Hump Day Hook – 23 October 2013

Hump Day Hook

Greetings, all!

Time to check out some Hump Day Hooks! We are currently exploring the world of my gay, gothic novella, Seawrack. If you would like to catch up on the previous clips, click here.

Sherwood repeated the question, calling him from his thoughts. Jesse marshaled his resources. “Yes, sir. I am.”

“Good!” Sherwood set the paper aside and rose. A thrill shivered along Jesse’s spine—the man was indeed handsome. Even-featured with a strong, square jaw, Sherwood’s face was dominated by striking blue eyes beneath straight, black brows; the man extended his hand, and Jesse shook hands. “Come along, Masterson. Walk with me.”

cabinet-of-curiositiesBack through the house, up thickly carpeted stairs and along a corridor, Sherwood led, chatting amiably as he pointed out, here and there, curiosities obtained through his travels. Jesse could easily fix his type—offhand and cheerful and kind—and happily it never dies out. His anxiety faded as he walked along, pleasantly entertained by his host’s soliloquy.

The men settled at last in what was clearly Sherwood’s study. Books and papers lay haphazardly about the room, which, otherwise, was elegant and gracefully appointed. Sherwood grew somber as he filled a pipe. “I am grateful to Livingston for recommending you—and am even more grateful to you for considering this position—as mine is a truly awkward situation.”

“Truthfully, Mister Sherwood,” Jesse spoke into the lull while his host fired his pipe, “Doctor Livingston has told me little of the position; although I am happy to begin immediately. I understand that there are two children—a boy and a girl.”

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Hump Day Hook – 16 October 2013

Hump Day Hook

Greetings, all!

It’s once again time for a Hump Day Hook and some more from Seawrack! If you’re here for the first time, or would like a refresher, click here.

Self-consciously, Jesse lowered his arm and stepped across the threshold. The hall was well-appointed with pale walls and heavy, masculine wood; a hint of tobacco, dark and herbaceous, hung about. His hat and coat were relinquished, hung aside to dry.

“Mister Sherwood is expecting you. Follow me.”

The retainer escorted Jesse through the house, past spoils of travel and trophies of the chase. He conceived the owner as rich, but fearfully extravagant—saw him in a glow of high fashion, of good looks, of expensive habits and charming ways. He was led to a morning room, where warm yellow lamp light fended off the steely gray day. The remains of breakfast—a rack of pale toast and sausages congealing in grease—sat on the table, pushed to the side in favor of a newspaper.

Breakfast“The tutor, sir, Mister Masterson.”

“Thank you, Withers. That will be all for now.” The paper never moved.

Jesse stood, damp and awkward, unsure whether to speak or sit. He chose to stand, silently.

“Masterson, eh?” The paper rustled as a page was turned. “That seems a good name for a tutor.” More rustling, another page. “Are you a good tutor, Masterson?”

Jesse was distracted from the question by Sherwood’s voice. A thick, rich baritone, the sound was warm, bold and pleasant, reminding Jesse of honey and smoke. He imagined the man to be handsome and tall and dark; that type that was gallant and splendid.

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Hump Day Hook – 09 October 2013

Hump Day Hook

Greetings, everyone!

I know… long time no see! Lots of irons in the fire—edits, a mystery I’m plotting, plus the usual writer’s ADD. But it’s Hump Day… and time for some hooking!

I’m doing a little more from Seawrack today, so if you’d like to check out the first bit, click here.

Doctor Livingston had been gracious enough to provide him this reference—although Jesse suspected in his heart that the position was somehow less than desirable—yet he was grateful to have even such a thin opportunity for a new start in this damp, sodden town. Only his grandfather’s letter to Livingston, a colleague from Papa’s days in seminary, had secured him this small piece of fortune.

With a muttered prayer, he pushed aside his dark thoughts and knocked upon the great front door. The soggy morning air swallowed the small, dull sound, and Jesse wondered how anyone not immediately near the door would hear it.

Clipper_Ship_Southern_Cross_Leaving_Boston_Harbor_1851His belly rumbled. Ill with anxiety, he had broken his fast with nothing but half a biscuit and one or two sips of water. He’d not felt so sick since he had taken ship in Norfolk. Four days he’d been unable to eat, lying weak and nauseated in his cramped, smelly cabin. At least I’m not in prison.

