Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Prologue to a rewrite

Mango knows what that means.
The rest of you probably don't.

But here is the first chapter, in rough rewritten form. I chose this one because it actually has one of the supporting characters, as opposed to none of them. I would have posted the next bit - which includes/introduces the main characters, but that has yet to be fully written or sent to Kate for approval. Naiomi's last name might change. Maybe Andrews? I don't know.

So, chapter 1:

The ink on the letter shimmered and danced, black in the center and green-tinged on the edges, sparkling. Right now it said, “The Prime Minister’s daughter has been kidnapped by the Fairy King. He means war; he intends to invade your world and break the division.” A moment ago it had proclaimed a friendly greeting, and a moment before that it had been blank. Naiomi stared at the paper – a page from her own memo pad, proclaiming at the top in friendly bold-faced letters, “From the desk of Naiomi Watson”. The To: field had her name again in it, but the From: address was blank. Naiomi shook her head, wondering how this was possible and what it meant. Words slowly appeared at the bottom of the page.

“This is a telepathic letter – a little bit of my conciousness embedded in the paper. It is one of the few safe ways for me to communicate with you, because I am on the other side of the division – the side that the Fairy King means to free. Were I – were anyone – to break through this barrier between your world and mine, then anything could follow. The division is the invisible layer that keeps ideas simply ideas, stops all the childhood monsters, imaginary friends and feinds, ghosts and ghouls and goblins from coming out of the closet and pouring into your every day life. It keeps us from running amok. The barrier, in short, keeps what should be in Faerie in Faerie and allows you to have order instead of chaos and scientific reasoning instead of magic.” Naiomi frowned. It certainly sounded bad, unleashing chaos and so forth, but how could she tell any of it was true – except that something was certainly odd, because her memo pad didn’t normally behave in this way.

The words shifted again, melting into the page as new words appeared. “A tall, pale man with wings – an angel – stole the girl last night at two in the morning. Turn on your radio.”

Naiomi flipped the switch on her desk and heard a frantic reporter shouting over a crowd. “Disappeard last night after one a.m. and before six, according to her parents. They they have the police investigationg the scene, with reports of a ransom note from someone describing themselves as the “Fairy King”. Any information, please contact—” Naiomi switched off the radio and stared at the paper. “What do I do?” she asked, only vaguely aware of the ridiculousness inherent in asking a question of a memo pad.

“Send Victoria. She can get through to Faerie by going through a cave at the bottom of the pond in Kensington Gardens. Victoria will know how to get here.”

“I can’t send her alone,” Naiomi mumbled, the insanity of the proceedings finally getting to her. “She’s never been on a mission before, except for training. I have to send someone experienced along.”

The paper didn’t respond for a while, and then with an almost tangible frustration, the words appeared scribbled at the bottom, “You’ll send Roger.”

Naiomi rolled her eyes. Yes, she was intending to send Roger, but it was a good idea, a wise and thoughtful idea, not a foolish or reckless idea. “Well, shouldn’t I?” she asked.

This time the words came quickly. “No, you shouldn’t. If you send Roger, someone is bound to die. But you will send Roger anyway.”

Naiomi scowled. Who was this person at the other end, and why was she withholding information and insisting that Naiomi send agents to their death? The words shifted. “I am helping as much as I may. For you to know more at this point would be a paradox. Trust me – you have my assurance that when you send Roger along, only he will die. The Prime Minister’s daughter will be returned before the Fairy King’s plan reaches fruition, and with only minor sacrifice.”

The word sacrifice stood out on the page, almost bold-faced with emotion. Whose sacrifice? As if in response, the word “minor” disappeared to be replaced by “my”. The gaps on each side of ‘my’ made it look too small and too large, almost glowing.

Then the words abruptly disappeared. “I am not a person. At least, I am a person no longer. I gave up – or will give up – my place in your world. Time moves strangely here, as you will come to know, so I can’t tell you whether the event was in the future or the past or both. But now, I am simply words in your world, a narrator screaming in futility while the characters have their own way. I’m the chastising thought, the command, and so you may call me just that – Eirien.”

The words slowly faded to nothing, and Naiomi sat back in her chair, confused and mystified. Her secretary buzzed over the intercom and said, through the tinny speaker, that a police sergeant was here to see her about the Prime Minister’s daughter, and would she see him now? Naiomi answered to send him in, and after a few moments the young secretary opened the door and in walked a very nervous-looking police sergeant. Naiomi stood up to recognize the man and nodded to them both, as the secretary carefully closed the door behind her.

“Miss Watson,” said the sergeant. “I’m Sergeant Frank. I’m in charge of the Prime Minister’s case. I have gotten some information about it from an anonymous source, and he directs me to your department as one of the few – excuse me, the only – department capable of solving this case. I am here to request your assistance in the matter. I want to send your agents on what very well might be a wild-goose chase, searching for another world on the bottom of a pond, and I want to do it secretly so that the entire government does not look like foolish children. Besides that, we don’t know what we’re up against here, except that something very uncanny is going on, and we want people who are trained even more thoroughly than my men. People who are trained to handle the worst possible situations with the finesse that is clearly necessary in hostage situations such as this one.” Sergeant Frank cleared his throat nervously, obviously not expecting Naiomi to believe him.

Naiomi grinned warmly. “Don’t worry, Sergeant. I have two people in mind for your little spelunking outing already. You concentrate on finding the real kidnapper, I’ll send people out to debunk this witness of yours”

Sergeant Frank smiled with relief. “Absolutely, Miss Watson. I appreciate it.” He left with a clipped step, and after he closed the door Naiomi buzzed her secretary. “Send in Victoria and Roger. I have a new mission for them. And alert Michael and Joey that they’re backup – they should be ready to go in after Victoria should that become necessary. This might be dangerous.”

“Yes, ma’am,” came the secretary’s voice over the tinny speaker. Naiomi signed and glanced down at the memo pad. It now read “Perfect.”

“Well, I’m glad you think so,” Naiomi muttered, although she really wasn’t glad at all.

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