Excerpt from1st chapter of Random, Book 1 of The Were Chronicles
In ‘The Were Chronicles’, shapeshifting Weres and normal humans live in an uneasy alliance. The Weres are officially tolerated but face constant discrimination, must carry dehumanizing paw-print ID cards, and are forced to live in isolation or imprisonment during their 3-day Turns. With increasing tensions between shapeshifters and normals, three young Weres walk a dangerous path with open war suddenly becoming a frightening possibility.
In Random, the first book in the trilogy, we meet Jazz Marsh, a Random Were, capable of becoming whatever warm-blooded creature that she last saw just before she changed shape at the full moon. When her First Turn came, the results were stunningly unexpected. And the world of the Weres and the normals would never be the same again.Photo by Darkness on Unsplash
The Boy in The Basement
Vivian Ingram, the family caretaker and my babysitter, arrived just before the ascent of the full Moon, as usual – locking everybody except me into their Turning rooms in the basement and making sure everything was secure.
Charlie was with her. The first time she’d brought him, he had been thirteen and I was only eleven. You’d think that a newly-teenaged boy would have disdained the company of a kid like me, but we somehow bucked the odds – we missed out on the standard boy-from-girl-from-boy recoil in response to unnamed cooties, and we had become buddies instead. Of course, he was going on sixteen now, and he’d Turned – at his proper New-Moon trigger, only a few months before – into a vampire bat, like the rest of his family.
My brother Mal had glared at Charlie thunderously as he was escorted yet again into his Turning room in the hope that this time would finally prove the charm. Mal, almost eighteen, still un-Turned, having to be marched off into yet another attempt at becoming an official adult in the Were community, being watched by a boy two years his junior who had already passed him on that road.
Charlie knew better than to offer any commentary while Mal was still in hearing range – but once my brother and his temper were safely locked away behind secured doors, he gave me one of his crooked smiles, half sympathy, half mischief.
“Still no joy for him?”
“Nope. And he’s kind of running out of time. They’re not sure what they’re going to do if he passes his eighteenth birthday and is still… like this. Is it even possible for someone to un-Were?”
“What’s he trying for this time?”
“Still a weasel. It’s been quite a come-down, really. He started out all gung-ho, with the wolverine, but after my folks had to keep hiring the wolverine for months it got…a little expensive. So he’s had to bring his sights down some. He wanted something with teeth, though, so – well – weasel.”
“And if that doesn’t work, what, a rat?” Charlie asked.
“Don’t be mean,” I said sanctimoniously.
“Shall we stay and see how he and the weasel are getting on? The Moon ought to be up by now – or is about to be, anyway. It should be fun.”
I smacked him on the shoulder. “You know how he hated seeing us peering in the last time.”
“We’ll be careful,” Charlie said. “Come on.”
Vivian was busy – one of her other sons fortuitously picked a perfect moment to call her on the phone, and while she was talking to him she had momentarily lost track of Charlie and me. We hadn’t really bothered to check on the Moon’s status in the sky – it was close enough for our purposes. We stood jostling outside the door of Mal’s room, and I stood on tiptoe to peer inside through the glass in the door.
“What’s he doing?” Charlie asked, crowding in beside me, careful to keep to the edges so he could duck away if Mal showed signs of looking up and seeing us there.
“Nothing,” I said. “As usual.”
Mal was in fact sitting in the middle of the room, cross-legged and wrapped in his Turning cloak, staring with smoldering eyes at the weasel which stood with its back to the wall staring back at him. Other than the staring contest, which was a sadly familiar outcome of locking Mal into the Turning room at the advent of full Moon, there was nothing of any interest going on inside that room – and it looked like Vivian would soon have to let him out, as she had done every Turn so far since he was fifteen, and he’d still be… Mal. The full Moon was in up the sky; if he hadn’t Turned by now, he probably (yet again) wasn’t going to.
I had already lost interest – but for Charlie, this was a train wreck he couldn’t stay away from. He was still staring into the room by the time I had turned away – from Mal and his continued failure, from the annoyed weasel in the corner – and I was actually looking at Charlie’s fascinated face when something began to impinge itself on my consciousness.
There was nothing going on inside the room. But out here in the corridor, outside… I was starting to feel distinctly strange. Ill, even. There was something deep in the back of my throat, an odd sort of nausea, but it didn’t feel as though I wanted to throw up – it was just… there… as though I had tried to swallow something, either too big or too disgusting, that I shouldn’t have even considered putting into my mouth, and now it was stuck halfway down my gullet and Continue reading