It happened at quarter past twelve on earliest Saturday morning ... I looked at the ten thousand word plot outline/notes for Against Gravity, made a new document, and wrote the first few words. It's amazing the metamorphosis the story has gone through since only two months ago. I could still write the original idea and it would have no resemblance to what I've come up with since.
It's almost the end of January (already? Jesus). Which means I'll soon be emailing my agent Dorothy to see if anything's been happening - yet - with Angel Stations. To be honest, I'm not hopeful. I know it's only been a couple of weeks, but still ... call it a gut feeling. And yes, I know this is ridiculous, since my agent only finished reading 'Stations in early December and then sent it to the publishers.
On the other hand, maybe I'm convincing myself the sky is going to fall down.
For the sake of posterity (har har), here's the first two hundred words of Against Gravity, as I wrote them, hot off the presses, as it were. Expect it to rapidly disappear in less than a week's time when I decide I hate it.
What was it like? When the pain had come rushing over him in the past, like an express train from hell, they had asked, what was it like? The sympathy and worry etched on their faces; Caroline, Stiv and Cody, the two regulars at the Armoured Saint.
Never as bad as this, thought Peter McCowan, gripping the porcelain edge of the toilet. And if he tried to find words, none came, because there were none that could describe the sensation of your nervous system being set on fire, synapse by synapse.
He thought back to his time in Sieracki’s cells, and thought, never as bad as being locked in that tiny room, day after night after day. Because there, you didn’t even have hope to cling to.
The pain subsided like a tsunami passing over a village, leaving the flotsam and jetsam of random thoughts stirring in its wake. The sounds of people talking and drinking came thin and muffled from beyond the toilet door. Peter stayed where he was, porcelain tiles cold and hard against his knees through the thin cotton of his jeans, and let his forehead slide a few inches forward until it tapped against the cool edge of the toilet bowl.
He blinked, focused, looked down. Realised he’d vomited, missed the toilet bowl with most of it. He scuffed his knees back and tried to push himself upright, feeling unsteady as he did so. He felt thin, transparent; like a whiff of thin air, or a ghost. He reached up, touched the skin of his forehead gently, almost as if he expected to find some dreadful wound there. Nothing. Just smooth skin.
The sound of the pub’s customers became momentarily louder then faded again as, somewhere beyond the toilet cubicle Peter was still half-kneeling in, the door to the toilet swung open and someone stepped in.
"Peter? You there? Where the fuck are you?"
"Here," Peter croaked, his voice catching, throat full of phlegm. "Here," he said louder. It sounded like Bill. He hadn’t seen Bill since … whenever. He started to pull himself upright, almost slipped. The cubicle banged open and Bill stared around at him.
"Jesus fuck, what happened to you?" said Bill.
"Attack," said Peter.
So there you go. Very raw, very unedited ... ok, I'll stop apologising now.
Noted with interest my ex flatmate Mike Cobley has the second book of his Shadowkings trilogy due to come out from Simon and Schuster at the beginning of February. Saw the Steve Stone cover for it on the net. It looks beautiful. Bastard.