Abigail Colucci's Blog

April 14, 2014

I've had some health issues, which forced me to take a lengthy break from writing. I'm not great, but I've decided to get back into writing just to keep my mind occupied.

I've gone through and re-edited all my books. I'm very proud of the changes I've made and the editing that's been done. One thing I never loved was the ending of my last book, Combust, so I've altered that quite a bit and I've added an Epilogue. I'm also working on a few new projects, one of which is a new installment to the world of Kit and the Hunters.

If you would like a copy of the new ending and epilogue, please email me at abbeycbooks@gmail.com.
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Published on April 14, 2014 16:59 • 37 views • Tags: editing, updates

January 26, 2013

I just discovered my first book, Kindling, is on a few book torrent websites, many of which made me lolz. I don't want computers to be infected, so if you or anyone you know wants a free ebook (in any format you so desire), please email me:

abbeycbooks@gmail.com

Instead of using a book torrent site. Let your friends/families know that I would be happy to share.

- Abbey
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Published on January 26, 2013 12:06 • 82 views • Tags: abigail-colucci, ebook, free-ebook, kindling

January 11, 2013

Hi all -

Combust is free on amazon from January 11-13. Click the link to get it today!
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Published on January 11, 2013 09:33 • 58 views

January 4, 2013

You can buy it from Amazon.com
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Published on January 04, 2013 08:38 • 51 views

January 3, 2013

I just hit the publish button for Amazon.com direct publishing. Combust: The Hunter Trilogy Book Three will be available tomorrow, January 4.

I'm not going to post any further chapters to Combust, as I don't want to give away any details, but here's the synopsis and the cover:

Kit wakes with debilitating injuries and discovers a world in chaos. The Hunters are nearly destroyed and must band with the Tonals in order to fight against the Vampyres, who are now slaughtering humans like cattle. Braith was taken captive by The Queen and, if lost to the Vampyre Collective, the Tonals must consider him a possible enemy. Kit’s father, leader of the Hunters, is missing and pressures for Kit to lead force her to bury the trauma she endured and learn how to fight like a Vampyre as well as strengthen her Kindling capabilities. While Kit must learn to lead and learn to live with her crippling disability, she also must face losing herself to her newfound powers.


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Published on January 03, 2013 17:26 • 44 views • Tags: abigail-colucci, book-three, combust, the-hunter-trilogy

December 21, 2012

Completely didn't finish my goal of 50 books this year. Kind of a bummer, but I did write five novels and read halves of many novels. It's the completion of books I'm having trouble with.

Oh, well. Next year I'm setting daily reading goals. Working my day job plus writing in the evenings overwhelmed me this year and, I admit, I did place writing over reading, but I know I can't keep that up. Plus, I don't want to! I miss reading!

I hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday. Enjoy the final half of Combust chapter one (it's one of the longest chapters).
___
Combust: The Hunter Trilogy Book Three
Chapter One (continued; first part can be found here)

Okay, I was Catalina. My last name was . . . Chavez. Once I figured out my first name, my last name came easier. They fit together, like two links on a chain.

I was Catalina Chavez, I told myself.

My parents were Mercutio and Margaret Chavez!

I was remembering.

I was Kit. I had a sister, Gabriela, and two brothers, Leo and Hank. I lived with my parents in Arizona . . .

Wait, no. That wasn’t correct. I did not live with my parents. My parents and brothers and sister were thousands of miles away at our home, yard with a date palm and cactus, dirt glowing orange as the sun set to the West. Why didn’t I live with my parents?

Because I was a warrior, a Hunter of the undead.

I was a Hunter of the undead? It took a few minutes for me to think, for me to understand what my mind was telling me.

Yes. I fought with an army to battle friend and enemy. I was attacked by men who called themselves my allies, but whose lies caused hundreds of deaths, maybe the deaths of my friends and family. My enemies brought the beasts to the island. I am dead or dying or lying in a pool of blood because I was betrayed, because Ciaran Sayer needed more power, needed the highest power and would do anything - the unthinkable, the unforgivable - just to get his way.

I sucked in a deep breath of air through my teeth. The pain was worsening, gripping every muscle in my body. My eyes ached, like burning needles poking through the centers of my irises. I winced and let out a moan, then thought I heard far-off voices. Someone calling me, maybe. I craned my neck, trying to hear, trying to listen into the darkness that surrounded me. My heart was beating faster, the pain raising my blood pressure. I had to push away the pain to hear. I had to know who was calling me.

“Trust me, Kitty,” the darkness whispered.

But it wasn’t the darkness. It was Braith.

His voice came back to me like the distant rumble of thunder and I collapsed onto my bottom. The pain was intensifying and I pulled my knees to my chest, pressing my forehead into my legs and my knuckles against my lips as my mouth began to water with nausea.

What had happened to Braith?

Braith’s name brought memories - that day, on the field, Ciaran had called the vampyres. There was a plan to escape, but Braith handed me to the enemy, a vampyre. Another vampyre appeared, clamping his teeth into my flesh, pushing a blackness into me - was that part of the plan? Did he plan for me to die that day? I remember, then, I was picked up, fresh wound re-opened, broken glass teeth bearing into me, my skin, my veins, siphoning my blood until there was nothing left of me. My life was drained and I must have died or blacked out or something and ended up here. Where was ‘here’? Was I the vampyre’s captor? Was this death, my afterlife?

If I could speak, I would have called out to Braith in the darkness, but the pain had paralyzed my vocal cords. That last day, on the field where I had trained, I screamed Braith’s name as he was ripped from my grasp by The Queen’s army.

“Please Kitty, just trust me,” he had said. He was still fighting them when he again shouted, “Trust me!” And then he was pulled down by vampyres, a swimmer pulled by the undertow in the surf, and I faded.

Up until that moment, I had trusted him. Braith meant more to me than almost anyone else. I may have even loved him, but at that moment, lying in the dark, fighting the pain that weighted my body, I wasn’t so sure. How could things have gone so badly?

I trusted him.

“Do not use your fire,” Braith whispered. His kiss was still warm on my lips, but he never gave the command and led me to the vampyres like a goat led to slaughter. I was a Kindler. I could have destroyed them. I could have helped, I could have saved lives . . . But I trusted him and, though it went against what I felt was right, I did what he asked. I never used my fire, but then things turned to shit, hadn’t they? Braith betrayed me, betrayed Heike, betrayed The Rabbi and Jean-Luc and all the other Hunters as well. For what?

I rolled onto my side. The intensity of the pain was unbearable, pushing me over the edge of my threshold. I arched my back and tried to scream, but my vocal cords were numb and the sound caught in my throat. My breath was coming too fast and white flashes, bursting fireworks or implosions of stars, began to flash behind my eyelids. Maybe I was dying.

“Catalina, calm yourself,” I heard. The voice was unfamiliar, but something cool was placed on my forehead and it brought a bit of life to me. I heard my own voice, mumbling outside of myself, outside of that blackness, except I said nothing intelligible. “She’s waking,” I heard from the unfamiliar voice.

Suddenly, the darkness burst with light and colors so bright they pierced my clenched eyelids, bore all the way through my skull and into the center of my brain. My voice caught in my throat as I pushed out a scream, over and over again I screamed and tried to shield my face, but my arms were tethered and would not move. My eyes were burning, melting from my skull as they adjusted to the vibrance of the light and colors. It was as though my eyes had never been used before, were blinded, atrophied from disuse. The colors burned with a consuming intensity, orbited by a blaze of tinted fire; the light permeated through every fiber of my being, burrowing into me, sending spark waves and fiery spasms through my body. There was no antidote, nothing to make the colors fade, and all I could do was clench my eyelids and scream.

My eyes were shut tight, but I could still see the blazing light through my lids. Some of the colored shapes were moving. In front of me was a pale-yellow blob, so bright it was like looking directly into the sun. I couldn’t stop my screaming, moaning, begging for the glow to fade. My heart beat faster and faster and my chest was tight with want.

Please, help, I tried to say, but all that came out was a wail.

