Today won’t be a new flash fiction piece. Instead, I thought I would share part of the first chapter of the second book.
Freya couldn’t help but grin as she headed out of school, knowing that she wouldn’t have to return until September. Provided that she decided to come back here for sixth form. Her last GCSE exam – which had, annoyingly, been French listening, which always tripped her up – was over and done with.
Her grin was mostly down to the fact that this marked the end of her frumpy uniform and having to take subjects she hated. Goodbye all language-based subjects. From now on, she would only focus on what she was good at. Not to mention the freedom to leave during lunch and free periods.
Of course, Freya should have known that such things never last long. Just as she was leaving the building, a rat-faced girl with shoulder-length, dark hair approached. Freya recognised her as Jamie, Damon’s girlfriend. Jamie hated Freya and made no effort to hide it. She seemed convinced that Freya was trying to steal Damon from her and dealt with it by spreading nasty rumours about Freya around school.
Not that anyone believed them. Freya was known for having no friends, doing well in school, and being a “teacher’s pet.” No one was ready to believe that at night she headed into town in tight leather outfits and screwed anyone who looked at her.
Though, Freya did suppose that her armour for Demon-hunting was mostly leather. She wondered if she had been sloppy with her glamours and Jamie had seen her one night. It might go towards explaining the basis for the strange rumour she had generated, Freya decided, despite the usual ones being “crazy.”
“You bitch!” Jamie screamed, before slapping her across the face.
Freya instinctively clenched her fist, but managed to stop herself from igniting it in flame, or using it to remove some of Jamie’s teeth.
“You bloody boyfriend stealer!” Jamie continued, still screaming through tears.
Freya put all of her effort into clamping down on her anger as a crowd began to form. The last thing she needed was to reveal her magic over something as trivial as getting back at Jamie. Also, it would be wrong, but that thought alone probably wouldn’t have stopped her from at least setting the screeching girl’s hair alight.
“I hope you two are happy together, you bloody slut! What nasty little tricks did you use to seduce him, huh? Bloody tramp!”
Freya actually let herself laugh aloud at that. Damon had no filter, and had never really twigged that his best friend being a girl would make talking about his sex life awkward. She knew exactly what Jamie had done with him, and the hypocrisy was hilarious to her.
“Oh, grow the hell up, Jamie,” Freya told her, not noticing the low vibration beneath her cold words that had Jamie staring at her like a deer in the headlights.
Freya quickly headed to the front gate where Damon, as always, was waiting for her. He hadn’t had an exam today, so he wasn’t in his uniform. Instead, he was wearing his usual black jeans and black t-shirt, despite the warm weather. Not that Freya could talk, since her own aversion to colour only made an exception for blood red. Plus, any t-shirt that fit Damon like that was nothing to complain about. The tight fabric showed off the wiry muscles beneath his skin, all across his lanky frame.
Okay, so maybe Jamie’s accusations weren’t completely unfounded. Freya had always been attracted to her best friend, but it had been made clear to her over the years that he didn’t feel the same way. So, she buried those feelings and focused on just being his friend. Especially since his friendship wasn’t something she was willing to lose.
He grinned as he noticed her approaching, a few strands of his long, jet-black hair escaping his ponytail to fall across his dark, almost-red eyes. She might have blushed, if her approach hadn’t resulted in her inhaling a sudden waft of cigarette smoke. She choked back a cough, as she always did. As much as she hated the smell of cigarettes, she was also kind of glad that Damon had started, since the smell was such a turn-off for her. It made it much easier to not act the fool in his presence.
“What did you do to Jamie?” Freya asked with a raised eyebrow as he tossed his tab to the floor before falling in-step with her as they headed towards his place.
He shrugged. “I broke up with her.”
“Why?” She could think of several reasons, but she didn’t understand why it had taken so long.
“She told me that I had to stop talking to you. I told her to shove it.”
Freya couldn’t help but snort. “That might explain why she slapped me.”
“Sorry,” Damon told her, his tone completely genuine. “So, did somebody call her an ambulance already, or…?”
Freya rolled her eyes. “I held myself back. Barely. I swear, I don’t know what you saw in her.”
He shrugged, which pretty much answered her question. He was a teenage boy and she was a willing girl he didn’t find questionable. A pretty low bar, which made Freya feel all the worse about him ignoring her. Not that it had been such a bad plan in the past. Freya had mostly been indifferent to all of Damon’s other girlfriends. Much like the rest of his friend group, Freya didn’t know them too well, and they had made it clear that, while they wouldn’t actively bully her, she wasn’t welcome to hang out with them. The problem with Jamie was that she had been the only recurring girlfriend, and she was the only one with an active hatred of Freya.
“So…” Damon started once more. “This means I no longer have a date for prom tomorrow.”
Freya rolled her eyes, feeling little sympathy. “Join the club.” She wouldn’t have even agreed to go if her foster mother, Margaret, hadn’t found out about it and bought her a new dress, assuming that she wanted to go.
“Well, why don’t we go together?” Damon asked and Freya’s heart skipped a beat. “You know, as friends.”
She almost sighed at herself before replying. “Sure, why not?”
It always amazed Freya how quickly time with Damon seemed to fly. It felt as if they had only just left school when they reached his place.
