Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Teaser Tuesday -- EDWIN COPPERPOT

Here is another excerpt from my book of the dead, Edwin Copperpot, which is nearly complete. This is an unusual scene. Our hero, Edwin Copperpot, is nowhere to be found, at least not yet, and everyone is very much alive, for now that is!

xoxo -- Hilary

Pulling down the peaked cap over his ears and thrusting hands in pockets, the man walked briskly down the alleyway. He was eager, excited, his heart racing like a rabbit's. Food, he thought, you must eat first. Last time you went out on an empty stomach, you nearly got pinched.

He took a sharp left out of the alley, onto a street lined with ramshackle houses. Men and women lurked in clusters, their numbers growing as he neared the city square, cackling, drinking, laughing, cursing, all swathed in soiled, tattered attire, ripped shawls and patched trousers, none of them seeming to mind the cold drizzle, all comfortably numb on gin and beer.

One of the women called to the man as he trudged past the front steps of her boarding house. "Looking for a bit a company? You're a sailor, aren’t you? I like your kind, I do." She paraded her figure, spinning in a circle on the stoop, but he kept walking. Her girlfriends pushed her playfully, laughing giddily. "Me and my sister share a room, but it can be ours for the night if you be changing your mind later on. Long Liz, ask for me," she called as he disappeared from view. No, he thought, too risky with a sister creeping about. He liked her though, Long Liz. Her size, close to what he preferred.

Two streets later, he arrived at the market district. Music skirled from the public houses, loud voices bouncing off the pubs and cracked cobbles, the air flushed with flickering gaslights. Working girls, beggars and street vendors lingered about, quack doctors selling cure-all oils and elixirs, costermongers selling scarcely edible fruits and greens. Even children, a shrill and boisterous group, scrounged for farthings, a scrap of bread, pick pocketing drunkards, too far gone to look after their change.

The man cringed, forced to knock arms and shoulders with the grimy populace as he made his way to a public house. Ah, finally, he thought, The Five Angels. He stared at a woman, blocking the doors. She smiled back at him with a chocolate toothed grin. By his stoic mug, it was plain he wasn't interested. She slowly sauntered out of his way, flashing her cockeyed teeth at another prospective customer.

He headed inside, again rubbing against the masses as he pushed his way to the back. He made his way to a small table by the back door. A wobbly old gentleman approached the table at the same moment as he. They swapped glances. The swaying man stared an extra moment, took his glass of whatever spirits he'd had far too much of and left.

Settling into a chair, the man pulled down his scarf from around his mouth and pulled down his cap a little more, shadowing his eyes entirely.

A portly man in an oil stained apron came to the table. "Ah, back again, eh? You must really love my stew. You're the only one!" He laughed jovially. "Same as last time then?"

Unbuttoning the top buttons of his pea jacket, the man nodded at the pub owner, who jaunted off to the kitchen. Stew tastes like entrails, thought the man, probably serving up the customers, snatching them up as they keel over on their pickled feet.

He scanned the room. Not a soul seemed sober, everyone half in the jar or nearly there. He spotted a woman, men swarming around her, different from the other trash that marred the place, looked to be about twenty or so, maybe less. She teetered on her stool, laughing excessively at the jokes of her adoring horde. He studied her, watching as she inspected her perspective suitors. She seemed to have her eye on a particularly inebriated fellow with a nice pocket watch, as she surely wasn't infatuated by his oversized belly or rotting teeth. Greedy tart, thought the man.

The proprietor came back, plunking down a bowl of reeking stew and a glass of gin. The man grabbed his arm, pulling him close. "Who's that?"

Looking over his shoulder, the pub owner snickered. "That there is Bonnie. A sweet one, isn't she? Goes by Bee, but I call her Busy Bee if you know what I mean!" The pub owner laughed again, the man did not. "Me and Bee, we help each other out, both with a business to run, so to speak. You got more than a pocket full of halfpence she can be yours. That's for sure." He tipped his head towards her, raising an eyebrow. "With a little persuasion, I might be inclined to put in a good word for you. Treats her customers real nice, that one."

The man reached into his pocket, slapping down two paper bills on the table. The pub owner looked around suspiciously, quickly snatching them up. His eyes widened. "Stay here then, eat your stew. She'll be yours tonight."

The man smiled.

16 comments:

  1. Awesome, awesome descriptive stuff here, missus: incredible squalor, poor hygiene, vitality, life, noise, smells. You cover all the senses. Frigging brilliant.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Your words paint an image in my head!I love the descriptions you use! Its goes great with the pace as well. Well done!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Creepy! Something tells me this guys does not have good intentions. Great work setting the scene and building tension.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Your writing, dare I say, reminds me of Rowling. I love the imagery. You use such crisp, descriptive words, and you use them perfectly. Can't wait to see what the world thinks of your books!

    ReplyDelete
  5. And this is why Casey McCormick is so awesome! She accepts checks, cash of course and all major credit cards! Ha, ha! Thanks so much Casey. WoW! What a nice thing you say! I'm embarrassed to say I've never read Rowling! Not enough time!

    xoxo -- Hilary

    ReplyDelete
  6. That is too funny---I was just thinking "this seems to fit into the Harry Potter class of writing" when I read Casey's comment. Great minds think alike. :) This was some seriously good description and scene building, plus I love the ominous tone. We just know something bad is going to happen!

    One tiny little nitpick--when I first read the line "Food, he thought, you must be eat first", my brain read it as the Food must eat first. I dunno if it's just me, but thought I'd point it out. Lol.

    Great stuff, as always!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I heart your writing. It's fun and creepy and just delightful. Can't wait to buy your books.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Um, yeah---I meant "Food, he thought, you must eat first." I'm the only one who could come up with "be eat". Argh. :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hound, you always crack me up! It's a shame we can't go back and edit our comments. I hate when I leave a comment with typos in it! I write so fast sometimes, it happens more than I'd like!

    xoxo -- Hilary

    ReplyDelete
  10. Its so Dickensian in style, something I really adore about your writing. Somwhere in the second or third listed description of the population my eye started skipping ahead. I love the detail and the words, but I'm not sure I need it the third time. Last line is brilliant.

    ReplyDelete
  11. My favorite part was when he mentally filed away "Long Liz." Hee!

    ReplyDelete
  12. yet another great teaser! lol. filled with your usual humor and creepiness!

    adored all the descriptions and innuendos. I also have to agree that the man doesn't sound like he's got the best of intentions for Bee!!!

    can't wait to read more!

    ReplyDelete
  13. A little creepy, a little funny, all around a perfect picture. loved this and can't wait to read this one!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hilary, this is truly awesome: the description is so vivid and gritty. Beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
  15. You have a very distinctive style. And the atmosphere you have created in your book......creeptacular!

    How much longer until you finish?

    Shelley

    ReplyDelete
  16. What great comments I get today! Thanks everyone!

    Storyqueen, I'm only two chapters away(I think anyway), but they are those wonderful chapters that have to be done right. The realization of everything without being too complicated, rich & complex without the complexity! I'm excited and would love to zip through them, but I want to make sure I give the story the perfect & proper ending!

    Thanks to everyone!

    xoxo -- Hilary

    ReplyDelete

Leave me a message after the beep...BEEP!