An umber blob moved towards me and the yellow blob moved away. “Mon Chaton, be still,” the blob said. It had Jean-Luc’s voice but there was no Jean-Luc, just a featureless color smear searing my senses.

“My eyes,” I said. I was weeping and could say nothing more between my sobs, between the flashes of crippling pain as my muscles tightened. Something was wrong. The amount of pain I was in wasn’t normal. Nothing should hurt as much as I did. My eyes were electrified with light and every muscle in my body stung, like bolts of lightening coursed through my veins. My stomach clenched and surged, but there was nothing to come up except stomach acid, burning my esophagus.

“Try to calm. Do not move too much. It’s your muscles. It’s . . .” The blob paused. “It is your eyes?” He placed his hands on my face, shielding me ever so slightly from the consuming light. “You see colors?” I moaned in reply. No words could explain the excruciating pain. He untied my arms and I quickly shielded my face, burying my eyes under the dark of my arms, but I knew no darkness could ever be black enough to keep the brightness out. I wrapped my arms around my head, eyes buried in the bends of my elbow. My arms were in just as much pain as my eyes, though, sending severe muscle spasms throughout my torso when I moved. I didn’t know which pain was more severe, but at least I was in blackness again, this time a beautiful relief from the vibrance around me. “Get her some sunglasses or something, hurry,” Jean-Luc ordered. I heard a rush of fabric and the opening of a door. A sweet smell of honey and sage moved about the room as the person left.

I felt the weight of Jean-Luc next to me, staring at me as I huddled beneath the shelter of my arms. I wasn’t sure what hurt worse, my body or my eyes, but I had to keep my arms across my face. I had to tried to hide from the light. The door opened again - I heard soft voices outside the room - and the sweet herb smell returned. Someone tapped my arm.

“Here, Catalina, these may help,” a deep voice said. He moved my arms out of the way and my breath caught in my throat, preparing for the pain of the light once again. He quickly slipped a pair of sunglasses on my face. I didn’t want to leave the comfort of my darkness and, I was glad, I didn’t really have to. As soon the glasses were on, I fell back into sleep, back into the black of dreams.

Although the blackness was a consolation from the light, the dreams were anything but. I dreamt of the vampyres, of Cillian holding my slender throat in his wide hand, of Ciaran watching over the fiery destruction of the training yard. I dreamt of defeat, over and over again I saw the vampyres show little mercy as they attacked and slaughtered the people that I loved. And I saw Braith, standing with his arms folded across his belly, watching the carnage, watching as a Hunter flailed his arms over his dismembered head, blood pouring from where his throat should have been. Sometimes, Braith was emotionless and, sometimes, he grinned as he stepped on the man’s throat or, sometimes, he grabbed me and swept his blade across my lips. Other times, he wept for me.

The next time I woke it was dark and Sarah sat on the chair next to me. She patted a baby’s back, trying to burp her. I noticed my eyes didn’t hurt as much and the colors had darkened slightly, but I was sticky with sweat and the blankets were cocooned around me. I reached up to my face and felt a pair of wide sunglasses covering most of my eyes and forehead area, forming an edgeless barrier against the light.

“Jean-Luc put them on you to help with the coloring.” I looked up at Sarah and she smiled a little, then frowned. “Are you in pain?” I couldn’t answer because I didn’t know. “You’ve been fighting in your sleep, Kit. You keep pulling out your tubes and I’ve done all I can. Please wake up.”

“Sarah,” I said. I remember saying her name and maybe I said something else, but I was drifting too far away from her to hear a response. I was pulled back into darkness and, this time, it wasn’t a relief. In the darkness were nightmares and behind my shut eyes was Braith.

“Promise me, no fire,” he said. He was a beautiful man, black curls waving down his head, deep bronze skin shining under the moonlight. I loved him, my heart hurt for him, I longed for his touch and lips sending shivers up my spine.

“I promise. No fire,” I replied. Part of me knew and part of me didn’t know what was going to happen, but I promised him anyway. He smiled and interlaced his fingers with mine and kissed my palm.

And, just as soon as his lips parted from my skin, he took me by the arm and pushed me into the arms of a waiting vampyre. I didn’t even fight, just accepted my death like some virgin sacrifice to the gods. The vampyre leaned into me and placed his lips on my wrist and said, “Trust me” right before he dug his shattered teeth into my flesh. I knew it was coming, I expected it, but, still, I wailed from the pain.

I turned to look back at the vampyre and saw Braith, cool, wide grin distorting his face into evil. His teeth shone bright in the light of the stars and a little cascade of my blood trickled down his chin.

“Trust me,” he repeated. He moved his hands to the side of my head, ready to snap my neck. I couldn’t scream in my dream, but my screams in real life shook me from my slumber.

Jean-Luc was at my side, a thin line of blood dripping from his brow. “Be calm, Mon Chaton. They are just dreams.”

“Braith,” I whispered. Tears flowed down my cheeks.

“They are just dreams,” Jean-Luc said.

I gasped for air, my body shaking from the pain of whatever was wrong with me. “Dear god what’s wrong with me?” The pain was pushing me into blackness.

“You’re ill,” Jean-Luc said. His eyes were tight with concern and tears fell down his face.

“Don’t let me sleep,” I said. But, there was little he could do. My body, overflowing with pain, fell back into slumber.

Again, I dreamt of war and Braith handing me over to the vampyres.

I dreamt of Jean-Luc covered in blood, cradling his baby, weeping for his dead wife and daughter.

I dreamt of my family being consumed with fire, my baby brothers screaming in agony as the flames from my hands went out of control.

I dreamt of my papá cradling Gabriela as she died in his arms, sometimes she was consumed by fire, but other times I had led the vampyres to them and they had killed her to get to me. Each time, papá looked up at me, tears falling from his hard face, and said, “It should have been you.”

Sometimes, I woke myself from screaming or crying, but always there was someone in the room with me. Jean-Luc or The Rabbi were there the most, but often it was Sarah or Josephine or the yellow man I didn’t recognize with shining eyes, watching me like a lamp post in the darkness.

It was the last nightmare I remember the most. Braith held me in the dark gym, the same gym The Rabbi took me to on my first day of training, the same gym Braith led me to on the day of the vampyre attack. Braith and I sat, huddled on the floor. All around us the walls crumbled under the weight of a surrounding hoard of vampyres. We could hear vampyres fighting, clawing through the rubble and dirt and cement, digging through the walls. We were surrounded. On all sides vampyres tried to get in and we had little hope of escape. Their calls were hungry, their desire for us went deep into whatever souls they had.

I controlled my heart rate, slowed it to an even, level tattoo, but, still, I knew they could taste us.

Above us was the night sky. The constellations hung high like lights on a Christmas tree. Orion the Hunter held up his shield, mocking me with his unchanging stance of protection; his conceit annoyed me so much I had to look away, into the rest of the sky. Swirls of tyrian purple and splashes of cobalt blue veined through the night, highlighting constellations and neighboring galaxies. A faint shade of cyan domed around a distant point in the horizon, bright from some large town or city, letting me know that I was not the last person on earth, that others would live and breath and continue when I died. As the walls collapsed and concrete turned to dust, all Braith and I could do was stare at the beauty above us.

After minutes or hours or seconds of staring at the night sky, Braith turned his face down and his sweet lips meting mine as he pressed himself into me. My heart only wanted him and, as long as he kissed me, I could forget the vampyres around us. But, he stole my breath when he let me go. My face was between his hands and he kissed me, again, on the forehead.

“Do it now,” he whispered. I had been waiting so long for him to say that, to let me fulfill my promise. Finally, I could help, I could contribute and maybe save us from the vampyres. I had seen our deaths a hundred times before and, maybe, I could stop it this time.

I opened my arms and let my fire spew from the tips of my fingers to the palm of my hand, pouring out of me just as it poured from The Rabbi that last day on the island. It was molten, a lava-like fire that gushed out of every point in my body. I had never released a fire that consuming, that hot and want for destruction, and it absolutely terrified me. I was shaking, but I tried not to show my fear. Braith and I were engulfed in an orb of whiteness, but around us the fire blackened everything it touched. I heard screams, the piercing wails of destroyed vampyres echoing around us. I could not see them, but their sound was furious, moans of sheer agony as they burned alive.

