Nimbus Takes Shape
Take your time.
I might have these words stencilled to my eyelids because my fingers aren’t listening. No matter how hard I try to rein them in, they’re off. Tip-tap-tip-tap-tip-tap goes the keyboard like hailstones on a tin roof. Must be a storm coming. Perhaps there is?
I have quite literally this very minute, well, a few minutes ago, finished the second revision of my latest work. The Theatre of the Moon, Book 1: Nimbus, is now fully formed. I head into the third revision with detail foremost in my mind. Every word must count towards the overall story and there’s a lot of story to count to.
The advantage and disadvantage of writing fantasy is that it gives you leeway to push the boundaries, but the restriction of knowing you must have them. How far can they be pushed? Well, it’s going to be a loooooong way.
Take your time.
The words are back again, and although I’m typing this so you know what I’m up to, I’m already far away. Best disappear whilst the brain is still working.
I’ll see you all soon.
Draped in a cloak grown wet by the rain, she lingered; it looked heavy in the gloom. Highlighted by the London gaslights, I watched from the quayside as she stared into the water with such intensity as to preclude a cheery hello. Instead, I remained sheltered by a convenient overhang shared with a small, stray dog.
The rain came down heavier then, more tsunami wave than tumbling stream. I expected the girl or woman or whoever she was to move and seek shelter. She did not. For ten minutes more she stood there, then tipped forward and fell.
I hadn’t time to think, one just acts in such circumstances. I raced across the street and leapt into the churning Thames diving down, down, down. The water negated my eyes, so I groped with wafting arms. When I clenched something soft and squelchy in my fingertips, I dragged it up to the unstable, liquid surface.
A passer-by helped me then much to my relief. A brave young fellow, he waded into the water and pulled the girl to shore where he stepped away a look of sheer terror upon his face. I hadn’t the time for such luxuries and leapt to the girl’s side intent on giving her the kiss of life that my army training had taught me.
I flipped her over. She was awake. Her eyes, a deep cerulean, met mine; they were so sad, so very sad. Her lips moved as of their own volition. They whispered, “Why?”
Ignoring her, for surely the freezing water had addled her mind, I made to remove her overly large cloak of seeming wet mink, and replace it with my own jacket. The young man watched us in silence.
Her cloak was fixed. Her clothing part of her. Wings she wore instead of garments although the elements had taken their toll. I stepped back beside my young companion and just watched as the girl dragged herself away. A trail of fallen feathers marked her path, the barking of that small dog her serenade goodbye.
I knew not what she was, though, of course, I suspected. And although her broken form brought tears to my eyes that left a saline slap upon my lips despite the incessant rain, it was not that per se that troubled me, but why? Why had she tried to end it all?
Only when the young man finally spoke did the scene have meaning.
“Fly,” he whispered. “Fly, if you can.”
Notes from a Day of Writing Steampunk
There is an irrefutable beauty to dallying in the fog of Victorian London, even if it is an alternate one.
I imagine myself drawn through a city in a horseless carriage, steam pumping from its pistons to merge with the grey, a flickering gaslight lighting the immediate space around us. I say us, for I am accompanied by the ghost of my fellow, and now deceased detective, Lord Ignatius Cuthbert; he wriggles within the glass bottle I conceal in my pocket. I have forgotten what it is like to be completely alone, he does not allow it.
We travel alongside the gurgling Thames; we cannot see it, but no other liquid leviathan could make such a hubbub. Our purpose remains unknown: Victoria is ever secretive these days. But whenever The Empress of India and half the known world calls, I answer, or rather, we.
Whatever runs through those blue veins of hers it is no longer blood, and it is waste to preempt any meeting. So, I don’t. Instead, I sit back and allow this unreality to sweep across my senses and attain that state of calm that I must if I am to aid Her Majesty in whatever it is she wishes, and regale you, my reader, with said tale. For I, Mortimer Headlock, fixer for an Albion past its prime, am ever on duty. Let villains beware. Let nations tremble. For I have returned, and these goggle-covered eyes have much wisdom to impart.
Like all creatures of the night, she remained elusive to those of day. Despite my earnest endeavours, my quarry remained cloaked by shadow.
It was not that she feared capture, far from it, more that it unconcerned her. I think that was her downfall, her disinterest.
The trap, plied with the one commodity guaranteed to lure such as she, blood, was set at the end of a pier. I gambled on her confidence being supreme. It was.
The chugging waters of the Thames formed an inpenitrable barrier to her kind. Vampires detested all liquids other than blood.
When she crept across the wooden planks predatory, the perfect killer, it was I that awaited her. Concealed beneath the bonnet and shawls of an old hag, I trembled not in fear, but anticipation. My haul for this single job would last me a lifetime for it was at Queen Victoria’s own behest that I did so.
The creature kissed the floor, her footsteps so delicate. Yet, I heard her, and prepared. When she took me by the shoulder, span me gently to her, so very gently, I reacted. My stake entered her heart under such force that it came out of her back. Casting aside my disguise, I prepared to gloat, but could not. She was beautiful, you see. Pale as an albino, crimson eyes gleaming, she stared at me. It was not hate that suffused that perfect face, not even shock, just relief. I saw it in her every movement as she tumbled into the river. She did not rise from those putrid depths.
It haunts me, that evening. Even after so long, I cannot forget her. For I made the mistake of an impulsive, love-struck fool. It cost me dearly. That I loved her, you say, and regretted the kill? Possibly. But, in truth, it was the fact I forgot to take a trophy. Victoria, a demoness in her own right, refused to pay me without proof. And so I remained, as I always had, a scavenger for hire, until I too became impulsive and joined the ranks of the undead.