There is a collection of my Noir-fantasy fiction coming soon. Four novelettes that marry fantasy and hard-boiled noir as penned by Chandler and Hammett. It’s nothing too original, but I think I have managed to do things in a way that stays true to both genres. For this Fiction Friday I’m including and excerpt from one of those pieces. Enjoy.
The Wife Hunt (excerpt)
by Desmond Manny
I could smell the cake on my fingers. It clung in moist wet clumps on the fingers of my right hand and its aroma hung like a shroud, heavy and cloying where we crouched in the back of the hack. I wanted to lick my fingers.
The smell was so powerful; sugar and cream, joy and satisfaction, but only if I had a taste. It caused an ache in my gut that left me with the feeling of an emptiness all-consuming. There was another ache further south that beat its own staccato rhythm counter to my pounding heart. Damn faeries.
I resisted the urge to put a finger in my mouth and suckle like a calf. Instead I shook my hand, hard, like it was covered in spiders and wiped my hand along the top of the backseat. The smell persisted. Faerie food only needed a single taste to make you enthralled. Subversion of will through the senses and you found yourself a plaything to an ancient, decadent race who took pleasure in pain and the indulgence of their cruel whims.
The girl, shivering and afraid and also no doubt suffering that same feelings of hunger, loss, and desire I was shoved her head into my chest hard with her blonde hair under my chin, tickling. She smelled of honeysuckle and it mingled with the aroma of the enchanted cake, seemed to intensify it like the sun through a magnifying glass and made me burn.
My eyes found the cabbie’s in the rear-view, hooded and suspicious. By now he was worried he’d picked up a couple of refer smokers smack in the middle of the DT’s or worse.
With the girl still leaning against me I fumbled and found my license. I held it up where the cabbie could see the state stamp of approval that meant I was privileged enough to put myself in one damned mess after another for anyone who could meet my per diem.
“Police. Private.” I said.
In the rear-view the eyes got interested and a little calmer but stayed suspicious. The hack driver’s eyes slid off the license, made a brief but intense stop at my face, then went to the girl where they lingered.
“Doc for her?”
“Drinks. For us.” I replied, “There’s a place over on 3rd called Wilson’s. Know it?”
The cabbie made a noise from his throat that meant nothing, but the hack took the next right with confidence.
When I looked at the girl again she’d either fallen asleep or passed out against me. One small white fist, the knuckles gone the color of ivory and bloodless, gripped my coat at the lapel.
She could sleep. I would take care of everything like the knight errant I was. Chivalry at twenty-five dollars a day.
I could still smell cake and honeysuckle.