Blizzard is having a short story contest, and the deadline is August 23rd.
My husband is encouraging me to enter, so I’ve been working on my little werewolf/worgen story. The word limit is 7500, and I’m over 13000, so there will be quite a bit of trimming. But all I have left is the climax anyway, so once I finish that, I can go back and cut, cut, cut. Elements of Style is my friend during editing. 🙂
Anyway, here’s an excerpt from said worgen story. This sort of thing has probably been done to death, but I just haven’t read many werewolf books, because they all seem to be horror and I don’t enjoy blood and guts. If anybody knows of some good ones that didn’t come into being after Twilight, I’d be much obliged.
The band started up a spirited waltz, and Bernard watched as the dozens of pretty dresses and crisp suits swirled onto the dance floor. Charlotte was in the thick of it, dancing with a tall, handsome lawyer. She never danced with Bernard. He watched her, and felt a faint twinge of jealousy. Then he wondered why. Their marriage was all but name only. He had never messed with other women, though. He felt that he was married and needed to uphold that. He wondered if Charlotte felt the same, and watched her twirl and dance with the lawyer. He doubted it.
The dances went on, and Bernard browsed the buffet. It was excellent. He hobnobbed with the other men, as he was expected to, and flirted courteously with the ladies. But he kept thinking of that wobbling fence, and wishing that he could check his scrollstone for a return message from Kryn.
It was nearing midnight, and Bernard was feeling fatigued and resting in a chair, when he heard a strange sound from outside. An animal howling. Then the sound of breaking glass from the front of the mansion.
He rose to his feet and stared across the room at the ballroom entrance. The servents were peering out, then hurrying out in alarm. But people kept dancing and the music kept playing.
Bernard stood frozen, heart beginning to frantically pound. He had expected something like this, yet he had no idea what to do.
Then the screams began.
Terrible screams, screams of dying women mixed with a horrible roaring and growling. The music stuttered to a halt, and the roomful of handsomely dressed people turned to stare.
Bernard spotted Charlotte as she rose to her feet from a chair across the room, where she had been resting her feet in the lap of the young lawyer. Bernard hurried toward her, shouldering past other staring, frozen people. No one paid any attention to him, for the screams were growing louder.
“Charlotte,” he said, grabbing her arm.
She looked at him, her face white as chalk. “Bernard,” she gasped, “what’s happening?”
He pulled the elixirs out of his pocket and pressed one into her hand. “Drink this. It might save you.”
“What is it?” she whispered, looking at the shimmering blue liquid.
“Drink it!” he commanded, uncorking his own vial. He drank it in one gulp. Charlotte sipped hers, made a face, then finished it and laid the vial on the table.
That was when the worgen entered the ballroom.
Five of them bounded through the doors, some rearing up on their hind legs to peer over the crowd. They were much taller than a human, all shaggy gray fur, long canine faces with bared fangs, and long arms ending in dagger-like claws. Then they dropped to all fours and sprang into the crowd, wolves among sheep.
The ballroom erupted into pandemonium. Everyone tried to run away from the worgen, but only suceeded in tripping over others and themselves. Worst were the women in their choking skirts, getting tangled in them and falling, only to find their throats bared to the worgens’ fangs. People were opening windows and leaping out, but from the noise outside, there were worgen outside the mansion, too.
Bernard pulled Charlotte around the circumference of the room, making for the balcony door. Many people had fled already, and the crowd was thinning. The floor was splattered and smeared with blood.
Four of the worgen were mangling and killing every human in their paths, but the fifth worgen, with a human-like cunning, was only biting. He bit only arms or legs, only deep enough to draw blood. He saw Bernard and Charlotte, and sprang at them from across the ballroom.
Bernard leaped in front of Charlotte to shield her from the gray furred monster charging them, and yelled in pain as its teeth sank through his sleeve and into the flesh of his forearm. Then it flung him aside with astonishing strength and siezed Charlotte’s bare white arm. Its teeth flashed, then it turned and bounded away, leaving Bernard and Charlotte staring at the blood running down each other’s arms.
Another worgen ran toward them, but saw that they had been bitten, and it ran out its tongue and laughed instead. It leaped out a nearby window, and they heard screams as it mangled someone else.
“Why did it leave us alone?” whispered Charlotte.
“We’re bitten,” said Bernard grimly. “We’re now under the worgen curse, just like them.”
Charlotte looked at the blood running down her arm in horror. “We’re … going to turn into one of those things?”