Happy Beltane! I hope this finds you all still safe and well 🙂
Well camp NaNo is over and instead of finishing this ‘short story’ … a-hem… I seem to have turned it into a novel, working in all manner of complex shit from my time on the streets as a teenager to my issues and hangups about love, religion and gods know what else! I should probably be shot or lynched or something but hey ho here I am still prattling on! 😉 So I’m well over 30k now ‘filling in the gaps’ I’ve split the book into three parts : A time for heroes / Stone the crows / The end of the world (no prizes for guessing what music I’m listening to right now.. a-hem…) and each has about three short chapters but they’ll be interspersed with those lil monologue reflections from Spyro and some from his nemesis the mysterious Man In The Moon.
So, all that’s gone so far has been chapter one and two now we move on to chapter 3… if you are still managing to cling on to this crazily careering ship full of monsters then thankyou from the bottom of my heart!
“I’m having a problem with cats.” Colonel Gerrhard Hogarth didn’t look up from perusing the antiques on display. He picked up a closed umbrella and tried it in a thrusting motion back and forth a few times, finally giving it a rather swashbuckling flourish before frowning in dissatisfaction and returning it to its stand.
“Cats?” Ros asked perplexedly.
“Mm, cats,” Hogarth said, turning and fixing her with a rather hard stare. “Got anythin’ for ’em?”
“Um…” Ros spread her hands “…cats aren’t really our domain, Colonel?” she ventured, wondering what on earth was really going on behind this sham of senility. The colonel often played the fool, usually in order that he might delight himself and his ordinance with some fine joke he was building up to, but very occasionally he had a different motive, and then, Ros reflected, he could be a teensy bit dangerous. She hoped this time it was joke.
The colonel did another slow, tortuous circuit of the shop and then came to rest at the counter, his fists balled against the glass, arms locked straight, cold blue eyes fixed on Ros’s dark pools of innocence. ‘Oh dear’ she thought, and gave him her very sweetest smile.
“Funny thing,” the colonel said, “cats not being your domain. I was rather under the impression they constituted a large portion of your business..” Ros opened her mouth but shut it again quickly as the colonel ploughed on “…vermin, is what I call them. Oh, I know you ladies have a great love of the blighters, my wife is just the same, but the trouble is they get everywhere.” He raised his eyebrows as if Ros should now be completely aware of what he was talking about.
Ros’s sharp mind raced with possibilities but she came up blank – as far as she was aware, neither she, nor Sypro, had any connection to cats in any way shape or form and she was absolutely certain that neither of them had any active operations which might have rattled the colonel’s cage.
The colonel stared at her for a long time and Ros just stared helplessly back.
“Hmph. Don’t know what I’m talking about eh? That’s interesting. Fine, here’s the rub – a couple of your precious little kittens have been on my roof, and they didn’t stop there, understand? They made off with some of my wife’s favourite jewellery – for which you can give them my thanks and this to buy themselves a drink.” He handed the stunned looking Ros a couple of coins. “If they’d stopped there I’d have campaigned to have them knighted, old girl’s in an absolute fit over the thing and for my part it’s highly entertaining. But they didn’t stop there. Cats never do. Greedy is what cats are. And disloyal, m’dear, never forget it.”
“What exactly did they take?” Ros asked, aware the colonel had drawn a fine line between the humour and the gravity of the situation and uncertain on which side she was about to fall.
The colonel leant in and whispered in her ear “Four vials of demonsong.”
Ros’s eyes grew wide and then narrowed to dangerous slits. She drew herself up, smoothed the front of her black silk shirt, adjusted her hair slightly and smiled in a reassuringly professional manner. “Leave it with me colonel.” she said crisply “I will see that your goods are safely returned to you and the… cats in question never bother you again.”
The colonel stood frowning at her for an uncomfortably long moment before nodding and stepping back from the counter. “Appreciated.” he said “But, you must appreciate in turn that a line has been crossed. It is the role of the mother to teach her kits where the lines are and as I know that you are not a neglectful teacher, my dear, so I cannot help but wonder …” he raised his eyebrows again and this time Ros caught his meaning precisely as he turned and headed for the door. “Tell all your little kittens” he said gruffly “I’m buying a mastiff.”