But, it wasn’t enough. More vampyres came. With every pulse of liquid flame from my hands, another hundred vampyres appeared, continuing the demolishment of the walls where their fallen brethren had stopped.

Even with all the power that I mustered, with the hottest most deadly fire that I could summon from my white insides, I could not stop them.

“Stop,” Braith said. The whiteness came back into me and we were back in the dim of the night, starlight shining down, lighting our faces. I was sick from my slaughter, not really believing I could be capable of that kind of consuming destruction. The sounds of digging and clawing were loud, closer than before. Braith shook his head, curly tendrils of hair falling into his face. I couldn’t tell if he was disappointed or just sad. He grabbed me by the wrist - too suddenly for me to stop him - and pushed me into the cupboard below the sink. He crouched in front of me, peering through the doorway. “It’s part of the plan, Kitty,” he said.

“Braith!” I screamed. He turned his back on me and he walked into the outstretched hands of a thousand, starving vampyres who had just barreled down the walls. “No!” I screamed. I was frozen, unable to move from the place under the sink. I beat my fists against the pressed wood walls, but a hand emerged from behind me, fingers wrapping around my wrist. My eyes widened and my heart sunk deep into my stomach as I cried out, trying to pull away with no avail. I turned and saw the same vampyre that had bit me, that had begun to suck away my life, the same vampyre Braith had handed me to on the training field. He had tried to take my life and was trying again.

His somber eyes were dark, shining like a starless night in the darkness of the cupboard. I had seen him recently, I sensed. I recognized him.

“It’s part of the plan, Kitty,” he said. I didn’t even have time to scream before he raised my forearm to his lips and bit again.
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Published on December 21, 2012 10:34 • 68 views • Tags: abigail-colucci, chapter-one, combust, the-hunter-trilogy

December 18, 2012

Combust: The Hunter Trilogy Book Three Chapter One

There was this moment between absolute darkness and semi-awakeness when I became aware. I opened my eyes and saw nothing but blackness - or, maybe I didn’t open my eyes, since there was no difference between open and shut, I couldn’t be absolutely certain. I couldn’t be absolutely certain of anything really, where I was or if I was asleep, awake, or even alive. The main difference was that, suddenly, I was sentient or conscious or cognizant or whatever you wanted to call it. I guess it didn’t really matter: wherever I was, I was in the darkest place I had ever been.

The darkness left me shaking, searching for any noise or breath or any sign that I was actually alive. But, there was nothing and I was so emotionally confused that all I could do was scream inarticulate wailings until my voice had nothing more to give. I cried, felt warm tears streaking down my face, until there were no more tears. I crawled around trying to touch something - anything - with my arms outstretched, trying to feel and find my way. But there was nothing - no walls, no borders, no anything -, not even echoes to comfort me. It was emptiness on all sides, a silent, suffocating vacuum that was only broken by the racing of my own heart and the pumping of blood in my ears. I was drowning in darkness like a fish suffocating on air.

I screamed some more, though hardly any sounds came from my parched throat. I pleaded for someone to come, but nothing changed, no one came to help, and I was more alone than I had ever been in the entirety of my existence.

When I had no more breath inside of me, I felt my body collapse onto the ground. I wiped my face and tried to calm my breaths. There was no use having a panic attack without having my bearings. I figured if I could scream I could probably breath so that meant I wasn’t completely dead, - at least, I wasn’t dead at that moment - so I laid on my back and started to regain control of myself.

Inhale.

Exhale.

Inhale. Exhale.

Inhale. Exhale, until my breath came naturally and I no longer felt the slushing waves in my brain and my hoarse throat moistened with too much saliva.

Finally, I felt a bit better, a little more in control of myself. I could feel my breath become steady and my mind become clear. There was a deep hammer in my chest, my heart pounding beneath its cage, beginning to slow as it regulated itself. My limbs moved freely and everything else seemed to be where it should be. There was a pain somewhere in my body, although it wasn’t yet an annoyance and couldn’t quite figure out what exactly was hurting. I concentrated on that feeling, the stabbing, stinging pain that throbbed across my body, and I was pretty sure the feeling meant I was alive. At least, I was probably alive.

I opened my eyes to try and peer into the darkness but, again, I found that was impossible - no lights, no stars, no noises. I kept imagining a silent pendulum swinging down at me from above or, maybe, a deep pit on the ground in front of me. My insides filled with that itchy, biting fear, again, because that childlike terror of a monster creeping up behind me still felt real. The darkness was still, quiet, nothing to hear except my own breath and heartbeat. Was I in a sealed room? Was I in a cave at the bottom of the ocean? The darkness was so complete there was no way I could even guess at my surroundings. I was just one star in the night trying to get home, trying to remember my way.

The panic was beginning to rise inside me again, so I had to force myself to close my eyes and ignore the darkness. It was almost impossible to ignore something so vast, but the situation needed to be assessed, needed to be broken down so I could figure out where I was and how to get out of there.

Here’s what I knew:

1. I was in a dark place.
2. I was, more or less, physically intact.
3. I was in pain. Pain probably meant I was alive. So, I had that going for me.
4. _____________________________________________

That fourth thing should have been something; it should have been, at least, my name, but I remembered nothing. There was not one memory in my conscious that tied me to a life I may have had, to explain how I had gotten there or where I was or why I was in pain. Hell, I couldn’t even remember who I was.

That was a problem.

I concentrated on breathing for a few minutes, trying to ease the tidal wave of nerves I thought would come, but the anxieties were stayed for the time being. My mind wanted to work, wanted to figure that whole thing out because I knew, somewhere in the recesses of my mind, I was someone and there was a pressing urge somewhere deep inside to find out who I was.

Think, I said to myself. Think, think, think.

I tried to clear my head, breathing, seeing random objects, saying random words to myself to, maybe, jog my memory. There had to be a magic word or object or mental picture that would trigger some sort of memory. But, there was nothing. I went through the entire alphabet trying to think of words, picturing animals and objects and places, but I had no connection to them. Wasn’t that strange? To know hundreds of different words, to know you learned those words, but not remember anything personal or even where or how you learned them?

I sighed. My jaw was beginning to ache. I moved it around and heard a loud crack in my ear and I rubbed the side of my face to help the pain.

There was an urge inside me, telling me to give up, telling me that remembering anything was futile and I should stop, give into this drowsiness that I hadn’t even realized was taking control of me. I was a useless piece of nothing, completely gone from whatever world I came from, just a lost figment of my own imagination or, maybe, the imagination of the darkness. Give up, something told me. Giving up would be easy, would be glorious, would, at least, bring me some rest. After all, I couldn’t even remember my name.

Ah, then, let’s go to the basics. I thought. My name. I would not fully give up without trying to find, at least, my name, a primordial linkage to my world. I pushed myself up and shook my head, trying to shake away the grogginess.

My name is . . .

My name is . . .

My name is . . .

I wasn’t sure how long I sat, repeating over and over My name is . . . but, no, my little chants of remembrance didn’t work. I had to try something new, something to surprise my memory out of slumber.

What did I say to introduce myself?

Hi, It’s nice to meet you. I am . . .

No one.

But I was someone, I knew I was someone because I was there, wasn’t I? I had to be real if I could think and feel and make noises. I tried a myriad of names - Lindsay, Jordan, Mallory, June, Lucy - but no name felt right. No name I thought of felt like I belonged to it. Without a name, I was lost, a nothing consumed by emptiness. How could I forget my own name?

My eyes were beginning to grow heavy, but I couldn’t allow myself to fade into sleep without finding my name. I sat up on my bottom, but still felt the drag of slumber. I moved to my knees, hoping the pressure of my weight would keep me awake. There was a hunger deep inside me to find a name, find my name before it was too late, before I lost it forever. A name was defining, a basic symbolic of humanity and, if my name was lost, the essence of me was gone. I knew I had a name, but where was it in my subconscious? Some name had to fit me. What had happened to me to make me forget? How could I remember anything if -

Chaton.

