VI. Mirror, Mirror

Rovenmare trudged through snow, toward the cottage on the mountain. He blinked and squinted peevishly in the morning light, and jerked his white furs tighter against the chill.

Volfric lumbered along behind, in sable furs that made him look all the more gargantuan. His head was square on top now, with stitching all around. Fronius had sawn it open to relieve the heat and pressure of a fever on the brain, then refitted the skull badly. Rovenmare tried not to dwell on it. Since the operation, almost everything to do with Volfric and Fronius exasperated him.

He especially resented being summoned to the cottage where Volfric's slut and brat lay dead, most likely killed by vampires--vampires he'd often advised Volfric to exterminate. He never thought keeping them for sport a good idea. But Volfric took pride in the night hunts, a tradition as old as the castle and a favorite entertainment for visiting nobility, and so the vampires stayed.

The soldiers who found the woman had carried her inside. Rovenmare grimaced in passing at the cavity of frozen blood they'd dug her out of. He ducked through the door.

Volfric had to stoop, squat, and shuffle sideways to enter. Inside, he couldn't straighten to anywhere near his full height.

Still encrusted with pink ice, the corpse thawed on the settle, near the fire. Her stiff posture and expression bespoke the horror of her final moments.

Volfric groaned. He turned away and hid his eyes with one monstrous hand. Tears wet his cheeks.

The red-armored soldiers in the room all stared at their boots. They dared not look directly at their lord in his grief.

Rovenmare moved to examine the woman. She'd been savaged, but not eaten, so at least that ruled out wolves. He swallowed his revulsion, and leaned closer. The pool in his tower could show him what happened, for certainty's sake, but so far he saw nothing to suggest anything other than a simple vampire attack.

Hunched over, Volfric stomped through the cottage to the child's room.

The soldiers darted fearful glances after him.

His wail shook the walls.

With pliers, Rovenmare plucked a tooth from the woman's mouth, in case he had questions the pool couldn't answer. He'd feel no qualms about disturbing her final rest, if it came to that. She did, after all, ruin his morning.

Volfric sobbed in the doorway to the little bedroom.

Rovenmare squeezed by. As he took in the gruesome scene, he actually felt his face turn a queasy chartreuse.

Blood, everywhere, even on the ceiling. The child had been mauled far worse than the mother. His entire chest gaped open.

"You were right," Volfric said in a choked voice. "About the vampires, Rovenmare. I should have listened."

"There, there, my lord." Rovenmare took a moment to steady himself, determined not to vomit. His back to Volfric, he bent over the child, and quickly extracted a tooth. Before he straightened, he spied something near the body, in a pool of coagulated blood. Wrinkling his nose, he dug and fished the object out with the pliers. A penny. He sourly pondered its significance. He'd already noted the curious lack of garlic on the window, and an empty space on the wall where a cross had clearly hung. All of that raised questions. He had a presentiment the answers would appall him. "Let's not jump to conclusions. I'll know for certain soon. But, as you say, it probably was vampires."

Volfric slumped to his knees. He bowed his face to the ground. "If it was," he said, "tonight I'll make a holocaust of them."


In his tower, Rovenmare knelt at the edge of his pool. Immersed within, lining the pool walls, shoulder-to-shoulder all the way around, his skeleton slaves awaited his command. He gave it: "Show me."

Their mouths were slow to open. Instead of disgorging the milky substance of their visions, they only disturbed the water. The surface churned with foam and bubbles, but revealed nothing.

Rovenmare berated them with incantations, cursed them and scourged them, all to no effect.

He scowled. If his skeletons couldn't show him what happened at the cottage, that could only be because someone's sorcery prevented it. Whatever happened, someone of profound magical talent sought to conceal it from him. That made this more than a simple vampire attack. How much more remained to be seen, but he would find out. He stood, with a grim smile. He had ways of finding out that couldn't be prevented.

At his impatient gesture, the skeletons filed up the steps, out of the pool. They weren't so steady on their feet, after the severity of his interrogation, but they didn't dare stumble. Flickers of dread danced in the hollows of their skulls, and danced the more as he imparted his instructions. When he clapped his hands, they immediately clattered off to make the preparations for calling up spirits of the dead. They didn't dare fail him again.

When they finished, he inspected the magic circle drawn for him. It had to be meticulously perfect, and it was. He stepped into it.

As the skeletons joined hands and skipped in a ring around Rovenmare, as they turned like a wheel against the clock, against the sun, as they sang their chant in voices from beyond the grave, one of them stood within, wreathed in sulphurous smoke.

