Welcome to the Wicked, Weird and Whimsical Words Halloween Blog Tour!! A few of my author friends from Broad Universe and I adore Halloween, so we're trading blog posts every other day for this last week of October.
Justine Graykin's second post in this tour tickles me to no end. I've been a fan of her Archimedes Nesselrode since she started reading excerpts from it at Rapid Fire Readings years ago. It was an audio book first, and I just don't do audio books. So, when she finally, finally, finally had a huggable book published, I did, indeed, drive all the way up to her release party in New Hampshire so I could immediately hug my own copy. Squee!
An Excerpt from Archimedes Nesselrode by Justine Graykin
Archimedes Nesselrode, my newly-released novel from Double Dragon, is mostly gentle and whimsical, a tale of an artist with strange and wonderful creative powers. But these powers also have a dark and frightful side, one which even the artist himself fears.
In honor of the this shiversome season, I offer to the readers of my dear friend Trisha’s blog an excerpt from the book in keeping with that spirit of darkness.
We join the artist and his devoted housekeeper attempting to escape from the vengeful anger of Zarah Trebbiano, the operatic diva whose advances Mr. Nesselrode has rejected.
“Get in the car, Mr. Nesselrode,” Ms. Mare said firmly, “I shall handle this.”
“Oh, yes, get into the car, Michel!” the singer mocked. “Do as your woman servant says! Spineless worm! That is all you are! Gutless and spineless!”
“That will be enough!” Ms. Mare snapped in an imperiously commanding tone that any school mistress would have envied. “You will leave immediately and do not dare attempt to contact Mr. Nesselrode again in any way!”
“Call off your dog, Michel,” Madam Trebbiano said, “her yapping annoys me.”
“You are a crude, ill-bred woman who ought to be ashamed of herself, but is too arrogant to realize it! Now, good night to you!” Ms. Mare turned on her heel to go. Her employer had still not moved.
“Ill-bred?” the singer cried. “This from an illegitimate brat of the serving class! Oh, yes, I know who you are! You’re the housekeeper, aren’t you? Do you think to improve your position by coddling your master? A bit of advice to you--don’t attempt to bed him! He is a passionless, impotent fish!”
“How dare you?” Ms. Mare cried in outrage.
“Can’t you say anything, Michel? No, you pathetic, sniveling poseur! I should never have wasted my time with you! You are not a man at all!”
“That will be enough!” Ms. Mare commanded, uncomfortably aware that they were beginning to attract a crowd. “Mr. Nesselrode, get into the car. We are leaving!”
“Go on, Michel! Run with your tail between your legs! That’s all you’ve got down there! Go home with your faithful dog! Perhaps you can reward her with a few limp-wristed caresses! Or do you prefer little boys?”
“Zarah, shut up!”
The transformation of Archimedes Nesselrode from rabbit to wild-eyed fury was sudden and astonishing. He spun around to face her and his voice rose into a screech. “Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!”
Madam Trebbiano was shocked speechless, taking a step away from him. Ms. Mare was frozen, her mouth open. She had seen him annoyed, fretful, peevish and irritated. She had never seen this. His eyes blazed with madness, but not the gentle, harmless madness she was accustomed to. His face was twisted horribly and malignantly. The winged snake flew up into the air with alarm and darted over to Ms. Mare, coiling about her legs and cringing, afraid of her own master.
“You summon great passion in me, Zarah! Oh, yes! You inspire me with wild emotion!” He laughed, but it was a fearful, maniacal sound. “You are fascinated by my magic, eh? I’ll give you a demonstration! See what I create in your honor!” He held out his hands. To Ms. Mare’s horror they were dripping with scorpions. If there was any creature which inspired greater loathing in her than spiders, it was scorpions.
Madam Trebbiano’s expression showed much the same sentiment. She was grimacing in revulsion. Archimedes Nesselrode, quite monstrously insane, walked towards her. “Embrace me, Zarah! I’m all yours!”
“Get away from me!” she cried, backing away. But she found her retreat blocked. They were no longer standing on a city sidewalk. Archimedes Nesselrode had conjured a chamber of horrors.
The stone walls that enclosed them slanted at bizarre angles and intersected with unbearable asymmetry. The seams where the stone blocks met were cracked and seeping with fungoid slime. From the slime bubbled shapeless things which crawled and dripped to the crazily tilting floor. The ceiling was thickly hung with sticky webs which seethed with black legs and bloated bodies.
“Gifts for you, Zarah!” he shrieked, his voice cracked and shaking, “From the bottom of my heart!” He threw the scorpions at her, and began to laugh hideously. He became swathed in robes of black and scarlet, and from beneath the folds of the robe erupted monstrosities, deformed and hideous. Writhing hunks of severed flesh, embedded with eyes, oozing like open wounds, they flopped and crawled around him. Zarah Trebbiano screamed and clawed helplessly at the venomous creatures that clung to her, stinging her repeatedly.
Stunned with horror, Vivian Mare stared, unable to believe that her timid, sweet employer could have so suddenly mutated into this terrible monster. It took an act of strongest will power to break the paralyzing spell.
“Snake, for pity’s sake, let go of me!”
My thanks to Trisha Wooldridge for her gracious hospitality. Archimedes Nesselrode isYou may learn more about this and my humble self on my website, at justinegraykin.com
About the Author:
Justine Graykin is a writer and free-lance philosopher sustained by her deep, abiding faith in Science, Humanity and the belief that humor is the best anti-gravity device. Author of Archimedes Nesselrode, a book written for adults who are weary of adult books, she is producer of the BroadPod podcast. She lives, writes and putters around her home in rural New Hampshire, occasionally disappearing into the White Mountains with a backpack.
The Wicked, Weird and Whimsical Words Halloween Blog Tour runs every other day October 23-October 31. Join us all five days for Halloween fun! Be sure to say hello on any post to be entered in a giveaway at the end of the tour!