The word hit me like a wave and I had to place my hands on the floor to stop me from falling over. Chaton! No, I didn’t think it was my name, exactly, but it felt familiar, so that was something. Familiarity filled my eyes with tears. I knew I had to press on, to dig deeper.

I sat and thought about Chaton for a while. That word meant something to me . . . Kitten, right? Did I own cat? Was I a cat? Did I love cats? Maybe I hated cats? As I sat and thought about that word, chaton, my body continued to throb, deepen with every breath - a cavernous ache somewhere in my body growing, changing. It was still tolerable, but noticeably more uncomfortable. My head was beginning to fill with white bursts of pain recognition, fighting away whatever injury I had. I had to concentrate, clear my head of the pain and breathe.

Concentrate on breathing.

I obeyed myself and breathed. I only listened to my lungs fill and push out the oxygen and, finally, I heard something else. Somewhere, there was a voice in the far-off expanse of my memory, echoing in my mind’s ears. A man with an accent, French, laughing, smoke from his burning cigarette flowing from his nostrils, face and head shaved to dark stubble, dark eyelashes edging irises a dusty, hydrangea blue. Mon Chaton, he called me, my kitten. But, that wasn’t my name.

Kit. My name was Kit.

I was remembering.

Short for . . . Katherine?

Katherine. It felt strange, like it sort of belonged to me, but not really. I identified with Kit. I felt like it was mine, but Katherine? Katherine was a great-aunt or something, a distant relative coming to Sunday dinner. I thought for a long time about that name, Katherine. I rolled the name over my tongue and lips for a long while, but it wasn’t right. The name was not mine.

I am Kit and that’s short for . . .

Catalina, the mountains, white-tipped peaks silhouetted orange in the glow of the rising sun, blue-grey haze darkening the pointed ridges, red and ruddy dirt kicking up, dust-filled mushroom clouds around my feet.

Catalina.


I felt the name burst from my mind. That name I could identify with. I belonged to Catalina. I belonged to Kit. My names.

But, who was I?
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Published on December 18, 2012 10:35 • 60 views • Tags: abigail-colucci, book-three, combust, the-hunter-trilogy

December 11, 2012

I've been quite silent lately, as I poured myself into participating in NaNoWriMo during November and wrote the beginnings to a pretty thrilling novel (at least, it's thrilling to me!).

Alas, my third novel Combust will be out any day. Really, it's completely ready, but I'm working on cover art. The book flowed out of me, but the cover is turning out to be the hardest part! I have no idea what I want this one to look like, as the book is pretty dark and takes on a very different voice than the first two books.

So, be prepared for Combust, which will be out either right before Christmas or during the first week of 2013!

- Abbey
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Published on December 11, 2012 16:52 • 63 views • Tags: combust

October 14, 2012

Chapter Three

The offices on the second floor were modern and well air-conditioned. I didn’t realize how hot I was from the fight, so the cool air was refreshing. There were several people doing clerical work in various cubicles and one of the ladies stood as we walked in. Her lip curled as she glanced me over, then she rummaged in a drawer and handed me a washcloth.

“Clean your face before you see The Doctor,” she ordered in a thick, Southern drawl. I wondered where she came from and how she got all the way over to a tiny island near Portugal, but her pursed lips and judgmental stare told me she wasn’t one for idle chatter, especially with a trainee. I felt my face and cleaned off some sprayed food and sweat. I wiped the sweat and dirt away and was surprised to see some blood as well, but it didn’t seem too serious. I would live.

After a quick check, the assistant nodded her approval and motioned us through.

Braith led us down the corridor to one of the last offices, knocked once, and opened the door. Heike stood and sighed when we came in. There was also an elderly man sitting at the desk near the far side of the room. He was long and thin and had white hair and a finely trimmed, white beard.

“God, what a first day,” Heike said to me. “He didn’t hurt you?”

“No,” I said. “I’m okay.”

He looked at my bleeding forehead and handed me a clean towel. “Nothing else happened?” Heike questioned. “He didn’t hurt you any other way?”

I shook my head again. “What other way?”

“No, Heike. We were watching,” Braith spoke up. “Jean-Luc and I were right there. Indra was right there. Cillian was close, but not that close.” He raised his eyebrows and nodded knowingly.

Oh, yeah. I forgot I had to be worried about rape on top of being attacked. I blushed.

Heike nodded and rubbed his knuckles against the groove of his chin. “Good, good,” he muttered. It was the first time I had ever seen him nervous and it was strange, especially since, not ten minutes beforehand, he was a bad ass screaming obscenities at a bunch of teenage idiots. “We have to watch that. I worry they’ll try something. Ciaran . . .” Heike paused and glanced at Braith and then to me. “Ciaran is upset, you understand. He can’t be trusted. You know he can’t be trusted?” Braith and Jean-Luc nodded. “You will come with her every morning and leave every evening?” Braith and Jean-Luc nodded again. “Maybe she should stay with Ami? Or Jean-Luc, you and Josephine have an extra room?”

“I have a suggestion,” the old man at the desk said. He rose and walked over to us. He was much taller than I first thought, nearly the same height as Heike, but leaner and more well-manicured. Everything about him was long: long, oval face drawn thinner with a white goatee; spindly arms that extended down mid-thigh; gangly legs that barely creased the fabric of his pants.

“Ah, papa, I’m sorry,” Heike said. “Katja, this is my father, Abram.” Abram smiled and bowed a short hello. My eyes widened. Not only did Heike look nothing like his father - except for the height-, but was Abram Van Helsing really the guy from Dracula?

“Abram Van Helsing? Like from the novel?” I blurted. Okay, so I read Dracula on my flight to Portugal and I’m supposedly the descendent of the guy - who killed the lord of the vampyres! - so shouldn’t I be even a bit curious? I mean, that book was genuinely freaky! Mysterious illnesses, people being sucked dry of their blood, corpses being decapitated, psychotic wannabe vampyres eating bugs, people crawling down walls of castles. It was an intense book! Braith had said it was family history and Heike had said it was nonsense, but I didn’t know who to believe.

I knew, though, as soon as I brought up the novel, I shouldn’t have. Abram’s eyes widened and his lips pursed, face contorted into a scowl. Braith and Jean-Luc sucked in a breath and cringed in unison. Heike shook his head and sighed.

Suddenly, Abram’s face relaxed into a grin and he laughed. “You do not know how much I hate that book.”

I shrunk back. “Sorry,” I mumbled. I could feel the embarrassment flood my face.

“Do not worry. Someday, I will tell you about that tome,” Abram smiled. I grinned back but I could feel the red still pulsing through my face. I should just keep my mouth shut. “Who made you read that? Was it Braith?” I shrugged. Abram turned to Braith. “You were drunk, weren’t you?”

Braith smiled. “You don’t understand how many questions she asks, Dr. Van Helsing,” he said. “And even that book only made her shut-it for a few hours!”

Abram laughed. “I suppose you neglected to tell her how fictitious it was?”

“I was a might off that day, sir,” Braith smirked. “May have slipped my mind.”

“Braith,” Heike sighed. He was smiling, so he wasn’t too upset. Then, Heike turned to Abram. “What is your suggestion, papa?”

Abram smiled at me. “She will remain with the Walters. She has been there two months and she doesn’t need more disruption to her life. No one is going to bother her while she is living in the home of Torben Walters, not even Torben. The entire town knows she is there. Braith and Jean-Luc are close enough to watch out for her. Jean-Luc, you’re only a street or so away right now, aren’t you?” Jean-Luc nodded. “They are enough protection, Heike. She’s a Kindler, after all, and if what I have heard from Ami is true, then she’s a fantastic Kindler, at that.” I smiled and nodded a thanks to him.

“I don’t think she’s protected enough,” Heike glanced at me and studied the cut on my head. “This is the first day on yard and look at her already. She might be safer somewhere else,” Heike said.