"Well, come on!" Rovenmare snapped.

The skeleton hurried closer.


The jaw lowered.

Rovenmare yanked it down further, and fitted the mother's tooth into a gap.

The skeleton shuddered. Dim, pale lights ignited in the eye sockets. They trained upon Rovenmare. In them, he saw recognition, quickly followed by terror. As if fearing the worst, the spectral eyes turned toward the pool, then lowered to stare at the naked bones of the body that housed them.

A scream pealed through the chamber in the voice of Volfric's mistress. "No!" she cried. "No, no, no! Oh God, please no! What have I ever done to you?" She struggled to throw herself down at Rovenmare's feet, but he held the skeleton firmly by the shoulders. She said, "I'll tell the Count, I will! I'll find a way. He loves me, and he'll make you set me free!"

"Hush." The command in Rovenmare's tone reduced her to sobs and mewls. "I didn't call you back to make you one of them." He nodded to indicate the other skeletons, who had ceased the danse macabre, and retired to one corner of the chamber. "But the Count means to avenge you, so he needs you to tell me . . . what happened?"

She whispered, "Vampire."


"Vampire." She held up a single finger.

"What--only one?"

The skull nodded.

"Hm," Rovenmare said. "I see. Now, listen. I want you to recall exactly what happened, as clearly as you can. Do that for me now." When she hesitated, he said, "Do it!"

The skeleton had no lids to close over the glowing eyes, yet the gaze unfocused and turned reluctantly inward.

The surface of the pool displayed the spirit's memories. A door appeared. It opened. There lay the slaughtered boy. A vampire gorged herself on blood from his chest. The field of vision suddenly constricted to a tunnel, focused on the grisly sight and shutting out all else.

As Rovenmare knew all too well, emotion warped memory. This time, it exaggerated everything about the vampire. She appeared as almost nothing but a mane of long black hair, fireball eyes, and a scarlet mouth of fangs. When she lunged, waterfalls of blood cascaded from claws longer than her arms.

As the horrid scene played out, shrieks rose from the vision in the pool. The spirit echoed with her own shrieks, all through the attack, and kept on screaming even after the image on the water faded to darkness and dissolved.

Rovenmare slapped the skeleton hard enough to knock the woman's tooth free. It rattled down through the rib cage. The scream died. The knees wobbled at the spirit's abrupt departure, but before the skeleton collapsed, Rovenmare caught it with one hand by the neck. He held it up at arm's length, stared into the visage, and considered what he'd learned. Too damned little.

Even so, a sense of what happened was forming in his mind. The mother hadn't admitted the vampire to the cottage. Apparently, the child did. That was consistent with the cross and garlic missing from the bedroom. The child would not have thought to remove those protective measures on his own, so someone must have persuaded him to do so. Surely not the vampire. It most likely was the mysterious person whose sorcery prevented Rovenmare from viewing the murders directly in the pool. Well, whatever the child knew about that person, Rovenmare soon would know it, too.

He jammed the child's tooth into a gap in the skull's jaw.

A shiver ran up and down the spine. New light gleamed from the eye sockets. The skeleton cowered. "Where am I?" it said, in a little boy's voice.

"You're safe. Don't be frightened." Rovenmare knew better than to attempt a soothing smile. His skullish grins never inspired anything but horror. Instead, he held the penny out. "Here. Do you remember this?"

The glowing orbs focused on the penny.

"Go on. Take it. It's yours, isn't it?"

Timid bony fingers lifted it from his palm.

"Who gave it to you?" Rovenmare asked.

"She didn't give it to me. I found it."

"Who didn't give it to you?"

"The nice old woman."

"Did she tell you her name?"

The child thought long and hard about that.

"All right," Rovenmare broke in, "never mind about the name. But can you picture in your mind how you found the penny? Can you remember how it happened, how everything looked? Remember the nice old woman--think what she looked like. Can you remember what she said? Don't say it out loud, just think it. Just remember. Can you do that for me, please?"

Again, the child concentrated.

The pool displayed a scene--a few steps off a forest path, a penny glittered, though it lay in shadow. Rovenmare expected as much, but still gritted his teeth. Here was a damnably common, simple ruse. It might have been sweets or a toy, but this time it was a shiny coin to tempt the child, against all warnings, from the path on which Rovenmare's magic protected him.

