Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Teaser Tuesday: Changeling


With CHANGELING (MetaWars #2) releasing in just under three months, I thought a snippet was in order. The scene below is taken from Chapter Two. Dahlia, Teresa, and Ethan have responded to a call from the city police regarding...well, a "dead body."

You'll see.



Trance approached the scene with confidence in her stride. Tempest and I flanked her, creating a perfect triangle. My palms were sweaty and not from the day's heat. I schooled my face into the perfect picture of calm as we approached. The wall of human bodies parted, and I gazed down at my first murder victim.

And almost lost my breakfast.

It wasn't a body as much as it was a body's case. Skin, hair and nails, in the perfect replica of a human being. The pink and tan body looked like an inflatable doll that had gone flat, but it wasn't plastic. The details were too perfect, from the lines around the empty eyes to the warts on the tops of the man's feet. There was no blood, no gore, no sign of the eyeballs or anything else that wasn't external.

A human slipcover.

"Oh boy," I muttered.

"You okay?" Tempest asked, a little pale himself. His good hand squeezed my shoulder.

I tore my eyes away from the graphic—yet oddly, not gory—sight. "Yeah, I think so. Wh-what could do that to a person?"

"That's why we called in you people," Detective Forney said. She wore shockingly red lipstick and matching nail polish. A scar ran the length of her left cheek, from ear to chin, thin as a pencil line, but noticeable in the bright daylight. Heavy makeup covered her face, thickest under her eyes and cross the bridge of her nose, which seemed slightly swollen.

"You people?" Trance said, shoulders tensing.

"Yes, you guys, you people," she said. "Christ, don't be so touchy. We're doing you a favor by bringing you into this case."

Trance squared off with the mouthy detective. "Funny, I assumed you brought us in because you don't have a clue what did this, or why, or how you'd fight it if you met it in a dark alley. Am I anywhere close, Detective Forney?"

Forney sneered. Detective Pascal placed a warning hand on his partner's shoulder. A good six inches taller than her, he was an intimidating presence, and she backed off. Her hand brushed mine as she swept past and stalked down the alley to the street.

"She's not very good with people," Pascal said. "That's why she works Homicide. Gets along great with dead bodies."

Tempest snickered.

Trance crouched over the skin. "I take it your Forensic team will inform us of anything they find? Any indication of how the skin was removed and why."

"Of course," Pascal said. "Forney might not like you, but this is far beyond our abilities to solve alone. Maybe if there was some sign that the skin had been cut, some evidence of a knife or scraping tool, but there isn't. Everything that was inside of the skin is just…gone."

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