“But, she beat him, Heike, she won with hardly trying at all,” Braith said. “She beat Cillian and I reckon she’s shown them taking her down ain’t gonna be easy.”

“I’m worried about more than just the fighting, Braith,” Heike said. “There is more to worry about than her just getting beaten up.”

They began arguing in Dutch, speaking in heated tones for about five minutes. I had no idea what was going on and I’m pretty sure they preferred it that way so I wouldn’t ask questions. Heike and Braith couldn’t stand when I asked so many questions - especially Braith, who had difficulties controlling the annoyed sighs when he was around me.

As they spoke, my head ping-ponged, back and forth between Abram, Heike, and Braith, trying to see if I could decipher any of the words. Of course I couldn’t figure anything out - only a word or two every now and then - and I only managed to give myself a strain in my neck and a headache building at the back of my skull. Eventually I looked at Jean-Luc, who had flopped into a chair, and he just shrugged. I was glad I wasn’t the only one who had no idea what was going on.

Finally, they decided I should go back to Mrs. Walters. I was glad since I really enjoyed Poppie’s company and I didn’t really feel in too much danger. I knew Heike was right to be concerned - I supposed I had a bit more to be concerned about than a boy - but Abram was right: I was comfortable at the Walter’s. It had almost become like home to me and Poppie was my one tie to normalcy. I didn’t want to give her up just because I got in a scuffle on my first day of training. Besides, the boys disliked me, but I had lived there for over two months and nothing had happened. I didn’t think they would go out of their way to kill me. At least, not yet anyway.

I returned to the yard before the boys had finished up their lunch. Jean-Luc and Braith stood to my side as I stretched on the ground.

“Aya,” Braith called to someone behind me. I turned to see Indra, the chef, coming towards us.

Indra grinned and nodded a hello. “Thought you might be hungry,” he said. He handed me my fat cake and a pita filled with grilled chicken and vegetables.

My eyes widened - I had almost forgot how hungry I was - and I grinned. “Thank you,” I said.

Indra’s eyes twinkled in the sunlight and fine, crescent wrinkles formed on the sides of his eyes. He had taken his apron off and wore an unbuttoned waistcoat and, beneath, a cotton shirt with the sleeves rolled to his elbow. It was a strange, old-fashioned outfit, but I was too busy eating to make a comment. I noticed his arms were covered in sleeves of tattoos, beautiful colors and designs twining up his arms, but he was a bit too far away from me to see details.

As I ate, Braith and Indra began speaking some language I didn’t even recognize - maybe Japanese? It was even remotely familiar, so I didn’t know for sure. Jean-Luc stood by, hands deep in his pockets and head bowed. I wasn’t sure if he understood what they were saying, but I paused my eating for a moment to listen.

As I finished my food, Indra nodded at Jean-Luc. “Léonce sends his love. He wishes you could have been there.” Jean-Luc sighed and said something in French. The three of them spoke for a bit longer though, again, I had no idea what they were saying. Finally, Indra smiled down at me. “You stay out of facking trouble, Kitten,” he said.

I raised my brow. “I’ll try,” I said. He patted me on the head and left for the cafeteria. I looked up at Braith and his slid his sunglasses down to his eyes.

“Day’s almost finished, eh?” He said. “Reckon you’ll make it out alive.”

“Who’s Indra?” I asked.

“A gentleman of many talents,” Jean-Luc said. “And one of our dearest friends. Don’t annoy him too much with the questions, Mon Chaton.”

Braith snorted. “She couldn’t annoy him if she tried. He’s got the patience of a bloody saint.”

I sighed and looked up at Braith. “How many languages do you know?” I asked.

Braith shrugged. “A few.”

“A lot,” Jean-Luc chimed. “It’s his thing.”

I opened my mouth to ask more questions, but a whistle rang and boys poured from the cafeteria doors. They jogged to their places in line and stood at attention. Cillian came out with a few boys hovering around him, blood seeping through his newly bandaged face. He probably needed stitches.

“Hey Cillian,” Braith called. “Got something on your face. Reckon you should have that looked at!”

Cillian snarled. “Toss off,” he said. He made a crude gesture by fanning his hand beneath his chin and stroked it out at Braith.

Jean-Luc laughed and tapped my head. “Back in line with you.”

The remainder of the day was much less intense than what The Rabbi put me through – and even included an hour and a half of “class time” where we were supposed to talk about vampyres but, really, ended up telling vampyre stories. It seemed like just an excuse for the boys to goof off as each story got more far-fetched than the last. I didn’t think any of them could possibly be real. In the middle of story time, Braith leaned over to me.

“None of these boys have ever even met a vampyre,” he grinned. “Reckon you should tell them a story about your vampyre ass-kicking, eh?”

“Maybe.” I smiled. “They wouldn’t believe it, though.”

“You’d have to tell them the vampyres were forty meters tall and swept in on broomsticks for them to believe you,” Braith said. I giggled a little. Braith could almost be sweet when he wanted to be.

“Thank you for being nice to me today,” I whispered.

Braith smiled and gave me a little nudge. “Always noice to you, Kitty,” he said. “You’re just immuned to my wonder-ocities.” I rolled my eyes, but he did make me smile.

At the end of the day, the boys had sparring. It was the one thing I was kind of looking forward to - it wasn’t every day I got to pretend to beat up Braith - but, it was very disappointing and so incredibly boring. One boy was chosen from the group to be the defender and he chose another boy to be the offender. They fought until one was pinned, then who ever won got to pick the next opponent. There were only a handful of boys that were always called - including Cillian, who was called on nearly every single time - and there was little variation in their fighting styles. It was quite boring and I even nodded off while resting on Braith’s shoulder.

Finally, we were dismissed for supper at five and the boys all went to the cafeteria without so much as a glance in my direction. I felt good about the day, overall, since the boys hadn’t behaved too badly. My basic goal for my first day of training was just to survive and I felt quite successful.

Although, I couldn’t help but worry about the actual learning part of training. How on earth would I be able to fight vampyres if we didn’t learn anything about them? I knew no more about vampyres at the end of the day than I did at the beginning and that was quite off-putting.

I followed Braith and Jean-Luc as they walked me back to Mrs. Walters’ house. They were unusually quiet that evening and their tight-pressed lips told me they didn’t really want to talk, but I needed answers! So many weird things happened that day and I was pretty lost on most of what happened, why the masters dressed in those clothes and why the boys said those weird words that seemed to make no sense. Besides, how often does one get into a fight with a giant buffoon calling you weird names you didn’t understand?

“Why do Ciaran and Torben dress like that?” I asked. “They dress alike.”

“It’s the uniform, Mon Chaton,” Jean-Luc said. “When we take the oath and become Hunters, we are given the uniform. We wear it when we Hunt.”

I crinkled my brow. “The coat, too?”

“Of course the coat,” Braith said. “The coat is the most important part.”

I shrugged. “It seems like a bit of a nuisance.”

“Ah, the coat! Never blaspheme our coat, Mon Chaton,” Jean-Luc said. He chuckled. “I’m not even a Hunter, but I wear my Hunting coat with pride. It is the most important piece of clothing you will ever use,” Jean-Luc said. At first I thought he was joking, but his face was earnest. “The coat is everything to a Hunter. It keeps you warm, protects you, shields you, shelters you, helps you hide in the woods, lets you blend into the crowds, hides your weapons, covers your wounds. Your coat connects you to other Hunters. If you see a man in a duster like ours, you automatically think he is a brother. The coat is a part of you. It represents us, protects us just as we protect innocent people. It is exactly what The Hunter Coven stands for and it is one of a Hunter’s most prized items.” He beamed at Braith. “When you are handed the coat, you become a Hunter. You feel the honor of it. You are ready to begin your life of Hunting in the wilds of the world.” He laughed a little to clear his throat, emotional over just the idea of the trench, eyes gleaming and chin raised. “It is moving, is it not, Mon Chaton? How even in the darkest of times, we are linked?”

I wasn’t moved. I was freaked out. “It’s just a coat,” I said. My eyes were wide and my forehead began to moisten. Jean-Luc laughed and nudged me with his shoulder.

