Camp National Novel Writing Month is upon us! I've committed to 10,000 words in April and I'm hoping to surpass that goal. My first entry is 2,161 words for April 1st, 0 words for April 2nd.
Synopsis to see if "QUIET, demon" is right for you:
Jade and Kami are baristas, sisters and demon hunters. They run the Mythos Grande: a gluten-free, demon-free drive-thru coffee shop that serves up a hell of a latte and demon-slaying services on the side.
Content warning: Language, some sexual references (demonic STDs), some gross stuff. Mostly just language and a lot of weird. I'm re-connecting to these characters and it's been a long time since we talked. That sounds like excuses. It is. But the point of Camp National Novel Writing Month, just like NaNoWriMo itself, is to get the words out there. If I can salvage anything from this for later--great. If not, at least I wrote it, and we can continue onward.
There are a lot of [blank] spaces: the goal is word count, not stopping to think up names or details. It's mostly a sawed off shotgun approach to writing. Stuff a thousand words in the barrel: spray them on the page. Hope a wedding ring falls out.
“One large double shot vodka latte. Breve.”
“Sorry, I’m all outta douche.” Jade smiled, letting her over-sized sunglasses slip down the bridge of her nose. “Besides, I charge double for anyone who orders a breve. Unless you let me spit in it.”
“Spit in it? I hear you’re contagious now.”
Jade dropped the bottle of vodka she had grabbed from beneath the counter. The glass shattered.
“WHO TOLD YOU THAT?” Her voice broke. “WAS IT--”
Laughter interrupted her. She shut her mouth and narrowed her eyes at the man sitting in the drive-thru. He drove some hot red convertible, straight out of a mid-life-crisis pencil-dick best selling novel. It was the only thing about him that was memorable.
Darien? Keith? What the hell is his name? She couldn’t remember. After a while they all started blurring together. Sure, she’d slept with a few--dozendred men and a couple especially attractive women, or men who looked like women--but word didn’t usually get around that fast. Somebody had been flapping their damn mouth and she had a pretty good idea who.
“You tell that son-of-a-bitch to keep his mouth shut,” Jade said as she slammed the window shut and put up the ‘closed’ sign. He was still laughing as he spun out in the drive-way.
The phone rang.
“Thanks for calling Mythos Grande, a gluten-free, demon-free, drive-thru coffee shop. Can I take your order?”
The voice on the other line screamed something inaudible, high-pitched like breaking glass and nails across a chalk board.
“DAMN IT, Kyle, use your Temporal voice, please. My ears are bleeding.” She pulled the phone away and wiped blood off the screen.
“Jade, thank the Goddess--” The man sounded out of breath. “I was in a panic, I’m sorry, Malachite--”
“Kyle, what’s going on? Kyle?” The phone went dead.
“Can this day get any fucking worse?”
A knock came at the door. Jade jumped up to get it--and stepped right on the broken pieces of vodka bottle. She fell down and curled into a fetal position on the floor, cursing in every language she knew, including one that started to open a portal to another world.
Kami fumbled with her keys. “Jade? What’s that sound?” The portal began to shine with bright purple light. Kami kicked the door open at the last moment to find Jade being sucked into a portal.
“Oh no you don’t--you have to finish your shift,” Kami snatched her sister’s ankle and pulled her back across the floor--and through the broken glass. Jade cursed again and remembered the proper words to close the portal. Her feet and ribcage was bleeding, and she heard someone outside honking.
“Can’t you see the sign says we’re closed!?” Jade propped herself up against the wall beneath the window.
“What. Happened.” Kami’s jaw was tight. She looked from the bloodied floor, to the broken glass, to the faint purple residue left by the accidental-portal-to-another-dimension. “Didn’t we just talk about not opening portals during daylight hours..?”
“It was an accident. Some jerk in the drive-thru pissed me off, then Kyle called and hung up on me,” Jade pulled a shard of glass from her foot, “Fuck, that hurts. Then I stepped on this broken bottle. Right. In my incoherent cursing from the pain, I opened a portal to another world, then you saved me, and dragged me back through the broken glass. That about sum it up?” Jade raised her eyebrows skeptically and pulled another shard free.
