Well I did it again. I invited all the crazy people to my house for a Christmas party last night. No, I'm not talking about my family, that craziness will happen next weekend. This was my annual Christmas shindig for my characters. And it was even uglier than last year.
I learned my lesson this year though and held the party in my barn, so I wouldn’t have to replace my carpet, couch, and drapes again. My horses were safely ensconced at the neighbor’s so my larger, more prehistoric guests wouldn’t mistake them for pre-dinner tidbits.
The party was divided into two sections. Not formally, but realistically, since all my romantic suspense characters huddled on one side, casting worried glances towards the fantasy side, where nobody worried too much about behaving and everybody thought those other folks were pale and boring.
I had to agree, though they lacked much in the social graces and were inclined to step over the line with the slightest provocation, my fantasy characters were also much more fun at the party. I particularly enjoyed watching the demons play “Pin the Tail on the Gargoyle Without Losing an Arm”. Always a fun party game.
In honor of the event, I’d coated my Christmas tree in fire resistant spray, which was probably an unnecessary precaution as Glynus was much bigger this year and, as such, had been relegated to the yard with the other dragons and the harpies. The harpies were out there because they couldn't be trusted around the other guests. While harpies basically only eat carrion, they're not averse to making their own snacks to eat later. Besides, they tended to smell like the bottom of a fish barrel on a hot day, which was off-putting to the other guests.
My human shaped guests were safe from the harpies as long as they didn't get too close to the barn doors. Unfortunately, there was a near miss when Clancy and Tad, her hunky cop boyfriend, wandered over to observe the antics of the dragons outside, quickly finding themselves nose to snout with one of fantasy-land's most foul creatures.
But no worries, as Honeybuns do, the sexy octet wasted no time coming to the rescue, pulling an assortment of firearms from god knows where to protect the romantic suspense side of the house.
Outside, my paltry exterior Christmas decorations were crushed and lay in smoking piles in the snow covered yard and one section of my pasture fence was ripped away to use as “fencing” jousts. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen two harpies jousting from the backs of a couple of energetic, young black dragons. I still don’t know if the event was spurred by boredom, or in an effort to draw my interior guests to the door so they could be turned into harpy kibble.
My neighbors called several times. Once when a beloved dog disappeared. We later found it hiding under a large evergreen with harpy spit on its back. Shudder. That was a close call. And once when the dragons accidently scorched the roof of the neighbor’s garage across the street. One unfortunate neighbor called to ask me what the mountain sized, smoldering pile in his front yard was. I pleaded ignorance. It seemed the best way to ensure future harmony in the neighborhood.
Though the activities inside were quieter and…erm…less bloody, they were still exciting. The royal devils took bets on how long it would take them to lure each Honey from her Honeybun using mind control, which had been expressly forbidden at the party I might add. (I’d tacked a large sign up by the door with the rules: No weapons of any kind, no making toasties out of other partygoers, no mind control, no retributive lightning bolts, and no unnecessary sexual events.) Luckily they had only limited success drawing one Honey slightly away. I shudder to think what might have happened if they’d succeeded. Besides, I still insist she was only heading for the crab puffs on the nearby buffet table and not walking into the randy royal’s waiting arms. It’s a good thing that Honeybuns are as addictive as rich, dark chocolate and aren’t easily cast aside.
Regardless, you can imagine the trouble that ensued.
By the time I’d finished cleaning blood and onion dip off the tack room door, I’d lost Astra and Dialle and was very concerned. A small pile of loose hay on the floor drew my gaze upward, to the hayloft, where another of my rules was in the process of being obliterated. I cut Astra some slack, given that she was dealing with her Settling, but there were children in the barn (Clancy Rogers from Dancing With Tad had brought her son and daughter.) and the sounds coming from the loft were definitely R rated.
I yelled at them to cease and desist and rejoin the party and, a heartbeat later, they reappeared by the buffet table. Astra had a red face and hay sticking out of her sweater. She looked like a cranky porcupine. Dialle was pristine and uber gorgeous as always. Not a sleek, black hair out of place.
Odin and Thor arrived late with the Valkyries. Odin had his long, gray hair pulled back in a neat ponytail and his sharp features looked angry as he took in the humble surroundings. His single eye blazed. He held a spear in one hand, leaning on it as he cocked his head at Gabe, the fallen angel he hoped to lure to Valhalla one day to help the gods fight the Ragnarök. Two large, black birds rode upon Odin’s shoulders.
The demons kept trying to eat Odin’s ravens. I knew that would happen, thus the retributive lightning bolt rule.
Thor stood beside Odin, beating the gargoyles off with his Mjolnir. His broad, craggy face was covered with a long, shaggy red beard and his eyes flashed with lightning. He didn’t look any happier than Odin to be standing in my barn. Snobs.
Four Valkyrie warriors accompanied the gods, two in front as they entered the barn and two in back. I wasn’t at all comfortable with the way the Valkyries kept eyeing the Honeybuns…or the way Odin kept encouraging the eight sexy brothers to join the joust outside…but for the most part the entourage from Valhalla simply ensconced themselves in one corner of the barn and looked noble.
All in all, aside from some scorched timbers in the barn, a ruined pasture fence, and a missing barn cat or two, the evening went fairly well. No serious bloodletting occurred (I later located the barn cats. Cats are not stupid creatures. They took one look at the slavering gargoyles and hightailed it out of there for the night.) and a good time was had by all.
Well…all but Thor and Odin, who never really pried the god-sized staffs out of their butts so they could enjoy themselves.
And best of all, once the chaos departed my barn, I was able to return to a relatively unscathed home and drink my celebratory glass of chilled champagne on my uncharred couch. I love my characters. Some of them I actually consider friends. But I would be the first to admit that they can be hard to deal with at times. And when all is said and done, I’m much more comfortable when they’re contained upon the pages of my books, where I can torture them at will and keep them under tight control. Hehehe!
Merry Christmas everybody!
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