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Oh, You Tease!

July 2, 2014

I think I’ll skip the normal lamentation about my lack of posting that has opened most of my recent blog entries this time, and just get straight down to business.  I’ve decided to post a sample of my current project today – a novella that I’m currently in the middle of editing with the working title of Gideon.  Personally, I hate editing with an unholy passion though I accept it as a painfully necessary evil part of writing.  It’s nowhere near as fun as the creative and exciting first draft stage, but of course it’s just as important to hone that first draft into something that isn’t a shambolic mess.  I fancied taking a break from the editing and tweaking slog so I decided to post the prologue here in the off chance doing so will garner some useful feedback.   I’m still not entirely happy with it and am vaguely considering re-writing it from scratch (and I’m confident it’s still strewn with typos), but this is how it stands at the moment.

So does this sneaky little teaser leave you wanting to read more?  Or does it leave you wishing you hadn’t bothered?   As ever, any feedback is most welcome.

 

Gideon

Prologue

The woman was drunk. Very drunk. She was doing a good job of hiding her inebriated state as she strolled through Newcastle city centre without significantly staggering or weaving from side to side, but Gideon was not fooled. Even from his hiding place amongst the chimneys and pitched roofs of Grey Street he could smell the haze of alcohol that surrounded her as she passed beneath him. Gideon watched as she turned off the main street and started to head into a side alley that would ultimately lead her to the Cruddas Park estate, presumably where she lived. The woman was like many of the others out and about at that time – early twenties, considerably under dressed against the harsh October chill and intoxicated after a Friday night of drinking in Newcastle’s lively pubs and bars. But unlike most of her fellow revellers she was alone, having left her large gang of friends about fifteen minutes earlier. Gideon had watched her leave the group from up on the roof, and had heard her friends saying goodbye to her without any obvious concern about how she would get home. He’d heard her name, too – Anne. Gideon had decided to follow her, confident that given she was all alone she would provide a suitable distraction from the terrible, nagging worries that drew him to the city centre every night.

Gideon nimbly and silently scampered over the tiled roofs as he made his way along the terrace, keeping the drunk girl in his sight at all times. Gideon reckoned she had chosen a rather foolish way to walk home. While the back alleys were probably quicker than sticking to the main roads, they were practically empty of people and quite poorly lit. Who knew what kind of dangers could be lurking in the dark corners, away from prying eyes?

Dangers like me, Gideon thought.

The other problem with the back lanes of Newcastle city centre is that many of them look very similar, and even a lifelong resident of the city could get themselves turned around or confused about where they were at times – if sufficiently fuddled by alcohol, anyway. This had evidently happened to Anne, as she paused at a T-junction, looking this way and that and casting the odd glance over towards her tower block destination as she tried to work out which way she needed to go. As she drunkenly considered her route she had no idea that Gideon was crouched on a metal fire escape mere feet above her head.

This is it, thought Gideon as he tensed, ready to pounce. Any moment now…

And he was right. Seconds later a burly man lurched from his own hiding spot behind a shop’s large metal wheelie bin and grabbed Anne, slapping one hairy hand over her mouth before she even had a chance to scream. The man lifted her clean off her feet as she kicked and fought in vain, and made to drag her into the secluded corner he had emerged from. Gideon had known the man had been lurking there for several minutes now – the odour of cheap deodorant and whiskey was detectable by his sensitive nose from a hundred yards. Gideon been aware of the lurker before Anne had even left her friends, and had suspected the man’s reasons for being in such a location were nefarious. Gideon had followed the drunk woman in case she blundered into the trap, and now that the miscreant had confirmed he was up to no good, Gideon struck.

He dropped the eight feet to the the alley floor, landing easily on all fours, and grabbed the attacker’s arms from behind. Gideon’s long, powerful fingers dug into the man’s biceps with an iron grip, causing him to cry out in pain and drop Anne, who landed face first with a heavy thud. With great effort the attacker managed to wrench his arms from the crushing hold and turned to face his mysterious attacker, swinging a wild right hook as he did so. Unfortunately for him, he had severely misjudged Gideon’s height and the the blow whiffed harmlessly overhead. Gideon responded with a savage one-two combination to his opponent’s ribs, and as the thug bent over gasping for breath the body shots were followed by a backhand swipe that sent him staggering into the brick wall. With that last blow the man fled, making a staggering retreat on wobbly legs without looking back. Gideon let him go – he had other problems to deal with. The whole altercation had taken just seconds, and the woman was only just starting to struggle to her feet from where she had been unceremoniously dumped onto the cold, hard concrete. Seeing her move, Gideon quickly hopped into the metal bin and burrowed down into the discarded pizza boxes and waste food before she could see him.

Dazed by her fall and with shock adding to her alcohol-induced confusion, Anne looked around the alley and tried to make sense of what had just happened.

‘Hello?’ she called out, her voice cracking with emotion. ‘Hello? Where are you? I k-know there’s someone there… you just saved me from… from… well, from him.‘ she gestured vaguely down the alley. Gideon hunkered down amongst the refuse, staying as still as he possibly could.

‘Hello?’ called Anne again. ‘I know you’re round here somewhere…. please, I need help. I hurt my wrist when he threw me and I banged my head… and I think I twisted my knee, I can barely stand on it. Please, can you help me?’ Tucked away safely in his hiding place Gideon tried to ignore Anne’s voice, but even without his preternaturally sharp hearing he would have found that impossible. He couldn’t help but hear the pain and fear in her words… and she was asking him for help. Surely he couldn’t just leave her to wander away, injured, alone and afraid? And given he had saved her from being assaulted, and given that she was now in need of further help, would her gratitude for his assistance help her to be… well… to be a bit more understanding that she otherwise might have been? Could this finally be it, a chance to actually reveal his true self another person who’d see him from the hero he so desperately wanted to be?

Excited and nervous at the same time, Gideon leapt from his hiding place and landed in a crouch a few feet in front of Anne. She jumped at his sudden appearance but then froze in place with her eyes wide and her mouth slowly forming an ‘O’ of shock. Gideon smiled what he hoped was his friendliest smile, and decided he should probably offer a few words of kind words to reassure his new friend that everything would be alright.

Doan beee affraay...’ was all he managed to hiss in his guttural whisper before Anne unleashed an ear-spitting scream as she turned and sprinted down the alley in blind terror, her injuries seemingly forgotten.

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From → Writing

One Comment
  1. LIKE! LIKE! LIKE!!! I wish I could read more but I know you just gave a preview, so to speak. You, tease!!! 😉 I like this kind of stuff. Been writing my own stuff as well. Hope I can continue with it 🙂

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