My writer's block is slowly lifting so I've begun writing again. I wrote lots of drafts during the time I was missing in action but none satisfied me enough until early this year when I started continuing a draft of this story I had abandoned in 2011.
Chapter 1 is already submitted on Literotica so hopefully it will be up within 72 hours!
An extract of the first chapter is below. I've chosen not to use the traditional labels of Vampires and Werewolves but have called them Risen and LightWalkers respectively. Also in the storyline, there may be some reference to words from the game 'World of Darkness' which I've been playing these last few years and it's influenced my world-building quite a lot!
Hope you'll enjoy the story once it's out!
The moon was at its brightest and fullest tonight and Mallory knew that she had to hurry if she wanted to catch a glimpse of him –even for the briefest second. Her life, her work and her sanity depended on it and there was no way she was going to miss it.
Not that she had, for the past six months.
As she gathered her books, a knock came on her office door and in strolled Jamie, the archaeologist who hired her, his broad frame blocking her only way out of the room.
“Mallory, I wasn’t sure if you received my email…” he started, moving forward to box her behind her desk.
“Oh, umm email… yeah, I did.” Mallory started to straighten her skirt awkwardly before muttering apologetically, “I’m sorry Jamie, I have to go.”
“It’s just dinner.”
She hated the guilt-trip in his tone. Yeah, sure she had been avoiding his unabashed advances since the start of the project but there was no such thing as just dinner. Why hadn’t he asked her out for lunch instead? At least that would have been more neutral ground and she could give the excuse of needing to head back to the dig site to work.
Mallory knew that the only way out was to lie through her perfectly straight teeth.
“I’m having a girl’s night out with Odessa and the others… I’m sorry Jamie. Maybe next time.”
With that, she pushed her way through, aware that he made no effort to step aside but allowed their bodies to slide, albeit seductively against each others. Having held her breath the whole time, Mallory finally exhaled dramatically the moment she stepped out of her door.
It wasn’t that Jamie Record wasn’t handsome or charming or perfect –in fact, he was all that and more but still, Mallory didn’t find herself attracted to the man.
Shaking herself slightly, Mallory headed down the corridor towards Odessa’s office to seek refuge. Thankfully, the cheerful woman was still there.
“Oh! Mallory, what a surprise!”
“I’m here to hide,” admitted Mal unashamedly. At Odessa’s raised eyebrow, Mallory explained, “It’s Jamie… he asked me out again.”
“Wait, let me get this straight… Jamie, the most accomplished archaeologist of the century, asked you out even when you’re looking like that?” she laughed, pointing to Mallory’s haphazard getup. “Surely you didn’t think he was planning for a romantic dinner to sweep you off your feet!”
Mallory shrugged nervously.
“Goodness girl! Half the expedition team is in love with him and here you are hiding from him, under what pretence exactly?”
“Uh, I said we’re having a girl’s night out.”
“Fabulous! Because that’s where we’re going!” Odessa’s laugh brought out her cute dimples. Mallory pouted. Why hadn’t Jamie been attracted to her? Not only was she an amazing Project Manager but Odessa was also stunning with her honey-green eyes and midnight black hair.
As the stepped out of the office, Mallory checked out the corridor to make sure that Jamie was nowhere in sight.
“Not tonight Odessa. I’ve got something important to do.”
“Come on Mal, it’s TGIF. You’ve got to come with us! Stop working already girlfriend! You’re starting to resemble Ugly Betty!” whined her co-worker, Odessa, as she tugged purposefully at Mallory’s long and oversized t-shirt.
“I can’t. Not tonight. I’m sorry Dessa, I really have to go.” Mallory gave her the best pitiful look she could muster –even pouting her plump lips for effect.
Not that Odessa would fall for it.
“Tell me, is it a man? Ooo… it is, isn’t it? That’s why you brushed Jamie off! Is he tall? Sexy?” she clapped her hands gleefully before peering closer. “Yummy?”
At the sight of Mallory widening her eyes in embarrassment and shock, Odessa broke out in giggles and simply gave her colleague and friend a hug.
“Alright, I shan’t keep you any longer from your dream date. Just make sure you take off those awful glasses. You know you don’t need them.”
Before she could protest, Odessa had walked off to join their other colleagues who were heading off to the nearest club for drinks. Mallory stood rooted in her spot as she watched the trim little brunette clicking away in her high heeled shoes.
Looking down at her own feet, Mallory nodded in approval of her sneakers. It wasn’t like she didn’t own a pair of heels, it was just… somewhere. As for her hair, it had none of the shine and volume as Odessa’s but Mallory’s soft auburn head had earned her quite a few glances over the years.
Well… maybe not in this getup at least.
Sighing, she tucked a stray strand behind her ear and started towards her SUV, keys jangling in her hand. Mallory tried not to acknowledge her sudden increase in heartbeat nor the feeling of exhilaration and anticipation of driving up to the Sleeping Giant.
Even the name itself brought great pleasure to her senses. Who would have thought that the sleepy little town she had landed herself in would house such a magnificent summit?
Smiling to herself, Mallory turned the key into the ignition and reversed out from her driveway. Technically, she didn’t need to drive when the Sleeping Giant was literally beside the excavation site but Mallory had her sketchbook, haversack, a camcorder and a regular DSLR as well as her tripods with her and she had less than an hour before midnight to prepare herself for her moon-watching.
Her colleagues thought her mad; trekking in the middle of the night with such bulky items, simply in the hopes of documenting what she called The Wolf’s Call to the Moon.
