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Gumbee Interview

Anyone following the Gumbees will have noticed that recently, we’re all so busy writing our books that nothing much is going on here. That’s why I thought it might be a smart move to link to any interviews that members of the guild do.

So without more ado, here’s a link to today’s with one of our more successful writers, Will MacMillan Jones.

Check out the interview on Kay Kauffman’s blog here

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Gumbee Fantasy Authors ‘do’ Pursuit: Number 6 Sandra Giles

When this topic was first discussed a while back, I joked that I could use a scene where Jared is chasing himself round a garden. It’s a genuine scene, and not quite as strange as it sounds. Because I’m a woman of my word, I’m going to include said scene in this. It technically does demonstrate pursuit, just not in the normal way of someone chasing someone else on foot or in a vehicle. This is more of a hunt, as are most of my scenes of this nature. This particular example comes from Proving Negatives and shows Jared following a scent that he is sure will lead him to a killer, and he is equally certain that he is actually the killer. So he is effectively chasing himself around a garden. By this point I’m sure none of you expect something normal from me. Here we go.

The stench was unbearable as I neared it, and it seemed to be coming from the surrounding carpet rather than the body. It moved away from the body and out through the back door, like a trail inviting me on. It felt extremely foolish to follow it, as though I were the naïve woman in a typical scary film, calling out into the darkness and chasing after chaos. But I’m a vampire, and this was a trail of decay. I had an image of a zombie in my mind, one rotting all over the place and leading similar dead creatures onto the next life. And then I remembered what a true raised corpse was like, and that I am friends with one, and the image faded. I was back in the doorway of my cousin’s house, following a trail into the night.

I needn’t have worried, because the trail led to the back of the garden and then grew weak as it met weeds and the hideout of a hedgehog. As I tried to get a closer look at this, I disrupted the wildlife and a series of animals took off into the night. I hesitated as I realised that the scent led over the fence. Well, it would have been too easy to find the cause lying in a clump of weeds. I knew, deep down, that this wasn’t going to happen. Not because it was easy, but because the attacker was stumbling around in the dark looking for himself. This trail was obviously being used in the same way as the flowery fog back at our house. My true fear was that the trail would grow so weak that what it was here to cover would become uncovered, and that it would be me – my scent – And would loop around and lead back to the road where I had woken. I thought this, but couldn’t quite bring myself to truly believe it. I was desperate for any other answer. Because I didn’t do this. I couldn’t have, it was absurd. And yet I couldn’t prove I hadn’t done it. How can you prove a negative? The most I could do was prove that someone else did do it.

Perhaps now I should try a more typical scene to demonstrate my…uh…talents. The whole of my first novel, Plead Insanity, features this particular topic. The novel is basically about Jared being chased by the police or by his fellow vampires. He also involves himself in a form of chase, though again it’s more like a hunt, as he tries to locate various hostages whilst he himself is still being chased. So without further ado, here is my full novel! Okay, I’m joking. I’ve taken three sections that show Jared’s escape from prison and the police pursuing him. The first portion is his initial escape, shown below.

The fall was over a lot quicker than expected. One minute there was air rushing past me, the next I had landed crouched on the ground and was just feet from the nearest officers. If they hadn’t been so stunned by my sudden appearance then they would’ve had me, but luckily I recovered first and ran from the prison. I ran until my surroundings were blurred and the only sound I could hear was the wind in my ears. I made the mistake of looking back and ended up stumbling. In that moment I was able to register that I was indeed being chased and that they had also closed the gap between us when I tripped. I regained momentum and ran flat out until I reached a large wall that presumably surrounded the entire prison. I fought my body not to slow and ended up running headlong through the wall. My vision burst into stars from the impact so I closed my eyes and used my other senses to keep running. I had managed to run onto another grassy area. I could feel it underfoot, but unlike the grass in the prison grounds this was long and overgrown and harder to run flat out on.

I slowed accordingly but didn’t stop running. There were distant shouts and orders back at the prison. They seemed to have stopped some feet back, probably near the Jared-shaped hole in the wall.

A while later and the only sounds were birds and other wildlife. I opened my eyes a fraction to see if my vision was back and found that I was seconds from crashing headfirst into a tree. I veered off course and slowed down some more. Only then did I look back for my pursuers. They were nowhere in sight. I looked towards a vast gathering of trees and changed direction towards them. Once far enough among them that the field was no longer visible, I grabbed the branch of a nearby tree and pulled myself up.

So far, so good, as Jared is able to remain away from the police and seems to have the advantage of speed on his side. He is soon joined by his father, which can only be a good thing, right? They not-so-wisely seek refuge in a small place not far from the prison, where the police soon come calling. The following shows Jared and Ezra’s escape from their place of apparent safety.

Ezra mumbled a quick “follow me” and jumped onto a small desk and leapt through the ceiling. The noise from downstairs was so loud that I didn’t bother thinking about it and just followed his lead. Once on the roof I had a moment to register that this was the one place that the cops couldn’t see from the ground, then Ezra pulled me into a crouching position. I really don’t have the hang of the whole master-criminal thing yet.

I took Ezra’s lead without being asked this time and started searching for the best escape route. This meant relying on sense of smell and hearing to pinpoint each policeman, as there was no way to look for them without them spotting us.

The men were widely spread around the bungalow but there was a weak link near the sound of flowing water.

“We’ll need to jump into the river,” I hissed at Ezra. “If we swim away then we’re more likely to lose them then on foot. Chances are they have enough squad cars to run us down otherwise.”

He looked at me for a brief moment with a smile playing his lips before answering. “I agree. The conditions of the water will drain what little life we both have. Whilst it’s happening we will be slowed down, but once dead we’ll be able to swim underwater until we lose them.”

I wasn’t very comfortable with the fact that we would be ‘dying’ once more, but ignored that small factor and nodded. He took it as the approval it was and then motioned for me to follow once more before plummeting over the edge of the roof. I followed in a heartbeat and was soon submerged in icy water for the second time.

Ezra was right; the water started draining me immediately. It hardly had time to slow me down before I was back to being the walking dead. Or should I say swimming dead? Okay, no time for attempted humour, the police had somehow noticed two men jumping off the roof and were shooting into the water as we swam. I was really getting sick of being fired at.