“It’s more than a coat, Mon Chaton,” he laughed. “You’ll understand when you get it. It’s more than a coat,” he said again.

I was dumfounded that so much thought had been put into a simple coat and I was sure I would never understand what the hell Jean-Luc was talking about. Just the idea of that coat sent a wave of itchy nerves through me and, I didn’t really understand why, but it terrified me. My heart began pounding with just the thought of Jean-Luc’s words or, maybe, it was the thought of the after-training when I would be let loose onto the world to Hunt vampyres.

I wasn’t ready for anything that the coat symbolized to Jean-Luc and Braith and I was fairly certain I would never be ready for any of that. All I wanted from this training is to learn how to control my powers and protect my family. I never thought about going out on my own to Hunt before and, I knew right at that moment, there was no way I could do it. I was not a real Hunter and would never be one. I decided that, if I ever finished that stupid training - I doubted I ever would - I wouldn’t accept the coat. I would give Heike and Braith a fond farewell, return home to my family, finish school, go to university, get married, have babies. That’s all I wanted, a simple life where I could jog in the mountains. I didn’t want fame, I didn’t even want to be rich, and I especially didn’t want to Hunt vampyres. I just wanted quiet normalcy in the rolling foothills of the Catalina Mountains with my family. I would try to erase any knowledge that I had about vampyres and Hunting and live without fear. I was never going to Hunt.

I felt my face flush, but I tried to continue without bringing attention to myself. I had to clear my throat a few times before the words came. “So, what do all those words mean?" I quickly changed the subject. The less we talked about honor and protecting innocents, the more I could cling to feeling like a normal person, even if I wasn’t one. "Like cone and toss and Strig?”

“Oh, shite, Kitty,” Braith shook his head and laughed.

Jean-Luc bellowed a laugh as well. “You give her the lesson,” he said to Braith. “English is my second language.”

“Just ignore them,” Braith said. “That’s the easiest thing. It’s best you dunno what those words mean.”

“But they kept calling you the Strig Prince,” I said. “And saying tossing. You’re the tossing Strig Prince. What does it mean?”

Jean-Luc blushed and shook his head. “Merde,” he laughed. “You just don’t stop with the questions.”

Braith groaned. “They’re curse words, swears. Saying tossing is like saying the f-word,” he said.

“Oh,” I said. “What about Strig?”

“Oh my god will you shut it!” Braith sighed. “You ask so many questions! They are all bad words! Just stop saying them.”

“Sometimes you can be such an asshole,” I murmured and crossed my arms. “I don’t know anything! Imagine being plopped down in the middle of some weird place where no one spoke your language and the only two who you could understand were jackasses criticizing you for every question asked. Yeah, I do ask a lot of questions, but I’ve been living in Arizona for the last seventeen years, not on some fucking island surrounded by disgusting, weird-talking boys!”

Braith sighed heavily, a rolling growl came from deep inside his throat, and he pinched his forehead. “You’re so dramatic,” he sighed. He looked to Jean-Luc, who held up his hands and laughed. “It’s just . . . it’s a bad word! I reckon it’s probably the worst thing they can call someone. It stands for Strigoi, that’s what most of us call vampyres, but when one of the boys calls you it . . .” He rubbed his eyes. Maybe it was cruel of me to squeeze it out of him, but I didn’t care. Who else was there to tell me? “Okay, think of the worst thing you can call someone. That’s how Hunters use the word Strig. It’s just really offensive and you should never, ever use it unless you want the shit kicked out of you.”

I thought about this for a minute. “Then why do you let them call you it? And why do they call you the Strig Prince?”

We were at the doorway between the village and the training yard. Braith stopped and he and Jean-Luc spoke in French. Sometimes when they spoke I could catch a bit of what they said - some Spanish words are similar to French - but they were so quick that day I didn’t catch any of it until Jean-Luc shrugged. “She’s going to find out and she best find out from you. Tell her,” he said.

Braith sighed. “First, don’t even say that. I can’t tell you how offensive it is here and you are just asking for a beating if you use it,” he said. His face became drawn and a bit sad. “Secondly, they call me that because . . . I’m a Dhampir so I’m half Strigoi, right?” I nodded. “My mother is Usha Roshni.” He paused, expecting some sort of reaction. “Do you know that name?”

I shook my head. “You know your mother’s name but have never met her?”

“I love this girl,” Jean-Luc said. He gave my shoulders a quick squeeze. “She’s absolutely precious.”

“Usha Roshni is the Queen,” Braith said. “She’s Queen of the Vampyres.”

“Oh,” I said. I thought about this for a moment. “Oh, I get it! That’s why you’re the prince?”

Braith nodded. "Yeah, I’m the prince," he sighed. "But it’s the worst thing the boys can think of calling someone so do me a favor and don’t repeat it ever, arright?"

“But, does it mean anything?” I asked. “That you’re her son? Like is she going to come for you or something? Claim you as her own?”

“It means nothing. Absolutely nothing, no matter what Ciaran believes. I’m not a vampyre,” Braith said. “I’m a Vampyre Hunter and a damn good one. She would be a fool to come after me.”

I thought about this for a few seconds, then furrowed my brow. “Wait, so Ciaran slept with and had a child with the Queen of the Vampyres?” I asked. Braith nodded. “And he is allowed to train vampyre Hunters?” Braith nodded again. “And you’re the one that’s treated like a social pariah?”

Braith shrugged. “I guess, yeah. Some people are terrified of Dhampirs. Hunters, especially, got this thing against Dhampirs. It’s hard to change their minds.”

“Wow, that’s messed up,” I said. “That doesn’t make any sense! He’s the one that caused this mess. Was he at least punished or something?”

Braith shrugged. “I don’t think so.”

“He claimed she drugged him,” Jean-Luc said. “It’s not unheard of that a vampyre goes after a human, but never before had a female vampyre taken advantage of a man, especially a Hunter. It was unheard of.” Jean-Luc grinned and patted Braith on the shoulder. “Braith’s one-of-a kind, you know.”

“That’s so strange,” I said and thought about it for a minute. “Should we get going?”

“That’s it?” Braith asked.

I nodded. “Thanks for explaining.”

Braith looked at Jean-Luc, who could only laugh at us. “Seriously? You find out I’m the Queen of the Vampyre’s son and you say that it’s strange and thanks and that’s it? No more questions? It must be a trick,” he tried holding back a grin.

“Well, it is strange that Ciaran claims he got raped by a vampyre,” I said. “But, I’ve always known you were strange. It didn’t take finding out about your mother to convince me. Besides, no matter what, I’ll always think of you as the lovable, conceited asshole that you are.”

Braith grinned.
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Published on October 14, 2012 14:20 • 59 views • Tags: abigail-colucci, catalyst, hunter-trilogy

October 5, 2012

For Chapter One, please click here.

Chapter Two:

Braith grinned wider as he moved his glasses up his forehead and into his hair. The sun reflected the sweat on his cheeks, which brightened the crystal starbursts around his pupils. He nodded and motioned me to follow him to the lunch room.

It was a large, cavernous room with metal, picnic tables and older, wooden chairs. A tall, metal staircase on the farthest side of the room stretched from the floor to a steal door high above our heads. Near the door was a long panel of one-way glass, which made it seem like we were being watched. The hall was noisy and a long line of boys stretched to the food counter.

Braith leaned in close. “Get in line,” he whispered. “Don’t draw attention to yourself. Keep your cap low. I’ve got to find Lucky.” I whipped my head around to look for Jean-Luc, but he had disappeared. I looked at Braith with wide eyes and raised eyebrows. He was leaving me alone? Now? He smiled. “Don’t worry. I’ll be back before you’re through the line.” He winked and I nodded slowly as I watched him walk away. I couldn’t believe he was leaving me after all morning he had hovered around me, blocking me from the boys. And, at the moment, I was in the middle of them, in an enclosed, unfamiliar space, and he was leaving me alone? I didn’t think I would ever understand him.

