadres...I am deeply immersed and enjoying the experience. I already have my first confession, though. I was working on the sequel to Dakota, however, that is simply not a title that I can work on and not be doing spot research as I go. Book 2 is set during the start of the American Civil War and involves First Bull Run/First Manassas. So I have had to shelve Dakota during November, however, the first full-length That Ghoul Ava requires no such thing and is just good fun. So here is a (completely unedited) peek, comments are welcome and encouraged:
Same Ol’ Situation
“Do you have to play this crap so loud?” Lisa said with that petulance that only teen girls can truly master. It’s so sad. When we get older it just comes off as whiny or bitchy.
I pretended not to hear her. Not one thing that she could say or do was going to ruin my mood tonight. I was behind the wheel of my very first brand new car. No little tushies had planted themselves in this seat but me. I had been assured that I was the very first person to test drive this little baby: A candy-apple red 2013 Corvette.
Now I’m not one of those girls who knows a lot about cars, so most of what the very cute salesman said just didn’t stick. I think he even had a fancy name for the color red that my car was painted. Don’t care.
I flew down the on-ramp that deposited me on I-5 and went through the gears like I imagine those race car drivers did when they zoomed around in circles. By the time I actually hit the freeway, I was on the high side of ninety miles per hour.
“Got your seatbelt on?” I asked. I wasn’t planning on getting into a wreck…but who did? Safety first!
“Try to remember that only one of us is guaranteed not to die if you wreck this thing,” Lisa yelled over the strains of the luscious Brett Michaels who was currently begging me to talk dirty to him. Trust me when I tell you that would be the least of his worries.
She was referring to the fact that I am a ghoul. Now let me assure you, being a ghoul is absolutely nothing like being a zombie. As if. Zombies are nasty creatures that eat the living. I only eat the dead. See? Big difference.
Lisa Jenkins was a teenage runaway. However, I doubted that her parents would come looking for her any time soon. In the six monthst that she had lived with me, I had learned enough to know that it was unlikely that they were even aware that she had left home. Her father was long gone, and her single mother was busy sleeping with every bus boy, waiter, and bartender at this dirty little all night place in Southeast Portland.
I’d popped in once and the woman was letting some slob put his hands up her skirt every time she came to the table. When she brought the actual meal to the table and cleared away the five empty beer bottles to make room, I almost lost my proverbial lunch. It was fried chicken, and I know for a fact that he didn’t wash his hands before picking up that drumstick. And considering where that hand had just been…
I met Lisa one night shortly after my transformation. She had been in a seedy hotel after just giving birth. Her “boyfriend—a pervy forty-something that actually convinced her to dump the child in the garbage right after giving birth—made the mistake of answering the door when I knocked. Long story short, baby was rescued and eventually given a home, perv was killed and then eaten, and Lisa became my roommate.
It was around the time that I met Lisa when I was introduced to a whole part of society that most folks don’t realize exists under their noses. Call it supernatural or whatever you like, but things like ghouls, and ghosts, and vampires—like that snarky little bitch Belinda Yates—exist.
Some have gone on to sustain themselves through books like the one you are reading right now. You see, the best way to hide is in plain sight. You’d be surprised if I told you which of the other books in your collection are real; or at least based on real events in the lives of some of my fellow monsters. Yeah, most of them don’t like the “M” word, but I like to consider myself a bit more progressive.
I actually decided to join the ranks of the writer-types after my first little “adventure” where I was hired to deal with a rogue vampire that had designs on the aforementioned Belinda’s Kiss. (A “Kiss” for the unitiated is what vampires call their little groups or clubs…whatever.) I didn’t actually have to write, but Lisa thought it would be fun. She worries about the finances like nobody I have ever met and keeps telling me that the payday I got for taking care of Belinda’s “little problem” won’t last forever.
After I saw this car, I finally agreed that we needed an additional source of income. The only problem now was waiting for the next “job” from Morgan. For those of you who don’t know, Morgan is the psychic for my region. Unlike the ones on television that lie about being able to tell your future, Morgan is for real. Apparently true pshychics are able to detect all supernaturals in their district. I don’t know all of the details—mostly because she tells me very little—but I guess they act as some sort of mediator and boss for their given district.
The day I became a ghoul, I received a visit from Morgan. She kind of told me the rules. Mostly she went on about all the stuff I couldn’t do. Of course, it was good old Ava’s door that they knocked on when that vampire came in and started mucking things up.
By the time Billy Idol had told me all about what a great day it would be for a White Wedding, and the Go-Gos encouraged me to take a Vacation, we were home. And here was the reason we needed Morgan to show up with another job…or people needed to start buying these books. Home was no longer the dirty little apartment that I’d rented while I was a busty waitress with raven-black hair. Now we lived in a sweet little two-story looking down on Lake Oswego. (I never knew there was actually a lake here! Just thought it was a cute name for a town.)