Kami crossed her arms and leaned against the doorway.
“Kyle hung up on you? That Kyle? Like, the one who works over at the real coffee shop at the opposite end of town?”
“It’s not a real coffee shop, and yes, that one. He said something about Malachite. There’s only one jerk-off in town by that name.”
Kami opened the opposite window and leaned out to take the coffee order. Jade pulled herself back up to her stool and ran a rag under hot water. She washed the blood off her foot and side, fully aware of the customer watching her with a startled expression. They obviously weren’t a local. Kami gave the customer a discount and put up the other ‘closed’ sign. She reached into a drawer and pulled out a black apron and tossed it to Jade.
“Here, cover that blood up. We should go talk to Malachite, see what’s up with Kyle.”
Jade peeled off her bloodied shirt and put the apron on instead. It didn’t leave much to the imagination.
“That isn’t what I had in mind.” Kami said, arching an eyebrow.
Jade looked down and shrugged.
“You’re right. I can’t hide my gun.” She pulled a copper-colored leather jacket that was hanging on the back of the door and nodded. Then she strapped on a gun holster that rested, thankfully, against her ribs that weren’t lacerated. Her jacket covered it all nicely. Kami opened her mouth to comment but gave up. She grabbed her leather jacket--a more conservative black--and opened the door for her sister.
Jade shut off the lights to Mythos Grande and they stepped out of the drive-thru coffee shop into the sun. Jade blinked with another curse and adjusted her sun glasses. Kami smirked.
“If you had a normal schedule, you’d be used to this concept they call sunlight.”
“I don’t like it.” Jade grumbled and hissed at the sky.
“What’d the guy at the drive-thru do to piss you off?”
“He ordered a breve, which he knew I hated. When I said I was going to spit in it, he said he heard I was ‘contagious.’”
Kami’s eyebrows rose.
“Word travels fast, apparently. I’m sorry, sis.”
“I can’t believe that jerk, who does that? I mean, if it was regular herpes I could have dealt with it, but DEMON HERPES? I didn’t even know that fucker was a demon until a week later. There is NO REMEDY for this. I cannot begin to tell you how uncomfortable--”
“No, no, you’ve told me. Seriously. Gross.”
“And they talk. Seriously. Worse thing ever. I’ll be in the bathroom and I’ll hear this infernal whispering--”
“OHMYGOD, stop. Please.”
“And then you make me sit on a stool for 8 hours a day, what kind of monster are you?”
Kami rolled her eyes. “The kind that is trying to run two a business and pay off a stupid amount of student loans who can’t seem to find decent help.”
“Two businesses, and what’s so hard about finding someone [insert generic job application skills] and, you know, who knows how to handle their own in case of demons?”
“It’s a letter from my Student Loan Officer. Apparently I haven’t met their very specific requirements and they’re going to send someone to... collect.”
“What kind of Student Loan did you get?”
“The one where the Fine Print includes various descriptions of bodily harm, apparently.” Kami handed Jade the letter.
“Wait a minute, you took a Student Loan out from -- [name]? [name] fucking [name]?”
“I kind of assumed that slinging coffee and demon hunting would be enough to pay the bills. You know we’re in a bad spot when caffeine pays better than justice.”
Jade crumpled the letter with a sigh.
“We just need more work, that’s all. We can get a payment to your Loan Shark before they come to visit. It said we had two weeks.”
“Jade, where are we going to get that kind of money in two weeks?”
“I know a guy.”
“You know most of the guys--”
“It just so happens that I got word, discreetly, from a guy who says he has a cure for Demon herpes. Which, as you well know, I am very keen to acquire. He needs a job done, of the demon-slaying kind, in return. It pays well. It pays enough to send that payment and another.”
“What’s the job?”
“It doesn’t matter what it is, does it? We’ll do it, we’ll get the money, problem solved.”
“No, no. Remember the last ‘job’ you took without asking enough details? I’m pretty sure that’s how you met--”
“Don’t even say that son-of-a-bitches name. I remember. Point taken. I’ll get the details.”
