Note: This post has been included in one of the new Chapter drafts, please refer to the Index for the current draft of the story.
Please note, this is currently a very rough draft from NaNoWriMo 2007. There will be spelling and grammatical errors afoot as well as flat out bad writing, info dumps, plot holes, flat out contradictions, and uneven characterization and pacing. (Content is also subject to constant change as I take an editing chainsaw to the story.)
Writing set #2
Starting wordcount: 14,966
Ending wordcount: 16,086
And now we hop around a bit, because I’m trying to lay out what happens a little later on in the plot…
There was a knock on the door, which was completely unexpected and Jon tensed. The dogs had gone into defensive postures and Hunter abruptly headed for the bedroom, fading out to only the barest whisper of a shadow. The fact that none of them had noticed the visitor until the knock really worried Jon, but there was another knock a second later, more demanding.
“Jon, we know you’re in there. Open up.”
It was a woman’s voice, but it wasn’t anyone he recognized. He was pretty sure the cops would have started out with ‘This is the police’, but he also figured that the Dead Man Mafia would have simply opened fire. Which meant there was a good chance it wasn’t either one of them. It could be a perfectly normal person, but his recent luck made him doubt that.
He got up off the couch and walked over to the door cautiously, garnering another impatient knock. For not the first time, he wished the door had a peephole.
He opened the door to find an older man and a woman and a massive pack of dogs. The dogs flowed around him into the house, rowdily exploring even as he stepped aside to let the two humans in after them.
[skip a bit here for the stuff already written]
They had him sit on the sofa and the woman sat on the corner of the coffee table, the man standing behind her.
“First off, our names are unimportant,” she woman smiled disarmingly, “but you can call me Daisy and him Chowder.”
The man look resigned as she named him, “Long story, don’t ask.”
“Those obviously aren’t our names, and we’ll get into why in a little bit. You’ll get to pick one yourself, so start thinking of something good now or you’ll end up getting named by someone else. Think of it as a permanent nickname.”
“That never ever goes away.” Chowder sighed.
“So you know what the dogs are, or at least you’ve at least got a grasp on it since we’ve been told you’re the one that provided the intel about the warehouse.” She looked at him expectantly and he nodded, uncertainly. “The long and short of it is that the dogs are there to stop anyone the Veil Walkers from coming through the veil and we’re there to stop the people who help the Walkers.”
Which didn’t sound quite right, but it did seem to match up with most of what had happened so far. “And the Veil is?”
Now skip forward a bit…
Jon wasn’t sure what he had expected, but the non-descript navy blue passenger van was not it. It was and older van, and there were a few places near the bottom where the paint had chipped and you could see that it had once been an even more non-descript white. On the side was the Huntsmen Inc. logo, a stylized motif of Artemis (bow in hand) and her hounds, silhouetted against a crescent moon. The logo on the business cards was simpler; simply the head of a hound against a moon, but Jon liked the full-blown version better.
He tossed his gym bag in the back, on top of the other luggage already there and climbed into the middle seat. The bus was empty expect for himself and the two Huntsmen and Akela hopped in beside him, popping up through the floor and onto the seat. She gazed unperturbed at the Huntsmen when they gave her displeased looks, and refused to move. Jon was less inclined to worry about what kind of impression it made and happy to have her with him. He still wasn’t quite sure about the dynamics of the whole situation, but it was nice to have a known variable in the equation.
“So where we going?” He settled back in the seat as the van pulled away from the house, conscious of Hunter and the rest of the hunt watching him leave from the apartment.
“We have a company building in eastern Pennsylvania,” the woman twisted in the front passenger’s seat to face him. “It’s not a big complex, but it’ll give us a meeting place for the rest of the local hunts.”
“How many hunts are there?” Because up until now he’d sort of though his hunt was the only one for a good long ways. It was rather insulting that none of the others had come to help them.
“Not many, there was an influx of Veil walkers about five years ago and they did a number on the local hunts. Most of the folk that’ll be showing up are New York and Tennessee packs.” She shrugged. “There are a few smaller hunts that aren’t part of the association, so they won’t be coming, but we’ll pass on any information we learn through the dogs.” She nodded at Akela. “Everything we do depends on them.”
Which made sense in a way, although Jon was still trying to figure out how they’d switched the power dynamic around. He worked for the dogs; they certainly didn’t work for him. For the other two hunts it looked like the exact opposite. Then again, that could just be because he hadn’t been around them that much. But his was the only Dog in the van, so maybe not.
“So they talk to you?” Because that had been bugging him, Hunter seemed positive the dogs could actually talk but he’d seen no hint of it from his own pack.
“No, why?” She looked genuinely puzzled.
“Nothing, I just–” he waved a hand “you seemed like you knew what was going on and I though maybe they’d told you.”
“Nope,” she shook her head ruefully, “everything we know about them, and about what’s going on either comes from the writings or plain old sleuthing. They’re just dogs after all.”
Which was probably the stupidest thing he’d heard yet, but Akela whuffed at him and nudged her head under his hand for pets. He skritched absently, but he could hear her warning in the Singing. So he just nodded, and let her lead the conversation onto the association and its various benefits. If they didn’t know about the Dogs, then there must be a reason. But that begged the question of why his own hunt was letting him in on the secret.