I was about to drop in the title there, but it has changed and mutated so many times in the last few years that I'm still slightly unsure.
The title for now - and it will probably remain so unless the novel I'm writing now steals this title back off of it, seeing as it had said title first (it's a long story) is...
'Last Chance To Evacuate Planet Earth Before It Is Recycled'
The title prior to that, for a longish time, was -
'The End Of All There Is'
I may wait and see if I manage to get any comments on this, but I quite fancy writing up a breakdown / analysis of the whole thing, chapter by chapter, to see whether it actually does still work on some level. This book has been very important to me over the years, and is the first part of a trilogy. Volume Two is written but originally was part of the first book, and the aberrant threads were edited out for reasons of sanity, seeing as how it was starting to turn into some demented vision of Stephen King rewriting Clive Barker re-imagining Dune and Lord Of The Rings at the same time, while listening to Swedish death metal, on DRUGS (because we're at the stage now where drugs might be required to read it, never mind write it).
Anyway. Here is the start of it. An in-depth explanation and show notes might follow (I believe you're supposed to do that sort of thing 'after the jump' but I fear my energy levels have dropped to such a state that I can just about manage moving my fingers over the keyboard and not a whole lot else).
So here goes. If you're reading this blog backwards from the far future, you will surely have ploughed through the whole thing already and won't need spoiler alerts. As you know, they all die in the end.
ONLY KIDDING! They don't.
OR DO THEY????
CHAPTER ONE: IN MEDIA RES
Right in the middle of it and with fists bloodied, her breaths now coming in hyperventilated gasps, the girl called Saira banged on the window of the security lodge in the foyer of the student hall. No one came.
Saira’s blows punctuated an iced-over silence. There was no immediate response. Her knocking echoed out through the foyer before bouncing stupidly back at her. No one came.
The dim security light that gently permeated the gloom wasn‘t calming. Saira looked around at the various transfigurations of darkness taking place: at the orange-floored foyer turned sickly shiny in night time glow; at the staircase off beyond the union shop doors, twisting mystically off into nowhere; and at the glass-fronted display on the opposite wall, showing the principal members of the union. Their faces grinned unnaturally out at her in lurid colours; paintings on the walls of a haunted house.
That thing's coming. It's coming. I know it
The thing upstairs in Cluskey Hall that had the voice of an air-crash called out. As if to intentionally echo it, something in Saira's own throat gave up and she whimpered again. This time forgetting everything; voices in her head going, it's gone: It's all over, I'm not getting out of this; I'm not.
Another empty silence followed.
‘HELLO? Saira cried. ‘IS ANYONE HERE? HELLO??’
Feeling as if she had been stood in the deserted foyer for quite some time when in all actuality it had probably only been a matter of minutes, Saira found herself becoming unsure about whether or not the noises coming out of her mouth could really help proceedings in any way; or whether or not they really had anything at all to do with her anymore. You've got such a happy voice, Trev had said, that night out on the beach: Saira briefly tried to picture herself as she was now and wondered just what beloved Trev would think of her were he to see her at this very moment; what he would do when he heard her squawking: when he saw her staggering around in the dark. You've got such a happy voice, Trev had said, in between the gasps and the uncontrollable howls: Such a happy voice in the middle of it.
She hit the security window again. Behind it there was a desk, a chair, and a monitor.
There was someone in. There had to be someone in.
She looked behind her. Around her. Nothing.
No one. Why isn't there anyone
Saira banged the window again, readily expecting to see a blue-clad and kindly security guard appear and offer to unlock the doors. Yes, dear: You can go - no reason for you to be here; not at this time of night. After all, what are you doing in here? You shouldn't be here you've got such a happy voice
who's idea of a jumped up practical joke was this
The lights flickered. No guard came.
The thing upstairs called again; disembodied killings in a wind-tunnel. As if removed from her body, Saira's throat tried to produce a scream and, as if to spite whatever noise she had intended to make, nothing but a tight dry rasp came out. No one will come, she thought: no one will come, and it will find me. Get me.
The foyer of the building and the area around the abandoned security lodge continued to look at her morosely, saying: We cannot help you; we are only inanimate: no one gave us brains to help with.
Saira began to sob uncontrollably, her breath becoming ragged and stupid.
'Help me... someone. Please...'
No one is coming. Nothing is coming. Except for it; except for it. Oh God ohgod
The girl called Saira stood in the entrance foyer of the building known as Cluskey Hall. Around her, the dire luminescence of the overhead lights flickered, and then flickered again; seemingly having nothing better to do with their time that be pale and dimly useless.
KNOW YOU, thought the beast of Cluskey Hall, as it moved undetected in the bowels of the building. A night serpent coiling and uncoiling: waiting for food; waiting for daylight. Waiting for eternity; or orders.
Alone in the shack at the edge of the woods, his lamp casting uncertain light across the scuffed and heavily graffitied school desk he had stolen from a skip eight years ago and to this date had neglected to replace, Gregory Hunter closed his eyes, picked up a blunt red pencil and began to write.
Some words came. He wasn't sure what they meant, but scrawled them down anyway. After a few moments of scribbling he stopped, opened his eyes, and looked as open-mindedly as he could at the foremost sheet of A4 paper.
He had thought so. Just gibberish; the nonsense in his head. Gregory sighed and put the pencil down.
I've failed, Saira, he mulled. You can hardly even say I've tried, though, can you? The Gregmaster's had it. Fucked it up again.
He threw the pencil woodily against the wall. It bounced and fell down.
Gregory scratched his untidy beard and again tried doggedly to concentrate, the back of his head aching with an unexpected tiredness.
Or was it two?
