One of my short stories has recently been published on the Kindle and Nook and is currently only 99 cents. We’ve got more in the works, but the publishing experience has taught me a lot. Some posts will be coming soon detailing the whole process and explaining how you can take advantage of it to get your own work published. In the meantime, here’s a little excerpt from Honorbound
© 2012 Cairn Publishing All Rights Reserved
The first time you kill someone is the hardest. At least, it was for me. I don’t mean like in videogames and things. That’s easy. That’s pretend. I mean blood on your hands. Spilled guts. I mean murder. After the first one, it gets a lot easier.
I remember the first time I saw the sword. Uncle Jim had brought me to some charity estate auction. The hall it was in was dusty and cramped. There must have been at least a hundred people there, but it felt like a thousand. The a/c was out and the August sun had turned the room into a sauna.
“So who was this guy?” I asked. They were wheeling off an old wood trunk, just won by a portly man in the front whose fervent fanning with an auction paddle was failing to stop the sweat stain spreading over his chest.
“Some old rich guy,” Jim said. “Paper said he was an importer, bought and sold rare stuff from around the world.”
So far it had all looked like junk to me. “What happened to him?”
“No one heard from him at his office for a few days and started to get worried. One of his partners went over to check on him and found him dead.” He grinned his big stupid grin. “Found him in his living room. Decapitated. Police said it wasn’t foul play either. He had a big axe mounted over his fireplace, he must’ve been looking for something in there or cleaning it out and the mountings broke. Whack.” He chopped his wrist with his paddle. “Cut his head clean off. How unlucky was that?”
I didn’t have time to comment before they brought the next item out for auction.
“This is the last item for sale today,” the auctioneer called, “and the very last item the late Mr. Stamford added to his collection, acquired only a week before his passing — a beautiful antique katana from Japan.”
He lied. It wasn’t beautiful. Sunsets are beautiful. Flowers are beautiful. The sword was more. It was exquisite. Perfect. The handle was bound tight in gray ray’s skin leading to a jet black guard. The scabbard was two feet of sleek, brilliant emerald. It can’t be adequately described. It was like every gift I had ever wanted compressed into one glorious object. The auction hall, the heat, the sweaty crowd, it all faded. There was only the sword.
I’m not sure when the bidding started, but my uncle must have read my face. He raised his paddle.
“Two hundred dollars.”
I tore my eyes from the sword to gape at him. “What are you doing?”
Someone called out another number and Jim raised his paddle in turn.
“Three hundred fifty dollars.” He turned back to me. “I wasn’t going to get anything, but I missed your birthday so… call it a late present.”
The bidding went back and forth. I was petrified, certain my uncle would be outbid, but finally the others fell silent. The auctioneer banged his gavel. The sword was mine.
I could have screamed. I could’ve jumped up and down and hugged Uncle Jim and screamed, but I didn’t. That would have interrupted the auction. Someone else did that for me.
No sooner had Uncle Jim been declared the winner when the doors to the hall slammed open and a man tore in. The herd shuffled around to see who had disturbed their proceedings as the intruder raced to the stage, shouting at the top of his lungs.
“Not the sword!”
His tweed suit was wrinkled and worn, it looked like he’d been sleeping in it. His disheveled hair matched the wild look in his eyes.
“There will be blood! It’s cursed! You can’t sell it!”
Like most people with good advice, the crowd took him for a madman.
“I’m sorry, Sir.” The auctioneer glanced at the guards on the side of the stage. “This item has already been sold to the gentleman in the blue cap. Bidding is now closed.”
“I don’t want to buy it, I want it destroyed!”
The man tried to dash onto the stage but the guards were too quick. Each took an arm and began to drag the madman kicking and shouting to the doors. As he was dragged past our row he saw Uncle Jim’s cap.
“Destroy it! Don’t draw the sword! Don’t draw it! It’s cursed!”
He jerked one arm free and pulled his wallet from his pocket. Before the guard could catch him he slipped a card out, crumpled it in his fist and threw it at us. Still shouting he was dragged from the room and the doors slammed shut behind him.
The quiet lasted only a second before the hall filled with murmurs. It took the auctioneer’s gavel several slams to silence the crowd and declare the auction finished. As Uncle Jim and I stood to go claim my present I noticed the crumpled ball at my feet. I snatched it up before it was lost in the shuffle and slipped it into my pocket. I’m still not sure why.
It probably only took ten minutes for Jim to write a check and claim the sword, but it felt like hours before we had it. He carried it to the car, and only once we were in and on our way did he finally let me hold it.
“Your mom’s gonna kill me,” he said. “Let me take it in when we get there and talk to her first. Tell her it’s just for decoration, and don’t ever take it out when she’s around.” He gave me a stern look. “Most of all be careful with that thing. If you cut yourself or do something stupid I’m never gonna hear the end of it.”
I promised him he didn’t need to worry. I wasn’t stupid. I wouldn’t do anything to risk having it taken away from me, and I’d definitely never hurt anyone with it.
How wrong I was.
You can also keep up to date on all the other things we’ve got in the works to be published by visiting my Amazon author page.