#SampleSunday Knockabout

Katya wants me to post an excerpt from SIDESHOW IN THE CENTER RING. There aren’t any cats in it, but the natives of the planet Marner are somewhat catlike in that they’re covered in fur and have slight muzzles.

So here is a fight scene for Katya.

by Marian Allen

sideshow180I heard Budhi shout, “Claim!” Then his hand clamped on my wrist.

I tried to shake him off, then to twist out of his grasp.

“What are you doing?”

“I claim you, in the name of the Empress. You don’t have any papers, do you? And you walked in here of your own free will, didn’t you?”

“I’ve got my passport, and I’m walking out.”


The broker threw an arm around my neck. I stomped at his instep, but he spread his legs and tightened his choke hold. I pulled at the hair on his arm, taking out fistfuls of it. My luck, he was shedding.

“Stop it!” he said.

I punched backwards over my shoulder with my free fist, and felt it connect smack on the beezer. He sneezed blood all over the back of my head, but he didn’t let go.

I reached up and grabbed his arm, then dropped–dead weight, and quite a bit of it, on that one point. Budhi flipped over, as nice as you please. It had been years since I’d done any street fighting; it was gratifying to know I hadn’t lost the touch.

Budhi was fast, though. He tucked and rolled when he fell and, before I could get to my knees, he was up. He knocked me flat again, and knelt on the small of my back.

As I kicked and twisted and tried to heave myself up or push myself forward, he wrapped something around my wrists, and pulled it tight.

He slapped my head, and I felt a line of needles rake my scalp. He held his hand down near my eyes, so I could see my blood and hair on his claws. “See what you made me do?” he said. “Now, are you going to be still, or do you want me to get rough?”

I whimpered and moaned, “Oh, don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me!”

He pulled in his claws and got up. When both his hands were occupied with his chestpack, I groaned and turned on my side, facing him.

I drew up my legs, as if my stomach hurt (which it did, come to that), and kicked. I caught him in the right knee.

He fell back on his bottom with a yowl of pain.

I scrabbled to my feet and ran.

My hands were tied, and the door to the street was closed and blocked; blocked by the gray man with the black stripes and the knife.

Budhi howled something I didn’t understand. I turned my head enough to keep both of the men in view. Budhi sat where I had left him, both hands on his hurt knee, blood seeping from his nose and flecking the hair of his face and chest. Beyond him, people clustered at the windows and crowded out of the doorway, not involved, but curious.

“I’m leaving,” I said. “Stand aside.”

The man blocking my way drew back his lips in a smile, showing canines as sharp as broken glass. “I’ve been trying to catch up to you,” he said casually, as if I weren’t fighting for my life.

Budhi got to his feet. “Is this who you meant? Following us? Why didn’t you say it was a Shar?”

“Do you have any claim on this woman?” the gray man asked.

“She came in here with me of her own free will. She doesn’t have any papers. I claim her, yes.”

“And how do you know she doesn’t have any papers? Did she tell you so?”

“Another one of the Terran tourists told me. He gave me her picture and paid me to enslave her.”

“A what?” I said. “Do what? Whoa! Wait a minute!”

“Let him speak,” said the “Shar.” He turned me around and guided me closer to Budhi. Wounded, bound, trapped, and needing to know more, I went.

The people from the Exchange seemed satisfied that all was proceeding properly, and milled back through the door and away from the windows. Good of them to be concerned.

Budhi said, “I was supposed to bring her and her papers back to him at the Hilton.”

“Who?” I asked. “Who told you to do this? Who paid you?” But, of course, I knew.

“Mem Moran. The same Terran who bought Tiph.”

Now there was a happy thought: Slave of the Sleaze God. Not that Darryl would have had any pleasure out of me; it would have been something like the little Spartan boy who hid a fox inside his tunic and then found out why his best friends would have advised against it.

~ * ~

You can find more about SIDESHOW IN THE CENTER RING by clicking this link, including buy links and the entire first chapter.

A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: Someone tries to force a character to do something he or she doesn’t want to do. REALLY doesn’t want to do.



I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “#SampleSunday Knockabout

  1. Jane

    June 17, 2013 at 8:13am

    Great excerpt!

    I’m reading this book now.
    Good luck (which, as you know, is 99% perspiration; 1% actual luck).

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply
    • Author

      Marian Allen

      June 17, 2013 at 9:34am

      I know, Jane; I’m perspiring now, trying to find enough reviewers to tip the balance so people read because people have read.

      Permalink  ⋅ Reply

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