cryptogirl: (WAT)
[personal profile] cryptogirl
Alright. I've sent off the short piece to my writing teacher, written a suitably Pseud's Corner author bio, so shut up and take my words before I change my mind and angst about it all again. Contains rude words and that.

He rounded a corner and the Dean Village sprawled out before him. Old stone houses with turrets proudly jutting out over the grass jostled uncomfortably with the wooden hypocrisy of rows of faux-ancient luxury flats. A handful of appreciative tourists ambled by on the path, rustling maps and heading in entirely the wrong direction for the sights they wanted to see.

I'm late. I should be at the Old Town by now.

Cavan sighed and rose to the surface. It was risky but he had to check the skies, monitor the air. He gazed at the glorious scenery before him with a growing sense of dread as the weather began to close in. Cavan’s target was too precious to lose; he had a greater role to play beyond the lowly confines of his species. If he did not get there in time, it did not bear thinking about what would happen. He had quite put aside his usual disdain for the necessity of travelling by sewer for the last leg of the trip. And that had taken a lot of effort- he thought about his last trip down there, eyes mostly closed to avoid looking at the grim selection of items humans saw fit to flush, and shuddered.

The surface of the Water of Leith rippled in sullen grey furrows as Cavan rushed through it, darting effortlessly between rocks and the rusty skeletons of bikes and shopping trolleys. Above the water, the weather was gloriously Scottish: all roily clouds, wind that pierces even the most determinedly-wrapped of tourists and the kind of rain that rushes from zero to drenched faster than an umbrella can open. The weather was showing no signs of improving. He craned his neck to look towards the Old Town. There was a definite scent on the breeze; his target was still there. Still intact, at least.

A small girl about five years old was defiantly pointing at the water. Her mother, immaculately groomed and pushing an expensive-looking pram laden with John Lewis bags, sighed and turned round with some effort.

’Mammy, what's that over in the water?’

Cavan froze. Oh dear. Not this again.

‘What is it, Cordelia? We really need to get home soon; Mummy's hair will be ruined otherwise.’ She adjusted her coiffure which she clearly valued more than humouring her daughter.

‘Mammy, is that a seal?’

The woman squinted at the river.

‘Oh darling, that's just a tyre someone has thrown in the water!’ She patted her daughter, hoping she would now shut up and start moving.

A cluster of neon shell-suited tourists had spotted something interesting was happening, and gathered like vultures.

For God's sake, don't get your cameras out, you bunch of bloody idiots.

A particularly rotund tourist broke away from the pack, fumbling with a roll of film.

‘Hey Marylou, wouldja look at this! That there is one hell of a big fish!’ he said.

His wife punched his arm and scowled. ‘Ah don't care what it is, hurry up and take a photo of it before you scare it off!’

‘Is it a dolphin? Does Edin-boro even have those?’ asked their friend, a thoroughly confused-looking elderly man who had been somewhat unfairly saddled with the group’s copious luggage.

A smaller, fatter version of the two adults poked his head out of the crowd, chomping on an ice cream and clearly unimpressed. ‘Why isn't it doing any tricks, mom? Make it do tricks! They do tricks at Sea World!’

At this he stooped, picked up a stone, and threw it at Cavan, puffing with the effort. It bounced off his nose as the child griped and grumbled at his parents.

The last thing he needed was this bunch of timewasters. Cavan twitched his whiskers in annoyance. He could ignore the fact he had just been assaulted by a fat American kid and insulted by a thick rich woman, duck back under the water and carry on with his journey. But he was now thoroughly fed up with the humans’ own pointless meddling. There was no way around it; they would just have to be taught a harsh lesson. He turned to face the child head-on.

‘Look here, kid. I'm not here to do tricks. I'm not here for a photo shoot either. And I'm most certainly not a used tyre, madam. So, I would appreciate it if you would all take your fat posteriors as far away from me as possible as I'm terribly busy. Also, you lot are going the wrong way. The modern art gallery is over there.’ He raised a flipper out of the water and pointed south.

Silence. The crowd stood as if frozen in time, cold raindrops lashing their shocked expressions as their tiny brains visibly churned trying to process what they had just seen. An age seemed to pass as Cavan bobbed up and down in the freezing water surveying the mental scarring he had caused. The fat child, mouth agape, let his ice cream fall to the ground with a resounding splat. The man stared at the seal’s sleek face in amazement. He could have sworn the creature was smiling back at him, amused at his reaction to its little speech. He dropped the roll of film into the water with hands trembling. The little girl clapped and grinned excitedly.

’See, mammy, it was a seal. And it's a magic talking seal!’

The woman was already scooping her child up and wheeling the pram away.

‘Cordelia, let's go. We need to find a phone box and call the police.’

Meanwhile, the tourists were torn between taking pictures and fleeing. The latter seemed to be winning.

‘Bob, just what were we drinking in that pub back there? Honey, I'm going back to complain. I ain't coming to this town to relive Woodstock again.’

