Monday, January 9, 2012

First Excerpt for 'The Dark Ones'

Okay here it is. The first chapter for the Dark Ones. Tell me honestly what you think because I need serious feedback on this.

Chapter 1

Lance McGregor strolled along the paths near his home. Governing his tribe, the Dark Ones, was sometimes a difficult task. He loved all the elves in the tribe dearly but every once in a while he had to get away. On top of the problems he faced in tribal life, he was also attending a human college and had a human girlfriend. The reason for attending a human college was to find any descendants from the elves that had gone into the human world to pass as one of them. Things had started to heat up with the one group of humans that wanted all elves dead and Lance wanted to make sure that none of the modern elves had been massacred in this unholy war that had begun with the death of his father, White Cloud.

His thoughts drifted away from the depressing topic of his father’s murder to the enlightening thought of his girlfriend, Aleena Yellow Hawk. She was a beautiful little pixie, with long ebony hair and bright green eyes. Eyes that drew him in and made him think of new leaves in the spring. She had a way of looking at him with those eyes that made him want to do anything and everything for her for the rest of his life. He knew that such a thing was rather unlikely. The fact that he was not human would almost definitely end the relationship when the fact was discovered.

There was something about her that he could not put his finger on. When they had first met, something about her had appeared familiar. As if he had met a male version of her in his dreams or in reality. Though he knew they had never met before. It could have been the fact that she was half-blooded Chippewa Indian since a few of his tribe folk were also half bloods but he did not think that was what drew him to Aleena.

He shook his head as if to clear it and slumped down on a tree stump, placing his elbows on his knees and his chin in his hands. Too much thinking at one time would give him a migraine. There was the faint sound of footsteps coming his way and he glanced up to greet his friend.

“I figured I would find you here,” the raven-haired elf said. Lance did not know what he meant until he stood up to get his bearings. His chosen seat was the tree stump where the body of his father had been found so many years before.

“Oh, I hadn’t even noticed.” He turned his attention back to his friend. “Is there something wrong back at camp, Icewalker?”

“No. Brightwing wanted me to find you to deliver a message. She found that information you asked for,” Icewalker explained.

“Good. I had her searching through the archives to see which of our ancestors joined with humans.” They started walking back to the camp.

“Why?” his friend inquired, “What does that have to do with anything?”

“Just checking to see if Aleena might be a descendant of anyone we knew,” Lance answered, “There’s something about her face. She seemed familiar somehow.”

“Shhh!” Icewalker growled. Hide quickly! I sense a human! They jumped behind a large lilac bush. Lance sniffed the air. He caught the scent of patchouli oil. The only fragrance Aleena would wear.

It’s Aleena. Come and meet her. Lance smiled. The raven-haired elf appeared a little apprehensive about it but gave in. He placed his hands lightly on his pointed ears and shaped them to look like the ears of a human. Lance did the same and they stepped out from behind the lilac bush.


I ran downstairs and opened the front door. My brother, Jesse, was standing there with two bags full of groceries barely balanced in his arms.

“Why didn’t you open the door yourself?” I asked sarcastically as I took a bag from him. He glared at me as we headed into the kitchen.

“Didn’t you see that I had my hands full?”

“Relax. Don’t you know sarcasm when you hear it?” I placed the bag on the counter and began to unpack it.

“Yes. I know sarcasm when I hear it,” he mumbled to himself, “Took you long enough to get down here. What were you doing? Painting your toenails or something?”

“I was on the phone with Shane. I don’t suppose you saw Lance today, have you? He wasn’t on campus and I can’t seem to track him down.”

“How the hell should I know where that loser is?” my brother grumbled, “I don’t see why you date him anyway.”

“Because I like him, that’s why,” I snapped.

“Fine,” he grumbled, “I ran into Dusty at the store and he said Lance was headed for the park.”

“Thank you. Now, was that so hard?” I said, placing a hand on his arm, “Why don’t you like him? What has he ever done to you?”

“He hasn’t done anything. There is just something about him that bothers me. He’s different from anyone else you’ve dated. At least with them I could tell if they were dating you because they sincerely liked you or because they were using you. But with him I can’t tell. He’s hard to read,” Jesse remarked, placing his hand on mine, “Just promise me you won’t marry the guy.”

“I don’t think you have to worry about that. Once he finds out I’m half-human, I’ll never see him again,” I sighed, “I wish we were like everyone else. Things would be so much easier.”

“Yeah, we wouldn’t have to keep worrying about Mike and Joe Stevens hunting us all the time,” Jesse said. He turned back to the groceries. “Are you going to find Lance or not?”

