Wednesday, 31 December 2008
Tuesday, 30 December 2008
Monday, 29 December 2008
Chapter 2 (Shadow)
I distrusted him the moment I saw him. He was red-faced, red-haired and overweight, and the sprawling, ranch-style mansion was newly built. He was most likely one of those people who’d got rich off the War while the best of all humanity was butchered. On the ground or above it, it makes no difference once you’re dead. People think of being a war pilot as being more glamorous, more noble, but it wasn’t. I’ve shot at men on the ground, and I shot men in the air, and they’re all equally dead. On the other hand, being a spy is an evil profession. Supposedly. I was a spy once, when I was young and carefree and had no idea how to fly a plane. Both were equally hard work, equally dangerous and meant killing people.
People also say Germans are evil. Personally, I can’t see the difference between them and us. We had different tactics formation wise, but other than type of machine and language we’re all the same people, pilots. Just as likely to be killed by a bullet or archie (anti-aircraft fire) as by a machine deciding to disintegrate or engine failure. Actually, the other difference was that their archie was a different colour, so you could see which side was shooting at her. I’m probably one of the only people who’s been in the rather interesting position of being fired at by both sides at once.
As I said, I disliked him at first sight, but I needed the money, and he had a proposition and I’d agreed to listen, so I went with him. He leads me in and I sit at a table in the big kitchen. A young black girl comes in, but Abe shoos her away and removes a tray from a cupboard.
“Glass of something Mr. Silverdale?” he drawls, looking at me like to him I’m on about the same level as that girl he has locked away in a tower.
“Water would be fine.”
“I can’t tempt you to some cider, or beer perhaps?” So I told him I don’t drink, not bothering to tell him why, but it’s not because of Prohibition. I’ve seen too many pilots go to an early grave, and all down to the bottle. The stress of war got to be too much for them and they drowned their sorrows with drink. Stupid things it always was that got them, like coming in to land without checking the wind, forgetting about the little hole and turning over, misjudging a gap and sheering off a wing. I even saw someone fly into the side of the hill after they’d been at the bottle. Scary thing was, they were all decent pilots, twenty, maybe thirty kills to their name.
“Mr Catlington. You brought me here for a business proposition. I have a feeling it has to do with transporting alcohol. Well, just for the record, I certainly don’t approve of alcohol. However, I’m in a bit of a fix. I was, as I think you’re aware, working for a company that did pleasure flights and air shows. They went bankrupt. I don’t know why, the accountancy wasn’t my business, but I haven’t had a pay check in over three months. I need money to keep flying, because petrol and spares cost money, and I guess you could say I’m getting homesick. There is one thing you must understand though. I will not commit to anything for longer than six months.”
“Fair enough. All I ask is that you try it for a month, and if it isn’t to your liking… Well, feel free to leave after a month. I shall supply aviation spirit, of course, and the gardener was a mechanic during the War, he’ll be able to see to your aeroplane I’m sure.” I nod. “Now people of your type rarely bother about the law, do you?” I shake my head.
He’s got me sussed completely, knows that I’m desperate to keep flying, knows of my reputation, knows that I’m not overly enamoured with governments of any form. He probably knows I’d like nothing more than to emigrate to Russia. In fact, if I can get there, I’ve been offered a position heading up a new Air Force initiative. What ‘planes the Russians have are sadly dilapidated, and they didn’t stay in the War long enough to get to need an air force as such, so they don’t exactly have one. Just a smattering of requisitioned private aeroplanes of pre-War antiquity that were owned by a couple of the rich enthusiasts. At the start of the War, it was second only to France, but it’s fallen into disuse and there isn’t much of a structure to it.
Sunday, 28 December 2008
As for other stories. Well, I've done a fair bit of work on Two For Joy (before version), but I seem to have stalled. Done some more work on my Artemis Fowl fanfic too (If All is Fair, you can read it on FanFiction.net if you're interested). Anyway, that's about it.
Saturday, 27 December 2008
Friday, 26 December 2008
Thursday, 25 December 2008
Tuesday, 23 December 2008
Chapter 1 (Sophia)
Uncle Abe’s locked me in my room. Again. I lean my forehead against the cold, iron bars he fitted when he realised I could get out. It wasn’t hard, not after the first few times, and I hate being cooped up here, in my highest room of the tallest tower, guarded by a fierce dragon of a man who drinks too much, despite Prohibition. Any Prince who braves the scorching heat of Kentucky, USA, to rescue me will really have their work cut out. For a start, even if they could get through the bars, my hair is nowhere near long enough for them to use as a rope. I cut it myself a few weeks back—it was far too hot—and it’s scarcely past shoulder length, black and kind of wispy. You really should have seen Uncle’s face when he realised I’d cut it. The look was almost worth the beating I got afterwards. Still, Robert, who’s as close to a Prince as I’m ever going to get in this hell-hole, even if he is black, came and helped me up here. He’s really sweet Pa, I think you’d like him, because you weren’t like Uncle Abe is.
Unless you fly up here in your aeroplane and save me Pa, I’m doomed to marry the ugly, ancient farmer down the road who’s more than old enough to be my grandfather. Uncle’s determined to ‘acquire’ his land one way or another. Either that or he’ll marry me off to the Sheriff to cement their truce. He’s already married, but around here, anything goes as long as you’re rich enough. If you happen to be Black though, or foreign, or, heaven forbid, both, it’s a different story. Slavery may have been abolished years ago, but it’s cruel legacy still lives on, especially with people like Uncle around. He treats his servants like they’re still slaves, especially Robert, the gardener. He beats him if he does even the tiniest thing wrong, and it’s the same with me. Then, for good measure, he locks me up here. This time, it was for rolling up my sleeves ‘in public’. I felt like screaming at him, it’s so unjust. I was in the field at the back of the house, so it’s not even as though there was anyone much to see.
