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23 in 2013

#23in13 – Second Hand Hero, Chapter 1 – Welcome to Edinburgh

As an aside before we continue…  This is a post for 23 in 2013, a project detailed here.  It’s my NaNoWriMo project from 2012, a year I failed to complete the 50,000 words.  It’s also the first draft – there will be typos, inconsistencies, mis-named characters and all of the other things that plague a first draft.  The comments are there both for you lovely readers to post words of encouragement, point out “but he said… in the last chapter, that contradicts…” and keep me straight, and for me to bash ideas around.  File this one under Urban Fantasy | Edinburgh | Parallel Worlds, as they might one day say on Angry Robot.

If you missed the introduction, it’s here – come back when you’ve read it…

 

 


Chapter 1 – Welcome to Edinburgh

She is returning.
Is she Aware?
No
Then stop her. Delay her. Do not harm her.  He would not be happy.


Stupid o’clock, Sevenoaks Station.  Sarah Huntingdon was not surprised that her train was late.  In fact after her alarm clock had failed to go off and her Taxi turned out to have been booked for the next day a late train was to be expected.  When the taxi had arrived they’d hit every single red traffic light possible between her house and the station.  She’d sprinted to the platform, ticket in hand to find the train due in about an hour following “an incident” in Tonbridge.

“Bloody hell, I could’ve driven to Edinburgh by now!”

Sarah leaned back against the platform wall, all the seats already taken by other commuters in exactly the same boat.  No one even batted an eyelid at her exclamation.  The wind, bitingly cold, whipped along the platforms, tugging her shoulder-length red-blonde hair loose, and she wrapped her black overcoat more tightly around her glad of the warmth of her travelling clothes – jeans, T-shirt, sensible boots.  The formal wear was in her travelling case at her feet.

Predictably the train was packed when it eventually arrived but the past few years had taught Sarah the commuter’s tricks to finding comfort where and when she could on a packed train.  She found a gap just big enough to accommodate her 5’6″, lean, frame, tucked herself in and put on her headphones.  Only seven stops to London, a short tube journey to Kings Cross and then time to find out what train she would now be taking to Edinburgh.  It had already been a long day.

Two men sat in a Cafe just off Edinburgh’s Royal Mile.  Above them, the Castle.  Below them, the Palace of Holyrood.  All around them, the Gormenghast jumble of buildings clinging to the side of the Castle mound.  The first, Milo, is completely bald, lightly tanned, handsome enough at first glance but unsettling on closer inspection, something the observer can’t quite pin down.  Maybe it’s the way his lips are slightly out of synch with his speech.  His T-shirt, currently grey-green, shifts colours when no-one is looking.  His right foot tapped the floor, leather boots drumming quietly.  The other, Ash, across the table from him is a study in gray.  His greatcoat, T-shirt, jeans and boots are all variations on gray.  He’s mister urban camoflage.  Grey hair topped off an average face made unusual by pale grey skin.  Only his eyes have any color, flashing cobalt blue as he smiled.  The third chair at their table is waiting for an occupant.

“You’d better bring me up to speed, Milo.  I’ve been with Jeckyl all week here in Prime finishing the arrangements for this conference.”  Ash gestured around with his left hand, the right holding a thermal mug full of black coffee.  He drank.  His voice is tired, worn, grey.  Too little sleep, too much to do.  “Stephen’s been making things interesting.”

Milo almost chokes on his tea.  “Seriously?  Stephen Hyde’s here?  He must be crazy.  The Closed Gate are offering a fortune for his head.  Murdoch himself wants to perform the chop.  If he weren’t such a good friend I’d be tempted to turn him in!”

Ash nodded.  “I know what you mean.  That amount of money could keep you in spare batteries for quite a while.  But Murdoch ebing out for blood doesn’t surprise me.  He’s a troll, it’s what they do.  It all depends on who’s out of favour with Lady Rocksilver today.  Am I still on their list?”

Milo drank more carefully.  The cup doesn’t seem to touch his lips, rather it passes through them.  he set the cup back on it’s saucer.

“This time it’s different.  Apparently Stephen managed to break in to one of their strongrooms, stole Chapman’s Remote, used that to escape.”

Ash grinned.  “That’d do it.”

Categories
23 in 2013

#23in13 – Second-Hand Hero, Introduction

As an aside before I drop the introduction in here…  This is a post for 23 in 2013, a project detailed here.  It’s my NaNoWriMo project from 2012, a year I failed to complete the 50,000 words.  It’s also the first draft – there will be typos, inconsistencies, mis-named characters and all of the other things that plague a first draft.  The comments are there both for you lovely readers to post words of encouragement, point out “but he said… in the last chapter, that contradicts…” and keep me straight, and for me to bash ideas around.  File this one under Urban Fantasy | Edinburgh | Parallel Worlds, as they might one day say on Angry Robot.


 

Introduction.

Life is like coming in to a movie 20 minutes late.  you cannot be sure who the major characters are, what they are doing or why.  Who’s that?  Where are they?  Why is she carrying a log?  Your best bet is just to go with the flow and hope it all makes sense eventually.  You quickly pick up a few facts that might – or might not – be important.

Firstly, a book has been stolen. Since the theft it has changed hands several times.  The authorities have been informed but because those who were looking after the book do not entirely trust the Authorities to do their job, they have taken matters into their own hands.  The book is being tracked by other means.
Secondly, the Authorities are investigating several murders that have occurred since the theft of the book.  They have yet to determine whether the incidents are connected or not.  At present the investigations are being conducted by two separate teams.

Thirdly, three years ago a woman was kidnapped and taken to London.  She is now coming back.  Her kidnap did not go unnoticed, nor was it simply forgotten.  People have been looking for her.
Fourthly, the world as you know it is not as unique as you might have hoped.

Armed with these basic facts the following events should make a little more sense…


Just a short one this week, to whet your whistle. 7 days from now and Chapter 1 will land right here.
Now. Head over to John Anealio’s blog and see what else is going on in 23 for 2013 – I know for a fact there’s a new piece of music over there.

Categories
23 in 2013

23 in 13 (#23in13)

On the 6th January, I received an email from another John – one far more famous and musically capable than I – John Anealio.  It was his newsletter.  He’s set himself a challenge this year, to release (at least) 23 new pieces of music in 2013.  You can read about the challenge, what lead up to it, and so on, over on his blog, Sci-Fi Songs.

He then challenged his followers on Twitter, those who receive his Newsletter, to join him.  To do something similar.  To take up the challenge to produce 23 new pieces of work – art, short stories, poems, whatever – in 2013.

Fast-forward a couple of days and I see several people tweeting about a new book – “You’ll Never Believe a Man Can Fly”, by Lee ‘Budgie’ Barnett.  You can find him on Twitter and the book on his blog here.  He’s releasing the blog Dickens-style, a chapter at a time over the weeks to come.  I’ve read the first 5 and had to get the eBook.

All very good, but what has this got to do with me?

Back in November, I started writing for NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month.  I’ve done it in the past – and succeeded.  This time, I fell short by the thick end of 10,000 words, but I’ve got the bulk of the story straight in my head and I want to get this story finished and out there.  So, starting Monday and continuing every 2 weeks or so, a new chapter of  what is currently called “Second-Hand Hero” will be published here on the blog.

I reckon 23 chapters is a good number to work to.