He rapped again, fearing he might bruise his knuckles. This time the knock was answered by the sound of heels on hard wood. The door opened to reveal a tall, elegant older gentleman.


Jesse swallowed with difficulty, yet thrust his hand forward. “Good day, sir! I am Jesse Masterson. I’ve come for the position—Doctor Livingston sent me.”

The man eyed the outstretched hand, one brow eloquently arched. “Ah, yes, the tutor.” He stepped back. “Come in.”

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Hump Day Hook – 18 September 2013

Hump Day Hook

Greetings, all!

We’re half way through the week, which means it’s time for a Hump Day Hook! I’m stepping away from Subeo for a bit to explore the world of Seawrack, a gothic romance work in progress.

Jesse referred again to the limp piece of foolscap, his spidery scrawl beginning to run in the damp air of a misty Boston morning. Squinting did little to clear his vision. He clasped his umbrella beneath his upper arm, all the while juggling his portmanteau in an effort to wipe the drizzle from his spectacles. Despite his hat the lenses continued to be spattered.

Not for the first time, he reconsidered his decision to come north. Compared to Williamsburg, Boston felt cramped and claustrophobic, huddled as it was on its peninsula. His years at William and Mary seemed a lifetime ago. But that life was gone. Torn away by a chance encounter.

beacon-hill-streetHunched into his coat, Jesse strode across Beacon, stepping around its muddy puddles, and made his way up the narrow lane. Joy Street belied its name, looking gray and dreary in the muted daylight, as townhouses stood shoulder to shoulder along the slope. He stopped in front of a red brick home, its edifice guarded by black wrought iron.

This was the Rubicon. Unlike Caesar, though, he had nothing to which to return. With a swipe of his kerchief, he cleaned his spectacles, squared his shoulders and went to face his Pompey.

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Hump Day Hook – 04 September 2013

Hump Day Hook

Greetings, all! It’s time for some Hump Day Hooking!

I am continuing with Subeo. If you need to catch up, click here.

Liam was… for the circumstances… strangely peaceful.

That stinking, gelatinous crap must have some sedative quality.

Surprisingly, it had had no taste. On the other hand his tongue felt as if some snail were wandering about his mouth, leaving a trail behind. He really wanted some water.

How long he had waited in his cell, he didn’t know. He had been surprised at the grinding as the door opened to admit two fellows in black robes. How cliché, he’d thought and may have giggled at them. Like everyone else he’d interacted with, they weren’t open to humor.

They’d lifted him beneath his arms and carried him out into the dimly lit corridor. He struggled to walk—his legs seeming to have lost several degrees of function—but gave up, letting the goons drag him along. Another door opened, ringing metallically against the wall, and he was hauled into a large space, lit—appropriately, he snickered—by torches.

He sobered though when he saw the figure bound and chained in the center of the room. The naked man was Keith—he would recognize that Celtic tattoo anywhere.

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Hump Day Hook – 28 August 2013

Hump Day Hook

 Greetings, all!

I have been in absentia lately—much to my chagrin! Lots going on…

For this week it’s back to Subeo. If you need to catch up, click here.

The leather sighed as he lay down, fitting his shoulders and hips to its worn impressions. Two of the servitors—he didn’t recognize them beneath their black hoods—gripped his hands, wrapping his wrists with the sturdy hempen cord. Exchanging lengths, they secured his arms beneath the bench.

BoundHandsA calm, peaceful sensation flowed over him when the rope drew tight. Immobilized atop the heavy wooden bench, he felt free—free from doubt, free from worry, free to be—simply to exist in time. That had been the revelation of his initiation—the quiet his mind had found when he had acted and given up that anxiety and indecision.

The servitors moved to secure his legs. Cuffs suspended from chains held them aloft, revealing him, opening him to the ritual. A flicker of concern passed through him.

Had Liam made the right choice? Would he brave new knowledge, or would he settle for soft security?

A door clanged. Keith glimpsed a mop of golden curls as a mask shuttered his vision.

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Hump Day Hook – 21 August 2013

Hump Day Hook

Greetings, all!

It’s been kinda crazy lately, but I thought that I’d drop in and hump a little today! We’re rejoining Subeo, so if you need to catch up or have a refresher, click here.

Keith fingered the thin copper chain that encircled his waist.

His initial anxiety had calmed somewhat—his heart wasn’t beating in his throat anymore, although it still raced, railing against his chest. He’d managed to speak to Liam for a moment. Whether he would pay attention or not remained to be seen.

