I’m bouncing up and down in the first part of the book timeline as I have the mood to do various bits. Some of it’s an emotional wrecking ball, and there’s only so much of that you can write in one go…. Here’s a bit of Jason and Lee Cheong’s second meeting.
One breath more, I told myself, trying to shut out the phantom taste of blood as hunger-shadows circled, all of them monsters with my fanged face. The first one lunged; I struggled, but the teeth shearing through skin and flesh felt so real. One more–
Something tore the pain away.
Hands on me. Not claws, hands. And a swirl of dark silk, between me and the shadows. A breath without pain.
I closed my eyes. Hope hurt too much. “This isn’t real.”
“It is not physical, no. That does not mean it is not real.”
That… didn’t sound like something my brain would come up with, even dying. I dared a peek. Dark hanbok. Black gat, the string beaded with jet and something that flashed like tiger-eye stones, only blue. A young man, with eyes that glimmered, dark to glowing red. “You. I handed you Mary….”
“Jue Chin-sun, our doctor, has her in hand.” He inclined his head, still watching the shadows. “She was badly infected, but the shark-curse remained on the surface, instead of creeping through bones as it did with – as it has done with others. We have cut the worst of the cursed flesh away, and treated her with what we have learned from other cases. And from you.” He breathed out. “I am Lee Cheong, Night Magistrate of Namhansanseong and its environs. And you are?”
Namhansanseong? The old fortress near Seoul? We were in Korea? Oh man, nothing made sense. “Jason Finn. Historian at large.”
“Ah. Then of course you are brave.”
Eh? I mean, what? Sure, from what I knew there’d been times in Korean history where being a historian was kind of risky, kings and nobles had been known to kill some of those recording all their slip-ups, but- Focus. “Is Mary going to be okay?”
“Her chances are better.” Dark eyes fixed on me. “You have not asked….”
“Yeah, well.” I swallowed hard. “Kind of figured that out already.” I waved at the hissing just outside Lee Cheong’s cloak of darkness. “Thanks. For giving me a few clear minutes. I’m so tired.”
“Are you willing to keep fighting?”