Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Teaser Tuesday!

Don't forget to vote in that really exciting cover contest, but yesterday I promised a teaser and now, in honor of finishing the 2nd draft of the #sparklyfairyprostitute book (confetti!) I think it's time for an excerpt from said book.

Roughly two-thirds of this book are in the present timeline, and the last third is in the past. This is from that last third.


It was amazing how quickly things became normal. Beckan and Josha shared a room, officially, and they tended house while Cricket and Scrap went out and came home with enough food to get them through the day, or fabric for a new shirt for Beckan, or pills for Josha's cold. They got used to chasing the mice around, staying up late singing folk songs their fathers taught them, comparing imperceptible battle scars and finding the bits of them that looked like the other species they all were. Because they were comfortable with that, when it was just the four of them. They could talk about how they were not all fairy. They could talk about anything.

They were just so close and all so crazy about each other, so quickly. Beckan had a space on Cricket's shoulder that she told Josha was only for her, and she would rest her head there when she was tired and kiss it over and over when she wasn't. She had a favorite place on the floor to stretch out with Josha and take a nap. And Scrap. Scrap was giggles through the walls, secret smiles, notes passed back and forth, but they were slow, they were childish about it, they never stepped over any kind of line. For some reason, it felt important to them both that they be careful. Because they would look at Cricket and Josha and see how crazy they were for each other and wake up gasping hard in bed, freezing cold, thinking about how dangerous it was to love someone that much during a war.

Anyway. They had plenty of time.

Gradually, around the time Josha started spending more nights in Cricket's room than Beckan's, they began to live their lives in new pairs. Josha and Beckan were still, in their way, ridiculously in love, but they spent less and less time together as Cricket and Josha threw themselves into shared sweatshirts and last-bite-of-ice cream kisses, and Beckan and Scrap lived like their parents, teasing each other for sleepwalking and flat gnome noses, curling up together with a book after the kids were in bed.

It obviously wasn't long before Beckan knew what Scrap and Cricket did for their living; Cricket had told Josha within days—the kind of indiscretion Cricket grew and died with—and Scrap never made much of an effort to hide it, coming home with half his glitter rubbed off, sometimes drugged and giggly, always in the mood for a kiss on the cheek and a bit of babying before he was sent off to bed. They never talked about it; Beckan washed bloodstains out of his underwear and rubbed his shoulders when he looked tense, and Josha sulked for an hour each of the three days Cricket accompanied Scrap to the mines. “I don't make as much as Scrap does,” Cricket said once to Beckan, explaining his part-time work. “He's the best little whore in Ferrum.”

Scrap scrambled onto Cricket's back and started smacking him on the head with both hands and wouldn't get down, no matter how much Cricket bucked and ran back-first into the wall, and Josha and Beckan laughed and laughed.

There was so much laughing.

A few weeks into the war, the tightropers invaded the mines and took the women captive, and business boomed for Cricket and Scrap. The men had been wanting before, surrounded by women who dreamed about fairy boys and fairy babies instead of another generation in the mines, but now they needed Cricket and Scrap more than ever, and the boys were happy to oblige. During that initial surge, when sex was valuable and food wasn't, quite, they ate and drank like kings.

And somehow, in the war, Scrap came alive. While Josha and Cricket nervously discussed weapons and production, Scrap tried three-ingredient recipes with whatever three ingredients they had left and made Beckan guess what he was trying to make. He invented card games called Treeman and Souffle and lied when he said he would let Beckan win. He once lay half-naked on the kitchen floor and laughed hysterically while the other tree rubbed him as hard as they could to get glitter off him, and he kicked and screamed and alternated between begging them to stop and pulling them on top of him, one by one, and tackling them into a hug.

And one night he and Cricket came home too late and empty-handed for the fourth night in a row and sat in the kitchen and cried, their fingers laced together, and Josha and Beckan sat with them and eventually there was no way to avoid the fact that two prostitutes were no longer enough, in a time when the gnomes were clinging to each bit of meat like it was made of gold, and licking their teeth and smacking their lips whenever Cricket and Scrap came down, to secure food for four mouths.

“Teach me,” Beckan said, and most of her was excited, most of her had been waiting, most of her wanted to feel everything that Scrap had ever felt, because that was where she was then. “I'll go.”


Raven said...

This was AMAZING. Everything you write is pure gold. I'm in love with your characters Scrap especially.

Thanks for the teaser Hannah! <3

Linda said...

As always, you're amazing :)

Nicole M said...

Love!!!!! I hope this book sells some day so I can read it.

Anonymous said...

“He's the best little whore in Ferrum.”

Sister, whatever it is you've got--bottle it.

Robby said...

Hannah. <3