I spent the next half hour watching Ezra swimming in front of me. He swam so gracefully, it didn’t really match his personality. He managed to move along effortlessly with just his feet lightly propelling him forwards, almost like a mermaid. As effortless as it looked, he must’ve been putting a lot of power into it as I could barely keep up. I tried to master the same technique as it caused minimal ripples in the water, meaning that it was harder for the police to spot, but all I managed to do was slow us down and miss getting shot by a fraction.

After a few more miles Ezra stopped swimming and turned to face me. He spoke with a stream of bubbles issuing from his mouth but I was still able to make the words out clearly; “Is it safe to resurface?” I found it strange that he was asking me, but searched for the answer nevertheless. I could hear that there was somebody walking along just feet from us, but other than that there was just the sound of leaves and grass being swayed by a light wind. I took a moment to be certain that the person was walking away and to ponder in amazement that I was able to hear everything so clearly even through the murky water.

Once the sounds of the walker had disappeared I swam cautiously to the water’s surface and peered out. We were surrounded by a gravelly path and grass but there were no people about. I swam to the edge of the river and climbed out onto the embankment. Seconds later Ezra was straightening up beside me.

So they’ve made it this far without any real mishap (unless you count being killed, shot at, and all the rest of it as a form of mishap, that is). Now all they have to do is keep moving and go into hiding. What am I saying? Vampires don’t hide from humans, or at least these vampires don’t. But short of fighting the entire human race, what can Jared to do? Ah yes, fake his own death. Is it the norm for scenes of this nature to end in such a way? Generally there might be a fight to the death, or even a touch of suicide to keep from the reach of those who have been so desperately avoided. I guess this is kind of a mixture of those. And whose idea was it? Ezra’s. I’m sure Jared would now disagree with my earlier claim of their reunion being a good thing. Below is the result of this particular perusal. You’ll have to read the novel if you want to know more. [Insert evil cackle here].

By the time we had located a working payphone the sun had risen and people were passing us on the streets to get to work and school. Ezra was the one to step inside and make the phone call as I refused to turn myself in to the police. I walked away so that I could no longer hear him talking low and urgently in the phone booth, which put me around the corner at the end of the street he was on. Even then, if I concentrated, I could still hear the conversation. I tried not to concentrate but it seemed I couldn’t help myself. Sighing, I continued walking away.

Moments later Ezra had caught up with me and seemed to be having some kind of internal struggle. In the end he gave up and turned to me.

“I’ll be staying in a B&B near the graveyard. I would stay with you to see if this works well but I have every faith that you’ll pull it off, and it wouldn’t do us any good at all if I jumped in to try and spare you some of the agony.” He patted me gruffly on the shoulder. Manly. “Whatever you may think, I would jump in to stop it if I could. I really don’t enjoy seeing you in pain. Humiliating yourself, sure, but no parent wants to see their children suffer.”

Strangely, I believed him, and I swear that I saw the glistening of unshed tears in his eyes before he turned away to walk back along the path we had just come down.

I continued walking along the street until I found the bench that Ezra had told the police I was sitting on. I sat down and contemplated whether buying a newspaper to read would be too cliché. In the end I decided not to bother and just made it look as though I was enjoying the wintry sun. People shivered as they passed. How did that man and his daughter manage to sleep undressed at this time of year? Most humans would freeze.

Buttoning up the jacket I had thankfully not ruined too much when escaping prison I sat back and tried to act more human in such temperatures.

I knew when the police were coming because the sirens split through the quiet street. I never really understand why the police will always insist on putting sirens on to warn criminals away. If it’s to get through traffic then why don’t they just turn the lights on?

I opened my eyes a fraction to see that people on the streets were looking around for the source of the noise, but none of them were staring at me. I’m obviously less famous than I thought. Can’t say I’m disappointed really.

The police arrived with many squealing brakes and shouts not to move. I warily put my hands up, palms out, so that they could see I wasn’t carrying any offensive weapon. Then I remembered that I was supposed to provoke them into shooting me. Looking around, I couldn’t see anywhere to make a clean break for it without them hesitating due to civilians.

In the end I just decided to try and cause them as much pain as they were about to cause me. I grabbed hold of the nearest officer and hit him with enough strength to make him pass out. When I felt an arm reach out to cuff me I lashed out and winded him. It only took a couple more blows before the first shot rang out. It grazed my arm but somehow didn’t seem like a killing blow. If I played dead right then I think they would consider doing a post-mortem just because it would be such a pathetic wound to die from.

I managed to hurt a few more of the officers before somebody tried to shoot again. This time I looked around in time to see the barrel of the gun directed towards my head just moments before the trigger was pulled. There was no way I was letting that bullet hit its target. A chest wound would be bad enough. I really didn’t fancy having to heal my brain and skull. It’d probably turn me as crazy as the punishment that Ezra mentioned would.

I thought about just grabbing hold of one of the guns and “accidentally” shooting it point blank into my own chest but decided against it. As tiresome as it was to keep fighting, it was nice to be doing something to delay the excruciating pain of having my life drained.

It didn’t take long before somebody tried for the killing blow once more. Unfortunately it was a seemingly inexperienced officer who tried it this time, and his aim was way off, spiralling towards the chest of another policeman. Not thinking, I dove in front of the man it was heading for and felt it make contact with my heart.

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Gumbee Fantasy Authors ‘do’ Pursuit: Number 5 M T McGuire

Hmm…. I notice a couple of my esteemed colleagues mentioning car chases. So here I am with a book which largely features car chases because the hero is a getaway driver thinking ‘hmm… do I have a bit that is not a car chase?” My main character is absolutely yellow so he’s running fast, in the opposite direction to danger, most of the time, especially in the first book. So yeh, pursuit. Pretty much the whole book including a nice one on foot… but then, with all that talk of car chases I thought I might as well. Spot the petrol head.

This is where I should also fess up  he lives in a parallel reality where the cars are all James Bond cars and they fly and they’re called Snurds. And I want one. Yeh.

To set the scene. The Pan of Hamgee, our hero, drives for a gang of bank robbers. They give him some junk items which are of religious significance and Lord Vernon, K’Barth’s despot ruler, wants them. Some members of the security forces have questioned The Pan about it, luckily, not too closely because while his getaway antics are famous, nobody knows it’s him. After their next  robbery, things change.

Because there’s a lot of boring information to jemmy into my books along the way, I try to impart it while my characters are doing something interesting. I think this is probably quite a good example of my attempts to dump facts on the reader subliminally, so to speak, while they’re too busy being interested in something else.

