I'm bummed! I didn't make it through to the next round of Karin Tabke's First Line Contest. Rats! Well, it was fun while it lasted.
The following is a short excerpt from my steampunk urban fantasy WIP, Mystic Taxi:
Wanda looked at her aunt and asked, "Anythin' else you can tell me about those Hebeites?"
Alva's forehead creased with concern. "Other than them being ruthless killers with the single-minded goal of staying young forever? No, can't say that I do."
"I know something about that group," Henry said. "Goddess worshippers. You have one in your building?" He felt the temperature in his eyes heat up. "Did one of them take my Vox?"
"Calm down," Wanda said, handing the coffee maker to her aunt. "I don't know if she took it or not."
"So it's a woman." Figures. Women were at the root of most of his problems lately. "Not enough to make a deal with a goddess, she has to mess with an innocent demon, too?"
"Henry, I told you I don't know. I'm not even a hundred percent sure she's a Hebeite."
"Then let's find out." He spun on his heel and stomped down the hallway to the stairs. The sound of clomping footsteps followed. Wanda had the grace of a Clydesdale.
"We need a plan before we go barrelin' into a person's home and accuse 'em of bein' a thief," Wanda said to his back.
"What's the apartment number?"
She didn't answer and he stopped on the bottom step. He turned to glare at her and asked more directly, "What's the number?"
She stood two steps above him and met him eye to eye. "I'm not tellin' you until we have a plan." She reached out as if to touch him, then pulled her hand back. "What's that you have around your neck?"
He touched the crimped end of the metal hose containing the Snit that tried to kill Max. "I almost forgot. This is yours, too. It tried to kill my nephew's son."
"My, but ain't I the lucky one," she said with a smirk. "So many gifts, and I didn't think to get you somethin'."
Running his thumb along the rough edge of bent metal, Henry had an idea. "You can give me something. Like a chance to get my Vox away from that filthy Hebeite."
"But we don't have all the facts—"
"Don't need 'em." He grabbed both ends of the hose and lifted it off his neck. "I know what to do. Now tell me the number."