I wasn’t sure if I should stay or go hide somewhere, but the line was moving and I was hungry. I grabbed a tray and stepped forward, careful to leave enough space between me and the boy in front. He didn’t even glance back at me. My shoulders slumped as I sighed. Maybe the boys didn’t really care if I was there. Maybe they were only so mean because they weren’t used to me yet?

“You,” I heard. My shoulders jumped as the cook behind the counter startled me from my thoughts. He was a younger looking man, a bit taller than me, and lean, with thick hands, dark, inky eyes spotted with coppery flecks, and a flat, oval face. He was exotically beautiful in an unusual, bad boy kind of way and I couldn’t help but blush a little under his gaze. His deep, chestnut skin and dark, almond eyes reflected his Asian heritage, though I thought he was probably a mix of a few ethnicities - Japanese and Indian or, even, Japanese and Native American. His long hair had fine braids hanging past his shoulders while the remainder of it was pulled back into a messy ponytail. He had attempted to shave that morning, but the skin on his jaw was flecked with tiny, burnt scabs and red, irritated bumps. He had a small frame, but the deep V of his shirt revealed he was quite muscular. His glassy eyes twinkled as he smiled at me and I liked him immediately.

He loaded my plate with steamed vegetables and grilled chicken and my arms lowered with the weight. “Don’t got all your food here.” He spoke with an unusual English accent, maybe from one of those coastal, Scottish towns or, even, a mix between a bunch of different places, but his voice was lovely and musical and rolled with every syllable. “You need to go over there.” He motioned with his chin across the cafeteria. I looked and saw another cook - hand chopping potatoes behind a cutout in the wall. “Rabbi ordered you those special cakes. I set them aside. These boys will eat everything if I dinnit.” He dug around in the front pocket of his apron and pulled out a piece of paper. “Give this to Mick. He’ll gettum for you.”

I looked around, trying to see if Braith or Jean-Luc had returned, but I didn’t see them anywhere. They could have been waiting at the end of the lunch line, but I couldn’t see them if they were. A large wall of boys waited for their second or third helpings and stood between me and the end.

“You’ll be okay,” the cook said. I glanced up at him and he smiled again. I don’t know why, but I immediately trusted him. “I’ll watch out for ya, Kitten.”

I smiled. “Thank you,” I said. I looked across the room. I pulled my hat further down to shade my face.

I knew exactly where I had to go, so I quickly made my way around the perimeter of the room, trying to avoid any and all obstacles.

When I got to Mick’s counter, I looked up at the giant man huddled over the mound of potatoes. He continued peeling and chopping, unaware of my intrusion. I thought Mick fit his name - he was round and stout, bald head and plump face covered in grey bristle, biceps as thick as my hips were wide. Although his fingers were stout, he worked finely and cut the potatoes in delicate, thin pieces, quickly dropping the peels to his side and placing the slices in a steel bowl.

I cleared my throat. “Some food was set aside for me,” I said.

Mick looked up, eyes widening and head shaking back-and-forth a bit, as if he wasn’t sure I was speaking to him. I held out the paper and he stared at my hand for a moment, then took it from me. He pulled out a pair of glasses from his apron pocket and glanced down to read the note. His face broke into a grin and he looked over his spectacles at me.

“Oh, you’re the one. I was wondering who’s been eating these,” he laughed. The stool moaned as he rose, then he waddled around the corner and out of sight from me. He came back holding one of the brown, meat cakes that The Rabbi had ordered. “Ere ya go, miss.” As he looked up, something behind me made Mick’s eyes bulge and mouth slacken.

All I could do was sigh as an arm reached from behind me, grabbing the loaf from Mick’s hand.

“What’s this?” A voice behind me growled. I turned on the balls of my feet to see the Alpha Male. He was large, by far the largest of the boys and I had noticed him earlier, standing in the middle of the first line. He reminded me of tree: body and neck a broad trunk, massive limbs, hair a stringy mess that fell passed his chin. His leg muscles burst beneath his compression shorts, stretching the seams until near breaking point. Besides the gross hair, he was quite handsome - with piercing, hazel eyes and a near-flawless complexion - as most of the boys and Hunters I had met were. Though he was bulky, he had an extremely tailored physique, almost like an olympian; however, his current bout of unmanageable rage made me wonder if he was on enough steroids to make his testicles look like raisins.

Alpha Boy crushed my cake in his hand, crumbles falling to the floor as he inhaled the scent. His eyes narrowed. “Why’s this little cone gets special treatment?” He asked Mick.

I had to sigh again. You know, sometimes, when you can just tell by looking at someone you know all you need to know? Yeah, that was this kid. The high-pitched squeal, vying for attention through his shouts, and the dominance in his stance told me he was loud, insecure, and hid behind his size to intimidate people. There was going to be trouble. I looked around for Braith or Jean-Luc, again, but I still couldn’t see them.

“Chill the fuck out,” Mick replied. He added a crude gesture, which made the veins in Alpha Boy’s neck surged beneath his skin and face contorted into a foul grimace. Bits of spittle flew from his mouth as he screamed incoherently and tossed a table over. He roared, again, and clenched the muscles in his arms and chest, barring his teeth in the process. He grabbed my tray and threw my lunch against the wall.

I really wanted those vegetables, I thought.

He screamed some unintelligible curse and punched the bony, centre of my chest. Before I could catch my breath, he grabbed the back of my head and pushed me up against a set of lockers along the wall. My cap flung off as he wound my hair around his hand and spun me around so my stomach and face were smashed against the lockers. He locked his rigid legs against mine so I couldn't move and pulled my hair so my chin rose and my neck was exposed. He pressed his body flat against mine, shoving his pelvis into my rear. “I’d enjoys taking you,” he hissed. I felt his erection beginning to grow and jab into my butt.

Gross.

A half-circle of boys formed around us almost immediately. I didn’t appreciate it, really, because even though it was clearly all planned, they totally underestimated my abilities. I thought I was really going to be given a challenge, but Alpha Boy obviously wanted to be the only one who fought me.

He was all muscle, which weighed him down, and I didn’t even have to see his fighting style to know I could beat him. I had probably been foolish to spend my morning worrying over fighting the boys and, although I still had to be on guard for a group attack, I kind of wished Alpha Boy could have put more effort into that whole thing. I mean, I realized I was “just a girl” but I was sure they knew I could fight!

The other boys screamed and shook their fists. They were yelling curse words and other things I didn’t understand and were cheering Alpha Boy as he pressed himself against me. I figured Alpha Boy was probably one of their best fighters, so I breathed in and prepared myself for the worst. I could feel his breath on my neck and heard his tongue lick his lips. I thought he was about to lick my neck but, before he could do anything else, I wiggled my leg free and slammed my foot against the back of his knees. He collapsed onto the floor but quickly rose, throwing a punch right at my gut. I had to admit that, for his size, he was really quick. But, since I was a girl and about seventy-five pounds lighter, I was much faster.

As he threw his punch, I grabbed his arm and pulled him into me, kneeing his stomach and elbowing his face. He connected a messy punch to the outer side of my bicep, then another punch to my side. I grabbed his extended arm and used his propulsion to spin him around me then I crouched down and flipped him over my back. He yelled when he crashed into one of the lunch tables. His face flushed and his nostrils flared. He began screaming, again, as he crouched down for another attack. He leapt forward, swinging his arms in every way, just trying to connect with my body. His throws were messy and only once did his fist lightly graze the fatty part of my thigh. We were less than five minutes into our fight and his shirt was soaked with sweat. His face was glistening and red like a pomegranate fruit, breath coming in and out in loud puffs.

I was tired of sidestepping his confused throws, so I grabbed his hair and slammed his face into the metal lockers lining the wall next to us. He sunk to the ground, shaking his head to wake him from his stunned stupor, then turned to me slowly, whole body panting, face contorted in a confused frown. His forehead, torn from where the metal lockers ripped into him, spouted blood down his face.

I didn’t think it was possible, but Alpha Boy’s face pulsed redder and his veins strained against his flesh. He was probably used to getting his way in fights because he was so big, but he wasn’t used to me and I sure as hell would not let him win. He came at me again, right arm extended and left-arm tucked into his side like Superman, but I grabbed his arm and flipped him to the ground, holding his arm behind his back until he groaned.