The robbery went without a hitch, despite all The Pan’s fears, and the Grongolian police were even dopier and easier to shake off than usual. Maybe that was what aroused his suspicions. Glancing behind him he thought he caught sight of another snurd cutting swiftly through the traffic. It might be somebody in a hurry, he told himself. There was no reason for anyone to be following them, they had thrown off all their pursuers, but The Pan wanted to be sure. They were travelling through one of the newer parts of the city, which was built in a grid formation, so he turned swiftly down a side road and zigzagged onto a parallel street.

Behind him, in the distance, was a glint of light as a distant snurd pulled out of a similar side street and continued to follow them. It was black, with the same anonymous dark tinted windows as the MK II. The Pan pressed the button labelled ‘wings’, waited while the MK II transmogrified itself into aviator mode and took off. Almost a mile back, half concealed by the traffic in between them, he could make out the shape of the other snurd taking off, too. He increased his speed, flipped up another side street and continued on his way. Behind him the other snurd mirrored his manoeuvre.

“The robbery’s over. What are you doing?” demanded Big Merv.

“Trying to spill himself some loot,” said Frank. The Pan sighed. He was used to Frank’s digs. The two of them didn’t get along. In fact he suspected that, left to his own devices, nothing would please Frank more than cutting his throat.

“We’re being followed,” he said.

Frank turned round in his seat and surveyed the road behind.

“I don’t see nothing,” he said.

“That’s why you rob and I drive,” muttered The Pan.

“What did you say? You little piece of—”

“Shut it!” warned Big Merv.

Frank and Harry fastened their seat belts – any chance of a chase and they knew the drill. They craned their heads through the back windows. The Pan waited while Big Merv scrutinised the view in his wing mirror. He was glad that his boss was suspicious, not to mention cautious, enough to check.

“’What’s it look like?”

“Black, low slung, fast. It’s not a shape I’m familiar with.”

“Nah,” said Big Merv. “Me neither. Tinted windows though, like ours. If it ain’t another gang, it must be Grongolian. Either way, I reckon it’s bad news. Lose it.”

Far away in another dimension of space and time the pursuing snurd was a 1955 Mercedes prototype, the Uhlenhaut, with gull-wing doors.

The MK II morphed back into aviator mode and doubled its speed in two stomach-lurching seconds, as The Pan floored the accelerator. He flew upwards, skimming the rooftops of the adjacent buildings and down into the next street in the opposite direction. Slowing up he checked his surroundings carefully.

Nothing there.

Surely it wasn’t going to be this easy?

No.

The Pan shuddered. He hadn’t lied to Big Merv, the shape of the black snurd was unfamiliar, but it did fit with rumours he had heard. The kinds of tales no getaway man would want to dwell on. Stories of desperate flights, of the finest drivers relentlessly pursued through the darkness of the night and downed in a boiling fireball. Stories of an invincible shape, a legend, a ghost, a mechanical banshee that came screaming out of nowhere to do its lethal work and disappeared as quickly. It was called the Interceptor and nobody was sure it existed but then hardly anyone who’d seen it had lived to describe their experience – certainly none of the people who had been chased. If the anonymous black snurd was the Interceptor, The Pan realised he and his colleagues were as good as dead and there was nothing he could do about it.

He decelerated to normal speed, landed among the rest of the terrestrial traffic and carried on as if he and the Mervinettes were a group of normal people going about their business.

They had gone almost a mile and there was still no sign of their pursuer.

“Have you got rid of it?” asked Big Merv.

Whoever was driving that black snurd had been very subtle and The Pan suspected it was still out there. He took his hands off the wheel to make a ‘search me’ gesture.

“I don’t know,” he said. “It’s not like the others. He knows what he’s doing.”

They were driving along one of the main thoroughfares of the city and as usual, it was busy. The Pan was sick with nerves. If anything happened, the presence of other traffic gave him little room to manoeuvre and although he could remain inconspicuous more easily with other snurds around him, so could his pursuer. He turned into a side road and pulled onto a narrower, less frequented street one block over that ran parallel to the one they had been on.

They were going in the wrong direction and he would need to turn around, but he wanted to be doubly sure they had lost their tail before he did. Although he could see nothing, he had an instinctive belief they were still being followed. He had learned to trust his instincts but as yet for his fellow Mervinettes – especially Frank and Harry – trust was still a work in progress. They were getting restless; he was going to have to turn round soon or they were going to get irritated and Big Merv was going to vent his irritation on him the only way he knew how – physically. Big Merv never hit him hard, but he still didn’t want to get thumped. If anyone was behind them he would have to draw them into the open by going so fast they had to concentrate on keeping up rather than concealing themselves. He accelerated, and as he did so the black snurd pulled out of a side alley ahead of them, turned towards them and stopped in the middle of the street. The Pan screeched to a halt, engaging reverse. As the MK II’s backing lights came on, a flotilla of police snurds pulled out side roads and garages up and down the street, behind him, about 40 of them.

“Arnold!” said Big Merv. “It’s a trap.”

“Mmm,” said The Pan, selecting first gear.

We join the driver of the black snurd for an instant just to find out who he is – I’ve edited that out for brevity – and we rejoin The Pan just as his colleagues are jumping to the inevitable – though wrong – conclusion.

“You little scrote! You’ve set us up!” shouted Frank, and Big Merv glared at The Pan.

“Well? Is that what’s got into you? Have you been disloyal to me?” His voice had an ominous tone and The Pan realised, with horror, that he was close to believing Frank.

“No, no I promise,” he whimpered.

“If you have, we’re going to be paying a visit to the river later,” Big Merv continued, “It’ll be just like old times.”

“N-no,” stammered The Pan. “This isn’t about us. It’s something we stole.”

“Have you been keeping information from me?” asked Big Merv.

The engine of the black snurd revved and with his foot on the clutch The Pan revved the MK II back.

“Yes,” said The Pan distractedly before realising the gravity of his admission, “I mean no,” he corrected himself quickly, “not on purpose.” He turned to his boss who was glaring at him. The antennae were moving but only just, and they were standing up straight, which meant Big Merv was on the brink of blind rage. The Pan glanced down the street at the black snurd, which was still revving its engine aggressively and at the same time, sneaked a look behind at the ranks of police snurds blocking his retreat. This was not a good time for Big Merv to lose his rag, The Pan needed him to be able to listen, answer questions and more to the point think. Better make the explanation fast.

“Remember that stuff you gave me? The junk?”

“Yer,” said Merv, “we remember.”