Mallory’s was an Assyrian Historian but her expertise was in the study of the region’s ancient languages, some of which were now extinct. As with many languages, oral traditions precede writing and in her research and documentation, she had collected thousands of folkloric songs and poetry recalling legends and myths – of which her favourite was that of wolves and the full moon.
She remembered the first time she had seen him –the silvery light of the moon cast upon his sleek pearl coat; angelic and breathtaking as he stood atop the cliff, simply looking at the moon in all its fullness and grandeur.
He had stood there, completely still; not a single sound –though one would have expected echoing howls –his head tilted upwards, eyelids closed and nostrils flaring now and then as he took in the fresh mountainous air around him.
Mallory had remembered watching him and thinking that he seemed to be talking to the moon or perhaps pining for something that was so distant and unreachable.
The thought always made her sad.
Almost as sad as when the lone wolf took his eyes away from the moon to gaze directly at her; his sharp sky blue eyes lingering just for a moment before he turned and disappeared into the darkness.
In fact, the only reason why she was trekking up the mountain with a fistful of filming and digital equipment was in the hopes of capturing that single moment –when he’d look right into her soul and steal her breath.
This was her last chance, for in a fortnight she’d be leaving Lycia, Anatolia to return to London to further complete her work. She wanted… a memory; a living proof that she had witnessed such a magical sight.
With a determined huff, Mallory slung her haversack behind her back and started trekking towards her secret spot just a few meters from the cliff’s edge. It was a quiet little enclave that seemed like it was naturally chiselled out by the wind currents and was partly shielded by a shrub, allowing her to burrow deep within the crevice.
Satisfied that she was comfortable, Mallory checked her watch before setting up her equipment. There was still fifteen minutes left and all she had to do was to set up the camcorder over the tripod; sit and wait.
It didn’t take long before the lustrous white coated wolf came into the frame; his proud snout tilted upwards as he moves forward, one muscular limb at a time as though he was royalty walking up to his pedestal.
He was oblivious to everything but the call of the moon; its luring sirens singing a song only meant for his ears. His expression was one of rapture, longing and desire…
Mallory was feeling no different. Her hand held the DSLR, intending to take as many shots of the wolf as possible but her fingers were uncooperative. She had no idea why she was enchanted beyond logical reasoning each time she looked at him basked in moonlight.
She knew it was a ‘him’ but it was not enough to explain the inexplicable reaction she had to an animal no less. Of course, she could argue he was a werewolf and she was actually attracted to the human within the beast. However, she, of all people, should know that myths and legends were simply oral traditions. They were meant to convey particular morals, historical retelling and a mode of passing on one’s culture and language to the next generation.
In short –they weren’t real.
“Werewolves don’t exist,” she whispered to herself, willing her forefinger to move, to resist the ridiculous lull and snap a picture.
Mallory regretted it almost instantly.
She had forgotten that the shutters created an unbelievable crack in the wind sound and the flash –oh god –she had turned in on instead of switching it off! Swivelling her head, Mallory quickly tried to salvage the situation, praying that the wolf hadn’t heard her interruptions.
Her heart sank.
He was no longer standing on the edge of the cliff. In fact, she couldn’t see him anywhere! The flash must have scared the wolf away.
Mallory wasn’t sure if she was disappointed or sad but she knew it was useless to sit around and wait any longer. She had caught a decent few minutes of him on the camcorder –that would have to suffice. It was her fault for screwing it up anyway.
Frustrated with herself, Mallory started dismantling the equipment and stuffing them back into her haversack. Consumed by annoyance for herself, she wasn’t aware that she was being watched; every jerk of her arm, every hitch in her breath and every mumble of her self-cursing.
“Damn it! Why don’t you get in already, you stubborn old cam…” Mallory let out a low growl as she finally shoved the bulky camera into her bag. “I knew this was a bad idea… I shouldn’t have…”
Whatever she intended to say was forgotten the moment she crawled out of her hiding spot. Sitting down on its hind legs was the wolf; his blue eyes staring straight at her, yielding her to come closer.
And yet, Mallory didn’t move for her feet felt glued to the pebbled ground. Her heart was racing; her mind deciding between fight or flight. She was aware of how vulnerable she looked in her oversized shirt, muddy jeans and sneakers –hardly presentable in front of such a magnificent creature.
Unsure of what to do, Mallory lowered her gaze. She didn’t think she could outrun a wolf so she remained in her place, simply waiting for the wolf to make its first move, lethal or otherwise.
Clayton had scented her down with the intention of scaring her off –oh, he had known about her monthly voyeurs; watching him as he paid respects to the full moon. He had gauged her as harmless and had allowed her to watch him because… it felt right.
But tonight was different. He might have made no show of it, but he noticed a slight change in her scent and it had intrigued and annoyed him.
For the past six months, he had tried his absolute best to ignore her, only giving her one look before leaving the clearing. It was enough, he told himself for there was no need to be attracted to a human. But Clayton wasn’t sure right then as he watched her trembling right before him. Her lush figure was hidden underneath an obnoxious and oversized piece of cloth. He wouldn’t have known if the breeze hadn’t caused the material to hug her curves like a snug blanket.
And her face… what the hell was she wearing over her eyes? They looked awfully like the eyelets from the early 20th century but there were two and it made her look old and tired. He didn’t like that. Maybe he should tell her to take it off.
Clayton took a tentative step forward, aware that the woman had gasped in surprise at his bold move. She ought to be scared but why wasn’t she?
Strange little human.
When she made no move to step back, Clayton took a few more steps forward until his snout was in line with her hip.
He shouldn’t do this really, but he looked up into her piercing green eyes anyway.
The moment she widened her eyes in shock, he knew.