Sure enough, the child went for the penny. Suddenly, the view shifted up, and there stood a smiling old woman who hadn't been there before. In the boy's memory, she appeared as little more than a type, as lacking in useful detail as the vampire from the mother's memory. The vagueness irritated Rovenmare's perfectionism, but he realized the image was almost certainly deceptive. The child had probably gazed on an illusion, a sorcerous disguise. Whoever this person was, she--or he, since it might not even be a woman, after all--seemed desirous of remaining unknown, and too good to bungle that by appearing in true form to the child.

The crone mumbled some things the boy only recalled as a meaningless, garbled, yet pleasant voice, but then two words stood out with perfect clarity: "good fairy."

Rovenmare watched the scene to the end, careful to note everything, since one could never tell what would later prove informative. He had no intention of resting until he'd made the most blood-curdling example of this person.

"Now," he said, "what about the good fairy?"

"She came to visit me. Just like the nice old woman said."

"Show me. Remember when she came to visit. Picture it, just as you did your meeting with the nice old woman."

The pool showed the child's room in the cottage. Through the window, the vampire floated in, beautiful, magical, utterly fascinating. The boy's idealization distorted her, but Rovenmare recognized her this time. He'd viewed this girl in his pool once before--only once, despite his efforts to view her there again.


She'd gone missing three nights ago, in the saving clutches of the spectral Rider, and now here she was, a vampire, murdering perhaps the only two people Volfric ever loved. Rovenmare had no doubt the Rider was the "nice old woman" who arranged it. Nor did he doubt that the Rider had further plans for Katia. Perhaps the ages-old standoff and stalemate was cracking. Perhaps, at long last, a final confrontation impended. If only he knew how to hasten it.

He dismissed the boy's spirit, and left the skeletons to clean up everything.

He went down to his library and poured a snifter of strong, clear sambuca. He sipped, and savored the anise flavor. He swirled the liqueur around the glass.

So Katia figured somehow in the Rider's schemes? Now she figured in Rovenmare's, too. He'd get his hands on her, and then she'd tell him who the Rider was. Oh yes she would. He'd have it out of her, one way or another. And then the real fun would begin . . .

"Sir." A servant bowed through the doorway. "Count Volfric expects you in his chambers."

"Yes, of course." Rovenmare sloshed more sambuca into the snifter, and slugged it back at a gulp.


Before Rovenmare reached the door to Volfric's chambers, he overheard Fronius within, playing the toady.

"Yes, my lord," the nasty little wretch simpered. "I'll forge a pair of magic slippers. Wed the girl they fit on Walpurgis Night, and she'll be the bride of your heart's desire."

"Very good, Fronius," Volfric said, none too enthusiastically. "See to that, will you?"

"Oh yes, my lord! At once!"

Fronius dashed out, almost colliding with Rovenmare. The master considered boxing the apprentice's ears, but settled for kicking his ankle viciously enough to put him down on one knee. Without so much as a peep of complaint, Fronius got up, bowed to Rovenmare, and limped away.

Volfric sat on a couch that scarcely could support the weight of his gigantic form. He tore with yellowed teeth at a cold, rare leg of mountain ram. "Ah, Rovenmare." He waved the leg toward a silver cart loaded with decanters. "Have a drop of something." He washed the meat down with a swig from a bucket of red wine.

"Thank you, no, my lord."

"You heard us talking?"

Rovenmare answered with half a shrug.

"It's time I wed, I've decided. It's time I produced a true heir for Wungoria. Fronius had better pray my seed issues from this body, as he promised!"

Rovenmare nodded. "As you say, my lord."

Volfric lowered the ram's leg. Fat tears rolled down his cheeks. "You know, of course, he--my boy--he never could have been my heir, but I always wished . . . I always dreamed . . ." Volfric wept in earnest, blubbering, slobbering, streaming snot from his nostrils.

Rovenmare closed his eyes, disgusted at the emotional outpouring of bodily fluids.

"I loved him, Rovenmare! I loved her. I loved them both so much!"

Rovenmare had no idea why Volfric confided in him like this, but he knew perfectly well that Volfric would hate him for it later. Here was a display of weakness, and Volfric would resent him ferociously for having witnessed it.

Volfric wiped his nose on his sleeve. He leaned forward, and the couch creaked under him. "What have you to report?"

"You surmised correctly, my lord." Rovenmare looked Volfric in the eye. "Vampires."

The leg bone snapped in Volfric's fist.