She grabbed her husband and dragged him, still terrified, down the path, pursued by the rest of the tourists.

Cavan rubbed his head and growled quietly. Time was slipping away, and the sun was beginning to set behind the grey veil of clouds. He would have to hurry. He ducked back into the water and swam onwards. It would take every last drop of effort to get to the young man he was searching for, but Cavan might get there before his target. He knew every twist and turn of these waterways; centuries of visiting the city had brought with it an encyclopaedic knowledge of its geography. And he knew the people inside-out, too; a very compelling reason to get to the Old Town early. He had travelled through the waters of Edinburgh far too often, risking punishment each time he abandoned his world looking for more human distractions. This time, he had good reason to break the rules.


The young man leaned against the wall, beer in hand and bored out of his skull. Coasters was packed that night. It always seemed to fill up when some shitty New Wave lot were playing, he thought. Cold blue light flowed over him, washing out his swarthy complexion and bouncing off the gold rings on his fingers. He checked his watch, watching every new face in the room intently, but his brother was nowhere to be seen. Frowning, he shrugged off his black leather jacket and tried to relax; it was not like his brother to be late for anything, and it was bothering him more than it ought to. He needed a distraction, and fast.

He glanced around at a couple of women nearby. One was sporting lurid pink leggings and a trace of a black netted top; the other appeared to have come as a backing singer from Wham, complete with Ra-Ra skirt and low-cut pastel blouse. Noticing his gaze, one of them smiled back and started whispering to her friend. He noticed women always seemed to behave like schoolgirls in the presence of the opposite sex.

Suppose they’ll have to do. Can't hurt to kill some time with a bit of skirt.

He flashed a winning smile back and headed towards them. As he did so, the band started up, a cacophony of Burundi drums and a girl of no more than fourteen shrieking over them, the leopard print tassels of her dress swinging as she danced around the stage. He gave them some polite attention but was not overly impressed by them.

It was far better when The Skids played here the other week.

He turned his focus back to his prey, only to find them laughing and chatting to a tall blond man who seemed to have appeared out of nowhere. His face fell. This was all he needed. Quite on top of the fact that his brother was late, he did not need to be beaten to the ladies by some pretentious idiot. It looked like it was going to be one of those nights.

‘What did you say it was made of again? Seal skin?’ One of the women was stroking his coat enthusiastically.

The man smiled.

‘Yes, I admit it's a rather unusual choice. But I quite fancy it suits me.’

He stood out by a country mile in a club populated by New Wave fans, New Romantics attempting to turn the place into Blitz and stray punks like the angry youth glaring at him across the room. Underneath his coat the man had clearly got dressed several centuries ago, judging by the smart red silk waistcoat, crisp white shirt, brass pocket watch and neatly pressed trousers. Combined with his piercing ocean blue eyes and long golden tresses, it was not hard to see why he had turned the ladies' heads.

‘It really goes with your eyes. Did I mention you have the most amazing eyes?’ trilled the other woman.

He snaked his arm around her. ‘Yes. Several times now. So, about those drinks- white wine spritzer for you Sharon, and a Martini and lemonade for you— ’

‘Cinzano Rosso, if you don’t mind.’

‘Cinzano it is and, er, I'm terribly sorry, but I appear to have forgotten your name?’

The woman giggled, she was embarrassed.

‘It's Chloe. Would you excuse me for a minute? I've just got to call my flatmate and tell her not to expect me back tonight.’ She winked at him then headed for the payphone in the corner with Sharon, rummaging in her purse for coins.

Cavan rolled his eyes as he reached the bar.

I could do so much better than this.

Only a few decades earlier, he could have had his choice of kohl-smudged beauties: the sort of woman you could really have a good time with, the sort you would be proud to take home. Modern standards had slipped far too much for his liking; he deeply resented the fact that he had to settle for the lowest common denominator.

Oh well. Any port in a storm, I suppose.

He sat down on a bar stool with a sullen thud, staring at the brandy that had just excavated a hole in his finances. Just then, he became aware of the person standing next to him. It was the young man. Cavan looked up nonchalantly. The man was glaring at him, his muscular frame tense and barely concealing the simmering anger inside him. His hard eyes pierced through him from behind tangled black curls of hair. Certainly, he was more the rough and ready type those women would go in for, thought Cavan, looking him up and down.

‘Can I help you?’

‘Yeah, you can help me, by leaving those women alone.’

Cavan's frown turned into a smirk. His target had rather conveniently found him. ‘Nice to meet you, Rael. I'm Cavan.’

He extended a long, ivory hand in greeting. Rael eyed it with disgust. This man was clearly one of those fancy businessmen who had recently started to infect the club. Everything about him was expensive, down to the drink he was clutching. He had no time for yuppies, and even less time for ones muscling in on his patch. He folded his arms and moved closer.

‘How the fuck do you know my name?’

‘That’s none of your concern. I was rather hoping you'd turn up, actually.’ Cavan sipped his drink and grinned at him.

