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March Signature Excerpt: Damphir By Nephylim


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Did you miss Monday's blog where we announced Nephylim's Damphir is this month's Signature Author feature? You can still check it out here and see what her reviewers had to say about the story! Don't forget to download your copy of the signature graphic if you want to support Nephy and promote her story. If the reviews weren't enough to tempt you to read Damphir, Nephy has picked an excerpt to share with readers:

 

Check out the very dramatic beginning to Nephylim's story in this excerpt she picked to share:

 


It’s cold, bitterly cold; so very, very cold. The cold is dominating me and making it impossible to think of anything else, although there are, buried deep within me, memories of a time before when there was a warm bed and a soft pillow under my head. That’s about all that’s left of my memories from before; brief impressions of warmth and sometimes the feeling that there were arms around me, a soft chest to rest my head against; a warmth through which no cold could ever penetrate. But that was long ago; now I have nothing. I barely even have the memories anymore.

 

Sighing, I shift my position under my blanket of autumn leaves, trying desperately to find some warmth and comfort but the unrelenting ground is showing no pity to my battered body.

 

I was beaten again today... yesterday, but I was lucky – they beat me because they could, because all they could see was a battered scrap of humanity desperately clinging to life on the windswept streets of this great, golden city of hope. If they had looked deeper; if they had seen... I shudder and turn over, my face to the wood of the tree trunk.

 

There had been at least one vampire with the group, standing apart in that aloof aristocratic way they have, as if everyone else is beneath them and nothing more than a bad smell. As far as the smelling part, at least, he was way off. I cursed my luck; there were hardly any of them in the city, even though the whole point of this great experiment was to create an environment where the four races could live together in harmony.

 

I thought that he would see; that this would be the end, but he simply walked away, keeping his back turned the whole time. I guess I was lucky.

 

I’m beginning to feel a little warmer. It’s seeping through me like a blanket soaking up water when a corner falls into a muddy puddle. What a strange image to come to mind – a blue blanket, soft and warm. It has a yellow duck embroidered in the corner. As far as I know I have never owned one but it is comforting nevertheless even though the corner is muddy and...

 

Uh Oh. My eyes are closed. Better open them. It’s not that easy but I know that feeling warm and sleepy on such a bitterly cold night is definitely not a good thing. Rolling over I drag my aching body stiffly out my nest of leaves. It is in the roots of an ancient lilac tree and the scent of lilac is all around me. After steadying myself against the bole, I part the drooping branches, the only thing that has afforded me any protection at all from the bitterly cold night, and stagger out, gasping at the biting wind. I feel as if every time I breathe slivers of ice invade my lungs and I am burning.

 

It is one of those nights where the frost draws patterns on the puddles and the grass crunches under your feet. Sound carries a long way and the air is filled with sighs and moans as my fellow dispossessed struggle to find the warmth to survive another night. Mounds of newspaper and pathetic bundles of rags move and whimper as I pass; gliding across the grass without leaving footprints. I'm not dead but I am already a ghost.

 

The sky is beginning to lighten towards dawn and if I can manage to hold on for just a few hours I have money for coffee and a full breakfast. Once the cafe opens I can sit in the warmth for a few hours. They know me there and I might even get a free refill if the right people are on shift. Although there is one who doesn’t like me and stares at me like she sees the piece of shit that I am. Maybe she knows.

 

I almost smile to myself. I have a tendency to think that everyone who doesn’t like me knows: maybe she just doesn’t like me. I am, after all homeless, hopeless, and worthless.

 

My heart flips for a moment until I dig my hand in my pocket and feel the reassuring clink of coins that mean warmth and sustenance and another day of life. I wonder briefly how many more days there will be, with winter only just beginning to flex its grip on the city, but to be honest; right now I don’t really care.

 

Maybe when I am warm and have a belly full of food I will have fight in me again but for now I sway as I pass through the gate and catch myself on one of the ornate iron gateposts. It is so cold it burns. I examine the delicate tracery of featherlike frost flakes on the dull black metal. It is too pretty to comprehend. I touch the patterns and the heat in my fingers is barely enough to melt the frost. For a time I am frozen, caught in the frosted winter night, my breath turning crystalline in front of my eyes, my cheek resting on the back of my hand, mesmerised by the world of ice laid out before my bedazzled eyes.

