Wednesday December 30th, 2009

The exercise:

After yesterday's musical edition of what I got for Christmas, I think today shall be the literary version. First up is The Roadby Cormac McCarthy - I wanted this after watching the trailer for the movie once. Thankfully my sister Nicky obliged :)

Trauma Farmby Brian Brett was one of the gifts Kat's parents got me. It wasn't something I asked for but I'm very, very much looking forward to digging into it.

Last, but probably the coolest of the three, is Knickles and Dimesby Jillian Hewitt, the other part of Kat's brother and fiancee's gift for me. Yes, Protagonize's own Jillian Hewitt. How awesome is that? It's not every day that you can put up a picture of a book on Facebook and tag the author because you're friends with her.

So, suitably enough, today's prompt is: the publication.

Continuations, as always, are most welcome.


The man ran down the empty, rain-battered street, the book held tightly to his chest beneath his black trench coat. It was a mighty effort to keep his eyes on the asphalt before him; the itch between his shoulder blades screamed for him to look back, that he was being followed, that they had him in their rifle sights. But there were too many gaping, toothless potholes ready to wrench and twist his ankles the instant his concentration faltered, so he pushed the urge harshly aside.

He turned right at 67th Avenue and slowed to a stop beneath a green, frilly overhang. He bent double, still pinning the sacred book to his chest, and sucked in deep, shuddering breaths as his shoulder length black hair dripped blood-tinged rainwater onto the sidewalk. He returned to his full height slowly, fearing that a more sudden movement would lead to a faint that would end his mission in failure. As he took another moment to gather himself he took in his pale reflection in the shop window to his right.

I look frightened and weak and pathetic. Like prey that knows its predator is closing in and time is running out.

Then his eyes rose further, to the sign hanging askew above the shop door, and a tiny spark of hope flared in his breast.


Greg said...

Sounds like you've got some good reading there ahead of you! I haven't read any of the ones you mention, though I did recently read a good review of Cormac McCarthy's literary style from The Atlantic -- something else to add to your reading list when you have time!

I got both Terry Pratchett's latest and Neal Asher's latest for Christmas, both of which I'm delighted with.

The publication (cont'd)

He'd taken two quick steps towards the door under the sign when it opened outward and two people stepped onto the street. The woman, who had bright red hair and a thin, low-cut, short-skirted dress entirely unsuitable for the weather, was peering at some kind of electronic PDA in her hand. She glanced up, tsked at the weather, and elbowed the man beside her in the ribs.
"Come on Red, where's your gallantry? Or failing that, your umbrella?"
"Like this is the worst that's ever happened to us," he said gently. "We can run."
The man's steps faltered as he stared at the man from the shop, recognizing Jeremy Paulo from an article in the newspaper. He'd spent two hours sitting at the table reading and then pretending to read that paper, waiting for the moment to seize the book now pressed so closed to chest. Was this just coincidence?
Jeremy and the red-head hurried past him, the woman limping slightly but keeping pace easily with Jeremy, and they disappeared into the rain-damaged night.
The man ran into the shop, relieved to be out of the rain at last. He pushed his hair back from his face, feeling rivulets of rainwater run down his neck. Directly across from the door was the counter, and behind it the shop-keeper was looking at him and frowning.
"Johann," said the shop-keeper, and one hand slipped down beneath the counter. "You look... pursued."
"Don't play games," said Johann, the room suddenly swimming around him as the change in temperature hit. "I've got it, I've got Von Junzt's accursed book for you."
The shop-keeper's demeanour changed immediately. He dropped something heavy that'd he clearly picked up after Johann had entered the shop and swung the counter up.
"Come downstairs," he said. "Try not to drip on anything." He went to the door and started to lock it as Johann scurried behind the counter, still clutching the tome tightly.
"Which edition is it?" said the shop-keeper, trying to sound casual, but the rattling of the chains and bolts as he slotted them all home belied his calm tone.
"The Dusseldorf," said Johann. "The worst of the lot."

Marc said...

A cameo! Haha, so awesome.

I very much like you did with the rest of the continuation as well. I'd totally be interested in expanding this but... good lord, I've got enough to work on already.

I'm currently ignoring an idea for a new story that came to me yesterday.