“It might have belonged to Lord Vernon,” said The Pan. He said it quickly in order to lessen the impact.

“What?” bellowed Big Merv.

“Some Grongles came to the Parrot and they said it belonged to—”

“I heard you the first time, you twonk,” shouted Big Merv, “Why in Arnold’s name didn’t you tell me?”

“I didn’t think it mattered,” lied The Pan who’d spent several wakeful nights wondering how on earth he could bring the subject up and had chickened out.

“You’re not here to think, I THINK, you drive. Anything, ANYTHING you hear, you tell me, right?”

“Yes,” squeaked The Pan. The snurd ahead of them revved its engine again and he glanced nervously about him, checking his escape options.

“Can you get us out of this?” asked Big Merv.

“I don’t know,” said The Pan. He could feel himself going white, he was shivering with fright, cold sweat running down the side of his face. A big part of his job was appearing to be in control, in this instance it was vital. It would be testing enough coping with the chase, let alone if the gang lost their confidence and he had to contend with any back seat driving. He smiled, with what he hoped was a devil-may-care demeanour, rather than the rictus grimace that would more truly reflect the way he felt. “I’ll give it my best shot.”

“You’d better,” said Big Merv, “an’ if you don’t, they won’t catch you alive because I’ll kill you myself. You get me?”

“Oh yes,” muttered The Pan, “I get you.”

He checked the MK II was still in gear and pressed the accelerator pedal as far down as it would go. As he did so, the driver of the black snurd in front of them did the same thing and they hurtled towards each other. The two snurds were on a collision course. The Pan moved the MK II left and the Interceptor moved right. He swung the MK II back to the right and the Interceptor moved left.

“What are you doing you great plank?” shouted Big Merv. “I said get us out, not take him out.”

“Yes, that’s what I’m trying to do. Unfortunately, he’s trying to hit us.”

It was Lord Vernon against him, it had to be. It was a replay of that whole sidestepping incident again, only on wheels. He abandoned any effort to avoid contact, selected aviator mode and carried on accelerating. The Interceptor was yards away now but The Pan was going fast enough to take off. Both snurds left the ground at the same time. As The Pan saw the front of his opponent’s vehicle looming ahead, he moved the MK II sharply upwards and as the other snurd followed, he yanked the wheel downwards. The underside of the Interceptor filled the windscreen, blotting out the light, and there was a bump as it, too, moved lower and clipped the roof of Big Merv’s snurd. The MK II hit the ground with a massive crash and bounced into the air.

“Mind my suspension you pillock!” shouted Big Merv angrily as they accelerated upwards.

“If you don’t shut up the suspension’s going to be the least of your worries,” said The Pan, who was beginning to feel more in control, and therefore at liberty to be lippy, “this is going to be difficult enough.”

The police snurds didn’t follow, they were pursued solely by the black snurd and The Pan could only view this as a bad sign. It was the first piece of Grongolian technology he had seen which measured up to the MK II, more than measured up. The Pan couldn’t match the acceleration of the Interceptor and after ten minutes it was as close as ever. After fifteen minutes it tried to ram them and it was only by jinking sharply to the right that The Pan was able to avoid contact. Instead of passing them and cutting them off, it hung back waiting for an opportunity to repeat the manoeuvre. Big Merv was scared and reacted the only way he knew how, by hiding his fear behind a façade of anger. The Pan could forgive him that – nobody was perfect and on the few occasions it happened, he saw it as a bond, a tiny patch of common ground in the vast desert between them.

“I thought you could drive,” Big Merv growled.

“I can and you know it,” The Pan raised his hands and shrugged, “unfortunately, so can he.”

“Keep your hands on the wheel you great pranny!”

“Then, keep your hair on,” muttered The Pan, “you trust me to do this, remember?”

“Don’t get arsy with me you wimp, just get us out of this,” shouted Big Merv, “NOW!”

The Interceptor fired a snurd-to-snurd missile. The Pan wove in and out of lamp posts, buildings, chimneys and trees with the missile in hot pursuit until, finally, he managed to corner so sharply it continued onwards and exploded harmlessly against the side of a nearby office block. Having failed to obliterate its quarry the Interceptor reappeared and made another attempt to ram them. At last The Pan could see a way out, but it wasn’t one Big Merv was going to like.

“I think I can lose him,” he said, “but the MK II—”

“Just do it,” shouted Big Merv, “and for Arnold’s sake get a move on before you make me throw up, you spotty little Herbert. I have some pride, unlike you, so don’t make me humiliate myself in front of the boys here because if I do, YOU will be valeting this vehicle from top to bottom. Got it?”

“Merv,” began The Pan, wearily, oops too wearily, “sir,” he added quickly, “you know my aim here is to keep us alive, not to make you ill. Concentrate on looking straight ahead, or the view out of the window or something. If it’s that bad, there’s always a plastic bag in the glove compartment.”

Ahead of them was the financial district of Ning Dang Po, complete with skyscrapers. The Pan, hotly pursued by the Interceptor, skimmed over the parapet of the Quaarl Futures Building. He flew low over the roof garden full of resting traders in a selection of bizarre striped and coloured blazers, who scattered in all directions, flattening themselves to the green plastic lawn. As the MK II swooped over them and reached the parapet on the other side, The Pan yanked at the wheel. The bonnet dipped and the front bumper clipped the stonework with a loud thud. The impact flipped the MK II upside down and immediately, The Pan accelerated. As Big Merv’s snurd had somersaulted its back bumper had hit the bottom of the Interceptor and thrown it forward causing the driver to lose control for a few precious seconds. Not long, but enough time for The Pan to fly away as fast as he could. After a minute or two he realised he was still flying upside down.

He righted the MK II and descended swiftly into the nearby Goojan Quarter where the streets were narrow and the houses close enough together to mask a snurd from the air. By the time their mystery pursuer had regained control and turned round the MK II had disappeared from sight.

The Mervinettes sat in stunned silence as The Pan drove them back to the lock-up.

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Gumbee Fantasy Authors ‘do’ Pursuit: Number 4 Will Macmillan Jones

Pursuit.  Right.  I’m afraid that we normally all default to car chases, don’t we?  Even those of us who write fantasy.  Yes, I know there will be the odd (most of us seem to be odd, if I’m being honest) purist who insists on organic creatures – horses, camels, or even dragons.  But if, as Richard Bach once remarked in his bestselling book ‘Illusions (the adventures of a reluctant messiah)’ life can be compared to a film, we all have certain scripts in our head.  Bond film car chases, The Fast and The Furious, The Terminator films, even The Blues Brothers:  car chases appeal and are integral to all the story lines.

