THE SILVER PATH & THE GOLDEN BELL – Progress Report

Book 1, a novella has come back from the editor (Markham Correct) and I think we might have a project. Zoe’s (Markham) sharp eye has picked up my usual stumbles and pointed out some logical missteps but overall it ‘intrigued’ her.

I’ll take intrigued any day of the week.

My concerns were that I was too ambitious but so far, I’ve managed to balance the paradoxical content – reincarnated 17yr old who solves crimes with astral projection!!! I’m starting to write pieces for the second installment and wondering if I can get the same balance of Book 1. The novella form (20,000 words in these cases) seems to provide a good skeleton on which to flesh out the continuing story. No. 2 will be crucial to maintaining the flow; I’m tempted to cram too much in, I just want to blurt it out but my notes, so far, are keeping me honest.

Here’s a sample;

2017 – PETERSHAM, SYDNEY

It had been their fourth outing in less than two weeks. Mina had invited him to a going-away party at her house and it had been very low key and pleasant in a non-eventful way. He’d stayed till almost everyone had gone except the happy travelers whose lift to the airport had promptly broken down. He had offered to help, of course and they hurriedly repacked the Audi and took off for the airport.

Now they were on their way back.

A ping sounded from the dashboard.

What’s that?” asked Mina, with a small frown. “Is something wrong?”

A message typed itself onto the monitor in the center of the console and Mac glanced briefly at it. “No, it’s a diagnostic issue,” he answered, “But we have to take a detour to fix it. Will that be OK?”

“How long?”

“Half hour, max. The mechanic is in Petersham so it’s on our way. Sorry about this.”

She grinned. “Our first adventure. I’m really sick of Mum hovering.”

He laughed. “They are rather obvious, aren’t they?”

“Yeah. Like they don’t trust us or something.”

“More like don’t quite trust me, I think.”

“I do,” she said simply, looking at him directly. He glanced over and saw Her again. He nodded and returned his gaze to the road.

They drove for five minutes and eventually pulled into the narrow alley which led to Eustace O’Hara’s garage.

“This is seedy,” she said.

Mac barked a laugh, “Everyone says that. Can’t see it myself.”

He was grinning. So was Mina.

“These people can be a bit rough, so, forewarned …”

“Got it.”

They drove through the roller door and into the garage. Silvio, the zombie-bikie-bear, was waiting.

“Whoa!” said Mina. Mac laughed again, popped the hood and stepped out. Silvio lifted the hood and started connecting leads.

Mina joined Mac as Dred came out of her father’s office. “Hey, hey Mac-o-boy, this the feckin’ girlfriend?”

Mac was about to speak when Mina stepped up to Dred, she towered over her, and said, “Girlfriend, yes. The feckin’ part is still being decided. And you are?”

Mac wanted to smile so wide his mouth might break but held his breath to see what Dred would do. She looked a little nonplussed, took a melodramatic step back, looked Mina up and down and said, “Spunk in this one, Mac. You betta feckin’ watch out.”

Stepping around Mina and going to the engine compartment she pulled out a tablet from one of the many pockets in her cut down overalls and connected it to the machines Silvio had already plugged in.

“Now,” she continued, “feckin’ po-leece techy nerds are tryin’ to be feckin’ clever. They’re sending out feckin’ spyware with random pings to target scanners. Dumb feckin’ move really but they might get lucky so I need to adjust the feckin’ filters on your rig.”

Mac and Mina joined her at the open engine bay. Mina stared. “Oh my,” she said, “That’s a work of art.”

“Eh?” the other three said in unison.

“Look at it,” she said. “Everything lines up. And its color coded. What a sweet machine.”

Mac swallowed hard. Jaz was like this with her instruments. She appreciated the art in engineering to a ridiculously high degree.

“Well, well, feckin’ well,” said Dred. “I like her.” Silvio grinned as Dred’s mobile rang and she fished it out and looked at the screen. “Feckin’ faggot husband again. Bloody man never shuts up.” She wandered off to the office.

Mac looked at Silvio, eyebrows raised. “Husband? Faggot?”

The man mountain smiled. “Mildred is twenty-nine years old and married for seven years. They have twin boys aged four. Her husband, Nigel, if you can believe it, is somewhat effeminate in his mannerisms but utterly devoted to Dred. He’s also a very successful corporate lawyer and can dish out anything as good as Dred can serve up. They’re great fun at parties.”

Mac was stunned. Mina beamed. Stepping forward she offered her hand and said, “I’m Mina. Very pleased to meet you.”

Silvio grinned, took the offered hand and nodded acknowledgement. Looking at Mac, he said, “Gotcha.”

Mac burst out laughing.

Dred re-joined them. “Bloody lawyers. He’s got a feckin’ overseas conference call and can’t pick up the kids. Uncle, do you mind.”

“Not at all. I’ll get going now. Eustace should be back in thirty.”

Dred grunted and Silvio left.

Dred continued to tinker, mumbling to herself while Mina joined Mac, took his hand and just watched the not-so-young-looking techno-sprite work.

“There, feckin’ done.”

“Cool,” said Mac. “We better get goin’.”

“Oh feck,” said Dred looking behind Mac. He turned to see four youngish men swagger into the garage. “Feckin’ Fantonie’s. Silvio cleared ‘em off coupla months ago.”

Mac went cold, reached out and took three medium sized spanners from a tray and walked towards the group. He started juggling the spanners very fast. One of the men started to speak and the first spanner hit him in the midsection, followed rapidly by the other two which found similar targets. The men went down in groans of agony and Mac kept walking up to the last man.

In a quiet, deadly voice he said, “Get this trash out of here and don’t ever come back. If anything happens to Eustace and his family, I will burn you to the ground.”

The man was frozen.

“Go,” barked Mac in his parade ground voice.

The stunned young man quickly helped the others rise, or half rise as the case may be and they left. Mac turned back to see Dred with her mouth hanging open, speechless for once, and Mina with a look of such ferocious lust on her face he blushed.

Dred glanced at Mina and then Mac and started to giggle. Clearing his throat Mac said, “We’re going now. It’s late.”

They quickly got into the car and reversed into a spare space and turned to leave. Eustace O’Hara came trotting down the lane with a frown on his face and waved as Mac eased the car out of the lane.

“That feckin’ part is under serious reconsideration,” said Mina quietly after a few minutes.

“But we hardly know each other,” answered Mac with mock seriousness.

“Ha!” she said. “I feel like I’ve known you my whole life. And what I just saw … I want a piece of. I’ve never been this turned on.”

“It’ll pass.”

“I know, but I won’t forget.”

Mac grinned; delicious repartee; it had been so long since he could indulge like this.

“You’re not a virgin, are you?” asked Mina.

“This body is, but I can’t see that being a problem, given my extensive imagination.”

“Ha! We’ll see, we will see.”

They drove to her home in a silence dripping with expectation, savoring it equally.

Published by iandavidmartin

Australian; Architect; Writer

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