“Do you need any help with the groceries?”

“No. I’ll be fine without you getting in the way. Here,” he placed the keys to our mother’s mini-van in my hand, “Take the van.”

“Thanks Jesse. Bye.” I kissed him on the cheek and ran upstairs to change into something more comfortable for hiking. After changing into a pair of well-worn jeans and a light sweater, I drove across town to Griswold Park where I left the car in the beach parking lot and because walking around the lake. It was so peaceful that I did not want to make any noise. Soon I was on the other side of the lake where the forest began.

There were stories about the forest. Stories told of strange, pointy-eared creatures that only came out at night to terrorize the brave souls who tried to camp there. The problem with these stories was they were partially true. There were pointy-eared beings that lived within the depths of the forest, but they only caused problems for people who tried to harm them. Like the Stevens family. For as long as I could remember, Mike and Joe Stevens had followed in their deceased father’s footsteps to try and exterminate the tribe of elves that lived in the forest and surrounding areas.

I had reason to believe that Lance was part of this tribe of elves and that for some reason or another, he had began attending the University to keep an eye on the Stevens boys. How he had figured out that I was not what I seemed was still a mystery to me. I could tell he was suspicious but that he could not put his finger on what it was that troubled him about me.

Being that I was half-elf gave me various gifts that I tried to use only when necessary. From my father Raven Thoughtseeker, the forest spirits keep his soul, I had received the gift to read minds and get people to do as I wished. I had tried this gift on Lance but he seemed to have some sort of mental wall against such intrusions. I figured someone in his tribe had taught him the trick and the barrier was always up in case he was to run into a human with such a gift. Hopefully that was all that he figured I was. He knew that my religion was not the same as most humans. He might have figured that my being able to read minds was just something I had learned to do from my Wiccan elders when I was younger. One could only hope anyway.

As I strolled through the forest, I kept my ears focused for any sound that would let me know where Lance was. A sound came to me from deeper in the forest and I stopped to pinpoint just where it was coming from. It appeared that Lance was having a conversation with someone but the other voice was unrecognizable.

“Why?” the unknown person inquired, “What does that have to do with anything?”

“Just checking to see if Aleena might be a descendant of anyone we knew,” Lance answered, “There’s something about her face. She seemed familiar somehow.”

“Shhh!” the other male growled. I stopped in my tracks. They know I’m here! I knew I shouldn’t have worn this perfume. Think of something Aleena, I exclaimed. A plan. Need a plan. I quickly glanced around, looking for an excuse to be walking in the woods alone. Some wild flowers came into view. A grin formed on my face.

As I continued toward their hiding place, I stopped every few seconds to pick a wild flower. By the time I got to where Lance and his friend were hiding, I had a nice little bouquet in my hand. When Lance stepped out, I acted surprised.

“Why, fancy meeting you here Lance,” I chirped happily, “Who’s your friend?”

“This is, um, Marc. Marc, this is my girlfriend Aleena.”

I held out my hand and he shook it. I knew the guy’s name was not really Marc but I did not let on that I knew. I secretly probed his mind while we shook hands. His name was Icewalker. After we let go, he could not seem to take his eyes off me. Like he knew me but could not place my face. I figured he must have known my father. I tried to prove his mind again and found myself blocked. Icewalker had finally figured out where he knew my face and had placed a barrier up against my probing.

“Well, I’ll see you later. Remember what I told you Lance,” Marc/Icewalker said and hurried away.

“Your friend is quite strange,” I commented as we walked in the opposite direction. We were headed toward a glade where we had spent many summer nights looking at the stars and enjoying ourselves.

“Not when you get to know him. He’s been my friend for a long time,” Lance explained, taking my hand in his.

I decided to change the subject. “Tomorrow we leave to go camping. Isn’t it exciting? We’ll be camping in the dreaded Forest of the Evil Spirits. Kind of funny that in this day and age, the older adults still call it that,” I remarked thoughtfully and looked up at him, “Are you going to protect me from the wicked pointy-eared creatures?”

He glanced down at me and for a second there was a gleam of anger in his dark eyes. “I know you don’t believe in such things. Being a witch and all. I figured you were above such jokes.”

“All right. Are you going to protect me from the Stevens family when the time comes?” I replied seriously. He stopped and studied my face in the glowing twilight.

“What do you mean, Aleena?”

“I mean, are you going to help protect me from the Stevens family when they come to kill me?”

“Why do you ask such a thing? The Stevens family doesn’t kill humans, only elves,” he said.

