Those who know me well are familiar with my crazy random moments. I think its because my mind just never stops turning. I’m always brainstorming and some of those lightning bolts? – yowzer! Why is this important you ask? Because today I came up with this…a round robin. In high school, my cousin and I had a five subject notebook we used to pass back and forth between class. I’d write a page or two or even a chapter, then she’d read mine, write some and I’d do the same. Sometimes we finished it, sometimes not, but it was a lot of fun. I do miss that sometimes. Writing can be a solitary pursuit.
So here’s my idea. I want you to write a story with me. I’ve got it started below. I’ll warn you now that it is not perfectly edited.(Thank God for Piper, my wonderful editor who tackles my books.) I don’t expect your part to be perfect either, just there. To add, to our story, leave your text in a comment. There is no limit to how much you can write and I will pop back in to read and add to the story. When its done, I’ll format it and post a link for everyone to grab their own copy. So, will you write with me? I think its going to be a lot of fun.
“Please you must take the sword.”
“Mr. Takimoto, I’m afraid you don’t understand. All donations to the museum must be approved by special committee. However generous, I can’t accept your offer.” I lifted the carefully tended object wrapped in thick red velvet, gently pushing it toward the opposite side of my desk. A zing of electricity radiated through my fingertips when I touched the ancient object. Freaked out, I shook it off as static electricity from the velvet. Sometimes I get impressions from artifacts housed in the museum, but this was unexpected, frightening.“Perhaps the katana would be better served in one of your country’s museums.”
“No, not to the museum. It belongs to you. Everything’s gone wrong. You were supposed to recognize Ryuu no tsume. You don’t even know what you are.”
Okay. Hold the phone here. I cringe if I have to kill a spider. What the hell would I do with a sword? “No. It doesn’t. I don’t own a weapon of any kind and don’t want to. You should go now before I call security.”
“I’ve come a long way to restore the Dragon’s Talon to its rightful place. Please. You must, for your sake as well as mine. I beg you.”
“The serpent demons are coming for you. You must accept the sword, Priestess.” He moved to push the katana roughly across the glistening wood.
“This has gone on long enough. You’re insane. I’m calling security.” I picked up the telephone receiver and dialed the front desk. Mr. nutbar finally found a clue and ran towards the office door and out into the hall.
“He left the sword. What the hell am I supposed to do with a sword? Chop cantaloupes? Damn.Why do I get all the lunatics?” I complained to the air. The front desk wasn’t picking up. Weird. The night guard, Tom, always keeps an extra watchful eye when he knows I’m working late. Well. Time to call the cops in. Dialing 911, I waited for the dispatcher to answer and relayed the information.
“911. What’s your emergency?”
“Some nut just ran out of my office screaming about demons. He’s Asian, wearing a black suit. He could be dangerous.” I gave dispatch his name, my location and name, then replaced the receiver. A scream echoed from the hallway outside. Running to the door and out into the hall, my high heels made a staccato clicking noise on the marble tile.
Real stealthy, Natalie.
I had been working late, cataloging an acquisition, when the strange little man had walked in unannounced, introduced himself and began badgering me to take the sword. Figuring I could easily get rid of him, I had listened to his story.
Maybe I’m the crazy one.
A deep guttural moan of agony filtered around the corner. Slowing, I flattened by back against the wall and listened. Now two men, arguing.One of them sounded like Takimoto. I should try to help. He’s crazy, but he could be in real trouble. Sidling around the corner, I see my visitor lying on the floor at big man’s feet. The attacker pointed a gun at his head. Go back. Wait for the police.My feet were rooted the floor, refusing to obey my silent command.
“Where is the Dragon’s Talon?”
“I don’t know. No. Please!”
“Liar. I know you have it or did. Where is the sword?”
Sword? The one in my office?
“You are too late. Ka Ryuu’s queen has the sword.”
Ka Ryuu? The gunman pulled the trigger, splattering blood and brain tissue all over the walls and floor of the hall. Covering my mouth to stifle a scream, I turned and made a run for my office.
Slamming the door, I flicked the lock and wedged a chair under the brass knob. Heavy footsteps sounded out in the hall. The thick wood door shuddered as the assailant rammed against it, trying to get through. Oh, God. He’s going to kill me too. Why am I even protecting the stupid sword? I don’t want it. Do I?
I picked up the phone and dialed 911…again.
“911. What’s your emergency?”
“Please. You have to help me. There’s a man trying to break in. He’s killed someone and now he’s coming for me. Oh, God you have to hurry. He’s right outside.”
“A disturbance has already been reported for your location. Emergency personnel are enroute.”
I watched in horror as the door splintered and busted open with the force of the gunman’s weight. “Too late. He’s here.” Our eyes locked. I let the receiver clatter to the floor. Snake eyes. Takimoto hadn’t been lying. Serpent demons? But demons don’t exist.
“Give me the sword, Priestess, and your death will be quick this time.”
There was no where left to run. No other choice. I pulled away the velvet and unsheathed the katana. Grasping the hilt firmly in both hands, an electric jolt raced through my arms and into my shoulders. At touch I remembered. Mine. With the memory, a deep ache settled around my heart. KaRyuu.
Snake guy moved swiftly, crossing the distance of the room in seconds. “No!” he bellowed. “Ryuu no tsume come to me.”
I smiled, afraid but not cowering. “I don’t think so.”
The demon lunged for the blade determined to take the sword any way he could, but it repelled him. “I’ll kill you and take it. Just like the last time.” He lowered the gun and fired at me.
* * * *
Bright purple light erupted from the blade, shielding me from the bullet. Firm hands gripped my shoulders pulling me backward out of harm’s way. Snake guy faded from my view blocked by broad shoulders with a trail of long straight black hair falling between them.
“You will not harm her, demon.” Lifting his own blade the stranger attacked, shooting bolts of fire from his sword. Okay, so maybe it’s a magic sword? The snake demon fell into a charred pile of ash.
“Are you alright, my queen?”
Beautiful shouldn’t describe a man, but he was. Standing at 5’11” in my heels, he was at least a foot taller. Broad shouldered, graceful, black hair with ripples of deep royal purple shifting through it fell straight to his waist unbound. His eyes were engaging. Human men didn’t have violet eyes or pointed ears and certainly not the hint of fangs that glinted when he smiled at me. KaRyuu, Lord of the Dragon demon clan, was magnificent and somewhere in the depths of my forgotten memories, I knew he loved me.
“You know me. I was afraid you would not this time, Kimiko.”
“My name is Natalie now.”
“Natalie. It suits you, my love. As does your new incarnation. Very lovely.” His love. I heard the screaming sirens outside.
“We have to get out of here. The police.”
“Then come.” Karyuu tied the Dragon’s Talon to a strap on his waist next to his sword. Then he raised my office window, stepped up on the ledge and held out his hand.
I hurriedly stuffed my cell phone into my purse, looped the strap over my head. Clasping his hand, I pulled myself up to the windowsill ledge. This was going to require a lot of trust and maybe a little bit of crazy. “Oh my gosh. That’s a long way done.” Four stories down.
“Do not be afraid. Trust me.” Karyuu brushed my cheek with his thumb. “Come into my arms.”
I did. He pulled me in close, the heat of his body radiating around me in the cool air, and launched us into the night sky.
** * *