Day four of NaNoWriMo and got in about 1,500 words. I came up a little short but had to really think about the central mystery and its relationship to the plot. One character’s name became very important, and I had to craft it carefully.
The title also found it’s way into the manuscript. I was wondering if that would happen. You’ll see what I’m talking about if you give it a read.
This is a very rough 1st draft written by the seat of my pants, but I’m trying to give you as tight a manuscript as possible. Feel free to give me feedback. I have a very thick skin.
In other news: I had an editor contact me today inquiring about I story I had submitted. She asked if the story had ever been sold before. I’m thinking she wanted to make sure it wasn’t a reprint. I let her know the story was an original with all rights available. I haven’t heard back yet, but I am hopeful. I’ll let you know what happens.
BLACK MAGIC BULLETS
An Urban Fantasy
Working as an Inhuman Resources Recruiter is no walk through the cemetery, especially when you’ve been cursed and your head is filled with stollen secrets from one of the most powerful occult groups in Boston. To survive, you might just need a few…
BLACK MAGIC BULLETS.
I followed Kenzi to a new destination. When we entered the vestibule, I realized she had been serious. What else did this place have in store?
Inside the small room, she grabbed a pair of eye and ear protection, handing them to me before grabbing her own.
I put the glasses on first and then the muffs. The ear cups created a suction, clamping over my ears, isolating my sense of hearing from the outside environment. My breathing sounded loud in my head. I had always found the experience disconcerting, and today was no exception.
In an attempt to be a gentleman, I opened the heavy door for Kenzi. She didn’t protest. Following close behind, we entered the range proper.
Like most indoor ranges, the air was damp, much like a basement. It told me the place had good ventilation, important for filtering out all the atomized lead, gunpowder, and other combustible contaminants released with each shot fired.
We were met with more battleship gray and surrounded by impenetrable concrete. The shooting muffs not only isolated my breathing, but also every footfall thudded in my head.
Kenzi had transferred the pistol to a hard carrier and now placed it on a bench at the middle booth. She then plunked down a 50 round box of .45 ASP hollow-points.
After the meeting with the lemur, humans scared him less than they ever had. He wondered if Dreadstone was in the possession of any rounds that could stop something like that.
It had been a long time since I’d been to a range. Shooting was an expensive hobby and I didn’t have the money to invest. If this job worked out, my luck just might be changing.
She stepped aside to let me do my thing.
This felt like a test of sorts.
Forcing myself to take it slow and steady, I removed the Colt from the case and locked it into battery before placing it on the bench.
Next, I loaded the two seven-round magazines and arranged them beside the firearm. So far, so good.
Kenzi brought over a silhouette target, tacket it up, and ran the motorized conveyer until it reached 21 feet away.
She stepped away as if to say, it was all me.
Retrieving the Colt, it felt solid and well balanced in my hand. I seated the first magazine and then racked the slide to chamber a round.
Focused on the target, I lifted the weapon and settled into an isosceles stance. Both arms outstretched creating a triangle parallel to my chest. My upper body ached from the fight with the lemur. I focused on the pain then allowed it to fade away. Dropping my weight and bending my knees, I leaned forward ever so slightly.
Flicked the safety off with my thumb.
Line up front sights to rear.
Squeeze trigger, don’t pull.
The colt bucked.
The acrid scent of gunpowder rose in the air but quickly dissipated into the duct system.
I continued the process until all rounds were spent, and the gun automatically returned to battery.
Turning my palm up, I released the magazine and returned both to the bench.
Kenzi had been watching from behind the whole time. Now she came back, flicking the switch in the opposite direction to retrieve the target.
“You’re listing to the left,” she said, examining the holes in the target.
No shit. She didn’t need to overstate the obvious.
Following her lead I removed my ear protection, let the muffs rest on my neck. The cool air felt good on my ears.
“Nothing that can’t be fixed. You just need to adjust your grip,” she said. “That’s good enough for me. I wanted to make sure you could properly handle a firearm before we go into the field.”
“I’m carrying a gun?” I asked, incredulous.
“You have a CCW?” Kenzi asked. Those were the initials for a Concealed Carry Weapons permit, or in Mass known as a Class A License to Carry Firearms Unrestricted. Seemed the powers that be in the Commonwealth thought the CCW term too appealing to the general populace.
“Then it’s your choice,” she said. “I’ll be armed. I suggest you do the same until can do your wizardry in the Collective.”
Kenzi replaced the target with a fresh one and sent it back the same distance.
“Watch and learn,” she said, putting on her eyes and ears. I rushed to keep up.
Drawing her carry gun she mimicked my earlier stance and lobbed maybe 15 rounds of lead down the lane. I lost count.
Once the gun returned to battery, Kenzi smoothly turned her hand without taking her eyes off the target. She depressed the magazine release, letting it fall to the ground. With her eyes still on the target she retrieved and seated a new magazine and then racked the slide. Another fifteen rounds flew. She reloaded and then holstered her weapon.
The target rocketed back with a flick of a switch.
A nice tight grouping.
“Nice,” I said and I meant it. I was very impressed.
“That’s how you practice level one combat shooting,” Kanzi said. “I have one other thing to show you.”
She took out a .45 round that if not for the coating of black fingernail polish would have looked ordinary.
“I’m not getting it,” I said.
“This is a black magic bullet,” Kenzi said. “They can be used on the possessed, shifters, zombies, anything in meatspace infused with power from the Collective.
“Why don’t you just carry silver bullets?”
“Now you’re just being silly.”
“What makes that different for an ordinary round?” I asked, half expecting her to say black magic.
“We have a wizard augment them in the Collective,” Kenzi said “It’s a specialty. Not something just anyone can do.”
“What’s next?” I asked. Did I really want to know?
“You’re full of questions today, aren’t ya,” Kenzi said with a wink. “Chavvi must have something for us by now.”
“Tell me you have some good news,” Kenzi said as walked through the entry, beads clacking against each other behind us.
“I might have something,” Chavvi said, rising from her cushion.
The impression I get is of a violent death. Deep, dark emotions. Terrible, really.”
Poor Dedra. Not only had the end of her life been horrible, but even in death, she was affected by the circumstances of her demise.
“Anyway to find her body?” I asked. It was unclear as to whether I’d be able to help her. Kenzi had indicated something would be held back until Dedra fulfilled her half of the bargain.
“The impression I get is that her body was disposed of in an abandoned building. I get a distinct impression it’s near the waterfront. I feel a constriction on the throat like she had been strangled. But I also see a man’s tie, wider than normal. I hope that was helpful.
“Yes, thank you,” Kenzi said. “It’s at least something to go on. Let me know if anything else comes to mind.”
Then Kenzi looked at me.
“It time I introduced you to the Body.”
To be continued…