I’m so pleased and relieved to have just finished editing what will in a few months time be released as Britannia Unleashed that I thought I’d share a passage. I have spent the last three years editing The Eternals Series and this and for the first time in as long can now start writing again. (THANK GOD!) I have big plans for the Britannia books. Big, big plans!
I hope you enjoy this little snippet.
From Britannia Unleashed section: A Certain Release.
Note: Britannia’s greatest investigator, an ageing Mortimer Headlock, is led to a dilapidated mansion by a lady that is not quite a whole woman. Here he meets a foe from his past. A dead foe!
Stocked with more paraphernalia than Headlock had ever seen in one place, the mansion mired in mismanagement. He glanced into what appeared a dining room and back across the hall to what might have passed for a lounge, both cluttered from floor to rafters with junk. Piles and piles of miscreant objects littered every surface with none left bare. The lounge was worst with the accumulated garbage almost touching the ceiling. Great heaps rose from the carpet, tables and chairs like a London cityscape reimagined in miniature with only one area, darker than the rest, ominous by its excavation. Something resided in that blackness; two glittering eyes confirmed it. Headlock noted them but said nothing, there would be time for such things later.
“Shall we take a seat?” No-Name enquired.
“Lead the way, Madame,” he replied. As he suspected, she led him away from their fellow resident. Holding aloft the lantern more for himself than No-Name, Headlock followed her through the warren that was her father’s home.
It was here that he imagined a reasoning for his companion’s strange gait. Whereas Headlock stumbled and bumbled into this item and that, a straight passage elusive, causing commotion after commotion of tumbling junk, she tottered between the stacks of papers, plants, furniture and more bizarre items like a world champion in avoidance. Her tottering seemed perfect in its side-to-side rotations to make haste through the accumulated detritus. Headlock’s longer strides were less so.
By the time he reached No-Name, she’d pulled up two chairs to a large, mahogany kitchen table, and sat, her hands by her sides. Headlock took his place opposite and began as he would in any procedural meeting by asking questions. “So, where is said ghost?”
“Close,” her cryptic reply.
“And how long has this demon antagonised?”
“All my life.”
“Hmm, that is unusual.”
“Very. As a rule, the spirits of the deceased come and go at will. However, in my experience of such things, they almost always require something before departing.” Headlock found himself tapping the one bit of exposed table top for dramatic effect, his fingertip orchestra echoing around the room.
“And if they required something to facilitate not departing?”
“My apologies, Madame, but I don’t follow.”
She opened her small almost circular mouth to elaborate when something interrupted her.
“Headlock,” said a disembodied voice. “Headlock,” it came again shaking the room’s wooden beams with its depth of bass.
A dispassionate individual, though undoubtably male, Headlock found the voice’s owner both hard to read and altogether rude. As such…
“I would care for you to do me the service of addressing me face to face, Mister?”
“Sir,” hissed the voice. “Sir Magnus Monk.”
And the proverbial penny dropped.
Thank you for reading
Richard M. Ankers