Writing Wednesday: The Cut

As you know, or should know, my debut novel goes live on Wattpad this weekend. I hope you’ll all have a look at the finished product and see if you like it. I’ll also be opening a Patreon page to raise money for a deluxe paperback version filled with illustrations, character concepts and more, so I’d doubly appreciate you contributing or sharing that. Through the course of editing the novel, even the final sweeps, I found sections that I hated to cut out but decided the story was ultimately better without, whether for pacing, focus or character development. I still love those bits and so one way to get them to my audience is to post them here. Another option is to offer them as extras and rewards for my patrons. If I raise enough money I might even develop them into their own stories, so presented below is one of the more recent cuts. A scene where P-Head, the protagonist’s blood brother, pays him a visit but there’s an ominous presence watching him. Enjoy! 

– – – 

“… Ramses!” P–Head yelled for the fifth time, standing outside the apartment block where his clan mate lived.

At least it looked like his apartment block. A broken lamppost loomed outside just as it should. Yet all the streets in this area looked the same: endless rows of black and white buildings, each held up by their timber supports.

He yelled again, but got no reply from Ramses or anyone else for that matter. He found that strange, but he still remembered how it felt to be a mortal and to need your beauty sleep. Vampires did not need rest, only sustenance, and anyone that told you otherwise was a pussy, as he often said.

“Where is he?”

P–Head grew worried – not for his friend, but because bad things always happened when Ramses disappeared on his own, and the look on his face when they had left Trafalgar Square behind…. Could he be that stupid? Everyone knew that the column was a magi totem.

However, Ramses had not even known of the monument’s existence until last night.

“He has, hasn’t he?” P–Head said, and his body began to ache because the future now looked all too painful. And short. Very, very short.

The Gimp gave a reply, which sounded like a chimp that had closed a book on his genitals, and squeezed out of the van window.

“I’m gonna go inside and check he’s not dead or something. We can only hope.” He then added, “You stay here, right?”

“Ooh!” the Gimp replied and saluted, then went to lean on the van, but missed the open window and ended up with a windscreen wiper shaped gash in his costume. He cried out again and clambered back to his feet, rubbing the sore spot.

P–Head did his best ‘gangsta’ walk up to the front door and kicked it open, sending splinters of wood down the corridor.

Nobody came running at the sound of the intrusion, so he proceeded inside. He ran up the steps, counting each as he went. After thirty six, he found himself outside Ramses Niblet’s apartment. He kicked this door open as well, but there were no splinters this time. Ramses had left it unlocked.

“Any thief could just waltz in. I guess a thief doesn’t expect to be robbed.”

At first glance, the place looked forsaken, so he stepped across the threshold. Nevertheless, on doing so, a low growl rolled up from somewhere near the carpet. P–Head took a step back, and the growling stopped.

After a moment of contemplation, he went forward again, and once more, the growling started. It rose in volume when he took another step into the room.

He paused for a moment, trying to think this through. His gears and cogs clanked shakily through their motions. All the while, the growling remained at the same pitch.

P–Head could not see anything in the room, but then he could only see half of it. The kitchen counter, or the sofa, impeded his view of the growler, or maybe it was the sparsely occupied bookcase. Used to support videos – mostly horror movies and bad stand-up comedy, plus a few oddities that he could only assume had been taken as personal trophies from hunts – it obscured a good deal of the flat as it stood right by the door, perpendicular to the wall.

Deciding to risk all in the name of curiosity – meow [splurt!] urrk! – P–Head took the committal step forward.

Then things got scary. 

The growling turned into the most vile snapping and roaring. From somewhere off to his right, an angry shape leapt, knocking him to the floor. P–Head screamed, and counting his blessings that the shotgun tucked in his trench coat did not go off, he crumpled under the weight of the slavering creature.

He raised his arms in self-defence and tried to fight the monster off. His eyes were closed as he thrashed about. This defense may have worked against a moth, but not a dangerous dog, or whatever it was. 

Only when the snarling turned to a soft whimper did P–Head dare open his eyes.

Backing off from on top of him, the monster turned out to be Sergeant Bob. He crawled away on all fours, whimpering apologetically.

“You!” was all that P–Head could think to say.

He climbed up onto his knees and reached forward for Bob’s collar. Bob backed away with another whimper, but on the second grasp, P–Head caught hold of him.

“Where’s your master… I mean Ramses. Where is he?”

Bob just whined.

How strange to see a grown man crawling around on his hands and knees, pining like an animal. P–Head would have laughed if his pride had let him feel anything but anger, because this moron had actually scared him.

“Where is he, you idiot?”

Bob suddenly lit up like a child on Christmas morning.

“Rooby Rak?” he queried.

“Yes! Tell me and you can have all the biscuits you want.”

“Ro riskits. Rooby want Rooby Raks.”

P–Head’s patience snapped like an elastic band, and the mangy mutt suffered it with a thump straight to his left eye. When the mutt insisted again on his favourite fictional brand of biscuits, P-Head thumped him repeatedly until Sergeant Bob lay sprawled out on the ground.

Bob released one more pitiful whimper, and then he sprang up onto his feet as lively as ever. He rubbed the blood off the side of his face so he could lick it.

“What are you doing here?” Bob asked P–Head.

“Where’s Ramses, you freak!”

“Oh, he’s gone to that square place,” Bob replied, seemingly more interested in the drops of blood on his sleeve than the presence of his sire’s companion.

“Shit!” P–Head cried and stood up to leave. “I knew it. He is that stupid.” 

Bob continued unabated. “… And he left me to guard the place. Aren’t I doing a good job? I’m a good boy, huh? But that’s why you have to get out of here now.” Bob ushered P–Head to the door. “If Ramses finds out I’ll be in trouble.”

P–Head, who needed no baiting at this point, left the man/guard-dog/vampire and ran straight outside to his van.

He needed to get to the square fast and stop his mad clan mate before the whole city was on their, or more importantly, his back. 

Unfortunately, for the both of them, P-Head arrived too late to stop the monument from falling. From only two blocks away, he heard and saw the explosion happen. In that moment, all chance of him having a good night’s hunt in the next few days disappeared along with the column, the fountain and, of course, the lions.

For a moment, he gave in to his own guilty pleasures, stared up at the glorious oranges and yellows, and let the wondrous flames carry him high up with them, soaring and billowing like the wind in some cosmic dance. Yet, tied to a brick of resolute anger, he soon plummeted back toward the earth.

“The magi are gonna be pissed off now.”

The Gimp started to stroke his head. P–Head knocked the hand away.

“Where is that son of a bitch? I’m gonna show him what sunshine looks like.”

P–Head rammed his foot into the accelerator, aiming his van towards the scene of the explosion. The Gimp staggered backwards and failed to maintain his balance with a thump.

Ramses had to be near by. There was no way this was a remote job.

As P-Head turned the corner onto Cross Road, a pink transit van, exactly like his own, went speeding past…

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