Continuing on with my New Year’s resolution of writing (or at least trying to write) every day this year. January went fairly well; now, let’s see if February can be even better!
2.1.17: Next Forgotten Road Chapter 1. “… That deep grinding noise suddenly sounded again, and as the enormous reptilian head emerged up out of the water I suddenly realized that the sound was the beast laughing. Water sluiced off its long, toothy maw in thick rivulets, and slitted golden eyes blinked twice to shake off droplets before focusing on me and Carter.
‘Get you out, pet?’ the creature purred.
I blinked, momentarily startled out of my fear. The simple fact that it spoke was startling enough – although it really shouldn’t have been. But the voice that emerged from the creature’s mouth was the last one I would have expected; the words were spoken in a clear, precise drawl, in the sort of English accent that immediately drew my memory back to bad period pieces. I stared, half expecting the reptile to ask me ‘wot’s all this, then?’
Instead, it laughed.
‘Ooh, two of you? Better and better. There’s no getting out for you, I’m afraid. Not until after dinner.’
I snorted in spite of myself; twisted humor always comes easily to me, whether or not it should.
‘Oh god,’ I whispered to Carter, ‘he thinks he’s in a bad movie!’…”
2.2.17: NFR CH1. “… It reared up in an abrupt jerking motion, sending a wave of foul-smelling water crashing over me. I cringed, wiping a smear of pond-scum from my mouth and cheek with my shoulder as the massive reptilian form loomed over me – and my fingers landed on a eight-pointed starbust cast in gold.
I gave a sharp yank and the charm came away from the bracelet with a gentle, easy click. It immediately started to grow, filling my hand with a gentle warmth as it did. The monstrous wall of the crocodile’s underbelly rose higher and higher, and I had a sudden powerful yearning for the handgun I own and keep stored at the gun club outside of Boston. Not that I had any reason to think that it would do any good against scales the size of dinnerplates; ‘soft’ underbelly was still speaking relatively, and holy shit the thing was big …”
2.3.17: NFR CH2. “… The police had informed Miss Deakin that the disappearance of a man who, until the beginning of his relationship with her, hadn’t maintained a permanent address anywhere for more than nine months wasn’t exactly a cause for serious concern. If she hadn’t heard from him in a week or two she could try coming back, the desk sergeant told her. If his family hadn’t heard from him in a couple of weeks, if his friends still didn’t know where he was … He’d been too polite to tell her to her face that he thought Parker had left her – but not by very much.
Relationships went sour, and sometimes only one of the people knew it. And sometimes, people just ran.
Willow couldn’t believe that, but she’d had the sense not to try and push. Besides, she certainly wasn’t going to tell the officer the big secret of her relationship: that her boyfriend wasn’t exactly human…”
2.4.17: Practical Apiculture CH1. “… ‘Generally, one creates a forgery because one wishes to sell it in lieu of the original, yes?’ This part was always challenging; speak slowly, clearly, simplify already clear concepts down into their component parts – but not too far, modulate tone to avoid giving excessive offense. Even Lestrade, for all of their years of partnership, bristled if he decided that Sherlock was talking down to him. As though an alternative were possible.
‘Yes.’ Lestrade sounded wary.
‘Why, then, choose as prospective buyers three individuals who are under careful public scrutiny, who are known to have close relationships with the media and with law enforcement? Any one of them might have chosen to keep the incident quiet, but engaging with all three of them all but guarantees that the attempted crime will be brought to police attention within hours.’…”
2.5.17: Nope. Not a great start.
2.6.17: PA CH1. “… The Detective Inspector grunted.
‘I’m not bringing you in on this to entertain you.’
‘No, no, that is simply an incidental benefit, and one that you may feel free to disregard if you find my improved mental health somehow distasteful.’
It was still raining out, but the clouds on the southern horizon were a fractionally paler shade of gray. It would begin to clear shortly; just enough time to reacquaint himself with certain aspects of the landscape and track down one or two old contacts. Then it would be time to call in a very old favor from a very old enemy…”
2.7.17: PA CH1. “… The inclement weather had warned away some of the less enthusiastic sightseers, and so Trafalgar Square was merely crowded rather than nearly-impassable. Tourists clustered together in groups, umbrellas thrust awkwardly over shoulders and into bags already filled to overflowing with t-shirts, miniature replicas of municipal landmarks, and overpriced sheets plastic of generously branded as ‘ponchos’. Organized tours followed their guides like sodden, varicoloured ducklings, while families unfortunate enough to have brought small children along on their afternoon’s adventure now begged and wheedled and dragged their recalcitrant charges across the square. Two groups of men were arguing loudly about football in Hebrew while an American family looked on in horror, clearly waiting for the inevitable display of terrorism…”
2.8.17: PA CH1. “… The young man stretched his legs out in front of him, and Sherlock felt his own kneecaps twinge in sympathy. His joints had never liked the rain, and the disagreement was only getting worse as time continued its inevitable progression.