Rael scowled. ‘I'm not into men, you poof.’

Cavan arched an eyebrow. ‘Pity. But that wasn't what I meant. There's something I need to talk to you about.’

‘Does it at any point involve you fucking off and letting me have those girls?’

Cavan smiled coldly. ‘Ah. I thought that would be annoying you. You do have the air of a fellow pleasure seeker. Well, I don't really care about them to be honest. But really, quite apart from the fact I really must speak with you, they're a little bit...out of your league, aren't they?’

The proverbial red rag had been waved in front of Rael. He swung his beer bottle at Cavan, where it connected with his cheeks with a resounding crash. Cavan did not move, and did not appear overly distressed at the situation. Instead, he calmly stood up, brushed the beer and fragments of glass from his face and placed a hand on Rael's shoulder.

‘Now, now, we seem to have gotten off to a bad start here-’

Before Cavan could finish, Rael started in earnest. His first punch glanced off Cavan's chin, knocking him backwards; the second was neatly dodged by a well-timed sidestep. By now the bar had emptied, and spectators had gathered at a safe distance to watch the brawl while the bartenders ran to the solace of the bouncers. The band continued to play, encouraged rather than afraid of the ongoing fracas.

‘You...little...’ Rael lurched a step forward with each word. On the third, he swung at Cavan again. ‘...Cunt!’

Cavan dodged him again. Before Rael could react, however, a sudden body shot to his ribs sent ripples of pain through his torso. He clutched his chest and staggered back into a table, sending fuzzy navels and Babychams flying. Sharon and Chloe had re-emerged from the phone and scurried to the front of the crowd.

A large neckless bouncer loomed over the table and hauled Rael upright. He eyed the punk and the strange fur-coated gent in front of him.

‘Right, you two take this outside.’

Cavan dusted his coat down and sauntered over.

‘I'm terribly sorry about this, sir. I can assure you it was all a misunderstanding, and it won't happen again. Please, allow me to pay for the damage my companion has caused.’ He reached into his coat and produced his wallet.

The bouncer was taken aback at his cool attitude. He stood for a moment, trying to process everything, and then finally said ‘Aye right, fine. I'll see this gets to th’boss man. I dinnae wannae to see your wee friend ‘round here again though, er else.’

He gestured at Rael with a large tattooed hand. Cavan smiled and took Rael by the arm. ‘That won't be a problem, sir. Good evening to you.’ He headed for the exit with a dazed and confused Rael in tow, trailed by the ladies shouting angrily at this abrupt end to their romantic evening out.

It was clear and cold outside, a crisp spring Edinburgh night. Rain puddles on the pavement gleamed like small rainbows in the club's lights. The distant giggles of midnight pilgrims to Samsun's chip shop echoed through the dark streets. Rael, still recovering from the single punch Cavan had landed on him, stared in disbelief as the strange man spoke soothingly to the two women, saw them into a taxi with money for their fare, and pocketed two pieces of paper with their phone numbers on them.

This guy, this Cavan, has a hell of a lot of explaining to do. A hell of a lot.

Date: 2014-02-15 08:09 pm (UTC)
crazyscot: Selfie, with C, in front of an alpine lake (Default)
From: [personal profile] crazyscot
OK, you've got me interested, what manner of creature ...?

Date: 2014-02-15 10:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
More please! How long is a typical publishing timeline from this point?

Date: 2014-02-15 03:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Ooh, crikey! Well, I know someone who sets a deadline of 3 months from starting writing to publishing, but her novels are 80-odd page novellas, and this is getting to be...erm...quite bigger. *squints at current wordcount, sees 62,000 words, cries* I think I'll finish this edit by the end of the month, but as for publishing date, it's a bit 'how long's a piece of string'. I still need to get cover art sorted, and decide what publishing model to use.

Self-publishing's the easiest and quickest I suppose, or there's the FeedARead-style thing where you pay a fee and they print physical copies for Amazon, WH Smith etc. I was also pondering smaller indie publishers; I have a friend who 'knows people' at one in Oxford, and there's this lot in Edinburgh ( guess I'll start thinking about it in March, modulo the looming housemove stress :P

Date: 2014-02-15 05:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Very exciting :D I definitely look forward to reading the whole thing (when fully written - no pressure :P) I love the sentence about the weather in Scotland. I assume that you'll keep posting updates on LJ on progress? I hope that the house move goes well too :)

Date: 2014-02-15 06:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It's exciting times being a starving writer! And I kind of had to mention the weather; I know Elmore Leonard ( is spinning in his grave for that, but eh, whatever. It's Edinburgh, the weather matters. :P

I'll put up a few more chapters on here but I'm pondering un-private-ing (totally a word) a Wordpress I'd started about the book specifically. It was more to separate out personal blog from 'professional' writing stuff. Such as I'm pro anything :D

Date: 2014-02-15 12:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
More please!

Date: 2014-02-15 03:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Alrighty! I'll try and put up the second chapter this week, if I can get over halfway on the edit...


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