This was my 2011 NaNoWriMo novel.  Two fantastic characters in search of a plot.  Wanna meet them?


Well, maybe this wasn’t the best plan after all.

I mean, it wasn’t really much of a plan. I was just coming in to talk, that’s all. Polite and civil-like. I even put on makeup, for chrissakes. I could practically be visiting the Queen. But I suppose that’s what I get for having a reputation for being dangerous: people react to me like I’m a goddamn bear or something, instead of a rational human being with impulse control and all that shit.

I risk a peek around the corner of the alcove where they have me pinned down. Three shooters, two handguns and one rifle. Damn ridiculous weapon for guard work. It’s kind of a bad joke to say that a guy who favors a big gun even when it’s totally useless is compensating for something, but in my experience… Well, all stereotypes start somewhere. It’s weird, though, I don’t recognize any of these guys. I thought I knew all of the muscle in town. They look young, too. Green. The Glock behind that hideous statue is about to piss himself. I hate going up against kids like this. I remember being that young, that scared. Watching my friends die.

I give my head a quick shake to clear it. Not the time for flashbacks, girlie. Jesus. I glance the other way down the hall to get a feel for the layout, get my bearings. The last time I was in this house, it was still Hamilton’s place. That dude couldn’t be bothered to do any sort of decorating, but I kind of dug it. He let the place speak for itself. That’s what you should do with old, interesting buildings like this. Minimalism, you know? Not this chintzy, fake antique crap that Blanchett has covered the place with. Crazy ornate light fixtures, boring oil paintings, suits of armor. Suits of armor! Who does that? You’d think a Frenchman would have better taste. I know this pad pretty well, but all this ugly crap cluttering the place up makes it hard to tell what’s what. Still, I recognize that old carved door at the end of the hall. Wine cellar. Groovy. The front door’s a little closer, but it’s probably more heavily guarded, and I have more escape options from the back anyway.

I bounce my piece on my palm. Probably about half full, and only one spare mag. Like I said, it was just supposed to be a social call. So much for that. Time to get moving. I lean out and take aim. Quick shots, one two three, and easy as target practice, they go down. I can’t help but feel satisfied as those ugly chandeliers crash to the ground, plunging the hall into darkness and creating a handy little obstacle course. Good fucking riddance. I should send Blanchett a bill for redecorating. The boys throw up their arms to guard their soft bits from the rain of shrapnel. Right now, I’m the last thing on their minds. They don’t even see me as I sprint down the hall under the cover of the darkness and debris. The floor plan unfolds itself in my head, clear as I had a map right in front of me. Left at the wine cellar, right at the foyer, down a short flight and out. Piece of cake. Mmm, cake sounds good. Bastards interrupted my dinner. I hate fighting on an empty stomach. At least I got in a decent cup of coffee.

I duck into another alcove and take out another brass monstrosity, then another. Chaos and noise unfold around me. The kids are yelling for backup, confused and scared. I wish I’d gotten intel on how big Blanchett’s crew is. Last I’d heard, he only had a couple of bodyguards, but clearly he’s beefed up security. A shot sails past me a foot over my head, the first one that’s gotten even close. Well, he’s tried to beef up security, at least. The cheap SOB never did want to shell out for any sort of training.

I don’t bother trying to take out the lights in the foyer — it’s far too well-lit, so it’s not worth the effort. Besides, the crystal chandelier here is actually pretty (original to the house, naturally), so I’d rather not destroy it. Which is a shame, because two more baby goons just popped out of the side door nearest me like some psychotic kid’s toy. Elbow to one throat, other nose broken. They haven’t even seen me yet. I slip one of their guns into my pocket and send the other flying across the room. A few more quick hits, and they’re down, boneless, twitchy piles of drab grey laundry.

A quick look around. The boys at the far end of the hall are still fighting their way past the rubble I left behind me. I duck behind a pillar and reload. Still clear ahead. I fly down the stairs. The plain wrought iron door to the patio is the prettiest thing I’ve ever seen. Too bad it sticks in the frame. A couple of good shoves. Glass shatters over my shoulder as the door finally gives. Their aim is improving.

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