Pazuzu's Girl by Rachel Coles


Hi Suzy! Thank you for hosting me on your blog today. I'm currently transmitting from the security area of the Underworld, where I'm waiting to pass the first gate. I've been invited to give the first ever interview of Pazuzu, Demon of Plague and the Southwest Wind. Okay, the line is moving now. Uh, now we know where TSA got their training. The couple in front of me was just ordered to strip. I don't mean just their shoes. The couple asked if there was a scanner option, but it looks like your choice of scanning device is a fire-breathing amphibian thing that burns through whatever you don't want to take off, or the razor-sharp teeth of this tyrannosaur-bull creature, that seems to be getting limbs along with clothes...Oh, well, yay for the couple ahead of me. They've discovered that bribes work. Apparently, the amphibian Chthulu look-alike has a preference for Gucci handbags to keep his/her/its gory snacks in, and the tyrannosaur-bull prefers Old Navy cardigans and knit caps. I guess it might be hard for a cold-blooded creature to keep warm in a place with no sun. It looks a little silly in pink knitted flowers though, but I don't think it would appreciate commentary, and I'm no fashionista. I'm poor, so I'll just have to pray that the guards appreciate my pea coat and scarf, the ARC thrift store special.
Whew, I'm through the gate, and have been shuffled to Pazuzu's quarters, since he's on a temporary visa here. Huh, wow, this isn't what I expected. It looks like I'm back on earth, except there's nothing here but sand and sun. And when I say sand, I mean like Arrakis from Dune. Nothing but sand. He's sitting in the middle of the dune about ten yards from me. Let me find out where we are.

Me: Hi, Sir, can you spare a few minutes to talk to me?

Pazuzu (dripping sand through his claw-tipped fingers): I currently have nothing but time.

Me: About that, where are we? We're not in the Underworld now, are we?

Pazuzu: Of course we are, don't you know how to read a compass? Oh, that's right, nothing like that works down here. (He pulls out his phone, looks at the bars and then bares his sharp teeth and crunches it up between his jaws) Piece of garbage didn't work all that well before I came down here either.

Me (swallowing hard and backing up a step): Uh, I don't understand. There's sun and sand.

Pazuzu: ...And more sun and more sand. It's a desert, the desert I lived in for a few thousand years. The Queen of the Dead's interior decorating job. It's Ereshkigal's little joke on me. She thinks she's hilarious.

Me: Oh, so this isn't real. Well, if you lived in a place like this before, why does it bother you?

Pazuzu: I moved. Do you want to move back to your momma's house? Why did you move to Denver?

Me: Because it's a wicked cool place, with lots of stuff to do.

Pazuzu (puts his finger on his canine nose, looks down at the sand and then snarls): By Inanna's Tits, I was enjoying Denver too. I've developed a fondness for the barbecue and beer. Honestly, it has some of the best beer I've tasted since leaving home, without this blasted heat. We invented beer, in case you Westerners have forgotten. My favorite is Left Hand Brewery. Guess why. Don't your people say 'left-hand of the devil'? I started in the mountains, you know. We didn't have snowboarding, back then. Most people in that age thought it was insanity to strap your feet to a board and hurtle down a mountain. On purpose.

Me: I agree. I'll strap my feet to two separate boards, just not the same board. I prefer skiing.

Pazuzu (squints at me, snorts, and then looks morose)

Me: What's wrong now? Denver's got great beer and all, but---

Pazuzu: I miss them.

Me: I could maybe smuggle some bottles in. I wouldn't have thought of the Underworld as a teetotaling kind of--

Pazuzu: My children, you idiot. No place Ereshkigal could put me, paradise or dismal torment, matters without them. Are you a parent?

Me: Oh...I have a girl.

Pazuzu: Then you understand.

Me: Yeah...I do. I hope everything works out for you. Thanks for taking the time to talk to me.

He nods and waves a finger, ushering me out.

That's all our time today, visiting hours are over, so I'm heading back to earth before their border patrol decides that my passport to re-enter earth isn't good anymore. If you want to know more about Pazuzu in the Underworld, and learn about his situation, check out Pazuzu's Girl at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and the Journalstone website. Here is an excerpt:

Morpho shook out her brilliant blue hair in front of the mirror behind the door of her pink room. She threw on her torn leather jacket over a ruffled pink sock that passed for a mini-dress. She flounced down the stairs, grabbed her Tinker Bell backpack and the peanut butter toast her father’s servant had left, and plopped her skateboard on the tiles of the front porch. One of them dislodged as she jumped the board down the steps.
A loud chatter emerged from the thousands of grasshoppers that hid throughout the partially eaten lawn and manicured bushes. She heard them as though they spoke in English.
I know you’re mad at me, but was that really necessary? Lugal just fixed those. Are you angry with him as well? A couple of grasshoppers fluttered after her and hitched a bumpy ride on the strap of her pack before crawling up to her shoulder.
She rolled her eyes and did a rattling jump just for their benefit. “No, Dad. I’m not mad at him. And not everything I do is just to piss you off.” Her lips set in a grim line and she rode in silence.
The grasshoppers twittered and hung on as she took the curbs as hard as possible. Then to what do we owe your sunny mood?
She glowered. “I’m a freak. We are freaks.” She whirled her finger in a circle to include everyone around her in freak-dom.
You dyed your hair blue. That’s generally not what people do when they are trying to avoid attention, her dad gently reminded her.
“I’m laying my cards on the table. We have to replace the lawn and shrubs every couple days because you eat everything in the yard. And everyone thinks Lugal is your love slave. Our differences aren't exactly ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell.’ By the way, we got another fine from the stupid housing association. They’re threatening to send pest control.”The grasshoppers chirped. “I’ll deal with them. And I thought you liked Lugal.”
“I do like him. But you might want to let him know everyone thinks he’s your boyfriend, partner...whatever.” She flipped her board up and stormed into the school hall, late for class, as the grasshoppers flitted away.

* * *

Thousands of grasshoppers emerged from nooks and crannies throughout the denuded sod in front of 248 Rowan Street, Ken Caryl, Colorado. As they flooded into the hallway of the house from the moist April breeze outside, the swarm of glittering wings and golden-brown bodies condensed into the figure of a tall thin man with golden eyes, black hair and slightly canine features around the mouth. Pazuzu, Demon of the Air and the Southwest Wind, stalked into his suburban home to deal with the four-hundredth letter from his homeowner's association and ruminate on how to handle an angsty teenage daughter.
Lugal, an equally tall, sturdy man with dark features and a hawk's nose, dropped to his knees and bowed his face to the floor as Pazuzu entered. His palms flattened on the ground in obeisance. His right hand was marred by rough white scar tissue across the palm and wrist. “Lord, what is your will?”
Pazuzu motioned the man to his feet. “I accept your loyalty,” he nodded, “but you have not bowed to me since the first time we met, except when you have done something you knew would displease me. What have you done?” He glowered.
Lugal raised a carefully-groomed eyebrow and his eyelid twitched for a moment. “I have not seen such a look on your face for many years. I thought you might benefit from an old formality.”
Pazuzu's lips curled up in a smile that looked like a grimace. “Did you see Morpho's attire? We are supposed to maintain a low profile!”
Lugal's white teeth flashed and the other eyebrow rose. “Forgive my impudence, Lord, but have you seen some of the other children at the high school? She is fitting in.”
Pazuzu met the dark man’s eyes and they both burst into deep rolling laughter. Pazuzu sank down into the tasteful but nondescript kitchen chair and picked up the HOA letter. He took the content in at a glance and tossed it back on the table. “She told me about this.”
“What will you do?” Lugal brought pungent-smelling cardamom tea to the table.
“I will be the indignant homeowner at one of their silly meetings. They have been fining us since we arrived more than a year ago. It gives them something to do and makes them feel important, happy with their power. Happy neighbors are quiet neighbors.”
“But they have threatened to hire extermination services.” Lugal sipped his tea, watching Pazuzu warily.
Pazuzu leaned forward slightly, and his golden irises lit from within, then faded. “I will dissuade them.”
Lugal was silent for a moment. “Has there been any sign of her? Of the Scourge? My spies have detected nothing yet.”
Agitation distorted Pazuzu’s lips into a snarl, making him look more canine than ever. “No. Not aside from the usual events in the news lately. The bombings, the shootings, in many of the nations near the old kingdom, near Uruk. I see nothing direct, only her influence.”
“She is subtle. That is how she gained her power before you left her. What will you do should she find Morpho?”
Pazuzu’s eyes flashed and a rasping breeze lifted in the room. Lugal quietly placed his scarred hand on the napkins to keep them from skittering off the table. Pazuzu’s voice was like the sound of a million furious, buzzing insects as he answered, “I will protect my child.”

It is available in both paperback and e-book. In addition, there's an e-book giveaway today. If you get the book for the giveaway it would be really terrific to hear what you think! Please review it on any of the above sites or Goodreads .

And I want to thank Suzy for graciously hosting me today! You should also check out her books, if you haven't already. The Raven Saga is an engaging read, for full-grown adults as well as our kids. And her newest, The Lost Soul is coming out!

Thank you, Rachel! Pazuzu's Girl sounds absolutely incredible!
The first ten people to comment below will WINa copy of Pazuzu's Girl... 
so get commenting people (don't forget to leave your email address so I can send you the link)!!

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