NaNoWriMo Sneak Peek: Making Time by @NadineDucca


Making Time

Sequel to Serving Time

Written by Nadine Ducca Deharbe

NaNo Excerpt

Robert flexed his fingers. What a mess. Eneld knew so little, yet he knew so much.

—You must release him from your charge…

Robert ignored the specter. It stood next to him, bound to him by a thin silver string. Damned monster. Its long arms hung by its sides, almost long enough to drag on the floor. It had been with him since the afternoon Tristan died and the cemetery became overrun with specters. Two had come for Robert, dozens for Eneld. In the end, Eneld went away clean and Robert ended up with a shadow by his side to whisper into his ear and muddle his thoughts.

The specter wouldn’t last. He would find the way to kill it, even if it meant starving it to death. He flicked his hand over the light screen and adjusted a couple runes. A warm hum echoed across the Heyday.

Time was restored over Tristan’s body.

Robert marched down the hall.

—What are you doing, master?

Robert ignored the specter.

—What are you planning?

He sometimes wanted to turn around and yell at it to shut up, but just acknowledging it gave it greater power. Let it die from thirst; Robert didn’t want it.

He stood over Tristan’s transparent casket and stared down at the body. The corners of his mouth pulled down. “Come out.” He waited, but nothing happened. He held his hands over the cool glass. “I order you to come out.” It was cold on the Heyday, but Robert could feel warmth reaching his skin. He swiftly rubbed the back of hand against his forehead. “I am Robert the demon master. I order you to leave this body.”

Tristan’s body shivered. Robert’s heart skipped a beat. Good thing he’d sent Eneld off ahead or he would have had a stroke at seeing his dead brother move like that.

“Show yourself to me.”

A long, thin trail of black smoke rose of Tristan’s mouth.

The specter next to Robert twitched and hissed. —Master, it is another one of my kind.

The smoke rose above the glass casket and settled. A specter formed, crouching on the glass over Tristan’s face.

“You called?”

“You’re inhabiting an empty body.”

“I know you. We met before.” A large yellow eye formed on the specter’s face and it studied Robert, then focused on the shadow linked to him. “You already have a follower.”

Robert’s specter growled and paced back and forth.

“You should leave,” Robert said to Tristan’s specter. “There is nothing for you here.”

“Give us his body.”

Robert stiffened.

“I know you can do it.”

—Yes, master… give my colleague Tristan’s body.

Robert pressed his lips together. “I will do nothing of the sort. You cannot demand favors from me. You are a lowly specter. You respond to me.”

“You speak to me with disdain yet you hobnob with my kind. I know what you did to that woman. I know what you’re capable of.”

“I’m capable of snuffing you out right now if you don’t leave this body in peace.”

“If you are so powerful you can kill a specter, why don’t you murder the one standing by your side?”

Robert closed his fists and sucked in air through his teeth. He couldn’t murder his specter—not yet—because they were bound together. But Tristan’s specter was bound to nothing but a corpse. The True Self was writhing in the Repository.

—Where it belongs…

Robert mentally kicked himself for letting that thought sidle through his consciousness. He cast his specter an evil look. It formed a huge yellow smile and upturned its face to him, but with no eyes.

“To the Forge with you, you malformed, lifeless creature.” Robert raised his right hand and held it in front of his face. “You shall return to the birthplace of all True Selves. You shall dissolve into the essence of the Forge.” Maybe then it would be useful to create an actual True Self instead of becoming a malformed impersonation of life that fed on other’s.

The specter rippled and growled.

“There is nothing for you on the plane of the mortals. Your host is dead. He’s dead. There is nothing for you here. Leave this place.” Robert jutted his hand out and a blue flash flickered from his mouth. “Be gone!” The Command seeped away his energy, he could feel it in his bones, but he stood tall, shoulders back.

His specter cringed and hid behind his flapping overcoat. The specter sitting on Tristan’s casket stood and stumbled in a circle.

“You shall return from whence you came!” Robert shouted his second Command, and the blue flash emerged both from his mouth and the palm of his hand.

—Master, you are frightening us… Let my colleague have Tristan’s body. Master… Master?

“Be gone!”

A new ray of blue light surged from Robert’s hand. The specter stumbled and fell to the floor. Robert panted for breath. The smokiness began to dissolve into the floor. The specter made no noise as it returned to the Forge to be recycled.

Robert had given it a new chance at life. It now had a chance to become a complete True Self, not a scavenger for scraps of life. Robert’s eyes suddenly felt heavy. He wheezed for breath, but his throat tightened. He grasped onto the edge of the casket, but his hands slowly slipped down the sides. His legs sagged.

—Master… your power is draining.

“Shut up!” Robert winced. Oh, how he would regret saying those words.

His specter grew a pair of curious, yellow eyes. —Sleep, master. You are tired. You are ashamed of me. Do you fear Eneld will one day see me?

Robert dropped to his knees and leaned against the casket.

—The more he learns, the easier it will be for him to see me. Then he will know the type of person you are.

Robert knew. Of course he knew, and of course he was ashamed. But what could he do? Eneld needed to learn so much if he ever intended to tear his brother out of the Repository.

Robert cleared his throat, and the room spun around him. “I will send you back to the Forge before anyone sees you.” The fight with Tristan’s specter had been brief, but it had required almost all of his energy. But that was one less specter in this realm. And now Robert knew he could do it. If he could do it for someone else, he’d better be able to do it to save himself.

—Time knows.

“No she doesn’t.”

—She took one look at you and she knew. Why do you think you haven’t seen her in so long? You have disappointed her.


—She can’t look at you without seeing me.

“Quiet!” Robert sagged into a sitting position. He needed a rest. But not now. Not here, alone with his specter to whisper into his mind.

The specter loomed over him, a shadowy string of drool dripping from its mouth.

—Sleep, master. I shall take care of you.

Robert shook his head and tried to pull himself to his feet, but his muscles wouldn’t respond. His eyes closed, and he drifted away into a land of rippling shadows.

Author Bio

Nadine is translator and interpreter specializing in legal and medical translation. Originally from Los Angeles, she moved to Barcelona, Spain, at a very young age. She currently works as an Exams Supervisor for University of Cambridge ESOL, which involves quite a lot of paperwork. As well as managing the Cambridge ESOL exams, she works part-time as an English teacher for the Open University of Catalonia (UOC).

Whenever she has free time, she can be seen typing away on her netbook, usually with a cat or two nestled on her lap. Her current work in progress--a sci-fantasy romp across the universe--is only weeks away from getting ripped to shreds by a professional editor. If the novel survives, it is due to be published in early 2013.