Worry not gentle readers, it wasn’t me in the ER. My father-in-law had a bit of what the doctors describe as a ‘cardiac event’ yesterday. He’s absolutely fine now and back home safe and sound, but we did have to spend an hour or two in the local hospital while we waited for a diagnosis. With nothing much else to do (there is only so much ‘Health TV” that any sane person can watch), I used it as an opportunity to get on with Chapter 43, the first three paragraphs of which are appended below for your delectation. This is strictly first-draft stuff, you understand, so no sniggering at the back there, please.
“What about that Lobster Blog Award that you’ve been promising to tell us about for weeks?” I hear you ask. To be honest, I have a horror of chain letters, or anything that smacks of them and this award has that kind of feel about it. However, I am receiving daily psychotherapy and hoping for an improvement any time now. My grovelling apologies to KJ Waters who gave me the award in all innocence, believing me to be a reliable citizen and sound of mind and body. Hang in there, KJ, I may do it yet!
You don’t really need to know the plot to understand this excerpt, but the action is taking place in the City Chambers in post-apocalyptic(ish) Edinburgh, Scotland. Marion is in her mid-fifties and the leader of what’s left of the City Council. Joe is in his late twenties and has recently escaped from being imprisoned by a baddie.
Another night in the museum, Marion thought; although it increasingly felt like an ornate, badly stuffed prison. In the frozen watches of the small hours, she had shocked herself by dreaming about Joe. It was the kind of dream that needed to be roughly shaken off; hateful water on the dog of imagination. But she could not deny its pleasures, those long since expunged from the role-call of her daily existence. She bit her lip, as if pain might sanction the denial of enjoyment.
Dawn had done little to alleviate a sense of the world failing to materialise in its accustomed manner. The sun was utterly foxed by fog, whose ghostly, attenuated fingers had felt their way into the city streets overnight. In the crepuscular light from the pale, pictureless rectangle of her window, the office was a Turner painting in shades of black and grey. The sense that she had become an invisible part of it was shattered when Joe, the version that was high in flesh and bone, exploded through the door.
“I see that you’re another of those creatures that fails to understand the concept of knocking on the door.”
“Door?” said Joe, looking back in mock surprise. “What door?”
He sat down: a rush of physical presence; an instant source of entropy; a grinning mocker of the pretentious. He fumbled for his trusty pouch, the ritual of skin-and-strand calmed bubbling waywardness.
“Yeah. Well. I went out for a walk. Jesus, but it’s foggy out there. I met this guy who was ringing a bell and mumbling about the end of the world. I told him that the world had ended and he’d missed all the fun. I think I might have ruined his day. Hopefully.”
There was that tongue again, running along the cigarette paper. Marion was waylaid by a tingling that reminded her of better days.