I hear the muffled roar of an aeroplane, and look up, hoping to see the source. It’s pretty rare around here, and for a moment, I think you’ve heard my plea and are coming in to save me. And then I sigh, because I know it will never happen. The ‘plane comes in lower and Uncle goes racing across the fields on his big black mare and clutching that foppish cowboy hat he thinks makes him look cool. At first I think he’s trying to stop the pilot landing—Uncle hates aeroplanes almost as much as you loved them—but then I realise no, he’s showing him where best to land.
The aircraft comes down slowly, taxiing in close to the house and I can see it’s a biplane painted deep green save for the front edge of the wings, the middle part of the propeller and the struts, which are red. There’s a man made up of thin grey lines painted on the front of the fuselage, and the centre of the top wing, and written over it in red, curling scrip are the words ‘Shadow’s Slayer’. The pilot jumps out, tossing his helmet back into the cockpit and draping his thick leather jacket over the side, but he keeps his goggles on for some reason.
He glances up at my window and smiles slightly, and I wonder why he’s keeping his goggles and what his eyes are like. He’s got fair hair, like you did, but fairer even than yours, almost white. He looks strong, despite being pretty small and thin, and I remember you telling me some ‘planes are real pigs when it comes to handling, try to leap right out your hands, so you’ve gotta be strong. I miss you Pa.
Ok, just ignore the dodgy spacing thing, don't know why it's done that...
Monday, 22 December 2008
Sunday, 21 December 2008
Since then, I've been working on The Desert Rat (provisional title, really need a better one) which is set in 1916 and 1929 and I think might be starting to get near the end. Might be. Maybe another two days, three days. Although that could easily be another thirty or so chapters...
After that dream about Red, I felt really inspired and did a load more work on To Touch Life. And while I was in London, I got hit with mega-inspiration for it, and now have a major plot thing to work out and fit in somehow or other. Sure I can manage it. It involves the introduction of two new characters, one called Sarah, one called Cam. Cam knows she has to get back to her original home, after having lost pretty much all her memory when she was healed and put back into a different part of heaven (when angels receive a fatal wound, they join a queue to be healed and then get put into a different place with no specific memories, unlike the demons 'time out' style system). Trouble is, she doesn't know where it is, only that it was maybe vaguely near Zion. Sarah explains that she's been looking for her first home too, and discovered that there are hundreds of Zions in heaven, but she agrees to help Cam. After all, it's something to do, isn't it? Little does she know it will bring her into conflict with a massive invasion and occupation force of demons, and cause havoc for Terry and his new girlfriend Sky.
Oh yeh, plus there's that one I posted the start of up before, which I'm feeling inspired for again. So I might do some more work on that. Don't know. Anyway. It's provisionally titled Dream Random, which indicates a severe lack of any title at all to call it by. Hopefully I'll find something if I do actually finish it.
Outside St Paul's Cathedral, Christmas Day 2028
A loud voice cut through the merry chatter, shouted words in an alien language. People looked. Armed police. The leader had his gun levelled, pointing at someone, finger on the trigger. Two bangs, close together, the lead policeman jerking up as a flash leapt from his muzzle, the bullet going high and wild.
A young man, Asian in appearance, nodded briefly to the officer behind the fallen one.
Explosion. Blinding white light, searing heat, screams.
Hospital of Lower London, 30th December 2028
The patient opened his eyes slowly. He blinked a couple of times. Bright, disorientating light, fuzzy people.
"Greetings hero," a gruff voice stated. "Nice to know you're still a serious injury stat and not another death."
The patient's eyes focussed, a gasp as memory crashed back into him, and with that awareness, pain. He tried to push himself up, but a nurse pinned him back down.
"Stay still sir. You're seriously injured. I'll fetch the..."
"How many?" the patient demanded, though his voice was hoarse and it pained him to gasp even those two words.
"Two-hundred-seventy-three dead at the last count. Close on another three hundred serious, maybe a thousand or so injured. You were lucky Thimba, very lucky."
Thimba paused for a second, breathing quickly and shallowly. He didn't dare breathe at all deeply--felt like he'd at least one or two ribs broken, maybe more.
The man sighed. "All the ones with you, except Mig, are dead. The ones who weren't, or presumably weren't, killed by the explosion have been shot through the head."
"Treacherous bastard," Thimba snarled weakly. He gathered his energy and pushed himself to a sitting position, biting his lip a little as pain shot out from his back and crashed in from his left cheek and most of the rest of his body, rippling about and holding discussions about the price of blood in various parts of himself. "He..."
"We guessed. I'm afraid he's out there somewhere, but we can't let that slip. The public's panicked enough as is. You're a hero. All over the papers how you tried to stop that suicider blowing, tried to shoot him, but were shot yourself.
"Lovely," Thimba muttered.
Tuesday, 16 December 2008
Friday, 12 December 2008
Nutmeg is determined to prove to all of heaven that she has what it takes to be a great warrior, despite her youth. However, the Devil is determined otherwise, as are other elements within the force itself. And when the whole city is plunged into chaos, the burden of responsibility falls heavily on the youngest member of the force and her team.
Angels are not all cute and sweet. In fact, some are pretty determined to do away with that sort of stereotype. Like Nutmeg. Fierce, tough, warrior through and through, she's determined that nothing will get in the way of doing her job. Not demons, not the perceptions of others, and not even the Devil himself.