Why is this? Well, at some point the authors feel that the tension and drama can be racked up for the audience by having the baddy chase the goody; and indeed vice-versa.  Let’s face it, the punters love a good chase, so we all do one don’t we?  Not least because a good chase is more fun to write than twenty pages of emotional trauma suffered by the hero/heroine (delete according to taste and preference) as they watch a cockroach climb down a wall beside their bed and compare its faltering descent to their emotional angst.  No doubt with insights into the human condition normally reserved for those of a terminally disturbed disposition.  Oh, and the readers would rather read a good chase or pursuit too I suspect.

I’m going to offer you two snippets.  The first shows my preferred scenario, of my fantasy reality and our own world colliding somewhat awkwardly:

Here, in ‘The Mystic Accountants’,  Dai the Dragon has just volunteered to go home to get his guitar before joining The Banned Underground as their bass player.  (His reward for getting them a paying gig at a beer festival.)

“I’ll need to get off. It’s not far to the lair, but I don’t like flying in the daylight now. Too much air traffic,” Dai said.

“Are you fit to fly?” asked Fungus, dubiously.

“I’ll be fine. Best hurry, be daybreak any minute, and the RAF start practising at the bombing range at the end of the Country Park early these days. Probably so that the miss hits don’t hit the tourists.”

“Friendly fire, don’t they call that?”

“Have you ever been out for a drink with the cruise missiles? Don’t. A less friendly bunch than that doesn’t exist. Always getting into fights, and then exploding.”

The RAF, however, were wide awake already, and busy on their radios.

“Pen-bre Firing Range, this is Victor Kilo One Six inbound from RAF Valley.”

“Victor Kilo, Pen-bre Range. Go ahead.”

“Pen-bre Range, Victor Kilo is a training flight inbound for Strike Mission, five minutes to run from the East, height 800 feet.”

“Victor Kilo, Pen-bre Range. Radar Contact Acquired. Your Strike Clearance is approved. Be aware of local traffic at your 10 O clock, same height.”

“Pen-bre Range, Victor Kilo. Strike Approval copied. Looking for the traffic AND WHAT THE HELL IS THAT!!!!! ARMING WEAPONS SYSTEMS!!!”

“Victor Kilo, are you visual on the traffic? Can you identify it?”

“IT’S A RED DRAGON, CARRYING A BASS GUITAR IN ITS’ FRONT CLAWS!!!!!!!”

“Victor Kilo One Six, Pen-bre Range. Your Strike Clearance is cancelled, repeat Your Strike Clearance is cancelled. Disarm Weapons systems and return to Valley Training Base at once. Confirm instructions.”

Oh dear.  It isn’t always easy merging realities, is it?  Things keep getting in the way.

Now, in this second clip, the ‘baddies’ (in an elderly taxi) are in hot pursuit of the ‘goodies’ (in a Mercedes Sprinter minibus).  I’m quite a traditionalist in my writing, you see.  So we all know that the ‘goodies’ will get away: the fun comes in seeing how.  Also from ‘The Mystic Accountants’.

Lacking a SatNav, the Mondeo slid behind some other vehicles to remain unobtrusive: Ned taking the opportunity of a quick service station break to change its color by magic. Thus avoiding a parking ticket as well.

“But I liked Red. Hid the rust at MOT time,” complained the assistant assistant.

“The last time yer took this to an MOT station, the staff all ran an’ hid until yer went away,” accused Ned.

“So? Still got me MOT.”

“Only ‘cos you knew how to work their computer,” pointed out the junior.

“Well, what’s the point of training to be an evil wizard if you don’t put the knowledge to good use?”

“Look, they’re turning left,” Ned observed.

“Right.”

“No, left. Yer can’t turn right on a motorway.”

“Can in America,” said the assistant assistant.

“This is England, where we do things right.”

“So it is right.”

“GO LEFT you idiot, before you lose them,” ordered Ned.

“Right.”

“Oh gods, why did I chose you two?”

“Cos the Boss told you to.”

“Right.”

“Not left then?” the assistant assistant, like the reader, was confused.

“Just follow that Sprinter.”

“Thought we were following a minibus? You’re not supposed to run about on motorways.”

For a moment, Ned considered following on foot as a serious idea, but then calmed down as the vehicles passed slowly down the scenic A 483 towards South Wales.

The assistant assistant, driving, was observing the road traffic signs as they progressed.

“Look, all the road signs are in foreign. Perhaps we are in America after all.”

“That’s not foreign. It’s Welsh.” Ned told him.

“Why can’t I understand it then?”

“Look, it was painted by someone called Allan,” said the junior, from the back seat.

“Must be proud of their work, here. Our council wouldn’t let them sign the road.”

“That’s mebbe why we have no road signs,” mused Ned.

A ballistic Honda minivan, horn blaring wildly, encouraged the driver to pay more attention to the road signs as it missed the front of the Mondeo by the width of the new paint job on the bonnet.

“Read the signs, can’t you?” yelled the passenger in the van as his nose skimmed the front of the Mondeo.

The dwarves (and of course Fungus who was a BogTroll) had no difficulties at all with the ancient and poetic language, even when badly painted on the road (by an arthritic road painter who had had to keep dodging cars, tractors and occasional sheep while painting.).

“Araf” said the road, and the Sprinter obeyed. *

“Who’s this Araf?” queried the Mondeo driver.

“He learnt to write in the same place as Allan, anyway,” said the junior.

“Now it says ‘ARAFWCH.’ Wonder what it means?” **

“Maybe you pronounce it ‘ARAF OUCH?’” *** suggested Ned.

Again the Sprinter understood, and obeyed. Accordingly, with only a slight crashing from the rear load space, the Sprinter sped around the corner. The fast moving Mondeo made an existential choice, and carried straight on… through a hedge into a very muddy field.

Fortunately failing to connect with the extremely large tractor, which was towing a low loader up the field. Slowly.

“Made me say OUCH,” grumbled the driver.

“Didn’t you read the signs then?” asked the farmer, chuckling as Ned opened his wallet and started counting out notes while the tractor pulled a now very well disguised Mondeo out of the field. Slowly.

“Must have missed them,” sighed Ned.

“Didn’t miss me hedge though, did you boy?” chuckled the farmer.

“Clearly. Still, we are really grateful, mate.”