After drinking her fill from the old lord of the tower, Katia sought a bed. Instinct compelled her inevitably to the crypt, though some human part of her that hadn't been extinguished yet felt sadness and loathing at the thought of sleeping there. Instinct compelled her to open a sarcophagus, though she knew it to be sacrilege. Instinct compelled her to climb in and share it with the mouldering bones of some ancestor of the lord. Her first day as a vampire passed miserably. She chucked the bones over the side, to make herself more comfortable. It didn't help. Her sleep was fitful, unrefreshing, and filled with evil dreams.

When she complained about it that night, Wendoline said, "You have no grave to call your own. For three days and nights, you lay where you died, with only snow to cover you."

"That's why my sleep is troubled?"

"It makes you more restless than if you'd been interred."

Water ran down the steps into the crypt. Puddles grew together where the floor had sagged and settled over years. The roll of thunder reached them as a murmur.

"Well . . . can't I be buried now?"

"No. Too late for that."

Katia groaned. "You mean, so long as I exist, even sleep won't grant me peace?"

Wendoline smiled, and her freckled face dimpled mischievously. She crooked a finger. "Come. I made you something that should help."

Katia followed Wendoline aboveground. Rain poured through the yawning crown into the tower, and ran in streams from every bit of structure that sloped, protruded, or dangled from above. Lightning made the night sky flicker black and white. Thunder crashed outside over the plains.

Wendoline led Katia into a side chamber. The roof there was intact, at least. They stopped before an ancient chest.

"First," Wendoline said, her brown eyes twinkling, "a trophy to remind you always how fatal you are, how much others should fear you, and how little you have to fear from anyone or anything." She drew from the chest a pair of boots.

Katia gasped. They were made of an oily grey batskin she recognized immediately as the hide of the lord she'd killed the night before. And Wendoline had taken the skin of his face and plastered it over the front of the left boot, frozen in what might have been either a gargoyle leer or a scream of the damned.

"You'll be no ordinary vampire," Wendoline said. "And nobody should ever mistake you for one. These boots are a symbol to set you apart. So, here. Let's see them on you."

Katia sat, and Wendoline slipped them on her feet. They rose just over the calf. Nothing she'd ever worn in life fit as perfectly as they did.

"But when I transform . . . ?" she said.

"They'll transform with you," Wendoline assured her. "The curse enchanted him, remember. The skin is magical. It will respond now to your own enchanted nature."

Katia tested it, melting up into a butterfly. She flitted here and there, amazed and joyous all over again at how wonderful it felt. A little regretfully, she turned human again. The boots were on her feet.

"And now," Wendoline said, "recall the spinning wheel you smashed?"

Katia recalled. "I didn't mean to."

"That's all right. It served its purpose long ago. It, too, was magical, you see. Someone used it to spin the very night into a thread. Who knows what she intended for it? But I found a full spool of the stuff, and while you slept, I wove you this."

Wendoline lifted a black bundle from the chest. She snapped her wrists, and a cape flared open, so lustrous it shimmered with otherworldly glamour. Smiling, she swept it over Katia's shoulders, and fastened it at her throat.

"It can serve by day as your shroud, your very own winding sheet; graveclothes to soothe, to help you rest, to make your sleep more peaceful. By night, it will be another symbol to mark you as a vampire like no other. It will serve you as armor, for weapons can't pierce it. It's even proof against some magic--though you shouldn't count on that against the likes of Rovenmare."

"It's so lovely," Katia said. "Thank you."

Wendoline still held the edges of the cape. She pulled Katia closer. Katia expected the kiss this time, and welcomed it. Wendoline slid her gauntleted arms under the cape, clasping Katia's bare body, cold steel on colder flesh. Katia reached up and gripped fistfuls of Wendoline's brown curls, to kiss her all the harder.

Wendoline whispered, "Let's see what Volfric's up to, shall we?"

"We can do that?"

"We can try. I've grown fairly adept at finding ways around Rovenmare's defenses."


Up, then, through the tower, through the rain. Every window, crack, and gap lit up with every flash of lightning.

Wendoline stopped at the door of a high chamber. Between booms of thunder, she said, "Lucky you didn't crash through this one!" She gestured. "After you, my dear."

Katia opened the door.

She gasped again. This was indeed a night of wonders.

She stepped into a room of little-girl pinks. Dust motes swirled at the intrusion, and made her feel as though she stepped into the past, or into a Faerie realm. A pattern of berries had been painted ages ago on the white walls. A whimsical stained glass window would flood the room with pretty light in daytime. Dolls lay here and there. The four-poster bed was just right for a child, and draped with rosy curtains.

