Tip of the Quill: A Journal
The mind of Caliban Davies.

People who have read drafts of my novel, Bones of the Angel, will be familiar with Caliban “Callie” Davies, the paranoiac techno-geek who comes to the aid of my heroes. Today I sat down to get some writing done before supper and banged out about 730 words of… Something. This isn’t how I expected the next novel, tentatively titled Children of Winter, Children of Wolves, to begin, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s not to mess with muses. What I like about this snippet is that it gets us into the head of the lovely Ms. Davies, someplace I really didn’t go in BOTA. Anyway, I thought folks might enjoy it – although please take note this is very much first draft material.

Caliban Davies awoke with a start. She sat up and tried to blink the sleep out of her eyes as she shivered in the cold wind – and then blearily wondered why there was a cold wind at all.
Callie groaned as her mind came the rest of the way back on-line. She’d fallen asleep out on the East balcony again. It had been two months since she’d moved into one of the spare rooms in her friend Vicky’s mansion, and despite the chill of the early-spring weather she’d still spent nearly a quarter of her nights in the same weathered old deck chair overlooking the East lawn. Her back lodged its usual complaints as she clambered out of the chair and stretched. A quick glance at her watch told her that it was nearly 3AM. She swore softly as she bent to pick up her dogeared copy of Neuromancer, which had tumbled off of her lap at some point while she’d slept. She’d lost her place, of course, but that didn’t matter – she had pretty much the whole thing memorized anyway. The sky was the color of a television tuned to a dead channel…
She looked up. Ravenswood Manor was perched high up on one of the ring of hills that circled Lake Beckett, and positioned directly above the city of Beckett, Ohio – population 25,668, median household income $37,400, 91.9% white non-hispanic, Callie mused. The sky over Beckett tonight was crisp and clear, Venus nearing the Pleiades star cluster and the moon in its last quarter. Callie scratched her ass and yawned.
Suddenly something off the right side of the balcony caught her eye. She wandered over to investigate, her bunny slippers making slap-slap-slap noises on the stonework. Another gust of wind swept across the balcony, cutting through her light Beckett U sweatshirt and flannel pants and making her shiver again. When she reached the stone railing she swept her eyes down over the hill, but she didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary. Screw this noise, she thought unhappily to herself. I wonder if Vicky has any cocoa left in the pantry…
Wait. There.
Callie peered over the railing and squinted. Far down at the foot of the hill, near where the lawn surrendered to the thick woods that buffered the property from old Route 22, something was moving. At first she thought it was a deer, or maybe even a bear, but then it cut across an open spot between two tall pines and stepped for a moment into the moonlight.
It was a man.
Callie stepped back from the railing, strangling back a cry in her throat. It hadn’t been that long since she’d had her own home attacked by strangers in the middle of the night, and this was just close enough to trigger little flashback waves of fear and panic. She pressed herself against the wall of the house, hoping that the prowler hadn’t seen her. She edged her way back to the wide doors leading into the East hallway, fumbled behind her for the handle, and then slipped inside.
The East Hall was a long, wide corridor with massive dark walnut paneling offset by tall, square columns. Each panel bore an ancient tapestry depicting some mythical creature or other fantastic scene – the first one on the right was a picture of Saint George fighting a dragon, and directly across from it was Perseus battling Medusa. Callie ran to the left edge of this tapestry and fumbled blindly behind it. C’mon, dammit, she thought as her fingers felt around for the switch – Ah, there! Her fingertips brushed the recessed square in the wood, then pressed down hard. Instantly the middle section of the column beside the tapestry slid upwards, disappearing into the section above it like a collapsing telescope. Inside the hidden compartment was a sleek computer console with a videocamera and an intercom, which Callie flipped on. A list of room names appeared on the screen, and Callie jabbed the one marked Master Bedroom with a fingernail. The list of rooms was immediately replaced by the Ravenswood Corporation logo and a ‘connecting’ message.
C’mon, love birds, Callie thought bitterly as she glanced over her shoulder. She had forgotten to close the doors behind her, and now the wind blew down the corridor, rippling the fabric of the tapestries. Pick up the damn phone! Pick up pick up pick up pick up pick up…
A shadow flickered across the open doorway at the end of the hall. A big, man-sized shadow.

And that’s all I’ve got so far. Fun, huh?

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