WIP Wednesdays | Dream Eater/Monstress Excerpt | 6/1/2022

I went to Star Wars Celebration and Galaxy’s Edge this past weekend! I’m feeling all amped up and inspired creatively now. Here’s the beginning of something I wrote on the plane. It’s a bit of a weird premise, so bear with me: a prince who eats dreams imprisons magical creatures because they tend to have more interesting subconscious desires than your average person. He stumbles upon a chimerical shapeshifter. Hijinks.

The monstress trembles in the back corner of the cave. Her twisted body is not so different from creatures in the Above that he can’t tell that she’s starving. Her bones jut. Every part of her, skin, scaled, furred, is dull and appears unhealthy. Ropes of slaver ooze in U shapes from her jowls where teeth curve like thorns. She pants wetly, dark eyes rolling from side to side.

Prince Blaine stands between the pair of hunters, examining her. “So this is where you’ve been hiding.”

Her nostrils flare with a chuffing sound.

“Unharmed, as you requested,” one of the hunters says, “though it didn’t give us the same courtesy.”

The hunter shifts her weight, no doubt to draw attention to the scratches on her thigh, bleeding through multiple layers of bandages. If she thinks it will elicit sympathy, she’s wrong. She knew what she signed up for; the artist’s rendition of the monstress’ wicked claws on the wanted notice should have been enough warning. Although, now that Blaine looks at them, they appear different than what was presented there: dark and curved instead of pale and long.

“Leave me,” Blaine says to the hunters.

“My lord, I don’t think—“

“No, you don’t. You don’t think. You hunt. You’ve done your job. Now I’m ordering you to leave. Go.” He jerks his head towards the cave’s mouth, then adds, “You will be rewarded.”

The pair hesitates a moment longer before they leave. He understands their confusion and concern, not for him, but themselves. It will be their heads if anything should happen to him.

Only the sound of the monstress’ panicked breath remains. Her muscles are tight. She watches the hunters until they leave, then her gaze snaps to him. Despite her animalistic face being impossible to read, he imagines he can guess her thoughts. The hunters were armed to the teeth and he appears to stand before her without a weapon.

He steps closer, frowning at the gleam of blood on one of her forelegs. The hunter had lied. She’s damaged. It will disturb his plans.

Her face rankles in what he assumes is confusion. It’s difficult to tell. The amalgam is a hideous

But she’s human at her core.

He makes his tone as light as he can manage. “Hello. Don’t be afraid. No further harm will come to you.”

She says nothing.

He takes a step closer, eyes narrowing as she presses herself to the wall. “I know you can understand me. There’s no use in pretending otherwise.”

“Perhaps I just don’t wish to speak to you.”

Her voice is not what he expected: angry, yes, but also clear and elegant. If she were human he would think her well-bred.

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