Sneaky Sneaky: Sneak preview of novel-in-progress Flora & Jim
A special sneak preview of my current novel in progress Flora & Jim, from Chapter 1 Draft 2 “Pursuit.” The world is frozen. The animals ascendant. And, locked in desperate pursuit of "the other father" across a grim icy apocalypse, Jim will do anything to keep his daughter alive. Flora & Jim is my fifth novel, scheduled for release late 2018. Copyright © 2017 BP Gregory. All Rights Reserved. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. This work is copyright apart from any use permitted under the Copyright Act 1968. This work may not be reproduced or transmitted in part or in its entirety in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, nor may any other exclusive right be exercised, without the prior written consent of the author BP Gregory, except where permitted by law. This is a work of fiction. Places and place names are either fictional or used fictitiously. Any resemblance to persons either living or dead is purely co-incidental. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author. It’s the folk who love books who help writers keep going. It wasn’t obvious what had happened. Otherwise I might have done better. Unfortunately, squinting through the slits of crude snow goggles all my attention was for those tantalising figures up front. Biggie and shorty, just like little Flora and me, like our evil shadows cast ahead. The bright clean air that whooshed down the canyon between buildings and gnawed into your face could be a dirty old liar but they looked so close! If their desperate flight made any sound it was obliterated by the harsh chug of my own pipes. No … no, wait. Breath spluttered. The kid had stopped. Was turning, resolute, while his taller guardian jerked clumsily at his arm. Anxiety crackled in direct conduit along the icy tarmac, them to me; and at the mere taste my tattered heart swelled and I picked up leaden feet. Fear was the path I’d tread to finally, finally catch them. But the boy became harder to see the closer I trudged. Silhouetted against the glare: a throwback to the stained glass icons of all those churches that no longer existed, bright-bleeding saints who frowned down as you shivered in your musty pew, nowhere to hide from the damning illumination that poured from them. Had to be some kind of trick. It looked like the child was pointing. As stern as any holy martyr. Pointing at me? Irresistibly I quailed, slowed in pursuit, bellied down to escape that spotlight. Why would anyone point at me? Grasping desperately, I glanced behind. In the pounding heart of the chase to twist and see Flora flat out on the road, which would only steal her precious heat, like a toddler throwing a tantrum … ‘Fuck’s sake, get up!’ I all but screamed at my daughter. I ripped off the goggles, their weight had been bowing my scarecrow neck. ‘They’re getting away!’ Biggie had bundled up his charge to run. Dissolving into the light. My shrill frustration clanged off the rotten empty buildings, this rotten empty city, too loud to be taken back. We’d risked so much in the pursuit! Strayed from customs known for keeping us alive. The echoes rang out. Flora was not getting up. Too late my miserable guts billowed inside-out. Too late my angry squinting picked out detail: Flora’s small limbs hammering the brittle tarmac, the biting air, herself, as though to drum all these from reality. I was already slipping and sliding back to where my baby girl fluttered like a bird cast down. ‘Not too fast, Jimbo,’ I moaned in reflex, wanting to go faster. ‘Steady, steady.’ The sled jerked and skidded behind my measured lunges. Flora’s seizure eased even as I reached her. I couldn’t help myself: I glanced up one last time at the other father and his son but it was like they had never been there.