Come on you stupid old fuckwit. Visualize. Write it down
Grabbing another pencil from the rapidly-emptying holder in front of him, Gregory closed his eyes, pressed the implement to the paper and begun again.
A few moments later he opened his eyes and looked down.
Blind incoherence scattered its way across the page; the work of the eyeless. Was this the fifteenth attempt? Had he even been counting?
The pencil in his hand became the sixteenth to hit the wall. Gregory tugged at his beard before banging his head on the desk, as if trying to extract a misplaced nugget of sensibility that had become wedged there, trapped in some lost corner of his synapses.
Once again, he screwed his eyes shut. Images of nothingness came: desolation and all the things in the past. Sea shanties.
Two words? Three? To do with... transference...? No. Not if I start with
He could see the girls now; the three of them. Standing there.
The plains. The desert calmly static without water; the world with the acid skies.
variations on a theme
everything that is in the future is where we are going
Not girls, really, he stopped to note - they were practically women now. Once again he had forgotten.
Time flows quickly, he thought: so quickly. Only so long left to go. Only so long.
This is like me at school. Always running out of time. And that old school didn't do me a hell of a lot of good now, did it?
Of course, that was in the past . Those smiling faces.
Of course; the past. Of course
I don't remember. I don't even remember.
Come on, he repeated to himself, leaning forwards over the desk and staring deep into the blank paper in front of him, seeing paper: seeing sand.
She will be going soon. You know that. You can't not know that - think, Hunter. Think, or your life is going to turn out to be even more of a fucking waste of time than you had ever previously imagined.
One of them - the one with the reddish hair - could he tell if it was red? - was going out. Standing there, in the inconstant future of his mind; smiling; but going out all the same. Fading into dust and fog: transparency. A vampire disappearing from the tomb.
Stay, Gregory hissed to himself, clenching his fists; Stay!
Somewhere outside of the ramshackle pseudo-shed that Gregory Hunter occupied at the edge of the cold and waiting woods, an owl hooted: as if readying itself to sing elegies for the dead.
Closing his eyes and unclenching his fists inside the shack he occupied at the edge of the woods, Gregory Hunter picked up a red felt-tipped pen and began to write; having close to absolutely no idea as to what it was he was attempting to do.
The girl leaning against the security window in the building called Cluskey Hall who was called Saira thought that maybe she recognized someone else's voice deep within the sounds she was making; these sounds of someone shaken, misplaced, and hysterical.
These were not her sounds, surely; not her pleas for help. She was a nice girl; a normal girl. She was a sane girl above everything else. The tears on her face were not hers; they were someone else's. They had to be.
Above everything else. They have to be.
She cried out experimentally; surprising herself with the sudden clarity of her voice.
Maybe screaming doesn't really get you anywhere, she considered: except in space
She cried out again. Again no one answered. After a small period of deliberation, Saira pulled back her fist and again banged it into the plastic partition, banging it until her knuckles smarted. The noise of her physical exertions bounced idly around the small entrance foyer of the hall, reverberating wildly; glancing at shadowed shapes without a care or a thought in the world for her safety.
Only one small security light was on overhead. Saira couldn't see anything behind the security window - no security - except for the faint glow of a monitor in the office area behind the main desk. This was the only indication she could detect that any human being had once been there to do something.
It's that old thing again
No-one was coming
It's always that old thing
But that just didn't bear thinking about. Saira gritted her teeth.
Now, she thought carefully, trying to order her thoughts and force away the fear; Confidence. Confidence will get you anywhere.
She cried out again in a shaky but firm little-girl voice. 'Is there anyone there? HELLO?'
Anywhere but here
She smashed at the window: punched it. One of her knuckles split. The partition didn't budge, and no one appeared.
Several dark droplets of blood materialized on her hand. Saira sucked instinctively at her knuckles and tasted metal; lazily, she took her hand away from her mouth and watched as more of the puree appeared, seeping steadily out of the watery paleness of her hand like tomato ketchup.
This makes no sense. Not for ages now.
But then, the girl called Saira remembered, of course; it was not her blood at all: It was someone else's, she reassured herself: some other person.
Before was now
Before, any blood-letting had always been a release. Saira had felt as if she had been floating up; and away from fake wounds. Isolated and disconnected; like looking at a statue. Easy.
She sucked at her split knuckles again: head fuzzy with ideas.
The thing upstairs howled out the sound of steel sheets tearing. This heralded endgames; the ice-hard knowledge of impending death.
you knew it
Feeling her legs weaken and buckle beneath her but managing to stay upright, the girl called Saira who was standing in the foyer of the building called Cluskey Hall stayed exactly where she was. Stand up, she thought: Stand up straight; You've got such a lovely voice. Such a lovely
He had failed her, Gregory Hunter thought, as he sat in the shack staring bleakly at the most recent nonsense he had just poured unbidden on the paper.
The words danced archaic ballet across the A4 page. They were saying: We are only words; we mean absolutely nothing.
Saira, he thought despairingly: Tell me how. Will someone just tell me how?
The too-bright lamp light on the desk hurt his eyes: burning incessantly like a mad sun. Knowing the pain was probably just a result of his evasion of daylight, Gregory Hunter blinked, blinked again, and gazed frowningly at the paper in front of him; silently beginning to despise his rapidly deteriorating eyesight.
But you can still see. So that's not important.
The future is in the past; it is all the same, if you look at it.
Picking up what looked to be the last of the blunt pencils, Gregory scratched his head, scratched his beard, rubbed his face and squinted at the paper. Pressing the pencil to the back of a nearby envelope, he began to write again: thinking: blah blah, blah blah.