"Welcome to Japan, folks. The local time is . . . tomorrow."
- from 30 Minutes Over Tokyo, The Simpsons, Season 10

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Another Excerpt From Butterfly Mask (Kitsune)

This scene's from my WIP Butterfly Mask.

* * *

I was seven years old.

Cristao stood across from me in the middle of the training room, his emerald eyes focused on my jade ones. He bowed; I followed. “You have the skill,” he said, “you just need to use it.”

“What if I don’t want to kill?” I slapped my hands over my mouth. As if that could take away what I said.

“This isn’t about killing,” he said. “This isn’t about what you want; or what I want. This is about survival.” He assumed a fighting stance. “Now hit me.”

I stared at him; I couldn’t hurt my brother.

“If you don’t attack,” he said, circling me, forcing me to move to keep him in sight, “I will.”

He punched. I backed up. His front two knuckles grazed my upper lip. He kicked. I spun to the side.

My brother punched. I dodged. He kicked. I dodged. He forced me to move so fast, I couldn’t breathe. My brother wasn’t even sweating.

Cristao reached for something in his in the folds of his martial arts uniform. He punched. I stood there, too exhausted to move. He threw three darts.

Two whizzed past my ear. The third dart pierced my chest. As I pulled it free, I sniffed its poison. “Serentis Moss.”

He smiled, proud. “It’s good to see you studied hard, Izabel.”

I glared at him. I didn’t correct him that my knowledge of the galaxy’s deadliest poison didn’t come from my studies. Or that the dosage in a single dart wasn’t enough to kill me. But it was enough to know he was serious.

“You can have the antidote,” he said. Then he smiled. “But only if you can beat me.”

My brother reached inside his sleeve. I crouched so low I almost touched the hardwood floor. With a fox’s speed, I pounced and pinned him. I wrenched the darts from his fingers, and threw them across the room.

My brother flipped us, pinned me and slammed my head into the floor.

It was act now, or not at all.

With all my power, I kicked. Cristao flew into the wall. I looked at my brother with two solid black orbs. For the only time in my life, I saw true fear in his eyes. He knew I would kill him if I wanted to.

I crouched, growled, and pounced. As I pinned my brother, my fingernails and toenails lengthened into claws that pierced his skin. His deep crimson blood welled up under my nails, but I didn’t care. He tried to throw me off; I dug in deeper.

My canines elongated into fangs, which I sank into his throat and tore at his flesh. His screams encouraged me. I didn’t stop until his throat was nothing more than shredded flesh and blood.

Oh, God. I jumped back from my brother’s still body and screamed. It was the only mourning I was allowed before his body disappeared.

The applauding started then. From the one person hiding in the shadows. He smelled of musk over a light sheen of sweat. His scent was as familiar to me as my own.


He stepped out of the shadows, wearing his white mask with the red scorpion whose tail was ready to strike. I should have known. Why fight your own sister when you can program a Holo to do it?

“You should be more careful whom you reveal your secret to,” he said, smiling and simultaneously looking like my caring older brother and the Scorpio he was soon to be. “You never know who’ll want to use it.”

* * *

I like this scene because it's the first time my main character reveals her supernatural abilities to anyone, including herself. And I think much of the plot of Butterfly Mask directly results from this scene.

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