Can’t really blame him if he doesn’t trust me.

When the Praecept had told him of Liam’s nomination, Keith had been thrilled. It was becoming more and more difficult to hide his attraction to the lively sophomore. Liam did nothing to disguise his own interest in Keith, who was firmly against any sort of fraternization with undergrads—particularly hot, young blondes who sat in the front row of his Clinical Psychology section.


But to have Liam as an initiate was another matter…

Keith inhaled deeply, attempting to calm his riotous thoughts. He’d drawn the saxum—the white disc that placed him at the center of tonight’s ritual—so his quietude was essential. With another centering breath, he doffed his robe and shivered slightly as the cool air coasted across his skin. He took his place on the bench, lay back, and gave himself to the embrace of the rope.

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Hump Day Hook – 17 July 2013

Hump Day Hook logo

Greetings, all! Welcome to this week’s Hump Day Hook!

It’s time to check in on Liam in Subeo. To catch up or for a refresher, click here.

As much as Liam was enjoying this little slice of hell, the researcher in him craved to know more, to find out exactly what was going the fuck on. He had to admit that curiosity about Keith and his role in this mise-en-scène was chewing at him as well. His libido remained unfazed.

However, his stomach was not so excited to participate. A bitter swell of bile rose in the 700_dirty-bottlesback of his throat; his gut clenched and roiled at the thought of drinking from the second bottle.

Maybe security wasn’t so bad.

But was security the easy answer? Maybe it was all a double blind…

No! Keith had taken a chance to help him. The grad student’s fear was real. The easy answer was the wrong answer.

As he twisted out the second stopper, he took a deep breath and held his nose. With a quick prayer he swallowed the thick, gluey contents.

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Hump Day Hook – 10 July 2013

Hump Day Hook logo

Greetings, all! Hard to believe it’s Wednesday again and time for some Hump Day Hooks!

I am continuing with Subeo. For a refresher or to catch up, click here.

He knew better than to ask for any clarification—it would be painful at best, and he didn’t want to think about the possible worst scenario.

Liam considered the pair of bottles. Their appearances were commonplace: they resembled the decorative bottles you could buy at any home store. Nothing about them screamed knowledge or security. In the lurid light their contents each appeared equally sluggish and murky, not appealing in either case.

Maybe something about the positions? A reference to the left hand path, perhaps?

A growl of frustration clawed out of his chest. Alice, at least, had had directions! All he had was Keith’s admonition to not take the easy answer.


Photo courtesy of Zachary Huang, Michigan State University.

Searching for different criteria, he lifted the left-hand bottle, easing out its cork. Careful not to sniff directly from the mouth, he smelled cherries and honey. That certainly didn’t seem too bad. He replaced that stopper and then picked up the short, squat container. Repeating the procedure, he nearly vomited. Redolent of vinegar and spoiled milk, the contents gave off a rancid, sour odor. He couldn’t get the bottle closed fast enough.

Well, shit! Cherries and honey would certainly be easy to swallow.

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Hump Day Hook – 03 July 2013

Hump Day Hook logl

Greetings, all! It’s hump day and time for some hooking!

We are rejoining Liam in Subeo today. For a refresher or to catch up, click here.

Liam strained to listen to the darkness.

He pricked his ears and held his breath, trying desperately to discern some sound beyond his cell. The silence weighed against him, sitting thickly and pressing on his ears. His heart marked time. Lub-dub, lub-dub.

His anger at Keith had drained away, leaving a diffuse worry made worse by the whine of Keith’s voice, so unlike its typical warm baritone. Clearly, the grad student was stressed, which would seem to indicate that he wasn’t in charge.

So who was?

Liam wished something—anything—would happen. He was tired of being in the dark—literally.

“Liam Sean Fitzpatrick, you have been chosen.”

Liam started. The voice was different, not so harsh, with a trace of an accent. English? Scotch?

He knew better than to talk back.

apothecary bottlesA decision is required.”

A light snapped on, illuminating the table with a dim, red glow. Two bottles stood there—one tall and slender, the other short and squat.

“Drink one to move forward and gain knowledge. Drink the other to move backward and remain secure.”

With a silent groan, Liam stood up and approached the table.

Great! Now I’m freaking Alice in Wonderland!

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‘Til next time!