September 21

Currently I’m sitting at around 12,000 words, give or take on this project. The RAWR Write-a-Thon is going well for meeting my goal of 20,000, and I may increase the goal if I start to approach it too soon.

Kyell Gold has offered his fans an incentive to donate. His Post is Here If we reach $2000, he will write a new Dev and Lee story. But that’s not all! If we make the stretch goal of $4000, he will write a new Korey and Samaki story (his characters from Waterways). I know I’d love to see that happen! They were such sweet characters.  If you’d like to donate, please click the Paypal donate link off to the right. If you’d like to read more about the project, visit http://wat.rawr.community.

Now, on to the other part of this post. Here’s another little snippet from what I’ve been working on. I don’t know if the plague doctor mortician will make the final project but he’s too cool not to share. Click below to see the excerpt:

 

The morgue, to Kate’s surprise, did not overpower her with the scent of decaying corpses as she’d imagined, or perhaps the stench of putrefaction when she had seen her vision of Sarah rendered all real scent of death mild to her nose. Either way, the relief she felt allowed her to relax some of the muscles she had been tensing since she and the inspector had reached the stairs leading to the morgue.

“Mornin’ Inspector,” came a muffled voice from behind the spare sign-in desk. The entire morgue level was constructed in low arches of simple brick, with a smooth cement floor (to allow it to be washed quickly and thoroughly, Kate imagined).

The voice belonged to an individual covered in a long black overcoat and gloves, wearing a matching head cover and a mask with great round glass eyes and a long, needle-like beak. They looked to Kate as though they were treating an outbreak of plague. When the figure spoke, Kate got a whiff of air from the beak of the mask, and smelled a thick bouquet of herbs, mostly mint and rosemary. So that was how they handled the smell of death as a profession.

“Er,” the plague-doctor said, looking up at Kate, who had stepped to Inspector Allen’s side, “Who’s this then?”

Kate stepped up to the desk before the terrier could speak.

“Name’s Kate Mather.”

“Ah, Miss Mather. Since you’re here with the inspector, and have yet to pull out a scent-masking handkerchief, I’ll forego my usual nonsense warning you about the smell. Are you here to identify somebody?”

This time, Inspector Allen took the lead. “Yes, we’re here for the Jane Doe brought in this morning.”

Kate couldn’t see the plague-doctor’s eyes behind the glass of his mask, but she could guess that they were as wide as saucers.

“Ah, that Jane Doe? Are you sure, Allen, I mean, it’s a pretty awful mess. We didn’t even have to do much cutting for the autopsy, and…well…”

“If you are concerned about me, you’ve no need to be. I can hold myself up. I’m probably the only person who can identify the body that you can lay hands on quick,” Kate said, smiling at the masked minion. “I can take care of myself.”

The plague-doctor laughed into the hollow of his mask, sending the scent of mint and rosemary at the pair. “If it’s all right with the inspector, it’s all right with me, Miss Kate. I do hope that identifying her is able to give you some closure. Inspector, if you’ll just sign in there like usual, I’ll take you to the operating room where we’ve got her. I was just about to start writing up the report.”

The inspector signed in while Kate glanced about the little antechamber. It was like a drawing she’d seen once of the Christian catacombs underneath Rome where the early martyrs were buried. She wondered if that was intentional, or if there was something about a place to keep the dead that designed itself this way. Her mother might have known, or had some kind of idea. The clink of the desk pen back into its inkwell broke that train of thought.

“Right this way then if you please,” said the plague-doctor, rising from his little ladder-backed cane chair and turning, passing through a pair of swinging doors, which waved back and forth after him. Inspector Allen once again held the door open for her to pass before following her inside.

The morgue opened up like an endless corridor of vaults, with a few sets of double swinging doors at regular intervals. There were no bodies to be seen.

The plague-doctor, waiting patiently behind the white porcelain of their mask, turned away once more and strode off through the morgue, past row upon row of metal examination tables lined up against arched brick niches sealed with heavy iron doors. Kate could think of nothing but the oven of the witch in Hansel and Gretel.

