While I attempt to figure out what I want to make my next blogpost (as the one I’ve been attempting to write has been fighting me for a few days now, I’d like to offer you a sneak preview of the first chapter of Goddess of Carnage.
Madam Schemptra’s Plan
he American President sat in his hotel room brooding, for several hours, as he tried to go over the next day’s schedule. He was a tall, nicely fit man with light brown hair speckled with bits of grey around his temples. He refused to dye it, grey had become a symbol of the presidency, and every president he could remember had aged nearly fifteen years in the span of his presidency, regardless of tenure. The price for being the leader of the free world was aging twice as fast in half the time. For a wartime President it was expected he would age four times as fast, so the fact that he’d managed to keep the grey just to his temples and light flecks around his closely cropped hair, that he’d kept smartly parted to his right side, was lucky. His once bright blue eyes had faded into a dull bluish-grey, flickered over his schedule for the fifth time in as many minutes. He was not particularly looking forward to the United Universe Council meeting that had been scheduled at six the next morning. He had known about the meeting for months, but he still didn’t like it. He particularly did not like the news that Christopher would be returning as King of the Witches. After all the trouble he’d caused!, he thought, furious. It was outrageous that they would allow him to keep his job after he’d been such an obvious failure from the beginning. Even if he had only been in power five months before his ‘supposed’ death.
It was a disgrace. Had any mortal politician ever dared to pull even half of what Christopher had they would have found themselves thrown out of office within a week. As it was, the President was already particularly distrustful of the monarchy. He had seen the trouble they had caused even as far back as his Congressional days, when he was but a mere Senator. Back then, dealings with the U.U.C. were kept hidden from state politicians, but recent events and the talk of states seceding from the Union had made it unwise and nearly impossible to keep anyone out of the loop any longer. It had become imperative for all forms of government, both large and small to be informed of everything, which invariably meant including the United States Congress and the United Kingdom’s Parliament into the discussion.
The already overcrowded Carpathea Hall seemed even more claustrophobic with the addition of several hundred extra bodies suddenly crammed into the room, even in spite of several spells intended to free up the space in the hall over the recent months. None of this would have even been necessary had it not been for the witches!, he thought, furious. They were the reason his country was up in arms now, the reason the world over was facing a meltdown. It all came back to the witches, and more specifically, their monarchy. The very idea they’d let a homosexual become King made his pulse quicken.It was unnatural and immoral. The Bible was very clear on this issue. Though, the Bible was clear on witchcraft as well, a fact somehow his predecessors had ignored for the past two centuries. That their arrival had been met so widely with celebration rather than horror and outrage seemed unfathomable to the President. It was one thing to live in fear of witchcraft, but it was quite another to accept them so blindly. Of course, it had not hurt the witches cause any that the Queen at the time, Julietta IV, had been held back in her rage over the murder of her daughter only by her sister Carpathea, and to the people of New England, it seemed unwise to anger an already unhinged and quite powerful witch.
Something would have to be done, he decided. Christopher could not remain King, not if he could help it anyway.
A low, elegant voice spoke from the other side of the Oval Office: “I think I can help you there.” The President looked up towards the dimly lit side of his office nervously. He had not heard the door open or shut, nor had his Secret Service informed him of the woman’s arrival. Clearly a witch. A tall woman with fiery red hair stepped out of the shadows, adorned in a long black dress that pooled at her feet like black lava and tall stiletto heels that made her tower over the President.
He swallowed hard, staring up at her.“Who are you?” he demanded, trying to sound braver than he felt.“And what are you doing in my office?”
“I am a friend… and I’ve come to help,” she replied. Her silky voice held a dark edge that made the President shiver, like ice cutting through his veins. In a different circumstance, she might have made a powerful politician, he noted.
“A lovely thought; however, I am afraid I have no interest in mortal politics,” she grinned.
The President’s eyes widened. “Now, wait just a minute. What gives you the right to invade my thoughts like that?” he demanded, finding his rage at last.