“I thought it was obvious,” the young man said, sliding down first one step and then a second with aggressive disregard for the seat of his trousers. “Your sketches, you keep sweeping back and forth across the Square. Aside from the obvious distractions – the little girl with the enormous umbrella, the dog chasing the woman in the spike heels – you were mostly focused on shorter men. There,” he reached down to tap an abstract collection of lines, “and there. You were drawing them while you checked to see if you were the person you were expecting.”
Slowly, carefully, Sherlock lowered his book out of the reach of prying fingers…”
2.9.17: Practical Apiculture, Chapter 1.
2.10.17: Assorted WIPs. “… The most common question I get: What does a transformation sequence feel like?
I honestly wish I could answer that in a way people could understand. It’s an awesome feeling, like nothing else, but trying to put it into words feels like trying to explain what it feels like to have blood pumping in my veins, or what it feels like to breathe. It just sort of happens, and it’s a generally good feeling while it happens. It’s not warm, and it’s not like getting a massage, and I have no idea what “being bathed in light” would feel like so I don’t know, maybe it’s like that? But I really doubt it…”
2.11.17: NFR CH2: “… Carter coughed, that quintessential British cough that communicated diffidence and reproach in equal parts.
“I understand that this is a hard time for you, Miss Deakin, and you have my sincere sympathies; however, I would suggest that you might refrain from slandering an entire group of people because one of them had commitment issues. Particularly not when the group in question is known for taking offense at the smallest slight, and asking for clarification after they’ve exacted their revenge.” Willow blinked, looking suddenly wary, as though she’d forgotten that Parker Scutra wasn’t the only fairy involved in this particular situation.
Carter spread his hands.
“I know that you weren’t trying to be rude to me, of course. I’m very sorry that you’ve had to go through this experience.”
His tone wasn’t particularly gentle; his condolences didn’t mean that he was letting her off the hook…”
2.12.17: NFR CH3: “… When I looked up, three sets of expectant eyes were trained on me. Peng Xiao Min and Peng Ying Jie had both lowered their fans of cards and were watching me, Min with her typical blend of amusement and interest, her husband in mild confusion. The third set of eyes, hazel and unblinking, belonged to their cat, and probably shouldn’t have counted. No matter how much I told myself that Yong’s opinion didn’t matter, though, I still found myself crossing my arms defensively against his feline judgment…”
2.13.17: NFR CH3: “… Two hours later plates bearing the last smears and crumbs from Jie’s chicken à la king had been stacked by the sink, and the collection of empty beer bottles that marked my contribution to the night was steadily growing by the front door. My luck with cards hadn’t noticeably increased, but after two disastrous games I switched my strategy. Instead of trying to win, I focused on just trying to interfere with whichever of the Pengs was doing better at the time, and I felt perversely triumphant when I only lost the last game by fifty-two points…”
2.14.17: PA CH2: “… Many people found it difficult to read on trains, but Mary Russell had always believed that this had more to do with many people’s greater difficulty with reading than with trains in particular. No one enjoyed admitting that they didn’t have enough of an attention span to read one hundred pages without the mind wandering off and losing interest; it was easier to blame the rattling of the train, or a headache, or the need to cook dinner. She’d even heard one of her classmates attempt to blame his particular lack of ability on the weather…”
2.15.17: PA CH2: “… She was lean and tall, an eighth of an inch over six feet tall, and had been blessed with little in the way of feminine curves. She had discovered early in her budding adolescence that she had much greater success choosing the majority of her clothing from the men’s section of various stores than she did from the women’s. It hadn’t taken her long after that to discover that her angular features were frequently read as male behind her thick-framed glasses, particularly when her hair was pulled back from her face. She had no particular attachment to the idea of traditional femininity, and so Mary rarely put in any particular effort to distinguish herself as female. Male clothing was frequently better made, with sturdier stitching and bigger pockets, and her hair was much easier to manage when she pulled it high on her head, and if that was a cause for general confusion, so be it…”