Dogs of the Never Never : Bloodgifts Redux

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.)

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“I am darkside,” the ghost said, as if this somehow answered everything. Jon was shifted backwards as she knelt and sifted through the pile of rubbish.

He gave her a moment, hoping she’d elaborate on her own, but she ignored him. “And darkside means what?”

She paused in her search and turned to look up at him. “You are a Huntsman, are you not?”

“A what?”

She just looked at him for a moment, then stood carefully brushing off leaf debris. “You are Huntsman.” She touched shadow fingertups to his forehead, “Huntsman here,” she touched his chest above his heart with the same featherlight caress, “Huntsman here. As you are, so are they.” She gestured past him to the faint outlines of the Dogs down by the river. “You anchor them here, lightside, as they anchor you to the Veil.”

There was a pause, and Jon tried to look slightly less confused. It didn’t work.

“You know of the Veil?”

“Err, no.”

She frowned, then clucked her tongue at the distance Dogs. “Ah, I see now,” she brushed back her sleeve to show an oval of silvered scars. “My bloodgift was unexpected as well.” Jon rubbed his upper arm sheepishly, still wincing slightly as the newly healed skin protested. “But you are not part of the Singing, I think.”

Jon blinked.

“This is the simple thing,” she chided. “You have gifted them, but have they gifted you? I think not.” She frowned thoughtfully. “But this may work for our favor.”

Before Jon could react she had fished a slim silver knife out of one of the many half-coalesced pockets and drawn a fine red line along her forearm. The blood glistened in the moonlight, heavy and real against the shadows of her skin. “Drink.”

“Wait- what??” Jon backpeddled from the offered arm. “Are you crazy??”

She frowned, “Do not think I offer lightly. Nor would I give what I would not ask in return.” She tilted her arm to look at the cut. “But this will offer me purchase in your world, and give you the same in mine.”

“Wait, what world?” Jon trained his gaze on her face and away from the blood. “I don’t understand.”

“There is the Veil, which cleaves life from death.” She nodded towards the Dogs, “They who are of the Veil protect it, guard it from crossings. We,” she grinned at Jon, “, we who are of the light and the dark, we anchor them that they might fight in our stead.”

Jon wasn’t quite sure what was more disturbing, that the ghost was apparently actually a ghost or that the vampire dogs were contagious.

Martha Bechtel

My name is Martha Bechtel and I write fantasy and science fiction stories, paint small model horses silly colors, cast resin and plaster magnets, code random code (and Wordpress plugins)... Come on in and join in the fun!

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