At this, she laughed. “Oh, Daniel… I don’t believe you have the power to stop me.” She grinned viciously. “Now then, shall we sit?” She moved over to his desk, pulled out his chair, and sat, crossing her legs at the ankles. “I trust there is no need for introductions. I already know who you are, and I suspect, you already know who I am…” The President watched the woman across from him carefully, but didn’t respond. Everyone knew Madam Schemptra, the question was, why was she here? As if reading his thoughts again she continued, “I’m here to help you.”
“Help me with what?”
“Getting rid of Christopher, of course, and getting the witches and mortals separated again,” she replied, with a sickeningly sweet smile. There was something about her, that the President couldn’t quite put his finger on. Perhaps it was the way she carried herself, perhaps it was the perfectly lady-like manner in which she sat that gave her the look of some of the first ladies of the 1940’s, but something about her intrigued him. Instantly, he felt as though he could trust her with anything. No doubt some sort of spell, his mind cut in. He had been in politics long enough to know never to trust anyone. Especially not a witch as notorious as Madam Schemptra.
“Why would you want to help me with either of those things?” he asked. If the stories he had heard about her were to be believed, Madam Schemptra was a cold-blooded killer who would stop at nothing to get what she wanted. So why did she want to help him? He doubted there was anything he could offer her, even if he didn’t like witches he was smart enough to know that Madam Schemptra was powerful enough that there was nothing she couldn’t do herself if she really wanted to.
“Let’s just say I have a personal stake in all of this,” she replied. It was not at all the answer the President had been expecting.
“What? Did the kid kill your best friend or something?”
“It is, a bit more complicated than that,”she replied. The President raised an eyebrow at that, but decided that perhaps it was better he didn’t know. “I won’t bore you with the details, but suffice it to say I am on your side.”
“Why should I trust you?”
“Do you honestly believe everything you hear about me? I am not quite as evil as they say.”
“You certainly don’t look it,” he grinned. She could already sense where this was headed, and it was all she could do not to gag.
She forced a smile as she stood, slowly sauntering her way over to him, and grinned. “Oh, don’t misunderstand, Mr. President… I am quite…wicked,” she whispered, in a voice she intended to be seductive. The President frowned, apparently deep in thought, then grinned again. Her skin crawled at the lust-filled look in his eyes, but if he noticed her discomfort he didn’t acknowledge it.
“You know I’m a married man.” Madam Schemptra tried not to snort; something told her that had never stopped him before. She leaned down, making sure that her cleavage was in front of his face, and then whispered, “She doesn’t have to know.” That was all the prodding the President needed as he pulled Madam Schemptra down into his lap and kissed her hard. She dug her nails into her palms in an effort not to bite his tongue off as it prodded her mouth. Gods how she hated men, she thought, especially lecherous politicians. She might have known better than to try to seduce him for her own gain. Before she realized what was happening, the President slipped his hand up her skirt; her eyes widened. Shit! She pulled back fast, whispering something that the President couldn’t understand. He blinked, and within seconds he was unconscious. She pulled herself off of the man, thoroughly disgusted. Her stomach roiled, and before she could stop herself she bent over into his trashcan and vomited. With some difficulty, she managed to stand, on shaky legs, and surveyed the room for any signs of life before casting the spell to alter the President’s memory. In a few hours, he would awaken with the memory that he had just had sex in his office. Swine. She thought as her stomach lurched again. But before she could throw up a second time, she turned on her heel and vanished in a swirl of black silk back, into the darkness.
It was nearing September by the time the Palace was finally finished being reconstructed, and Chris and Eric were allowed to return. Eric was not particularly looking forward to going back to the Palace, but then after nearly five months in the hospital, he had to admit that it would be nice to be sleeping in his own bed again. Besides, after the Palace had been struck down by Madam Schemptra last year he’d hoped that the forced reconstruction would mean that the Palace would have to be much nicer this time around. To Eric’s dismay however the Palace had appeared just as dismal as ever.
