Excerpt: The Realm of It

In honor of @BreeDespain's word war, I'm posting a bit of the new novel I'm working on.  It's not actually the part I wrote for word war today, but it makes a little more sense without context.  Have at!


Hard to tell in the dim light, but I swear I saw mist in his eyes.  Not good.  “Please, Zoe, just a few hours.  We shall be back before anyone even knows that you’re gone.” 
I looked everywhere else in the room, but it didn’t matter.  His broken pitiful face was burned into my retinas.  With a huff, I stomped my foot into the ground.  “Oh, fine!  But you’d better not be lying or I’ll tell them the truth and let them at you.”  Probably not, but it sounded nice.  Before I could dodge, he flung himself up and wrapped his arms around me with such force that both of us went crashing into a stack of boxes.  The top one crashed to the ground and a flock of tiny pigeons burst out of it. 
While they cackled, I peeled him off of me and pushed him delicately away.  I was shaking again, only this time it was more unpleasantly tingly.  “Don’t do that.” 
“Yes, Zoe, whatever you ask!” 
“Stop saying my name.” 
“Yes, Z—yes.”  He gasped.  “Oh!  Here!”  He reached into a crate and handed me the object inside. 
I held it gingerly.  “My purse.  You saved it.” 
“Of course, Zoe.” 
I glared. 
“Right.  Clarence, then?” 
“Ugh.  Zoe is fine.”  Everything was intact, even my cell phone.  I wanted to call my dad, just in case, at least so he could look for Barkley who was probably roaming in every flowerbed in the neighborhood by now, but it was dead. 
“I need to call my dad,” I said. 
He quirked a brow.  “Don’t be silly.  Who gets service underground?” 
“It will be fine.  I promise.”  I didn’t want to trust his stupid calm smile, but I didn’t have much of a choice.  Both our ears perked up when the floor knocked. 
“Are you ready?” he asked. 
“I guess so.”  I chewed at the loose skin on my lip.  It tasted like blood. 
Creakily, obviously still in horrendous pain despite whatever thing he had eaten out of those crates, he opened a square in the floor and held out a hand to me.  “Milady?” 
Glowering, I took it and let him lower me into the darkness, bracing myself to enter the strange Realm of It.  

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