Today I'm very pleased to present an excerpt from Without Light or Guide, the second Los Nefilim novella by T. Frohock. You can read what I and many others said about the first one, In Midnight's Silence, here. I thoroughly recommend these books, so without further ado, here's the author to introduce her excerpt.
The hero of Los Nefilim is Diago Alvarez. He, and his lover, Miquel, are part of a secretive group known as Los Nefilim (Spanish for The Nephilim—say it like "The Mob" and you've got the right idea). This group of angelic Nefilim monitor daimonic activity for the angels.
The only thing is: Diago is not fully angelic. He is part daimon, part angel, and his very unique form of magic is sought by both sides in the conflict between angels and daimons. Diago moves through a world of espionage and partisan warfare with a rogues' gallery filled with angels, daimons, and mortals.
In the first novella of the series, In Midnight's Silence, the reader is introduced to Diago's world. We meet Diago, Miquel, and Diago's son, Rafael. We get a brief glimpse of the shadowy world of Los Nefilim and its king, Guillermo Ramirez.
In Without Light or Guide, Diago's story continues as he tries very hard to fit in with Los Nefilim, but his daimonic heritage follows him, and seeds distrust among the other Nefilim. Guillermo assigns Diago to work with another Nefil by the name of Garcia, who is Guillermo’s plant within the Urban Guard.
In this scene from Chapter 2, Diago has just completed an assignment for Los Nefilim and is going to meet Guillermo and Miquel. After a tense encounter with his dead father, Alvaro, on the subway, which has left him on edge, Diago is hoping to evade another argument with Garcia.
Diago rode the elevator to the main floor and exited the building. Outside, Garcia was nowhere to be seen. Either he had hidden himself well, or he was off on another task for Guillermo.
Relieved, Diago turned toward the Gothic Quarter and decided to avoid the metro. Another encounter with Alvaro was the last thing he needed.
He had just crossed the street when a police car rolled to a stop beside the curb. Had Ferrer discovered the missing memo? Diago made a conscious effort to keep his hand away from his pocket.
The youth behind the wheel cranked down his window with ferocious speed. “Excuse me, Doctor Alvarez!”
Doctor? Oh Jesus, what now? Diago bent over and saw Garcia’s terse face glowering from the passenger side of the car. This day was not getting better.
Garcia emerged from the car. The urgency in his step alarmed Diago. His concern shifted from the stolen memo to Guillermo and Miquel. Had something happened to them?
Garcia rounded the bumper.
“What’s the matter?” Diago asked.
Garcia clenched Diago’s bicep and propelled him to the car’s back door. “You’re a doctor now, do you understand?”
Diago twisted free and lowered his voice. “Don’t touch me again.”
“Just get in the fucking car.”
“At least tell me what kind of doctor I’m supposed to be.”
Diago calmed somewhat. Guillermo was in no danger if he had sent for Diago to play the role of a criminal psychiatrist, and that likewise meant Miquel was safe.
Whenever mortals were involved and his friend had needed someone to read the patterns of a daimon attack, he’d called on Diago and passed him off as an alienist. Now that he was Los Nefilim, Guillermo must have decided wining and dining him was no longer a necessary component of the request. “And what kind of crime am I investigating?”
“We don’t have time for questions.” Garcia jerked the door open. “Get in.”
No use arguing. The sooner he got inside, the sooner they’d arrive … where? There could be only one place. Guillermo had mentioned a visit to Doña Rosa Iniguez. Diago got in the car.
Garcia slammed the door hard enough to rattle the window in its frame.
Diago caught the young mortal’s gaze in the rearview mirror. “What’s happened?”
The young man licked his lips. “He killed them all,” he whispered. “He’s insane.”
Garcia rounded the right bumper.
Diago resisted the urge to lean forward. “Who?”
The officer clutched the wheel in a white-knuckled grip. Before he could answer, Garcia jerked open the door and got in the front seat.
It seems that throughout Barcelona, the mortals Diago has known are dying gruesome deaths. A daimon is loose in the city, and Diago's only clue to her identity is a mysterious phrase written in smoke: She Hunts.
The year is 1931.
The city is Barcelona.
The fate of mankind has nothing to do with mankind.
The hunt begins.
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T. Frohock has turned a love of dark fantasy and horror into tales of deliciously creepy fiction. She lives in North Carolina where she has long been accused of telling stories, which is a southern colloquialism for lying.
She is the author of Miserere: An Autumn Tale and numerous short stories. Her newest series, Los Nefilim, is from Harper Voyager Impulse.
You can find out more about T. at her website, or follow her on Twitter or Facebook.