Taking a brief break from finishing up the third book in the Magnolia Kelch series (no, I still don’t have an official release date other than Fall 2014 – sorry!) I thought a little Throwback Thursday fun was in order.
Below is the very, very first draft of NO PEACE FOR THE DAMNED’s prologue. And when I say very, very first draft, I’m talking spelling errors and over description – all the messy glory that was the first thing I had ever attempted to write.
So be kind, and enjoy. 🙂
The room was vast. Vast enough that if someone spoke too loudly, they might unconsciously wait for the beginnings of an echo. The opulently high ceilings were just this side of cavernous and the thick, dark curtained walls were embedded with a swirling design that hinted at movement underneath. Too vast for a bedroom. Or so most would think.
Dusk light snuck in through the floor-to-ceiling windows that made up the southern facing wall, leaving a cruel checker board pattern across the adjacent eastern wall. The room was cold as if the light and warmth it brought were both too scared to enter the room.
Magnus’ face was partially hidden in the lines of the checker board but his wide eyes were clear to his wife as he gazed down on the angelic newborn child.
Unexpected emotions filled his soul.
He had once heard fairy tales of fathers who beamed in wonderment at the first sight of their new child, an overwhelming sense of purpose or protectiveness, or even love, washing over them.
Magnus had never been one to tolerate such benign emotions.
Images of his other children swam through his mind. He recalled looking down on each of them for the first time, recognizing his regal brow or his strong jawline in those infant faces. He had beheld each of them not with love or pride, but with a sense of accomplishment. His line would continue. Another great success achieved.
But peering down at the glowing babe in his arms, still wet from the journey into the world, his breath caught suddenly in his throat. His stomach knotted in an unfamiliar sensation, tightening to the point of nausea. It was something he hadn’t felt since the decades before he and his brothers had created their monsterous empire. He felt fear.
The child’s beauty was beyond breath taking, beyond description. On one level, that had of course been expected. All of Magnus’ children were exceptionally, naturally beautiful. His sons, sculpted movie star handsome and his daughter had been known to cause runway models to turn away in self conscious shame.
This child was more. It was like this child was beauty itself.
But it was the power and not the beauty, the overwhelming vibrating power that radiated off the newborn that churned Magnus’ insides. The supernatural energy within the baby was so fiercely pure it actually poured out from its soul, causing the perfect infant’s skin to literally glow. It was like the sun shone only on this child.
It was just as his brother Maxwell had always warned. If Magnus sought to continue their potent line, a child could be created whose power would surpass them all. Power to threaten everything.
Magnus’ swallow burned against the lump in his throat.
The energy coming off this baby … the possibilities were endless. The power, limitless.
With stoic hands, Magnus woodenly placed the child back in his wife’s eager arms. As he did, the baby’s eyes blinked open.
Deep blue irises encompassed the pupil, drowning out nearly all the white around the edges. Those eyes, they were as vibrant as they were sharp. Those eyes had no need to search the room, no desire to take in the brightness of the world. Instead they controlled their focus the moment their lids parted. Those eyes, blue as the darkest part of the sea, looked directly into Magnus’ face.
He froze, held immobile by the overwhelming influence in those searing infant eyes.
There was no crying, no cooing. No expression at all. Just those eyes, holding in them a look, a wisdom that let Magnus know that this child knew exactly what he was, knew the fear inside him.
Magnus took a full minute to catch his breath. He was forced to call upon his own energy to tear himself away from the infant’s stare. That he had to pull from his supernatural powers to simply look away only burned the knowledge deeper within him.
With pained effort he shut his eyes tight then crossed the room on the doctor’s gasp. On the inhale he was at his wife’s bedside, by the exhale he was at the intricately carved door of his master suite, a framed shadow on the other side of the vast room. Magnus braced himself against the elaborate doorjamb for barely a moment before recovering himself. Only his wife would notice.
Head high in the stately posture he carried flawlessly, the back of his suit jacket was checker boarded as his face had been just moments ago. He paused long enough to address the enormous muscled guards keeping watch over the delivery.
“Kill them both.”
Magnus never turned back to his wife. He simply walked away, as he had walked away from so many other orders given, confident in its immediate execution. He walked away from his suite and took a deep, calming breath. Never again would he need to think on this moment.