Welcome to the Monday Morsel feature, where I share short excerpts from the first draft of whatever I’m working on – currently my adult epic fantasy, In the Company of the Dead.

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Gripping the door handle, she braced herself and tugged hard. The door gave a few inches, scraping along the rough ground. Nothing but darkness met her gaze. She hauled on the door again, the hinges protesting with a squeal. It moved an inch and stuck fast.

Ellaeva paused, breathing hard through the pain in her back, and leaning on her own knees.

Something struck the door, though it remained stuck fast. She sucked in a breath, and stumbled back a few steps. Another impact shuddered the door in its frame, this time knocking it free of the jam. She reached for her sword.

A hand slammed into the edge of the door, the fingers curling around the wood, and a face appeared in the gap.

‘Ahura’s blade.’ She let the sword drop back into the scabbard. ‘You scared the life out of me. How did you get yourself locked in there?’

The man turned his head, revealing a bloodless rent down the other side of his face. On eye socket gaped emptily, and teeth grinned at her though the wound.

* * *

Thanks for dropping by! Don’t forget, this is a first draft, and as such won’t be perfect – while the bones of the story are there, enough to give you a glimpse into the tale of these characters, I typically do at least eight drafts so you can expect the final version to bear little resemblance to what I post here.

If you like what you read, and are so inclined, show your support by leaving a comment. If you’d like to sample more of my writing, check out the free short stories available on this site, or subscribe to the newsletter to receive my novella, Confronting the Demon, and short story, A Magical Melody, free.

More about In the Company of the Dead

Wagon Ride

Lyram already crossed a prince – now he finds himself on the brink of crossing a god.

Son of a duke and third in line for the throne, Lyram is exiled to a lonely castle after striking his prince – but when the castle is besieged, he fears the prince means to remove him more permanently.

Hope arrives in the form of the Left Hand of Death, the woman bound to serve the goddess Ahura in battle. But the priestess has not come for the siege – instead she hunts the castle for a hidden necromancer dedicated to the god of decay.

Within his stone prison, Lyram must fight to save himself from both political machinations and clashing gods. But as the siege lengthens, his greatest threat comes from an unexpected quarter.

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