Then she saw the skull on the floor, and near it the rest of the skeleton, still in a dainty pink dress and slippers. The bone hands clutched a plush green velvet frog with a tiny golden crown. Crusty black stains on the dress, the frog, and the faded pink rug told a grim tale. Katia pictured a soldier of the House of Volfric, in red leather armor, striking the girl's head off in one murderous stroke. She imagined it at first from the girl's perspective, but memories of slaughtering the boy at the cottage came back to her and got mixed up in her imagining. Kaleidoscopic visions of blood and death swirled through her mind. Her sympathy darkened, and her emotions twisted out of control, into the hunger she'd known the night before.

She licked her lips. She reached with the claws of her finger and thumb to pick a flake of crusty blood off the frog. Compulsively, she popped it in her mouth. It tasted horrid. She swallowed quickly, then wished she'd spat it out. The hunger abated, but from nausea, not satisfaction.

Wendoline had been talking all the while. "--more example of Volfric savagery. One more reason to wipe the House off the earth, and send them all to Hell. Anyway, here's what we came for." She strode to a pale pink cabinet and eased the doors open.

What first caught Katia's eye were the mirrors, one in the center, and one inside each door. She'd seen hand-glasses before, but never mirrors so large or perfect. Together, they formed a triptych that reflected three views of the chamber. They did not reflect Wendoline or her.

"Beautiful!" Katia said softly. "Are they magic?"

"All mirrors are magic to the dead," Wendoline said. "These are simply exquisite. I've never seen their like."

A dressing table was affixed beneath the central mirror, and a stool stood beneath it. Wendoline pulled the stool out for Katia.

Katia gazed, wide-eyed, at the dressing table. There were shiny combs, a pearl-handled brush, bits of jewelry, jars of cosmetics, and anything else a young princess might desire. She couldn't help touching the elegant objects--all so tiny!--just right for the girl whose skeleton hugged a frog doll to its breast. Katia felt herself a girl again, the washer-girl she used to be, who slept in ashes and dreamed of being a princess with a lot of pretty things.

Suddenly, fresh grief swelled within her for the loss of Little Godmama, whose stories had given her those dreams. But Godmama had warned her, too, that even princesses sometimes faced hardships and dangers, and were sometimes hurt or killed. Godmama would not have been surprised at the fate of this girl who'd really been a princess.

From behind, Wendoline stroked Katia's hair. "There, now. Let's start." Her hands settled on Katia's shoulders. She gave an affectionate squeeze. In a low, incantatory voice, she said, "Three mirrors, mirrors three, show us what we wish to see. Show us Volfric in your glass. Show whatever comes to pass."

The reflections of the chamber grew cloudy and dissolved. The mirrors looked like windows on a night of rolling fog. The fog resolved into a snowfall. Through the haze, Katia made out huge, blocky forms. Among them, she caught glimpses of motion.

"The stone circle?" Wendoline exclaimed.

It was true. Katia knew it the instant Wendoline said it. She recognized the looming masses as the ring of stones on the mountain, where she'd become a vampire. The commotion in their midst took on an air of violence. Through howling winds, she heard howls of rage and pain and terror.

She looked up at Wendoline. "Is Volfric . . . slaying vampires?"

"That must be it. Probably blames them for the present we left him at the cottage." Wendoline met her anxious gaze. "It still frightens you, doesn't it? That he hunts them like that. I'm glad you'll get to see this. You'll see how weak they are, and that he's only human, and you have nothing to fear. Mirrors, show us more."

The triptych sorcerously reached out, enfolded Katia, surrounded her with an hypnotic whirl of snowflakes, and pulled her deep into the vision. For a bewildering moment, she worried she'd been bodily transported to the scene, but then she realized she couldn't feel any of it.

Vampires swarmed like rats over a monstrous giant of a man. They scratched his coat, and tore away clumps of sable fur.

The giant bellowed. He swung a wooden stake in one fist and a torch in the other. A solid gold crucifix as large as a dwarf swayed from a chain around his neck. He shook the vampires off. He impaled and burned them as they came.

Katia frowned. Was this one of Volfric's minions? She'd never heard of anyone like this. That struck her as odd. Odder still, where was Volfric? He was the one the mirrors should have shown.

The vampires' eyes glowed red through falling snow. The wild, naked creatures crashed in waves against the giant, who stood firm and speared stake after stake through their unliving hearts.

A donkey also fought for life. Bloody scratches striped its sides. Vampires pranced around it. Some leaped on its back. One grabbed its rope. The poor beast's eyes rolled. It bucked and kicked and brayed with desperation. Wooden stakes spilled from the packs it carried.

