Kathleen Collins’s Realm Walker characters battle a mage-induced, Bing Crosby-infected White Christmas #FlashFiction #CMCon17
Oh, White Christmas, how I love thee!
Not the actual white of a snowy day—unless viewed from completely indoors (that stuff is COLD!)—but the much-loved holiday sounds of Bing Crosby’s White Christmas. That’s one family tradition I just can’t get enough of. Turns out Kathleen Collins’s heroine Julianna Norris ain’t so big on the movie, but her fellow agent and werewolf partner Nathaniel is. I can tell that Nathaniel and I would be fast friends. Kathy, set up a meet, eh? *wink*
Kathleen is my latest victim in the 2017 Coastal Magic Convention Flash Fiction Challenge, and—thanks to my holiday-fueled excitement—her prompts were a doozy! Here’s what I threw her way…
- Format: Word doc
- Length: 400-800 words
- Setting: A cottage or cabin on the beach, at the start of what promises to be a record-breaking snow storm
- Song lyrics to somehow incorporate: “Baby It’s Cold Outside”
- Movie to include: White Christmas with Bing Crosby. One of the characters is absolutely obsessed with it!
- Item to include: A cuckoo clock that consistently tells the wrong time
- Tone: Exasperated, humorous, persistent
- Characters to include: Any characters from the Realm Walker series
She hit every prompt too! See if you can spot the song lyrics—they’re sneaky and subtle!
Juliana Norris leaned against the railing on the small porch of the little cabin on the beach watching the storm roll in. She shivered in her leather trench coat as a particularly strong gust of wind blew a few stinging snowflakes into her face. After stepping back into the cabin, she slammed the door shut behind her. Cursed weather mages. It was not supposed to be snowing in Florida. Especially in July.
She blinked as she took in the scene before her. Her friend and partner, Nathaniel West, sat cross-legged in front of the television. He was supposed to be on the phone with the Agency trying to find the cursed mage so they could put an end to this storm. Early predictions had it dropping two feet of snow on an area that wouldn’t be prepared for two inches. “What are you doing?” she asked, keeping her voice calm.
He looked over his shoulder at her excitedly. “White Christmas is coming on. You know how much I love that movie.”
She groaned and pinched the bridge of her nose. “First of all it’s like two months until Christmas. Why are they playing holiday movies already? Secondly, why aren’t you on the phone with the locate mages?”
The werewolf waved a hand through the air in dismissal. “They said they’d call when they had something.” He was practically bouncing he was so excited to see his favorite movie.
The cuckoo clock next to her head sounded three times making her jump. Juliana frowned as she looked at the other clock in the room. It was ten to four. She moved the minute hand around to set the clock to the correct time.
The wind began to howl around the cabin and shake the walls. Juliana shivered. Gods, she hated the cold. Walking over to the small bar in the corner of the room, she poured them both a glass of whiskey. Nathaniel gave her a nod of thanks as he took the glass, eyes still glued to the TV. A glance out the window showed the sky was several shades darker than even a few minutes before.
With a sigh, she pulled out her phone to see if there was any update on the location of the weather mage. Nothing. She started to pace the floor, her boots sounding especially heavy. A quick gesture had a fire burning in the small fireplace on the far side of the room.
Anxiety and irritation coursed through her veins making it impossible for her to calm down. “I can’t stop pacing the floor. “
Nathaniel glanced at her. “Well at least you made the fireplace roar.”
“Maybe we should just scurry and try to find him on our own.”
“Seriously, what’s the hurry?”
She frowned at him in disbelief. Besides the sheer number of deaths a storm like this could cause, he knew how much she hated the cold. Lifting her glass to take a sip, she was surprised to find it empty. Nathaniel appeared in front of her with a questioning glance. “Maybe just half a drink more.”
“Check your phone again while I pour.”
The wind was blowing the small flakes so hard, it was almost impossible to see the next cabin over. “Do we have any neighbors you think?”
He moved over to stand beside her and handed her the glass. “Wow, its bad out there.”
She sipped the alcohol and curled her lip. “What is in this drink?”
Nathaniel shrugged and downed his just as her phone vibrated at her hip. She pulled it out to find a text with a longitude and latitude. “Time to get to work, wolf.”
“But my movie…”
His lip stuck out as he pouted and she barely resisted the urge to roll her eyes. The cuckoo clock sounded as she put her glass on the counter. If she believed the clock, it was six even though it had been ten to four only fifteen minutes ago. “Stupid clock,” she grumbled.
Wrapping her coat more tightly around herself she opened the door and grimaced as the wind whipped around them. Nathaniel stepped outside with her, not even wearing a jacket. As a shifter his body heat was naturally much higher than hers. He just grinned when she glared at him. Smug bastard. “You know, it’d be a real shame if you got pneumonia and died.”
He laughed and they headed out into the Florida snow.
Wanna read more?
I highly recommend Kathleen’s Realm Walker series! This is gritty, grisly, good ole fashioned urban fantasy, with dark fae and werewolves and vampires, oh my! New readers should start with the first book in the series, Realm Walker* (or, even better, the short prelude The Making of Michael Bishop*). Those of you already indoctrinated into the ways of dark fae mage and agent Julianna Norris (and her sexy, commanding mate, Master Vampire Thomas), dive into the third book in the series, Blood Slave…
There are zombies in the Dead Zone and Juliana Norris is sent to take care of the problem. And for there to be zombies, there had to be bodies. When vampires are found to be the culprits, Juliana is sent undercover in the red light district of Kansas City. Lying to her mate, Thomas Kendrick, isn’t something she wants to do, but she’s in another vampire’s territory and Thomas would not be pleased. Besides, she’s more than capable of doing the job and she needs to prove it to everyone. Most of all herself.
Charles Morgan is in control of the Kansas City area, making a rich living off his various enterprises. Juliana goes undercover at the strip club Lust and gets sucked into his dark, decadent world. More victims turn up and the Agency is positive they’ve got their man, but Juliana is not so sure. When the Agency refuses to listen, she reluctantly turns to Thomas for help. He intervenes but finds Juliana unaware of the danger she is in and discovers she may just be too deep for him to save.
Or snag the first book here:
About the author
Kathleen Collins has been writing since Kindergarten. And while her ability has drastically improved, her stories are still about monsters and the people who play with them. The rare instances that she actually finds some spare time, she spends it playing with her two boys. Three if you count her husband. She is currently hard at work on her next book.
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