 

I start to feel warm again and realise that I have slumped against the post and am beginning to slide down it towards the floor. Not good: not good at all. I know for sure that if I hit it I won’t be getting up again and so I force myself to push away from the frosty pole and stand up. For a moment I have to close my eyes as the world spins and for the first time a spike of fear runs down my spine. I’m not ready to die.

 

Staggering I drive myself along the pavement, doesn’t matter in which direction, they all lead to nowhere. I wrap my coat, such as it is, around my shoulders. I have never been very big, inframe that is. I am tall, taller than most: shorter than some, but spare and now downright skinny. My ragged clothes hang off me. I am a walking skeleton and soon I won’t be walking any more.

 

But for now I push my battered body to stumble on, one hand against the wall to steady myself. There are no lights but I don’t need them, my night vision is excellent. I drag my bones through the darkness with no thought of where I am going only that I have to keep moving or die.

 

I am stumbling more and more and I’m starting to hallucinate which can't be good. There are flashes of light on the periphery of my vision and the crystal frost is rising in swirls in the shape of bare breasted women who hold out their arms towards me. Wow, that was a strange one... women?

 

My head is so full of sparks and flying shards of crystal I catch my foot on a kerb and fall. Reaching desperately for support my fingers scrape across the wall and, as I land heavily on my knees on the ground, I barely even notice that I’ve torn the skin half off them. Hanging my head I gasp in pain. My knees are agonising and my mind is filled with red hot pain.

 

Collapsing onto my side I curl in a ball, moaning and gasping until the terrible sharp pain begins to subside into a persistent ache. I landed badly and my knee joints are hurting so much I am afraid to move in case I can’t. Eventually I manage to sit up and bend my legs. Sitting in the gutter with my knees drawn up and my head resting on them I sob like a child.

 

I am sobbing so hard it takes a while for me to notice the smell. In fact I don’t notice it, at least not nearly quick enough. It’s the howl that brings me back to myself. It sounds close but I know enough of the distorting effects of such a night as this, to realise that it is still far away. The second one is a lot closer so there are either two of them or they are moving very, very fast.

 

Then I smell it. I can’t believe I didn’t smell it before. It is fresh and strong and... ah FUCK. It’s me. For the first time I realise with horror that my skinned fingers are bleeding, dripping onto my clothes and the road. Why the hell didn’t I realise, didn’t I smell it myself? There are... things that can smell blood miles away, at least blood like mine. And now... now they’re coming.

 

I raise my head and look around and groan. Oh no. Why here? Why did I have to come here? My knees scream as I drag myself to my feet, but they support me. I am too weak to fly and so I have to run. I have to run as fast as I can, faster than I have ever run before... and I do.

 

The ground flies beneath my feet and when the howls come again they are at first further away but then they orient, they follow and I am not strong enough to outrun them.

 

I look around frantically for somewhere to hide, somewhere to escape, somewhere... But I can’t do anything but run. I can barely do that. I can’t fly; I can’t jump: I can’t... I can’t run any more. The adrenaline is burning off rapidly and I am running out of time even faster.

 

I am too exhausted to think, running on pure adrenaline, moving on instinct with no thought other than to escape. I am truly the prey. I am going to die. I know I am going to die. There is no escape, not like this, not with me like this. They are getting closer, closing in on both sides, soon one or both... or something else will catch me and I have nothing to fight with.

 

For a split second I falter. I close my eyes, fighting fatigue and weakness and when I open them again...

 


Want to read more? Check out the rest of the story here!

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Arghhh... I want to read this again, but I don't have time. Anyone who hasn't read it, should! As good as this excerpt is, it only gets better from here... cheers...

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Just completed the reading. I was like, Wow!!! I have just liked the way she presented the characters and drama was great. It stunned me with the end chapter.

 

 

I was like a slow starter from the first, but by the ending two chapter I was pouting like I don't want it to end. A special story with special era of new species.

 

 

I liked it so much... :)

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