It had four bedrooms! Now I wasn’t ever going to hear the pitter-patter of ghoulish feet, but maybe Lisa might give it a go when she is actually old enough and meets a nice guy. I had a feeling that I would be living vicariously through her.
And there you have it. My word for the day. Vicariously. Take that Morgan. She always talks to me like I am the idiot child. Well now that I have hired a ghost writer—literally, I seriously have this ghost that comes in and helps, she possesses Lisa when it is time to sit down and put the story together—I get to hear all sorts of big words.
Chantal, my ghostly pal, likes to chat sometimes during the day. She sometimes slips in to Lisa while she is dozing and will chat with me about stuff. At first it was weird having these conversations that Lisa has no memory of, and I have to get it straight who I am talking to or what I have said to Chantal-Lisa and what I have said to Lisa-Lisa.
Hmm, that reminds me. I stop at my iPod docking station and thumb to a song. One of my favorite features of this home was the sound system. You can have music or whatever you are watching on television piped throughout the whole place. Head-to-Toe by Lisa Lisa and the Cult Jam starts and I head for the basement door.
“Back in a few minutes,” I call over my shoulder. I catch Lisa’s face in the relection of the kitchen window. Her nose wrinkles. If I wasn’t so secure in our friendship, my feelings might be hurt. Hey…a girl’s gotta eat.
My basement is the other feature that really sold this house to me. A serial killer would blow his…well, whatever it is that they blow, you can bet my basement would be the thing that would send said serial killer over the edge.
It is absolutely sound proof. I tested it out early when I brought my ex-husband’s guitar amplifier down here. My actual goal was to check out the real estate agent’s claim that this basement was in fact sound proof. If I just happened to blow up his amplifier in the process, that would be icing on the cake.
I plugged in the pretty green guitar that was still in my closet despite the fact that we had been divorced long enough for that cheating bastard to remarry and have a pair of twin snot factories…err…I mean a lovely set of boy and girl twins. (I can never remember which is fraternal and which is maternal…not like I actually care.) Anyways, I plugged that guitar in, turned every single knob on the amplifier to “10” and strummed. I forgot all about my super-sensitive ghoul hearing.
For almost a week I was absolutely deaf. Thankfully I have the ability to heal. Supposedly, I can take a shotgun blast to the chest and not die. I’d just as soon not test the theory, but it is kind of nice to think that little bit of insurance is in my tool box. To actually kill me, you need to either sever my head, or pierce my heart with a weapon made from iron. I feel comfortable sharing that with you because you will either dismiss this as just another one of “those” stories that are so popular right now, or you just won’t ever feel the need to go out and hunt down a ghoul that is trying to make the world a better place.
So once I could hear again, Lisa assured me that she did not hear a thing. She was really glad when my hearing came back. I guess I am one of those women with a naturally loud voice.
So back to my basement. As I told you, I am a ghoul. I eat the dead. To be clear, they have to be “unprocessed.” I don’t know if you are aware of what they do to a person before spray painting them and setting them in a box, but no ghoul would ever touch a body after a mortician got ahold of it. I keep about a half dozen corpses on ice for those times when I can’t go out and hunt down a fresh meal.
This is another of the perks from that job I did for Belinda-the-vampire-bitch. She has one of her minions bring by a thrall that might have been snacked on a bit too heavily or the occasional human version of a monster that they might stumble across.
Opening the walk in refrigerator, I pull the first body out and set him on the huge table. Already the smell is causing my mouth to water. I know it will just be a moment—
Oh yeah. Shark mouth makes the scene and I dig in. I can’t really explain it better than that. When I smell a dead body—something that you would probably find repulsive—to me it is like being in Martha Stewart’s kitchen on Thanksgiving. The smell is beyond delicious.
My mouth does this thing that sort of defies biology. It stretches out several inches and these razor-sharp rows of needle-like fangs drop. I become the human equivalent of one of those woodchipper thingies. I can down a whole body in less than ten minutes. The only part that is a bit icky foremy is regurging up the clothes. To my credit, I strip the bodies that are put in my fridge. However, I don’t exactly have control over my appetitie. When I encounter a dead body out and about, I just can’t help myself.
The best thing I can equate it to is what used to happen with those spray cans of whip cream. I couldn’t open my fridge when one of those things were in there back when I was alive without grabbing it, popping the top, and shooting a mouthful of tasty, sweet whipped cream into my mouth.
So anyways, I got my shark mouth going, and made short work of my dinner. I think we found this one under a bridge. Probably not the solution to the homeless situation that they were thinking of with Comic Relief, and in my defense he was already dead. Being out in the elements is really not something that we are designed for in our human form.