So, I've finished Part I of Nightshade City's sequel, BILLYCAN. It's being read right now and I'm waiting not so patiently for feedback! In an effort to keep myself off the ledge, I've posted a short excerpt from Part I, of course with no spoilers! In this excerpt, my wicked rat Billycan is mad hungry for a little pork...you'll get the idea!
Happy Reading & Writing!
xoxo -- Hilary
Billycan looked out past the front gates of the manor. The moon had all but disappeared behind the thick fog, which had swiftly blown into the swamp, as though heralding in bad tidings. Other than the wind whispering through the cypress, the swamp was still. The calm was welcoming. The horde slept in back, their snores and sputtering too far away to hear. The temporary feeling of solitude was quite agreeable.
Ears perking, Billycan watched anxiously as the light from the fire pit, kept lit through the night, bounced with tall shadows. There it appeared--the boar. Billycan observed from the parlor window as the mud caked razorback scraped its great back against the bark of the ancient willow. The thing had been wondering for days now, lost from its clan. It had torn up large mats of earth from the swamp's floor, looking for roots, mushrooms, and insects, whatever it could consume. Feeding on both beast and vegetation, boars greedily devoured anything and everything which they measured digestible. The black boar was now perilously close to the horde. It would only be a matter of time before it sniffed them out through its muck encrusted snout, plucking them off the ground and crushing them with its decaying teeth. The sooner it was killed, the better.
Billycan had commanded the horde to dig a hole, big enough for the razorback to fall into, but small enough where it could not turn about or clamber its way to freedom, leaving the mighty beast powerless. Once confined in the pit, it would be an easy slaughter, one that Billycan was looking forward to. Size was of no consequence to the white rat. A few lethal gashes to the jugular and the hog would be dead.
Billycan jumped up from the sill. The boar had found the hole. Now inspecting the pit, it walked along its edge. "Go on then, go on." he said. "Fall pig, fall!"
The razorback teetered, just on the brink of falling in. It had spotted a fleshy root growing out from the wall. It stuck its massive head in the hole. Kneeling down on its front legs, it stretched for the root. "That's it, that's it," coaxed Billycan. "Just one more inch, boar, one tiny inch and that juicy root will be yours and you will be mine!"
The boar finally neared close enough to the root. It pulled delicately at it with the tips of its teeth. The root loosened from the wall and fell towards the boar. "No!" yelled Billycan, banging on the window with his fist. The hog grabbed a firm hold on the root and tugged it out with ease, returning quickly to safe ground. Billycan cursed the air, letting out a baleful shriek. His stomach had been grumbling and growling for days. He needed meat. His entire body ached for it.
Hearing Billycan's wrath, Montague came rushing into the parlor. Billycan kicked the window, putting a crack in it, as he glared out into the swamp.
"Sir, are you all right?" asked Montague from below.
Still seething, Billycan remained silent. He slowly turned to Montague, his eyes churning odd shades of cherry and crimson.
"Sir," said Montague again, "are you all right?"
"They'll eat anything, won't they?" asked Billycan dryly.
"The boars, the boars, they'll eat anything, yes?"
"Yes, sir, they'll eat anything in site, grass, beasts and everything in between."
Billycan tapped on his lips with a claw, thinking. "Has the horde had any deaths lately?"
"Well," said Montague, a bit discomfited by the inquiry, "one of the old ones, Argus, he didn't wake up about two days past, died in his sleep."
Billycan's sneer widened into a grin. "Where is the body now?"