Jade text furiously as she spoke. She watched her phone as she spoke.
“We haven’t had a decent job in months, Kami. Besides, Starr’s old enough, she can watch the coffee shop while we’re gone. There won’t be anything to worry about.”
“What if [name] comes to the shop looking for me? What if he finds Starr instead?”
Jade looked up from her phone long enough to give Kami a raised-eyebrow look of disbelief.
“He wouldn’t dare. But even if he did--Starr can handle herself.”
“I hate this fucking coffee shop.”
“You’re just jealous.”
“I still hate it.”
The building was made of alabaster brick with a curved tile roof. The double doors were painted red. A copper bell hung next to the entrance, as if anyone would have trouble hearing someone enter the door. Although, they might, the interior itself was spacious. The coffee and book shop, called the [king reference], was the only competition to Mythos Grande in town as far as demon-hunting services were concerned. The coffee tasted like shit, so they sold books as a source of back-up income. Jade took every opportunity to remind the shop owner of the quality of his coffee.
They pushed open the front doors and the place was packed. Overly-priced laptops and cellphones plugged in to every possible outlet, the smell of burnt, shitty coffee and organic pastries hung in the air. Jade’s lip curled. A line stretched from the counter to the doorway and so they waited.
“Who pays $8 for a fucking cup of coffee?” Jade asked, checking out the menu as she did every time. She opened her phone and stole the Weekly Special off the board and text it to Starr.
“The same people who pay Malachite twice what we charge to hunt demons, sister-mine.”
“Yuppies. Trust fund hippies and the spawn of rich people. Whatever demonic shit they get themselves into, I have zero interest in getting them out of, even if they could pay me twice for it.”
“Even if he’s hot?” Kami asked with a smirk.
“Don’t get me started, I can’t believe you think--”
The line surged to the left and left Malachite sparkling in the distance. Jade felt a little weak in the knees. Her strong, independent knees. Malachite’s hair was naturally white and pulled back into an elegant man-bun held up by jade chopsticks. His thick-rimmed glasses were also white. Stunning ice-blue eyes met hers and he smiled with a twitch of his perfect lips. He wore a v-neck t-shirt with an unnecessary scarf around his neck. His wrist and forearm were bandaged from fresh tattoos. Probably another poem he had written. His gaze settled on Jade with a pretentious smirk then slid to her sister and changed into something Jade couldn’t identify except to associate it with hunger. Whatever it was, Jade didn’t like it. Malachite flipped a rebellious strand of hair over his shoulder. The line moved back to block their view.
“Kami, dear,” Malachite leaned over the counter, took her hand and kissed it lightly. The plastic wrap on his arm crinkled from the gesture. Blood shifted beneath the plastic and he winced in a delicate way. “To what do I own the pleasure of your company?”
“I’d like a double-shot Spicy Chocolate--”
Kami elbowed her in the ribs. Her scratched, bloodied ribs. She bit her tongue. Hard.
“We need your help.” Kami glanced at her sister. “I need your help.”
Malachite clapped his hands together. The room went silent. A man rushed out from the kitchen, wearing another unnecessary scarf, and took Malachite’s place behind the register. Malachite stepped aside and the conversations in the room continued. He led them through the coffee shop to a darkened corner. The door was painted red like the entrance. Two muscle-bound meat-heads stood guard. Jade wondered if they were just for looks for if they were really on the payroll. Apparently business was good.
One of the men unlocked the door as Malachite approached.
“You boys can search me if you’d like,” Jade said with a wink. Kami smacked her on the back of the head and dragged her through the door behind her.
The door led to a staircase that spiraled another story below ground. The room was lit with low-wattage light bulbs and a few flickering candles. A couple velvet-covered chairs and a long sofa sat against one wall. Malachite motioned for them to sit. The room was silent.
“I’m sorry for the precautions but I couldn’t risk anyone overhearing us.”
“Is there some kind of trouble?” Kami asked as she sat. Jade flopped down on the couch next to her with a wince.