The vampires shredded off the giant's coat and shirt.

Katia gawked at the stitching on the torso. Crude sutures everywhere joined parts from obviously different bodies into a gruesome patchwork of flesh. Stitches even circled the neck, and the bizarrely flat top of the head.

The giant turned his face straight toward Katia. She flinched, though she knew he couldn't see her. She noticed something, then--stitching in his cheek, fused into the skin, exactly where she gouged Volfric with the broken edge of her glass slipper.

The giant roared.

She almost leaped into Wendoline's arms. "The Count!"

Volfric swung a vampire into a stone upright. He drew back a mammoth fist, and squashed the vampire with a blow that seemed to shake the chamber where the women watched in horrified silence. The upright broke. The cross-slab it supported dropped toward Volfric. With a sweep of his arm, he batted the falling megalith away. It crushed a vampire when it landed, then tumbled through the circle, flattening others, until it smashed into a trilithon on the other side. The structure collapsed. Two of the blocks toppled over the thousand-foot sheer drop.

"He's not human any more," Katia said.

Wendoline stared. Her mouth hung open. She closed it, swallowed hard, and said, "It changes nothing. We'll kill him, all the same."

Volfric peeled vampires off the donkey. He snatched for another pack of stakes. The animal lay on its side, brought down, crying and kicking out its dying moments. It snapped its teeth blindly at his hand, but missed.

Volfric came up with the stakes. Few vampires remained. Most lay in mounds of impaled corpses. The naked white bodies lay one atop the other in grisly jumbles. Limp hands and feet stuck out at all angles. Dark, syrupy pools spread from the piles.

Wendoline shook her head. She waved at the mirror. "Enough."

But the scene played on. Snow continued falling. Volfric seized the nearest standing vampire--the once-pretty girl whose lip Katia bit. He swung her high. She screamed and squirmed. He slammed her on the stake clenched in his other fist. The point thunked under her breasts and ripped out through her back. He held her aloft, and roared again.

Katia moaned.

"Mirrors," Wendoline said, "that's enough!"

The scene dissolved into reflections of the chamber.

Katia's discouragement must have shown on her face, because Wendoline started talking fast. "Don't lose heart! It changes nothing. You can kill him, and you shall. Remember why you're doing this."

"I must feed." Katia ran for the door.

"Katia!" Wendoline chased her. "Remember what he stole from you. Your Godmama, your mother, and your father. And Jacob--"

"I need blood! Leave me alone!" At the doorway, Katia launched herself out into the crater-like space of the tower, where rain still poured down.

Wendoline stopped in the doorway and shouted after her, "Remember!"


Jaakko said...

Oh man, I so need to refresh my memory about why Volfric turned into Frankenstein...

Anyway, a nice chapter. You still have a good eye for details, I especially enjoyed the solid gold crucifix being "as large as a dwarf".

The only thing I can really criticize is the fact that perhaps you're being a bit too thorough: the strenght of horror lies within the unknown and unexplained, but you're pretty much explaining everything from every angle. The story is still pretty damn good and exciting, but I just felt that a bit more mystery could be good for it.

Curt Purcell said...

Wow, thanks for the quick comment, Jaakko!

Short answer why Volfric turned into Frankenstein: when he realized the Rider was still after him, he got scared that Rovenmare wasn't doing a good enough job of protecting him, so he got Fronius to build him the much stronger, tougher body, the better to protect himself.

As for the detail you mention, I have to confess--I swiped it from the Ludacris song "Stand Up," specifically the line when he's boasting about his bling, and says,
"Watch out for the medallion,
My diamonds are reckless,
It feels like a MIDGET
is hanging from my necklace!"

I understand your point about mystery; I just favor a more overt approach to horror. This whole novel, in fact, is an exercise in putting monsters front-and-center from as early a point as possible right up to the very end. If anything, it's only going to get more overt from here on out. By no means am I dismissing your point, though--I hope you'll continue to let me know if this approach is not winning you over.

Jaakko said...

Well, even though I definitely like wtfigo:ness more than overtness, as long as there's still nudity, sex and/or sleaze, I'm with you ;)

From the pen of Crystal Connor said...

I think the most haunting scence is where the skeletons are skipping in a circle around Rovenmare...

I really liked Mirror, Mirror can't wait to see more.

Curt Purcell said...

Thanks Crystal! I hope you continue to enjoy it!