“Be two minutes,” Freya told him as she headed into the bathroom to change into her workout gear.
She wondered, as she so often did, if the girl who had broken into her magic while scared and alone in the school toilets would recognise her now. She hadn’t grown any taller, but her physique had changed. She wasn’t really thinner, except perhaps a little around her face, but many of her curves were now the result of muscle rather than fat.
Maybe it wasn’t that she looked that different, she thought. Maybe it was just that she no longer hated how she looked. The spark of confidence had returned to her wild green eyes and a smile was gracing her lips far more regularly than in the past.
Her workout gear consisted of black joggers and a white vest, with white and pink trainers. It was more practical than fashionable but she didn’t think she could really justify spending her pocket money on anything fancier, given how expensive workout gear could get.
Freya moved back through to the training room, where Damon was waiting for her. Damon’s uncle worked in private security and had a thing for collecting weapons. He had taught Damon to use modern firearms, ancient melee weapons, and martial arts in what Freya assumed was an effort to grow his confidence after years of living with his abusive father.
For Freya, it was more than convenient. Amber, the ghost her mother had charged with keeping an eye on her, could teach her magic, but there was no way she could teach her the practical skills she needed to accompany that magic in a fight. Not that Amber was too happy with her fighting, anyway.
Her first encounter with a Demon had been an accident. He had latched onto her, thinking she would be easy prey. And she almost was. The second encounter, however, had been a little more down to Freya. She had sensed the Demon, not the other way around. She had been ready to ignore it, but enough pestering got Amber to admit that the high crime rate in the city was a little more supernatural than originally thought.
Though, they had turned out to be after Freya anyway, so it had all worked out.
Freya didn’t necessarily go looking for trouble, but in this city, it was hard to avoid. Not to mention, she was actually getting kind of good at taking down Demons. She liked it. It made her feel like she was doing something worthwhile for once, and not just running in place until the next set of exams.
“You ready to get your arse handed to you?” she asked Damon as she approached, picking up two small swords. Damon tended to prefer one longsword, but Freya liked to dual-wield.
“You wish,” he countered with a grin.
She was cautious, as she always was. Damon was Magic Sensitive, meaning that he was immune to spells not directed specifically at him and so often saw through the glamours she used to hide her Demon-related injuries, but he was still mortal, with no knowledge of magic. She had to be careful not to reflexively use her magic when sparring with him.
Damon was quick and he was strong, but she was quicker and stronger. He’d only had a few months’ head start on her and she’d thrown herself into training with more determination than he had.
It wasn’t long before his blade was knocked from his hand, clanging to the floor, and one of hers was at his neck, while the other was at his crotch.
He rolled his eyes, lifting his open-spread hands to tell her she’d won.
“I don’t know what it is with you and the knife to the crotch,” he said, shaking his head.
She shrugged. “Extra reinforcement to stop you from trying anything.”
As much as Damon might have thought it silly, Freya had found it a particularly effective strategy.
“Want to go another round?” Damon asked, but they heard the door open before he could answer.
“Damon?” his uncle called from the front room.
“Yeah,” Damon called back.
“Freya with you?”
“Yep,” Freya confirmed.
“Good,” his uncle said, entering the room, “because this pizza is a bit bigger than the three of us can handle, I think.” He held up a carrier bag which was straining to contain the biggest pizza Freya had ever seen.
“Wait, three of us?” Damon asked. “I thought Charlie had to stay in Durham overnight.”
“Yeah. Evelyn’s in town. We’re working a job together for the next couple of weeks.”
Freya paled as much as her already milky white skin would allow. She had been avoiding Evelyn ever since they had first met. She was a Dark Witch and had made it perfectly clear that she knew what Freya was. On the one hand, Freya was tempted to ask her questions and figure out if there were any other magic beings in the area. But, on the other, Dark Witches tended to hang around with Demons, just like the ones Freya tended to kill.
“Actually, Margaret wants me home in the next little while,” Freya lied. “She’s planning on getting takeaway to celebrate my last exam.”
“Aw, really?” Damon asked. “I thought we were going to finally finish Space Warrior: Redemption.”
Freya shrugged sheepishly. “Sorry. I guess we’ll just have to save it until next time.”
“Are you going right now?” Damon’s uncle asked.
Freya pulled her phone out, pretending to check the time.
“You know, I’d better. It’s getting late.”
“I guess I’ll see you tomorrow, then,” Damon said. “What time do you want me to pick you up?”
“Pick her up?” his uncle asked.
“I, um… I broke up with Jamie,” Damon admitted.
“Again?” His uncle didn’t seem the least bit surprised.
Damon shrugged. “Yeah. So, I’m going with Freya instead.”
“You know, you don’t have to humour this tool just because he got himself into a mess,” his uncle told Freya.
“I didn’t have any other plans,” she reasoned, making sure all of her stuff was in her bag.
“It’s not like I asked her as, like, my second choice. We’re just going as friends so that neither of us are going alone,”
Damon tried to defend.
“Yeah, that sounds completely different,” his uncle replied sarcastically. “You need a lift?” he asked Freya.
“Nah. I could use the walk.”
“See you tomorrow at, say, six?”
Freya nodded. “Sounds good. See you then.”
Pre-order the book to read the rest when it’s released on February 1st 2016.