Halfway down the row of vaults, their Charon turned and passed through one of the sets of doors. When Kate and the inspector followed, the scent of death washed over the coywolf like a tidal wave. It wasn’t the putrid smell of her vision, but it was the scent of death nonetheless. A life ended.

They had entered a small operating room. The walls were made up of square aquamarine tiles, and the floor of the same smooth concrete, with a large drain at the center. To one side sat a butcher’s scale, and a cabinet full of various instruments and tools. Above the drain, occupying the center of the room, sat a wheeled metal cart like those Kate had seen outside, only this one was occupied, and draped with a rubberized sheet.

“Best to get the identification over with and see the lady out, Inspector, before it becomes too much,” said the plague-doctor, his voice lilting in mild amusement, as if he knew what they were suggesting was laughable, and that Kate needed no such considerations. She found herself wondering what species and what gender the plague-doctor might be.

“Kate, if you would, please?”

“Of course, Inspector. That’s why we’re here.”

“Certainly, certainly,” said Allen, “I just…never mind. Smithee, would you mind—“

“Your wish is my command, Inspector,” said the plague-doctor, turning and tilting their head amusedly at Kate. “I will only pull back her face, Madam.”

Kate nodded, though inwardly a part of her wished to see the full body. It could not be as her visions had shown her. Her visions had exaggerated in the past.

The plague-doctor reached over with black-gloved paws and gently folded the sheet back. Kate stared, felt her heart leap into her throat, and then threaten to stop entirely. Sarah. There was no doubt about it now. The little fennec, who had been so vivacious and excited, who had always made time to see Kate between employments, was lying dead on a metal table beneath Scotland Yard.

“That’s her. That’s Sarah.”

The coywolf’s eyes filled with tears, which she forced back. Sarah would not have wanted her tears. Sarah would have wanted her to get to the bottom of this and bring her killer to justice, however she could.

The expression on her face, though, made the blood in Kate’s veins turn to ice. It was an expression she knew too well. The pure, sweet ecstasy of orgasm, but not just the physical sort that came as a part of the trade. No. Not just that. There was love in that expression, honest desire.

Kate reached out and gently stroked the fennec’s ears and forehead. She was cold. Cold to the touch. Kate moved to draw her hand away, her gesture of benediction now complete, but as she did so, the faintest of blue faerie-glow followed her fingertips. She gasped, then looked for confirmation to the mortician and the inspector, but neither reacted. Either they hadn’t seen it or didn’t care.

“That’s enough now, Smithee. Cover her back up.”

“Wait,” Kate said, gripping the plague-doctor’s gloved wrist.

“Something else, Miss Kate?”

“Uncover her.”

“Kate, I hardly think—“

“I said uncover her!” Kate found herself growling, teeth bared, ears back. Her fur bristled.

The intensity of her reaction stopped the inspector in his tracks. His eyes shifted between Kate and the plague-doctor, who stood unmoving, head tilted slightly, giving his mask a quizzical expression. Finally, he nodded, and Kate let go her iron grip on the mortician’s wrist.

“It isn’t pretty, Miss,” Smithee said, pulling the sheet away.

The exposed body, carved like a Christmas goose, matched Kate’s vision perfectly. She felt her knees try to give way, but focused on remaining on her feet.

“Is this…from your autopsy?” she asked, swallowing the lump in her throat and already knowing the answer in her heart.

“No, Miss Kate, I’m afraid it isn’t. We had to do very little cutting, and then only as an investigation of some of the wounds we found on the inside.

“What did you find?”

“Certain organs had been removed, skillfully. Most especially, the liver, the heart, and the uterus.”

Kate shook her head, blinking back tears. “What is the last one?”

“Ah, forgive me, sometimes I’m too precise in my terminology. The uterus is the scientific name for the womb, Miss Kate.”

Kate wobbled unsteadily on her feet, and Inspector Allen caught her by the arm, lending her the support she needed.

“Cover her back up, Smithee. I think that’s all for now.”

“Indeed, Inspector. Please, do come back if you need more information,” the muffled words of the plague-doctor said, echoing down the morgue behind the pair as they made their way upstairs and away.

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