The “Look” Challenge – The Wailing

Sorry for two in one day, but I’ve been tagged by the remarkable Peter Dawes!

Take your current manuscript and find the first instance of the word “look”. Then post the surrounding paragraphs as an excerpt of the book on your blog. Lastly, tag five more blogging authors who you think would be a good choice for the game.

Unfortunately, the first instance of “look” was taken by the intro I already posted, so I had to find the next one.

The Wailing: Excerpt

That pattern was not apparent to me, but the truth of the assignment lay plainly between the lines. Threat or no, breach or no, she frightened them. They kept tame murderers on a leash, domesticated killers like myself, but they became nervous at finding one in its natural habitat. This Signe was a wolf, and I, their hound.

The first of the photographs showed me a woman in her prime with a dark, determined air about her. Beneath a fashionable hat, her black hair was drawn back in an elaborate twist. A sharp, severe profile stared out across the bustle of Charing Cross Station. She certainly looked formidable. She was even lovely in an aloof, vulpine way. I would have to kill her.

At her side was a little girl, her face turned away from the camera. She was thin and hatless, her hair the shade and texture of dirty straw. She appeared at first to be seven or eight years old, but the rest of the photographs showed me a girl of about fifteen, much too small and skinny for her age, her eyes sunken and afraid. She might have been pretty, had she not been so plainly ill. Some sort of cripple, perhaps. A pet, an easy target scraped up from the gutter and kept on a short lead until her inevitable demise.

The photographs were dated more than a month earlier; it seemed impossible to me that the girl might still be alive, but I resolved to look for her all the same. Once her captor was slain, a better home might be found, a place where the scars could begin to heal. 

Nowhere in the bundle of eclectic information was any clue as to where I might find my target. She had been in London on the day the photographs were taken, but the text made much of the extent of her travels. I had no way of knowing whether she had stayed, and even if she had, London is vast.

At half past three, I crumpled the entire dossier, save for one photograph, and stacked the wads of papers in the grate, setting the whole thing alight. When the sheets had been reduced to brittle, black carbon, I crushed them into ash. The clack of Rowan’s typewriter had ceased some hours before, and the house was quiet, save for the creaks and groans of old walls. It was a lonely feeling, listening to the early morning. Outside, homes were burning and the dead were being stacked in the streets like charred sardines. Inside, I prepared to carry out an unpleasant duty.

At last I realized that I was sitting fully clothed in overcoat, hat, and gloves, with a pistol at the small of my back, secure in my own quarters at half past three in the morning. Absurdity and exhaustion assaulted me at once, along with the knowledge that I would be of no use to anyone if I ran myself into the ground. Life would be hard until I brought Signe down, hard enough without sleep deprivation compounding the difficulty.

I stripped and fell into bed to steal the last few hours before the sun rose. 


Super Katerina!

J. Michael Radcliffe!

Jodi Lamm!

Katherine Givens!

Dianne Gray!


13 thoughts on “The “Look” Challenge – The Wailing

  1. Pingback: The “Look” Challenge « The Great and Terrible Lamm

  2. Very intriguing post! I love the little taste, it really shows some interesting tidbits. It’s rather dark in overtone, but I enjoy the mystery here. How far along are you in your work? Thanks for sharing!

    • Thank you very much! It is rather dark, but when you combine the undead, assassins, and the Blitz, there’s not really anything else it could be.
      This one is going to be released for ereaders on 31 October and in paper format shortly thereafter.

  3. Pingback: Challenge Accepted! « Calamitares

  4. Pingback: Look at moi! « Dianne Gray author

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