So the quote that I snagged the title from is originally Charles Dickens…but there’s a YA author who also used this quote (hint: Will Herondale) so if you can recognize who that is, you get ALL the points. 🙂

November is gone and done, and while I’m not challenging myself to write 1000 words a day anymore, I’m still battling on with Portland Hafu Book 3, wherein Koi & Ken must deal with white supremacists and murders and deciding how close to the edge of evil they’ll go in order to protect the Portland Kind.

Here’s a WIP snippet for you :

Chapter One

I pounded a fist on the front door of Marlin’s second-floor condo. No answer. Just like there had been no answer to my texts or facetimes. If I’d known her next door neighbor I’d have called them from Tokyo before boarding the plane home to Portland, but of course I avoided  all contact the three years Marlin lived here—just as a I avoided the possibility of any casual contact before I realized I wasn’t a freak. I couldn’t even summon up an image of what they looked like, let alone a phone number.

My sister always answered texts. Always. I hoped to god she was just angry at how little I’d communicated with her about Dad while I was in Japan and giving me the silent treatment in revenge. Thinking about the alternatives would send me down a black hole of fears about the Kind—the creatures out of myth and legend Dad had neglected to inform me was my heritage, but who had invaded my life and turned everything topsy-turvy a month ago.

Ken had spent the entire plane ride playing angsty, emo-boy in the window seat. Pon-suma’s calm, monosyllabic replies to my nervous chatter wasn’t nearly the life-ring I needed to keep from drowning in a sea of worry I had churning inside. We’d come straight here from PDX at my insistence. Our luggage was still in the taxi.

I pounded the door again, and pushed the doorbell six times in a row.

“She’s not there. Or unable to answer,” said Pon-suma.

“What do you mean unable to answer? Unable, like, dead?”

Ken looked over his shoulder from where he leaned on his elbows on the corridor’s railing. “No, that’s not what he meant.”

“I’m pretty sure there’s no benign reason for not answering you door,” my voice sounded shrill even to me. Ken opened his mouth, and then closed it again, straightening up.

“Meter’s running,” said Pon-suma.

A muffled thud came from inside, followed by a giggle. Marlin’s giggle. All my nascent worry morphed into a giant monster of raw irritation. I punched the doorbell ten times in a row. Pon-suma yawned and slipped a hairband from the medley on his left wrist, pulling back the tangled lengths of his caramel-dyed hair.  I didn’t even want to imagine what my own black mess looked like; transpacific flights were a bitch.

“Marlin, answer the damn door!” I yelled into the door’s peephole.

There was some clicks, and the ratchet of someone pulling the security chain from its slot. The door opened a crack. One eye—Mom’s Pierce family hazel outlined in a ring of blue—peered out.

“Koi,” Marlin said, her voice convincingly surprised. “Aren’t you in Japan?”

“Obviously I am not in Japan!”

A muffled voice caused my sister to giggle again. I flinched at the weirdness of Marlin, my super-organized, mothering, practical little sister giggling like an anime schoolgirl. “Not now,” said Marlin. Her eye disappeared, replaced by the back of her head. “It’s my sister.”

The door opened wider to reveal my sister in her fuchsia Turkish terrycloth bathrobe, embraced from behind by a younger, shorter, Thor look-alike with wet, slicked-back hair wearing only Union Jack boxers.  “Are you okay?”

Marlin barely glanced my direction. “Of course I’m okay.”

“You didn’t answer my texts.”

“Oh, sorry,” said Thor. “That was probably my fault. I’ve been keeping Marlin awfully….busy.” His grinning, self-congratulatory expression left little to the imagination about what he meant by ‘busy.’ Ooh. Yuck. TMI to the max. I drew back a little. No need to risk a dream fragment from an accidental brush of skin with Marlin’s boytoy. I so didn’t need to dream about him and my little sister tonight.

“She seems in one piece,” said Pon-suma. “Can we go now? Kwaskwi texted its urgent.”

I flashed a palm towards Pon-suma’s face but addressed Marlin.

“Why didn’t you answer my texts? Are you okay?”

“Oh yes,” said Marlin in a throaty voice, “I’m definitely okay. I’d invite you all in, but the apartment’s not decent.”

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