I had a lot of fun writing my second YA book DEMON WHISPERER. It’s plum full of interesting characters and crazy situations. One of my favourite characters is Uncle Eldon. He’s so evil and creepy, that he gets to do all kinds of bad things that heroes should never do, which was why it was so much fun to write. Soemtimes authors just want to be bad, and creating these kind of characters is our way of acting out without having to suffer the consequences. Here’s an excerpt of when Caden first meets Uncle Eldon….
Trying not to take in a deep breath, I stepped down into the hole in the floor. I inched down rung by rung until my feet hit hard packed earth. Happy that I managed to not fall, I glanced around checking out the situation.
A soft warm glow came from the far side of the room. I walked toward it, completely aware of the old saying—a moth to a flame. And we all knew what happened to the stupid moth. Engulfed in flames and burnt to a crisp. That happy thought kept my legs from moving too fast.
After a few more feet, everything came into view. And I nearly swallowed my tongue in surprise. This was nothing of what I was expecting. I couldn’t even have dreamt up this situation. And I’d been to hell.
Aspen was leaning against an old bookcase, crammed full of books of every size. Some books laid strewn across the dirt floor, their pages creased or ripped. In the middle of the room, if you could call it that, was an old worn easy chair.One of those that with a lift of a lever a person could be transported to paradise. In front of the chair, sitting on a wooden crate was an old TV in an oversized wooden frame like they used to make in the 70’s. Some sitcom was flickering on the screen.
And standing in front of the chair was an old man. Or at least I thought he was old. His back was bent a bit, with a slight hump behind the shoulders. And his hair was thin, wispy and gray, barely enough to cover his bald pate. He was grinning like a maniac at me and that’s how I was able to count how many teeth he had in his head. Four. All of them brown with rot.
“You brought me a visitor,” he said, his words slurred, his voice as brittle and rough as sandpaper. I shuddered. It was like nails on a chalkboard as he talked.
He shuffled a few steps toward me. That was when I noticed his right ankle had a wide metal cuff around it, and attached to that cuff was a thick chain, and that chain seemed to be connected to a hook in the floor.
I glanced in confusion at Aspen. She didn’t meet my gaze but instead ripped open the package of steak she’d been holding. She tossed it to the old man. “Here’s dinner.”
He caught it deftly then tore into it without fanfare. I wanted to look away as he ripped and shredded the meat with his four teeth but I was too mesmerized by the grotesque spectacle. I’d been to hell so I’d see worse, much worse. But on this plane, in his realm, shit like this just wasn’t supposed to occur. Humans were supposedly civilized. Weren’t we?
She held up the other steak and pointed to the legs of lamb I was still holding. “There’s a midnight snack, and breakfast and lunch for tomorrow.”
The old man shoved the last bloody morsel into his mouth, and then wiped his dirty fingers onto his filthy pants. “You want something from me. You never bring me this much at one time.”
She grabbed the lamb from me, and then took it and the package of steak toward a small white freezer I hadn’t seen on first inspection. She opened the lid and dropped the meat into it.
“We need information.”
He grinned again, licking his flaking lips. “Really?How interesting.” He turned toward me again, turning into the lamplight. And I could clearly see him. Although I really didn’t want to.
His face was crumpled and worn, like weathered old paper. There were a couple of tears and holes in his cheeks and chin. I could see the white of his jaw bone through one opening. What I thought to be age spots on his head were also small rips in his flesh. His old dead flesh.
He was a zombie.
He chuckled and pointed at me. The tip of his index finger was missing. “You know what I am.”
“My niece has never brought visitors to me before.”
“You’re not my uncle,” she hissed at him.
Niece? Holy hell!
I tried to catch Aspen’s gaze, but she wasn’t having it. Her eyes were on everything but me. She didn’t want to own up to the situation. She didn’t want me to see the disgust on her face. I could totally relate. I’ve been avoiding facing my own immoral actions for years.
“I married your aunt Rose, didn’t I? That makes me your uncle. Uncle Eldon.”
“Well, she’s dead ain’t she?”
He nodded, and I could see a little smile curl his lips. “Yeah, she sure is.” He lifted his arms and looked at them this way and that. “And so am I. Supposedly.” He held one out toward me. “Don’t I look dead?”
I stared at his outstretched hand and winced. A big fat pink worm wriggled out of a hole in the back of his hand. I had to swallow down the bile rising in my throat.
“Oh, don’t be afraid of Pete. He’s harmless.” He brought his hand to his face and pursed his lips to kiss the worm.
I had to turn away from that. My gross-out level had just been breached.
“Enough chatter. I need to ask you some questions.”
“I thought I answered all your questions, girl. That’s why you raised me all those years ago.”
She frowned. “Not about that. I need to know if you can communicate with others.”
“What kind of others?” He titled his head in question, but I had a sneaking suspicion he knew exactly what Aspen was talking about.
“I might be. Why?”
“Because I need some information.”
Stroking his pet worm, he shuffled toward his chair. “What are you going to give me?”
“You already got it. I fed you didn’t I?”
“It’s not enough.”
“That’s all you’re getting.”
“I want more.”
“Well, you’re not going to get it.” She walked back to the freezer and opened it up.”
“What are you doing?”
“Taking back my payment. You didn’t give me anything for it.”
He put his hand up, in an effort to soothe her. I didn’t think it was working too well. Aspen looked like she was ready to rip Uncle Eldon a new hole.
“Now, now, don’t be hasty, little snake.”
She whirled around and glared at him. “Don’t. Call. Me. That. You horrid miserable creature.”
“Okay, okay, sorry about that.” But I didn’t think he looked sorry at all. In fact, he appeared quite maliciously gleeful right now.
“Are you going to answer me or not?”
He rubbed his fingers over his chin, and then glanced at me. “I will for one more thing. I want to know his name.”
She shook her head and started to pull the meat out of the freezer. “Forget it.”
Aspen whipped her head toward me and gave me the hardest, fiercest stare I think she’d ever bestowed on me. “Are you effing crazy? I told you not to say anything.”
Uncle Eldon smiled, and it was creepy as hell. “Caden Butcher. Well, if I didn’t know any better, I’d say there was a God after all.”
Tawny Stokes has always been a writer. From an early age, she’d spin tales of serial killers in love, vampires taking over the world, and sometimes about fluffy bunnies turned bunnicidal maniacs. An honour student in high school, with a penchant for math and English, you’d never know it by the foot high blue Mohawk and Doc Martens, which often got her into trouble. No longer a Mohawk wearer, Tawny still enjoys old school punk rock, trance, zombie movies, teen horror films, and fluffy bunnies. She lives in Canada with her fantastical daughter, two cats, and spends most of her time creating new stories for teens. You can visit her at www.tawnystokes.com. She also writes adult fiction under the name Vivi Anna. www.vivianna.net
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