Feb 19 2013 4:00pm
Midnight Blue Light Special (Excerpt)
We've got a sneak peek at Seanan McGuire's Midnight Blue Light Special, out on March 5th from DAW Books:
1. Any creature whose existence has been suggested but not proven scientifically. Term officially coined by cryptozoologist John E. Wall in 1983.
2. That thing that's getting ready to eat your head.
3. See also: “monster.”
The Price family has spent generations studying the monsters of the world, working to protect them from humanity—and humanity from them. Enter Verity Price. Despite being trained from birth as a cryptozoologist, she'd rather dance a tango than tangle with a demon, and when her work with the cryptid community took her to Manhattan, she thought she would finally be free to pursue competition-level dance in earnest. It didn't quite work out that way...
But now, with the snake cult that was killing virgins all over Manhattan finally taken care of, Verity is ready to settle down for some serious ballroom dancing—until her on-again, off-again, semi-boyfriend Dominic De Luca, a member of the monster-hunting Covenant of St. George, informs her that the Covenant is on their way to assess the city's readiness for a cryptid purge. With everything and everyone she loves on the line, there's no way Verity can take that lying down.
Alliances will be tested, allies will be questioned, lives will be lost, and the talking mice in Verity's apartment will immortalize everything as holy writ—assuming there's anyone left standing when all is said and done. It's a midnight blue-light special, and the sale of the day is on betrayal, deceit...and carnage.
“Well, that’s not something you see every day. Go tell your father that Grandma needs the grenades.”
A small survivalist compound about an hour’s drive east of Portland, Oregon
Thirteen years ago
Verity stood with her hands folded in front of her and her feet turned out in first position, watching her father read her report card. They were alone in his study. That was something she would normally have relished, given how hard it was to get her father’s attention all to herself. At the moment, she would rather have been just about anywhere else, including playing hide-and-seek with Antimony. (Annie was just six, and she was already beating both her older siblings at hide-and-seek on a regular basis. It was embarrassing. It would still have been better than this.)
Kevin Price stared at the report card a little too long before lowering it, meeting Verity’s grave stare with one of his own. “Verity. You need to understand that blending in with the rest of the students is essential. We send you to school so you can learn to fit in.”
“Yes, Daddy. I know.”
“We can never attract too much attention to ourselves. If we do, things could get very bad for us. The Covenant is still out there.”
“I know, Daddy.” Most of the kids in third grade were afraid of the bogeyman. Verity didn’t mind bogeymen—they were pretty nice, mostly, if you didn’t let them talk you into doing anything you weren’t supposed to do—but there was one monster that she was afraid of, one you couldn’t argue with or shoot. It was called “Covenant,” and one day it was going to come and carry them all away.
“So why have you been fighting with the other students?”
Verity looked down at her feet. “I’m bored. They’re all so slow, and I never get to do anything fun.”
“I see.” Kevin put the offending report card down on his desk, half covering a report on the New Mexico jackalope migration. He cleared his throat, and said, “We’re enrolling you in gymnastics. You’ll be keeping your dance lessons, for now, but I want you to have a way to work off that extra energy. And Verity?”
“Play nicely with the other children, or you won’t be taking any more ballet classes. Am I clear?”
Relief flooded through her. It wasn’t victory—victory would have been more dance lessons, not stupid gymnastics—but it was closer than she’d been willing to hope for. “Absolutely. I won’t let you down again, I promise.”
“I’ll hold you to that.” Kevin leaned forward to hug his older daughter, mind still half on the teacher comments from her report card. If she couldn’t learn to blend in, she was going to need to find a way to stand out that wouldn’t get them all killed . . . and she needed to do it fast, before they all ran out of time.