“You’ve got to be kidding!” Eric growled the moment he stepped through the large Mahogany doors to their room. Eric turned towards Chris, horrified. “Nothing’s changed! This place went through a fucking tornado and NOTHING’S CHANGED! They even managed to put the cobwebs back in the ceiling!” he growled glaring up at the vaulted ceilings still covered with the same dust and cobwebs it had before the tornado. He fell onto the bed with a groan. How the hell was it possible that this place seemed almost worse off than before the tornado? He shook his head in disbelief, squeezing his eyes shut. This has to be a nightmare, he convinced himself. He squinted one eye open, sure that he would awaken to find himself in a much better version of the Palace, but as the same tired, dusty ceiling came into focus he realized that it had not in fact been a dream. Shit.
“Are you sorry we came back?” Chris asked plopping down onto the bed next to him. Eric thought carefully before answering.
“You still have a job to do. I understand that,” he replied deftly deflecting the question.
“You’d think all these months with Renee would have helped you with your honesty issues.”
“You’d think,” Eric retorted. The truth was…complicated, and more often than not, Eric barely knew what it was himself. Besides, Chris did have a job to do. He hadn’t officially been asked, but given the current deteriorating climate of the world over, and the fact that Ciprianna was dead—a fact still kept from the mortals—it was difficult to think anyone else could possibly take over the throne now. Unless the U.U.C. suddenly declared Faerian Law and the WARLOCKguards were put in control of government, in which case it didn’t really matter what anyone thought. It was, highly unlikely they would ever consider such drastic measures, but Eric couldn’t help but wonder when the questions would pour in regarding the whereabouts of Madam Schemptra and just how she’d managed to escape. It was no secret that Madam Schemptra was on the loose, in spite of the Council’s better efforts to contain the press her escape had received. Thus far Christopher had managed to elude media scrutiny on this particular issue, but it was only a matter of time before it would all blow up into an international issue––and Chris would no doubt be indicated as the cause for all of it––especially if Madam Schemptra decided to try something.
Chris sighed; Eric’s sarcasm denoted he was in no mood to discuss his therapy, and although he had never denied that talking with Dr. Brown-King had helped, the process had dredged up dark memories that Eric would have just as soon preferred not to unearth.
“Just tell me the truth Eric, are you sorry we came back?”
“Maybe a little. I just don’t understand why we have to live in the Palace just because you’re the King. You’re a warlock, for goddess sake! Surely we could live anywhere and you’d still be able to do the job.” Eric had a point, technically they could live anywhere they wanted. It wasn’t as though living at the Palace had made him any more or less on time for any of his Council meetings. Nor had it made him any more equipped to be King in the first place; it was tradition. Nothing more.
“Would you feel better if we moved back to New York?” Chris asked, as he stared nose to nose with the other boy. Eric’s face brightened instantly.
“You mean it?” Eric asked, practically bouncing with excitement.
Christopher laughed, “Of course, love. I’d hate for you to be in a place that makes you unhappy.” Eric smiled and kissed the other man.
“I guess that’s a yes then,” Chris said as Eric crawled on top of him, tearing his shirt open, sending buttons flying in all directions. Christopher’s eyes widened. Eric set the pace, and as usual, Chris knew it would be fast and rough, not that he was by any means complaining. It was oddly sexy when Eric took over like this; it tended, however, to end in multiple bruises that no spell could hide, even if he did want too. It was then, just as Eric bent down and latched onto his throat, that he remembered his U.U.C. meeting scheduled for early the next morning. He’d been tasked with the job of discussing something or other, though for the life of him he couldn’t remember what. I really should be preparing, he thought, not at all moving to push Eric off of him. Eric swirled his tongue around the spot where he’d just bit him, eliciting a loud guttural moan from the other man. Fuck it! He twirled them over pinning Eric down by the wrists, deciding to give him a taste of his own medicine. Eric’s eyes darkened with lust, as Chris’s tongue darted slowly over his collar bone. He continued his ministrations down Eric’s body causing the other boy to writhe with pleasure. Always better than actual work,Chris thought tearing off Eric’s pants in one quick motion.