I’ve been trying to write the very-much delayed third book in my Causality Merchant series for simply ages. And, you know, I’m finding it damned hard work. It’s not that the words won’t come, or that the story is incomplete. In fact there’s nothing at all keeping me from completing it – except I’m just not enjoying ‘Broker Me No Future’. Whereas ‘Silent Resistance’ was an absolute joy to write; Broker is just plain dull to write. Maybe it’s because it’s in the third person: first person is just so much nicer to write after all – you can get right inside the character’s head – because, in a sense, you are that character. And, who knows, perhaps shooting all these Earplug Adventure stories has put me off my stroke so-to-speak. Well, anyway, I thought I might gee myself along by posting a brief extract from the first story – ‘Captive Echo’ – to remind me how to write. It’s from the sample chapter beneath the header, if you want to read more.
For a moment Wozniak lay there in a state of utter bafflement. He knew for absolute certain that he’d placed it beside the bed the afternoon previous, and had set it before going to bed. He thought back to his nocturnal bladder evacuation. It then dawned upon him that there’d been no light cast by it then either. He cursed himself: he should have noticed. Trying to find some logical explanation to the mystery he even considered the possibility that his awakening was the result of a burglar’s visitation, and that – along with the Wilkins family silver – his clock radio had been stolen. But then, as he lay there considering the wisdom of leaping into action at least three or so hours too late, he recognized the ridiculousness of that conclusion: his alarm was a cheap clock, mass-produced in the People’s Republic of China. It was worth almost nothing new: second hand he doubted if he could give it away. No one in their right mind would risk their freedom, or a punch on the nose, by stealing into his bedroom – with him asleep inside it. Then he looked at the drapes. Normally their fit was rather imprecise. Light always crept in through one or more of the chinks in its armour; but the light his eyes now perceived was dull and grey, and simply insufficient to allow him to see the inside of the room properly. Then he remembered the date, and that chill that he felt the evening previous ran the length of his spine once again. With his fingertips Wozniak felt the bedclothes that covered him. They felt crisp and…Was it possible that his sense of touch was feeding his brain false information? The bedclothes felt dirty – dusty – abandoned. Wozniak was out of the bed like a teenaged boy late for a football match. As he wrenched open the drapes – the reason for the darkness now stared him in the face: someone had boarded up the windows from the outside! Fortunately the sash windows opened upward, so he could wrestle one of the boards loose. As early morning sunlight flooded through the gap in the boards, he could see that the room had been long abandoned. Months at least, he calculated. Now that chill made him begin to shake. He was certain that his sub-conscious knew exactly what had happened in the night, and that his conscious mind was now plucking up the courage to investigate. Outside in the garden he noticed that many of the flowers had gone to seed, and the grass hadn’t been mown for a considerable time. In short, there was absolutely no sign that The Peaks was inhabited, or had been for several weeks at least. Once he got used to the idea, Wozniak chuckled mirthlessly: he was no Rip Van Winkle. He was not lost in time either. And he’d certainly not lost his mind. Somehow or other he’d crossed the barrier between dimensions. He was ‘Otherwhere’ – and he felt pretty certain that he knew the place well – if only by association.
© Paul Trevor Nolan