“Any time, as long as you bring your wallet.”

The Mondeo shot off in pursuit of the departed Sprinter, showering mud everywhere.

“Come back soon!” called the farmer, before going home to count his subsidies.

* Slow Down. Now.

** If you haven’t already slowed down, this is your last chance. Honest. Before you crash.

*** No. Although you will say “ouch” afterwards, if you didn’t araf in time.

See? Two pages of a car chase are more fun than writing about cockroaches.  Got to go, I’m busy writing my next pursuit.  This time with broomsticks….

The Mystic Accountants is the second in The Banned Underground fantasy series published by Safkhet Publishing and is used here with their permission

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by | Jul 10, 2013 · 9:34 am

Gumbee Fantasy Writers ‘do’ Pursuit: Number 3 Jim Webster

This one I found tricky, not because I don’t do chases, but because in one case the entire book might be considered a chase. Of course a chase should build up tension, you shouldn’t know how it’s going to end, will the pursuers catch their intended prey or will their prey escape?
Over a book you can go into detail, allow the pursers to go off on false trails, almost catch their victim but fail, only to set off again for another go. You have time for character development, budding love affairs and scenes of deep introspection. In a shorter chase you have to keep the pace up, but you can allow humour to creep in round the edges without losing the tension.

So here is a chase from ‘Swords for a Dead Lady’

Seen from the point of view of the book it has several purposes
It introduces Benor to Rothred
It explains why Benor is interested in leaving Toelar
It gives a feel for Toelar and introduces other people who might appear in the story later.
All these things could be done in other ways but this way was more fun.

Benor left his home and closed the door behind him. He didn’t lock it – the Widow Kazmintal would be round soon to disturb the dust and move the furniture. He stepped out briskly, his goal the Scented Salamander, where he had decided to take his midday meal. He had passed the Temple of the Eightfold Alms when he noticed that a small group of men appeared to be following him. He recognised Rontswaller, an elderly merchant, whose young wife Alina Benor had been consoling four nights ago.

He slightly quickened his step and crossed the road, intending to turn off down Musselfair Street to the harbour where at least he would have friends, when he saw, coming the other way, Thestal Carnholm, husband of the beautiful but flirtatious Chianvil. With him were several burly lads from his small glass factory, still wearing their leather aprons. All were carrying cudgels.

Without hesitation Benor turned left down Lead Glass lane, and as it was empty, he broke into a run. Figures blocked the far end of the lane. He went into the first house at random, smiled at the startled practitioner who was giving a client deep tissue massage and darted out of the back door into the yard. Cautiously, he opened the yard gate. There were three toughs lounging against a wall further up the street. He looked round and saw a woman’s hooded cloak hanging on a line to dry. He hastily threw it on and stepped out into the street, turned away from the loungers and walked briskly away, hoping that he would hit Musselfair Street behind Carnholm and his party. Then behind him he heard a shout:

“Come back here with my bloody cloak”.

He didn’t hesitate, but dropped the cloak and ran, the hue and cry starting up behind him. He hit Musselfair Street and swung down to the harbour, not risking a glance behind him. The shouting grew louder.

He heard shouting ahead of him as well, but largely ignored it, concentrating on keeping to the middle of the road and watching for anyone coming in from either side. Out in the harbour he could see his brother’s boat, the Channeler’s Dog, wallowing at anchor, about a hundred yards from the quay. He began to feel that he might just make it. Some of the pursuers were gaining on him, but he intended to run clean off the wharf into the harbour and swim for the boat.
They would have to slow down or end up in the water with him.

His world had contracted to the unfocused shouting and the Channeler’s Dog when suddenly some fool put a horse directly in his path. With no time to turn, he dived under its belly, rolled along the floor and came to an abrupt stop against a pair of riding boots. He gazed upwards; the wearer of the riding boots was an Urlan, a young man, looking battered from hard riding and with one leg bandaged.

“Hello, I am Rothred; I have been told that you are Benor Dorfinngil, also known as Benor the Cartographer. I have a message for you from Lord Eklin.”

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Gumbee Fantasy Writers ‘do’ Pursuit: Number 2 Marcus Pailing

When one thinks of ‘pursuit’, one usually thinks of chases, whether on foot, horse, by car, or some other form of transport, usually with a villain pursuing the hero (or vice versa). When it was mooted that the Gumbee writers should next turn their attention to such scenes I was in a bit of a fix, because I haven’t tended to include that sort of action in my books. I did think of one such chase, but the end result of that was a fight, and we have already covered fight scenes in earlier blog posts.

So, here is my slightly different take on the theme of pursuit.

This episode occurs very near to the end of The Withered Rose. The background is a bit complicated, so I shall do my best to outline it briefly.

Kieldrou (the heir to the count of Trall) and Sturgar (the earl of March) have become enemies, for a number of reasons which I don’t need to list here. Their bad feeling was exacerbated when Sturgar accused Kieldrou of seducing his wife, Atela. Kieldrou had done no such thing, although it then came to light that Atela had fallen in love with him. (This appeared in an earlier blog post, on ‘peril and tension’.)

Since then, Kieldrou felt guilty that he had done nothing to help Atela, who was now trapped with a husband she no longer loved, and who knew that she had lost her heart to another. When he was ordered to travel back to the March, to help deal with a threatened invasion from Hussania, he was initially reluctant, because it would put him back in contact with Sturgar; but he also knew it would give him a chance to check up on Atela’s well-being.

However, when he arrived at the castle of Revenar he discovered that Atela was not there: Sturgar had left her at home. Kieldrou immediately became suspicious, fearing that Sturgar had harmed her. So he stormed out of Revenar and resolved to see for himself that Atela was all right. The problem was, Sturgar was none too happy about Kieldrou riding off to his home to check up on his wife.

They rode through the remainder of the afternoon, and then through the night. They pushed their horses hard, although they took care to rest their mounts, in order to preserve them. As it was, they did not ride with as much speed as Kieldrou wished, and he cursed often as they thundered across the fields, occasionally joining the winding road, but mostly taking as direct a route a possible.

They had collected half a dozen of the Hollowdene men to ride with them, men whose own horses were fresh, fed and watered. Within a few hours all the mounts were blown, but Kieldrou urged them on. He dreaded what they might find at Marchkeep, and he would brook no delay in their arriving there.