So that is the colonel and we’ll meet his wife Agathri soon as well. Blessings on your new season, I hope it is filled with all the love and hope it possibly can be and that you feel able, despite the madness, to remain always utterly yourself! 🙂
Happy Wednesday! I’m using Wednesdays to share some short bursts of the stories I’m working on… because that way, I figure, I’ll be motivated to keep working on them
Right now (besides the Smith and Skarry adventures, which get quite enough attention in my other posts) I’m working on an LGBTQIA+ Mythpunk standalone novel called In The Cities Of Cloaks And Daggers whose central themes are identity, voice and power.
It’s based in a world where Time grows like grass and is harvested, where people of the four cities – Gnarl, Ash, Slain and Caligari – wear their whole lives on their backs in the form of patchwork story Cloaks. Those who don’t have a Cloak, have no clue as to who they are. Those who have Cloaks guard them jealously for fear of the desperate Daggers who would steal them for themselves.
The novel is divided into four books – The Book Of Bujo (which btw is a complicated word whose closest meaning would be heist/ joke/ prank/ trick), The Book Of Scales, The Book of Feathers and The Book Of End – but in the opening the reader finds themselves in a burned down library where the pages of all these books have been scattered, charred and disarrayed across the floor so the narrative has to be pieced together in fragments and the time line dawns slowly rather than being obvious from the start.
It’s ambitious, I’m scared about failing at the vision I’m aiming for, but I love pushing the boundaries of what I can do and I’ve done similar things with short stories so I really hope I can make it work, let’s see… This is the fourth extract, you can find the third part here: #WritingWednesday: In The Cities Of Cloaks And Daggers
The Dragpie smirked, their eyes bright with jewels of wicked mirth, “I can hardly be blamed if I have more of worth to say than the rest of you and my turns pass quicker because my wit is sharper, what I have to say in an hour takes the rest of you days – weeks in your case to…”
The monologue was guillotined in a breathless squawk as The Magon clamped an expertly aimed and conveniently breadthy fist around their windpipe and lifted The Dragpie several inches off their perch.
With the other hand, The Magon reached inside their shoulder holster, secured the vial and pulled out a battered notepad, flipped it easily open to a well worn page and shoved the words ‘SHUT IT, DICK’ printed in a shaky, unpractised hand, into the Dragpie’s face.
The Dragpie choked, spluttered and reached inside their leather waistcoat for a strange looking blade-tipped quill, their hand trembled and their bright eyes began to leak tears as they strained to breathe and steady the tool at the same time.
The Magon frowned but didn’t release their grip, as The Dragpie trawled the diamond quill slowly, shakily and dramatically across the ink black, scale flecked skin of their forearm to carve the words ‘EAT SHIT, DARLING’ which glowed silver, with whatever fluid ran through The Dragpie’s veins, for a few seconds, like a triumphant two fingered salute, before fading as the coal-smoke flesh healed over and swallowed the words back down inside.
The Magon growled in frustration but, seeing all else was futile, let their captive fall to the boards in a heap of choking, chuckling feathers, wiping tears of laughter from their eyes even as they coughed and spat and massaged the feeling back into their raw neck.
The Magon shook their head and began to walk away towards the helm of the Land Kite, pulling out the vial without looking at it and stepping carefully around the sleeping she-wolf on her bed of faded silk flowers and tarnished treasures.
Hearing the Dragpie getting to their feet, they turned, expecting another onslaught of hyperbole, but as the Dragpie opened their mouth gleefully to continue their mocking tirade, no sound came out.
The Magon could easily have laughed as their companion’s crest fell and their eyes filled with sudden distress, turning quickly to tears of panic and frustration, but they knew what addiction was, even addiction to the ability to express one’s self through sound. Instead they shook their head and turned their attention back to finding the Duchess and delivering her draught of Voice ; it was her turn, afterall.
There you go, I hope you enjoyed reading the next little extract 🙂 What are you writing at the moment? Feel free to share links to your own works in progress or Writing Wednesday posts in the comments 🙂
Blessings on all your writing endeavours!