Flash Friday: “Become Death”

This week, for Flash Friday, I’m trying something all-new.  I’ve never written in First Person, before, but I’ve always wanted to try it.  And now, I have a Steampunk PI series that just seems to lend itself to First Person.  So, since Saturday’s my birthday, I thought I’d share a litle gift with you, and give you a peek at a never-before-seen scene from a never-before-seen series I’m working on… Be sure to leave a comment and let me know what you think! :)

“Become Death” – excerpted from ANGEL OF MERCY

copyright 2010 by Esther Mitchell

            The cards are warm and smooth in my hands, the subtle tingle of energy coming off of them feels like a familiar friend, and a little like touching a live low-voltage wire.  Usually, I’m not even aware of them in my hands, I’m so used to the feel.   But this meeting’s boring, so far, so I’m focusing on the motion.  Shift one card up, then over, then back into the deck, while maintaining this pointless staring contest with Mutt and Jeff.  It’s a trick I learned when I was just a kid, playing card games with Father Archibald.  I miss him.  He’s gone now, but I like to think he’d laugh to know at least one thing he taught me actually stuck.

           A sigh pushes through my chest, and I look between the two men seated in my good leather chairs.  Mutt and Jeff.  I call them that because one’s tall, thin, and looks like he’s been sucking on sour lemons all morning. The other is short, fat, and sweating all over my leather chair like a race horse after a turn at Seven Downs.

            Mutt looks nervous, his eyes darting right and left, and his thick lips making a disgusting smacking sound.  Jeff just looks bored and disapproving of everything.  Wonder if he’s ever gotten laid.  Doubt it.  I’d be sour, too, if I never got any.

            “Gentlemen, how about we cut to the chase?”  The cards make a hiss, then a clack, as I drop the stack onto the desk between us.  “You’re obviously not looking for a lost puppy, or a missing relative.  Why are you here?”

            Mutt shakes his head, and  the leather squeaks as he shifts in his seat.  Great.  Looks like I’ll be paying to have the leather professionally cleaned.

            “We’re from the Holy Council.”

            Jeff clears his throat, and his frown deepens – I wasn’t aware the human face could sink that far into itself until now.  It’s pretty clear Jeff would rather stick a electro-stick in his eye than give up anonymity.  Too bad.  If he wants anonymity, he should have hired Gabriel.

            He heaves this prissy little sigh that says he knows the cat’s out of the bag, and it looks more like someone let the air out of his face.  “Gideon sent us.”

            As if Gideon’s name alone means I’ll hire on.  If it wasn’t in total poor taste for a P.I. to laugh in the face of a potential client, I’d give in to the urge.  For now, I just raise one eyebrow and listen.  They’ll have to do better than name-dropping to interest me.

            “And I repeat myself:  What do you want?”

            Squeak.  Squeak.  Mutt shifts around in his seat.  Spirits of Sarant, he must go through a dozen of those wool suits a day!

            “We want you to k—“

            “We would like you to terminate a threat,” Jeff breaks in, and now he looks nervous, too.

            I can’t hold the laugh in, anymore.  I already knew this wouldn’t be a simple request.  I pretty much figured they were looking for a hitman, not a P.I.

            “I think you boys have the wrong Mercurio.  You should try Gabriel.”

            Jeff’s face is back to looking like he’s sucking lemons, and he’s huffing those prissy little sighs, again.  Followed by a disdainful sniff.  Interesting.

            “Gabriel is too… unstable.”

            Gabriel is a psychopathic killer with a bloodlust I’ll never understand.  Sounds like a perfect match, to me.  “He works cheap.  I don’t.”

            Mutt squeaks in his seat again.  “Money isn’t an issue.”

            “Really?  When did the Holy Council start padding its coffers with blood money?”

            And that’s got them eyeing each other warily.  Round one to me.  But I have a bad feeling the next round won’t be anywhere near as much fun.

8 thoughts on “Flash Friday: “Become Death”

  1. I love how the piece flows. I really liked the opening, playing cards, and how the cards felt, great description using a good economy words. If anything, and this just might be me, I’m not a big fan of the present tense. If you get a chance, try it in the past tense and let me know what you think.

    I think it’s a very engaging flash. It left me wondering who the hit was on and what it was about.

  2. susan leech says:

    I like the first person books but know some do not. I read what you had and I am excited about it and sure want to read more. I would go for it..when a book is good even those who do not like first person will get it and I think you have a good series started here. susan L.

  3. esthermitchell says:

    Thanks, Steph, Susan… :) Your insight is definitely appreciated!

    Steph, they’re not playing cards. Angel (that’s the narrator) carries a deck of Tarot cards with her everywhere she goes. They “speak” to her in energy.

  4. Jen Black says:

    You write as if you’re really at home with the style, so go for it. Not exactly an engaging pair of romeos, are they?

  5. esthermitchell says:

    lol… You could say that (about Mutt & Jeff)

    And it’s easy to get inside Angel’s head, because she has a similarly irreverent regard for BS…. lol

  6. Diane Craver says:

    I have written 2 books in first person and love writing in this POV. I know some authors write in first person to get a better feel for a character, then rewrite it in third person. Unfortunately, my editors for A FIERY SECRET, hated editing first person.

    I enjoyed your excerpt.

  7. Love it, Esther! Man, very distinct personality coming through — and natural also, not forced at all. I need to be reading more of your stuff so I can learn a few things!

  8. Happy Birthday, Esther!
    Great foray into first person.

    Vijaya Schartz
    Romance with a Kick

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