Sturgar followed them. The earl had summoned half a dozen of his own men, and towards midnight they caught up with the Trallians. Kieldrou was ready to fight, and his own followers gathered round, hands on their swords. But the Marcher men offered no steel. Instead, the two groups continued on their mad dash towards Marchkeep, each party riding separately, but neither allowing the other to draw ahead. It was a race, and none of the fifteen men really knew what the purpose of it was, nor what they would find at the winning post.

When the dawn began to break, and as the first rays of the sun began to cast new shadows on the land, bathing the fields and hills with a faintly golden glow, the riders crested a rise to see the town and castle of Marchkeep ahead of them. They were still some five miles away. Kieldrou and Sturgar sat on their horses, twenty yards apart, and glared at each other. They had not spoken a word to each other since the groups had met up at midnight. They still did not speak, but the deadly looks they cast at each other were eloquent enough.

Sturgar turned his head and spat on the ground.

Kieldrou kicked his heels, and his horse plunged down the slope.

 (There is another section here, which looks at the events from Atela’s perspective. However, it gives away too much of the plot, so I won’t include it here. Also, it was inserted in the novel to break up the chase somewhat, and also to bridge the time when Kieldrou and Sturgar are riding those five miles to the castle. We pick it up on their arrival at Marchkeep.)

Kieldrou leaped from his saddle. He was exhausted, but his anger with Sturgar and his concern for Atela drove him on. He was aware of Fernhelm dismounting beside him, but he did not acknowledge his friend’s presence – Fernhelm would stick by him, whatever happened, and they did not need to communicate: so attuned was their friendship that they would act in concert without words or gestures of direction.

He was also aware of Sturgar’s party clattering into the courtyard behind him. He ignored the earl’s shouts, and ran up the steps towards the doors of the keep. He could hear the raised voices as his men jostled with Sturgar’s, but they did not appear to be exchanging blows, merely argument; so he cast them from his mind and concentrated instead on his purpose of finding Atela, ensuring that she was safe.

A lone guardsman stood by the doors. He stepped forward to challenge the intruder, looking past Kieldrou at the fracas in the courtyard, seeking orders from his lord who was hurrying to catch up with the Trallians. Kieldrou barged the man out of the way and pushed open the door. Fernhelm growled when the guard, off balance, sought to bring his spear to bear, and the man backed away, seeing too much risk in confronting the two men on his own.

Kieldrou strode into the castle hall, glaring around. It was still early in the morning, and only a handful of people were about, servants going about their business. They quailed before the baleful glares of the tall Trallian and his equally fearsome sword-man, and hurried out of sight.

The Trallians headed towards the door in the north wall of the hall, which they knew would take them to a staircase and the upper levels of the castle. It was a spiral stair, and they bounded up it, hands trailing the stone walls for balance, until they came to the first landing. They could hear Sturgar following, although the earl no longer shouted at them to stop – the clanking of his spurs on the stone steps told them he was there.

“Further up?” Fernhelm asked, and they continued to climb the winding staircase.

They reached the next landing, and turned the corner, almost colliding with the woman who was running towards the stairs, clutching her skirts above her ankles. It took Kieldrou a few moments to recognise Atela’s tire-woman. She was sobbing, and she took huge gulps of air as he grasped her arms.

“Oh, my lord,” the woman gasped through her tears. “It’s you. Come quick. She’s bolted the door and I can’t get her to open it.”

Kieldrou cursed, and the two Trallians rushed down the corridor. Behind them, Sturgar ran to keep up.

Kieldrou pushed at Atela’s door, but it was bolted fast. “Atela!” he shouted. There was no answer. “Atela, open up!”

Sturgar shoved past him and tried the door. He cursed, and banged his fist on the panels. “Atela! For Hogra’s sake, pull back the bolt!”

Kieldrou hurled himself at the door. It shuddered under the impact of his shoulder, but otherwise would not budge.

“Fernhelm, take the woman away.”

Fernhelm nodded, and drew the sobbing maid from the vicinity of the door. Given the room he needed, Kieldrou stood back, and lashed out with his foot. His booted sole connected with the panel, just about where the bolt should be. The timbers shivered, but held. He kicked again, and again. The noise echoed in the corridor.

He stepped back, resting his back against the far wall of the corridor. Fernhelm was standing with the maid a little way away, holding her in his arms and trying to console her. Sturgar stood in the middle of the floor, staring at the door. The Earl’s face was pale, all the ire of the last night drained away. He kept his gaze on the door, never once looking in Kieldrou’s direction.

Kieldrou roared with renewed anger, and flung himself once more at the door. His body slammed against the panels. With a crash, the bolt on the other side gave way, the door flew open, and he stumbled inside.

 I have to stop it there, otherwise I would spoil the plot. Suffice it to say that this is the denouement of the entire novel.

It is hard to create the required level of tension in such a scene. In the chase itself one has to choose one’s words carefully in order to give the sense of speed and urgency, which is much easier to do in, say, a film, where the use of cameras and music provides valuable assistance. Ideally, a chase/pursuit scene should make the reader’s heart race, even if only a little. In this excerpt I have chosen the ‘tension’ is created, I hope, by not knowing what Kieldrou will find when he gets to Marchkeep – and, at the end, what he might find on the other side of the door.

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Gumbee Fantasy Writers ‘do’ Pursuit: Number 1 Jaq D Hawkins

Imagine if you will, a chase involving three airships travelling through storm clouds, something that no sane airshipman would try. One ship is captained by Mister Wyatt, a disgrunted businessman who managed to waylay a shipment of opium through a shady deal, but the opium was stolen by pirates, and he pursues them with a mechanoid crew whose programming he is sure will equalise his inexperience as an airship captain. Another ship is captained by Tom Bradley, former night guard for Wyatt’s factory, who is also chasing after the opium with a crew more accustomed to burglarising houses than airship travel. His motivations are pure profit. A third ship, flown by a crew of experienced airship pirates who have actual possession of the opium, disappears into a cloud and in the low visibility, the other two airships mistake each other for Captain Bonny and his pirates. But first, we have a close encounter:

‘Captain Tommy! Look!’ a man shouted.

Bradley was already transfixed by the proximity of the other craft. The decks passed close enough that he could see Mister Bale standing on deck, smoking a pipe with the cat on his shoulder. Then they were gone, soaring off into the cloud ahead.