“Don’t forget half-breeds. They kill half-breeds as well as full-blooded elves,” I grumbled and went to lie down in the middle of the glade. He quietly followed me and laid on his side so he could stare at me. As if he were trying to comprehend exactly what I was trying to tell him. “You don’t have to look so confused. You know deep d own what I’m trying to say.”

“I know but it’s hard to believe. Of all the places in the world, I didn’t think I would actually meet any elves at the University,” Lance said, “How long have you known what I am?”

“There was one night that we were out here and you fell asleep. I sat watching you and for a split second your right ear almost changed back to its original shape. At first I thought I had imagined it. So I started to watch the way you carry yourself and the way you act. I figured you must be pretty damn important in your tribe to carry yourself in such a manner. You’re a chieftain, aren’t you?” I questioned.

“Yes. I can’t believe you figured it out. How?”

“My mother spent a great deal of her life with your tribe before my father died and she told us all of the characteristics to look for when trying to identify an elf that is passing as human. You can stop looking for my family tree in your archives.” Lance appeared surprised. “I’ll tell you anything you want to know about my family. All you have to do is ask.”

“You really are amazing, Aleena,” he smiled. As he leaned down to kiss me, the forest went silent. He jumped up and I followed suit. His eyes searched the surrounding forest to discover the reason for the disturbance.

“Who is it, Lance?” I asked. I opened my mind to discover the answer to my own question. I felt hatred and flinched. There were at least thirty minds thinking the same thing: KILL THE ELVES! “Lance! What are we going to do?”

Before he could answer, a group of people stepped through the brush at the opposite side of the glade. Mike and Joe Stevens were in the lead as they came our way.

Icewalker! We need your help. Bring the others! I felt Lance mentally call into the trees. Hopefully his warriors would show up before anything bad happened to us. I had to think of a way to get us out of this mess. Before an answer came from the forest, the two brothers were standing in front of us.

“Well, well. Look who we have here. Such a happy couple,” Joe sneered, running his finger across my jawbone. I flinched and pressed toward Lance. I had always been afraid of Joe Stevens. He was a large man, at least 6 foot 4, with muscular arms and hands that could easily crush someone’s throat.

“Leave her be. What do you want?” Lance growled.

“We want you dead and her as a slave,” Joe answered. He lifted my chin with his index finger so he could look into my eyes for any sign of fear.

“That’s what you think,” I smiled wickedly and spat in his face.

“Why you wench!” Just as he was about to slap me across the face with the back of his hand, it stopped in mid-air. I locked his green yes with my own. Mike and Lance watched as we stared at each other. I had felt someone call to Lance from the safety of the surrounding trees so I was not as worried as I had been earlier.

Now, turn around and leave. Don’t look back. If you do, I guarantee you’ll be dead before you hit the ground. I told him. In a trance, he turned and headed away from us.

“Gee Mike. Looks like your brother changed his mind,” I said.

“You must have bewitched him. I’ll get you someday, Aleena Yellow Hawk. One day you’ll be our half-breed slave,” Mike laughed and went after his brother. Lance took a step to follow but I grabbed his arm.

“Are you just going to let him say that to you?” he demanded. I could sense the other elves going back to their camp.

“Don’t worry. Mike Stevens is all bark and no bite. It’s his brother who scares me. It is really no big deal,” I replied and turned to walk back the way we had come. I was trying not to appear frightened but I knew my influence on Joe would be short and I did not want to be there if he came back looking for us.

“What did you do to him?” Lance asked, keeping pace with me. I knew he felt the same way about the situation.

“My father was Raven Thoughtseeker. I inherited almost all of his powers,” I answered.

Lance smiled. “I knew your father when I was young. He was very close to my own father. They were always together; talking about things that mattered to the tribe. I cared for Raven a great deal and we were all sad when the news of his death traveled to us.”

“I never knew him. He was murdered before I was born,” I sighed, “But I try not to dwell on it. I’ll see you tomorrow, my elf lover.” I kissed him passionately before heading back toward the beach.


  1. I think there's a good story going on here! It'll be interesting to see where it goes. Which audience are you writing to (YA or contemporary adult)? There's a few technical edits that might make it flow better...extraneous words that come across fine when spoken but a little sloggy when read...but other than that, I think you've got some really good stuff there. Let me know if you want some help with the editing.

  2. Well, a certain little yellow birdie is supposed to be helping me with editing but he's been kinda slow so I think I will send it to you. I haven't gone through it in a long time to edit it and I know that I use the word 'and' a lot.