I haven’t been around in the past couple of weeks because I was planning several sessions for two conferences (which were both last week) while working full time and trying to wrap my head around NaNoWriMo. All of that without killing my social life.
And I have succeeded on all account, though a little bit late on the NaNo planning bit. In fact, I just completed my outline!
I extracted the outline from my first draft of that novel, which wasn’t as bad as I thought but contains way too many dead bodies to keep track off. The result is a more detailed outline than usual, but I’m rewriting from scratch and a lot of this is liable to change since I may keep the last third for Book 2.
I’m halfway through Day 3 and behind on my word count. Hopefully, I can catch up before the end of the day.
In the meantime, here’s the new opening for The Phoenix’s Wake. Hope you enjoy!
My partner Ramses sat on the passenger seat as usual, except he was an egg now. That reality sunk in while I stood in the parking lot, waiting for him to join me with a handful of pretzels.
Rami spontaneously combusted yesterday. He wouldn’t help me solve this case, and when he would come out of his shell, he may not remember me at all.
I wavered and leaned against the coroner’s van for support. Hands on my knees, I took a few quick breaths to fight back the tears. My rib cage struggled to expand as if I was constricting myself with my own tail.
That’s impossible. You’re in human form. Get a hold of yourself.
The thought tickled in my eyes, and I knew my pupils had morphed to their elliptical shape.
No. I refused to disgrace Rami’s memory by letting my mood affect me this much. He hated bad police work. Besides, the dead myth who lived here deserved my full attention.
The early morning sun warmed up my blood and, for a moment, I let the physical sensation override conscious thoughts. Between the sun rays and the caffeine, I should manage to stay awake despite the lack of sleep. The taste of coffee still lingered in my mouth, though. I wouldn’t be able to smell the crime scene properly without a palate cleanser.
I sighed and pushed myself off the van, pooling my willpower to get back in my department-issued sedan, brush past Rami and get the pretzels from the glove box.
My phone vibrated.
“Drea, are you okay? You should be home by now. Please tell me you don’t need a witchdoctor.” Nina’s voice sang in all shades of softness, but I knew she was a little angry. My roommate had been very clear when she ordered me to get straight from the precinct to the house.
“Yes. No.” I shook my head to try to align the ideas. “I got a call from dispatch halfway home.”
“You should not be working today.”
“Thanks, Sherlock.” I yanked my passenger door open. “Someone got killed. We’re understaffed. I didn’t choose any of this.”
As I sat on a corner of Rami’s seat, I wondered if I wanted Nina to cut the mothering out or to keep it going. It felt easier to do things while I was annoyed. On the other hand, I feared I’d launch into a rant that would worry her more.
Our superintendent —a norm— had been eager to apply the new federal law that forced the Myth police to take on human cops for ‘training’ purposes. The idea fooled no one; the norms wanted one more way to monitor us and learn to control us. Now that I was partner-less, the Captain couldn’t dodge the law without risking his job.
If Nina learned I was forced to partner with a norm untrained in Myth ways, I wouldn’t put it past her to storm the precinct.
“If you’re on a case, where’s Eggy Rami?”
I cringed. “Don’t call him that. He’s on the passenger seat.”
Jeffrey, the coroner, had released Rami to my care a few hours ago. No forensic evidence survived a Phoenix’s rebirth, so there was no use keeping him in the morgue.
“Okay. Here’s what we’ll do. I’ll pick up Ramses and organize the Farewell ceremony. You get your scaly ass back here as soon as you can, or so help me Dionysus, I’ll make you slough.”
I guessed that was Nina’s colorful way to tell me she’d tear me a new one. “Deal. I’ll text you the address and leave the car keys with the officer at the door.”
“Good.” A door clicked shut and keys rattled. “And Drea, he will rise again.”
“And remember what he ought to,” I replied, per Phoenix tradition, before hanging up.