By then the sun had risen to reveal a dim morning. Anne Bardwell, sitting in the pilot’s booth, was no fool. The fog on the ground was clearing enough to see buildings. She took the ship down a little to see more clearly before the order reached her that they were to give chase to the ship that had passed. She had already nearly wet herself when the hull had passed within inches of her view window. She had no intention of returning to the thicker clouds where visibility was completely obscured. However, as they cleared the cloud, she saw an airship ahead of her and assumed that it must be the same craft, having come about from the hazardous cloud cover. Thus it was that Captain Zachary Wyatt with his crew of mechanoids and Captain Tommy Bradley and his gang of miscreants sped forth towards each other in stormy skies, while Captain Horatio Bonny floated above the worst of the storm, seeking his goddess.

The near miss was reported by crew who had seen it happen immediately, but Captain Bonny waved off the crewman who came to him with no more than a nod of acknowledgement. The incident was past before he could have reacted, and the wake of the dragon called him. Another few grains of opium were added to the pipe. He looked wistfully at the little cat still perched on his first mate’s shoulders further down the deck, then back off into the coming mist, seeking some sign of his goddess.

Oh dear. between the rum, the opium and a certain superstitious bent, the pirates do tend to come out of every situation unscathed. But will our other two airships fare as well?

Just as Captain Wyatt despaired of losing his quarry, he saw the airship headed directly for him from out of a cloud. The mechanoid pilot had levelled above the London fog, which was as hazardous as the storm clouds. The two would meet soon. Wyatt worked out that the mechanoid might well shut down completely if it was faced with conditions that gave it no logical course of action. There was no choice but to take control himself. He had, after all, studied the flight manuals.

He ordered the pilot mechanoid to remove itself for maintenance and took the controls. In clear skies as he had hoped for on that morning, he would have felt exhilarated to be flying his own machine above the city, but under the circumstances he was tense. He could just see the outlines of building tops and hoped that his knowledge of London would be sufficient to avoid getting too close to any that were tall enough to cause him trouble. The storm clouds were closing in on the city fast now. He knew very well that the sensible thing to do would be to go back and moor the ship until it passed, but the quarry rode towards him on the crest of the wave of black cloud. In truth, he wasn’t sure of his way back.

He needed a strategy. For all his preparations and good sense, Wyatt was inexperienced in the game of war. He had foresight enough to provide himself with weapons, mostly among the mechanoids, but how to go about getting them onto the other ship was something he hadn’t had enough time to consider. His first thought was that he would have to manoeuvre his ship to a position above the other and drop them down on the open deck. The mechanoids would know what to do from there.

Can you program a mechanoid to fight a battle? Mister Wyatt seems to think so. Meanwhile, the other crew of ‘night watchmen’ have troubles of their own.

Meanwhile Captain Tommy alternated between shouting orders to his disgruntled crew and uttering promises that they would be warm and comfortable soon, as well as rich. They plunged through the turbulent clouds in pursuit, causing several men to be sick over the side. A cross wind turned the ship nearly sideways just as one of Bradley’s watchman friends was leaning over the rail and sent him tumbling over the side. Bradley jumped towards him, trying to prevent his fall, but there was no time. He looked over the side in despair for his lost mate.

That was when he realised that the storm had blown their course back to the city. The ship was passing dangerously close over Big Ben. By some fluke, they had been directly over the clock tower as the man had fallen and he had landed on the slanted roof of the upper tower over the clock. Bradley watched as his lost crewman scrambled down to a platform with pillars where a talented second story sneak thief could climb to relative safety. He waved a salute as the airship climbed a little higher to avoid collision with the clock tower.

Hazardous conditions indeed, but Wyatt lures the other ship away from the centre of London and out over open country.

Bradley saw the other airship speeding away from him. He smiled, forgetting the man on the tower, and gave the order to give chase. He needn’t have bothered as the storm was blowing both airships before its force. As long as their courses continued north, nature was happy to give them an assisting push.

Wyatt gloried in thoughts of favourable tailwinds and sailed on northwards, watching carefully to make sure that the other airship followed. With an inexperienced crew against one that had been well programmed, Bradley’s ship faltered and was tossed about in the high winds as his men tried to work out the finer points of flap positions to make best use of the air currents. Wyatt noticed the difficulty and slowed his speed a little, allowing time for the other ship to catch up. As the situation worsened, Wyatt decided it was time to make his move. They were just outside of the busiest part of the city, over sufficiently open country to make a stand.

Wyatt’s ship floated upwards into a dark cloud that was just overtaking the race between airships. With their own stability to attend to, Bradley’s crew didn’t notice the manoeuvre.

‘Captain Tommy! We have to go to ground and wait it out. It’s tearing up the ship!’ Bradley heard the crewman shout the warning and swore under his breath. He kept sending orders to Anne to stay in pursuit, but the girl kept losing altitude. No doubt the woman was afraid of the storm as his men appeared to be, but Bradley had heard tales recollected on Bonny’s ship that convinced him that a stout heart could ride out any storm. As long as they stayed near the edge, that was the trick.

He looked through his scope and swore again. There was no sign of the other ship. They had been evaded. He nodded to the crewman and ordered him to pass the order to the pilot. The other ship must have docked already. When the storm passed, they could search again. It was just at that moment that something heavy plummeted past the open deck. Bradley was perplexed as he caught a split second of metallic reflection from a distant flash of lightning. He looked over the side, but the object had fallen too fast and was instantly lost in the mists surrounding them.

An almighty thump on the deck behind him made him spin, pistol at the ready. Not all of his crew were so armed, but Tom Bradley had always felt more comfortable with a pistol secured about his person. This was the first time he had ever pulled it out. His hand shook as he took in the sight before him. The pistol dropped impotently from his fingers, unnoticed either by Bradley or the mechanoid that struggled to stand up among broken deck boards that had splintered from its fall.

Another mechanoid fell just beyond the deck, plummeting past the ship. The silence of the morning cast an eerie flavour to the bizarre state of affairs as the cloud mists closed around the airship, cutting it off from all contact with the normality of the world that Bradley and his crew knew. There were other men on deck, but not one of them made a sound as a second successful mechanoid fell onto the deck, crashing through the boards completely into the compartment below. Meanwhile, the first mechanoid had moved towards the stairs, descending towards the pilot’s booth. Bradley blinked, and then shouted Anne’s name as he ran after the mechanoid to protect the woman he loved, although he didn’t know how he was going to do it.

Boarded by mechanoids! How would you defend yourself, and what happened to the ones who fell to the ground? The Wake of the Dragon by Jaq D Hawkins is available at Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, iTunes and soon to be released in paperback from Lulu.com

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