Two snippets down, three to go. This week’s snippet involves one of my kickstarter backers. Mr. Somma, with his very generous backing there at the end, requested I name a character after his son, who wanted to be an Elf. Somehow, I got it in my head that I needed to model the character after his son as well. It actually worked out, as Ajay is Indian and I had originally written in a family of Elves with dark skin.
I actually combined two ideas for the section. The first was a series of nightmares my mother told me she’d had as a kid, about a man in a red coat chasing her. The second, was The Grundel, from Extreme Ghostbusters. If you read the Grundel page, you’ll see some controversy about the dialogue sounding like a pedophile. Given the subject, it’s a little hard to avoid even in my version. I just wanted to put that out first. I’m going to be editing the scene further once I finish the current draft though, so that potential angle will be cut down quite a bit. Enjoy!
The pair’s second stop was a father and his son, Rhim and Ajay. Elves, brown-skinned with shaggy mops of black hair falling over their pointed ears. Rhim’s honey-brown eyes were bloodshot. Ajay refused to look anyone in the eye. They were quiet and polite but short with Grimluk. Rhim was visibly hesitant to speak with the hunter. His body language told Grimluk he was wound up enough he wanted to bolt. Sadie saw she needed to step in, as the hunter had known all too well, and persuade Rhim to talk.
She was surprised when her simple confirmation that Grimluk was there to help allowed Rhim to relax some. The man clearly needed some sleep but he relaxed enough to talk.
Most of what they’d been through had happened fairly recently. They had paid no mind to the cycle of nightmares at first but at some point, the nightmares refused to stay in their dreams and invaded their waking lives.
Rhim had jolted awake from a particularly disturbing dream involving a man in a red coat luring Ajay away. When father had went to check on son, his heart had frozen. Ajay was gone. The window was open. Rhim took off for the Watch. Despite the night Watch’s best efforts, he had demanded that Trilgor inspect the scene personally. Trilgor followed him, armed, ready, and very much wanting to know where a teenage boy could disappear to in such a small town.
There was no disappearance though. Rhim and Trilgor scared Ajay half out of his skin. The window was closed and the boy had clearly been sound asleep.
A few days later, it all started back up though. This time, Ajay woke in the middle of the night to the man in the red coat tapping at his window. Ajay had told his father that it looked something like a man-sized ogre. The face was long and gaunt with a huge and grotesque jaw. Rotten teeth filled a huge mouth. Orange eyes locked onto the boy’s. A sonorous voice beckoned Ajay to come with him.
Ajay screamed. The whole building bolted awake.
Ever since, the thing in the coat had been torturing them both. If it wasn’t tapping at Ajay’s window, it was appearing at the foot of Rhim’s bed to tell him of how he would feast on the boy. Flesh and soul consumed in a banquet of eternal pain.
Grimluk let himself out as Rhim broke down into tears. A few minutes later, Sadie joined him, her own eyes looking watery, like she was going to cry as well. She sighed deeply.
“Is this what you always have to deal with?” she murmured.
“By finding the thing causing it all and stopping it. When you’re ready, we can continue.”
Sadie looked up at the hunter. Concern shown back. Her chin quivered but she held the tears back.
“You’re a good man, Grimluk.”
A small smile crept to his lips. “I try.”