I’m in the final stages of thorough review of Finch–line by line, paragraph by paragraph, scene by scene–with a projected deadline of
Tuesday Wednesday to turn in this version to Underland Press. This is where I take the last few scenes I’m not happy with and re-imagine them in longhand and build them back up again, add in a couple new scenes and test them, flense any fat from description and dialogue, examine the openings and endings of scenes to see if they’re air-tight, re-visit character motivations, and, yes, preserve those necessary roughnesses and eccentricities that distinguish something living from something dead.
So there will be no posting here until
Wednesday Saturday. And (for real) I will resume the 60 in 60 on Monday. In the meantime, here’s one last Finch snippet. And, please feel free to use the comments thread to let me know what you’ve been up to–projects, links, completing stories, whatever.
The night half over. Something important slipping away.
Drank more whisky, and let it swirl around his mouth. Held the burn in the back of his throat. Followed by numbness.
The sounds out in the dark beyond the window hadn’t made him shudder or start for a long time. Skitterings. Moanings. A cut-off shout of alarm.
A spotlight of lavender and crimson painted itself across the far wall of his apartment, then leapt away. Once, Finch had seen a shoal of spores take the form of a huge, bloated green monster. Spiraling red eyes. It had bellowed and dived into a neighborhood to the north. Smashed itself into motes against the ground.
A child might see that and cry out in delight.
Sidle, quick-shadow, scuttled up the side of the wall near the window. Pursuing moths that had flown into the apartment. Sidle was a happy little predator with bright black eyes. Didnâ€™t care about anything but his next meal. Finch could put him in a cage with a branch and water, and Sidle would be content his entire life. So long as he got fed.
â€œI guess weâ€™ll soon find out what kind of bastard he was,â€ Finch said to an oblivious Feral. Feral was looking up at the wall. Mesmerized by Sidleâ€™s stalking of the spiraling moth. Finch wondered how many Sidles Feral had caught over the years.
Finch forced the second memory bulb into his mouth. Chewed it into a dull paste as he moved from the chair to the couch. Lay down. Swallowed.
The room spun a little. Righted itself.
Teetering on the battlements of an ancient fortress, looking out over a desert, the sand flaring out for miles under the seethe of impending dusk.
A cavern glittering with veins of some blue metal, huge mushrooms slowly breathing in and out. Seen in a flash of light that faded and kept fading but never went out: more caverns, an old womanâ€™s face, framed by white hair; another woman, in her twenties, her thirties, her forties. A shadowy figure hobbling down a street.
The insane jungle of the HFZ–almost floating above it, through it–coming out into a clearing ringed by twelve green men planted in the ground, arms at their sides, their mouths opening and closing soundlessly. And the jungle was made of fungus, not trees, poured over trucks and tanks and other heavy machinery junked and rusted out, some of it still slowly, slowly moving. And: back: to: the fortress, at the edge of a manmade cliff, many hundreds of feet above the desert floor, and out in the desert green lights held by a thousand silent gray caps motionless, watching. A sound of metal locking into place. A kind of mirror. An eye. Pulling back to see a figure that seemed oddly familiar, and then a name: Ethan Bliss. Then a circle of stone, a door, covered with gray cap symbols. And, finally, jumping out into the desert air, pursued by the gray cap, before the world went dark.
Wake up…Came out of it seconds, centuries, later. To find Feral and Sidle watching him. Feral on the floor near the couch. Sidle on the windowsill, a large black moth trapped between his clockwork jaws.
The phone was ringing, and ringing. Reached out for it. Put it to his ear.
â€œAre you okay?â€ Rathâ€™s voice.
â€œIâ€™m going to be fine. I think.â€
Wiped away tears of blood.
Closed his eyes.
Was gone again.