Wednesday, October 16, 2013


It's Wednesday -- time for the HUMP DAY HOOK, a weekly blog meme where authors post a tempting portion of their writing.
Follow this link for a complete listing of this week's participants: Hump Day Authors. And you can find links to these posts on twitter using the hashtag #HDH.

My hook today comes from The Witchy Wolf and the Wendigo (book 1).

Setting the Stage: Old Edgar, the tribal storyteller, sees someone from his past sitting across from him at the campfire. A story comes to mind. He tells the ancient legend of Ashkewheteasu and the Spider. 

Born with his spider-shaped birthmark, Eli always hated being called Spider. He hated it 3000 years ago and even more today. Seeking to rid the world of this insulting old man and end the vile stories once and for all, Eli pays Old Edgar a late night visit.

The Hump Day Hook:

After a few well-placed questions, Eli was certain Old Edgar still lived alone and the house was dark, as he’d expected at this late hour. Eli quietly closed the crooked gate behind him. As soft as the sound of the latch catching was, it still spurred the chickens in the nearby hen house to cluck softly. He quietly climbed the porch stairs. Reaching for the door knob, his hand was stayed by the unmistakable sound of a match being struck. He turned to the sound and found Old Edgar sitting on a rocking chair, in the process of lighting his pipe. The old man had a shotgun laid across his lap, the barrel pointing squarely at him.

“What do you want?” Edgar dropped the match, and picked up the gun.

Taken aback, Eli blurted, “Edgar! I was worried about you. I thought I’d check to see if you were all right.”

“You come to my home in the middle of the night to see if I am all right?” Edgar rocked forward. “Why are you really here, Spider?

The name caught Eli by surprise. He hadn’t heard that derogatory name to his face in three thousand years. His eyes narrowed. “What’s that you called me, old man?”

“I remember you, Spider. I was a boy when you were last here, but I remember you. Forever forty, hey?”

“Are you saying you remember me as a boy? That’s absurd!” Eli waved him away. “You’re one crazy old man.”

The pipe flared as Edgar drew a puff. “You look the same as you did the last time I saw your spider face. No, you are the same man living a cursed life.”

Eli took a step closer. The porch light went on and another unmistakable sound came from just inside the open door. Edgar’s grandson Warren stepped onto the porch, a freshly chambered shotgun in his hands.

“It is not my place to kill you, Midewi. But at my word, another will,” Edgar said in no uncertain terms. “You’ve been recognized. We know you for what you are. Leave my land. Leave the reservation.”

Eli made no move to leave.

Taking a step forward, Warren hissed, “Holy man or not, I’ll fuckin’ shoot you dead right now. Get the hell out of here.”

Eli smiled at them both. He put his hands up, and walking backward said, “You’re both crazy, you know that?” He spit on the landing. “You shouldn’t believe your childrens’ stories, Edgar.” On the bottom step, he turned and walked into the night, not bothering to latch the gate behind him. Warren followed some distance behind to make sure he drove away.

Feeling a little shaky, Edgar let out a breath and tapped his now-cold pipe ash over the railing. He’d immediately recognized the Spider across the fire that night. Though at first, disbelieving his old eyes, he took off his glasses to clean them before taking a second look. Sure enough, it was that cursed man sitting next to Tony Reed. And Edgar knew the Spider would try to kill him the moment he finished telling the story of Ashkewheteasu. There were many stories of the Spider Midewi. That there was an especially evil man.

Edgar smiled at Warren coming up the steps, the sliver of morning sun at the horizon behind him.

“Who was that creep, Grandpa?”

Edgar looked at his grandson – a Marine recently returned from Iraq who had stopped to pay an unexpected visit on his way north to see his sweetheart. Sky Father had placed his feet on this doorstep for a reason. Warren was here to guard against the Spider. Edgar replied, “Remember the story of Ashkewheteasu and the Spider?”

Having grown up in a family of storytellers, Warren was familiar with all the stories. The young man nodded.

That was the Spider.”

Based upon a very real urban legend. More details here:

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