I released him but, before he could get up, a loud whistle rang and echoed through the hall. I cringed as the sound pushed against my ear drums. The lunch room quieted immediately and Alpha Boy sighed before rising to his knees. The redness was already draining from his face and he wiped his neck with another boy’s shirt. I looked around for the source or the whistle and there, high above us on the set of stairs, was Heike.

Alpha Boy spat blood onto the floor as Heike began to walk down. “You coming to saves your little girl, Helsing?” Alpha Boy yelled. I furrowed my brow, wondering about Alpha Boy’s annoying little verbal tic. He snarled at me and wiped the blood off his face with the T-shirt, then stumbled on an overturned chair as he tried to stand.

Heike chuckled. “No, I’m not,” he said. “I’m saving you from her.”

The crowd of boys began to laugh. I looked around and saw the cook behind the boys. He nodded, creases forming on his cheeks, and enthusiastically grinned at me.

“Do you sees me?” Alpha Boy pounded his chest. “I could rips her to pieces,” he yelled. He glared at me and licked his lips. Seriously, his face was still dripping blood and there were locker lines on his cheek and he was still trying to threaten me.

“She fought four vampyres at once, Cillian,” Heike said. “And she wounded one of them. All before her training with The Rabbi. She doesn’t need my help. But, you do.”

The boys gaped at me. Alpha Boy - Cillian - glared at me for a moment, then screamed at Heike, “You’re a tossin’ liars, Van Helsing!”

“Four vampyres, Cillian,” Heike said. He held up four fingers. “If you do not believe me, finish your fight. But she has my permission to fight you without restraint. You want to fight her, you should be ready for the consequences. She can kill you for all I care.”

Cillian stared from Heike and back to me.

Braith and Jean-Luc pushed their way through the crowd. “There a problem, Cillian?” Jean-Luc asked.

“I knews she couldn’t fight withouts her dog,” Cillian said. “Or the royal Strigs Prince.” He raised his voice and bowed at the last part. The boys chuckled.

“We’re just here to make sure she shatters your jaw, mate,” Braith said. “Tired of your tossin’ mouth running all the time. Go ahead, fight her.”

Cillian took a step forward into Braith. “Mebbes I’ll just takes you’s on instead. Little cone heads too easy for me. The strigs would be a fun fights.”

Braith laughed. “Try it, little boy. Love to see you fight me.”

Cillian and Braith were so close to each other their noses almost touched. Cillian was big, much bigger than Braith. While Braith was muscular, Cillian’s chest and shoulders were at least double the size of Braith’s, though they stood about the same height. A pit formed in my stomach and I fought the urge to protect my friend. Cillian seemed like he wanted to rip Braith in two, but I kept reminding myself that size doesn’t mean anything. I beat Cillian and I was probably half his weight. I had never seen Braith fight - well, I had seen him defend himself against vampyres who crashed my birthday party, but I was too busy with my own fighting to pay much attention - but, Braith was an experienced Hunter and could probably take Cillian . . . At least, I hoped he could.

Just as Cillian began shoving his puffed out chest into Braith, Heike popped through the crowd and pushed between Braith and Cillian.

“Am I interrupting?” Heike said. “Brotherly love? Family bonding?” Neither Cillian nor Braith broke their glares to respond. Heike looked from Braith to Cillian then turned to the crowd of boys around us. “Get back to your tossing seats, the lot of you!” Heike screamed. All the boys except Cillian ran back to their seats. Some of the boys even started cleaning up around us and fixing up the tables Cillian knocked over. Even though I had always seen Heike as commanding and intimidating, it was weird to see Heike with that much authority over seemingly unmanageable boys.

We watched the other boys scamper about for a moment. Cillian began to skulk, away but Heike grabbed his shirt and pulled Cillian close. “My daughter can handle herself against you, Cillian. I don’t worry about her handling you. But, if you ever look at her again the way you did a few minutes ago, I will kill you.” Heike raised his eyebrows and nodded a few, short nods. “If you ever touch her like that again, I will make you wish for death. Do I make myself understood?”

“I didn’t do nothings. It was justs a fights. We fights all the times,” Cillian began to argue, but then scowled when Heike snarled at him.

“Shut your tossin’ face,” Heike interrupted. He inched closer and placed a tense finger in Cillian’s face. “I will tossing kill you, Cillian. Understand that. I will make sure you know pain if you ever even glance at her like you did back there.”

“Fine,” Cillian growled.

“Go sit down you piece of shit,” Heike said. Cillian snarled and returned to his table. We watched him leave and the cafeteria was filled with hushed voices. Heike turned to Braith, breath pulsing out of him. “Bring her to my office,” he said. He didn’t look at me as he turned around and went back up the stairs.

“He can’t be seen showing favorites, Kit,” Braith whispered. “He’ll talk to you upstairs.”

“Are you okay?” Jean-Luc asked. “He didn’t hurt you?”

“No, I’m okay,” I said. I slowly shook my head. “You kind of just left me here, though. In a room. Full of people that hate me.”

Jean-Luc glanced at Braith. “We didn’t go anywhere. We wanted to see what would happen.”

“What?” I hissed. “I could have been killed!”

“Mon Chaton, look at Cillian,” Jean-Luc gestured behind us. Cillian sat at his lunch table and laughed with his friends. He held a bloodied towel over his head. “We didn’t have anything to worry about. You kicked his ass.”

“And we were watching this whole time,” Braith sighed. “Indra kept his eye on you, dinnit he?”


I raised my eyebrows. “Who?”


“Indra,” Braith nodded towards the kitchen. “The cook.” Braith eyed me with a blank expression. “And we have an informant. He told us something was gonna happen. We were ready, Kitty. We wouldn’t just leave you to the wolves.”

“Really would have been nice to know all this beforehand, don’t you think?”

Braith smirked. “You should be happy that I’m telling you now.”

I rolled my eyes as Braith motioned me to follow. I trailed between him and Jean-Luc.

Jean-Luc hugged me around my shoulders. “Braith and Heike told me you were an amazing fighter, but I’m blown away by you, Mon Chaton,” Jean-Luc said. He patted my shoulders and gave me a playful nudge.

“Thanks,” I whispered. I smiled and blushed, a little, then furrowed my brow. “Is he . . . is Cillian your brother?” I asked Braith.

Jean-Luc let out a long sigh and Braith nodded. “Ciaran had a lotta children,” Braith said. “But, let’s just say we don’t have too many family dinners together, if you get me.”

“Oh,” I nodded. It was a little sad that Braith didn’t get along with his brother or father but, after meeting Cillian and Ciaran, I could see why. “Wow, he’s an asshole.”

Braith laughed a little. “Ciaran or Cillian?”

“Well, both, I guess,” I said.

“You don’t even know!” Jean-Luc said. “I’ve had to deal with Ciaran as long as Braith has. And then Cillian came along and Ciaran’s been so much worse. Cillian is a useless twat, but Ciaran thinks he shits gold doubloons.”

I grinned and then furrowed my brow. “Why did he call you a Strig Prince? Ciaran said it, too. What does that mean?”

Braith and Jean-Luc whipped their heads towards me and with widened eyes. “Shhh,” Jean-Luc hushed me. “You got to keep your voice down,” Jean-Luc ordered. “You can’t say that.” He and Braith glanced at each other. “Tell her,” Jean-Luc said. At least I knew Jean-Luc would tell me things if Braith would not.

Braith grunted, “Later.” He motioned for us to follow him and jogged up the stairs to the door Heike had entered. Before following, I looked across the cafeteria and all the boys stared up at us.

Shit, I’m in for a long year, I thought.
--
Catalyst: The Hunter Trilogy Book Two will be available on Amazon.com for free this weekend (Saturday through Monday)! Check it out and let me know what you think!
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Published on October 05, 2012 17:13 • 51 views • Tags: abigail-colucci, catalyst, chapter-two, the-hunter-trilogy-book-two