For those ‘in my circle’ as it were, updates on progress of Salby Evolution have been thick and fast of late. The first draft is complete. After a mammoth session editing, I decided to go cook food. As I cooked, an idea came to me that wouldn’t leave my mind. I was thinking about back matter, oddly. Wayyyy ahead of where my focus ought to have been.
I recalled somewhere that it was a good idea to put a chapter to another book in the book you’re publishing, but then, I only have the two books. Now, while I can add a chapter of Evolution to Salby Damned, I’ve nothing really to add to Evo. Then it hit me. Both books are essentially stand alone stories – there’s no real need to read one or the other, but you can read both. I’m not keen on filling the back with links to this and that, or even quoted reviews of the first book. Instead, I thought I’d opt for a mini story, based upon the story. Bit of bonus writing, if you like. Here’s what I plan on putting into the back of Evo.
The hot, steaming, sweet cup of tea was a small reward for the completion of the manuscript. I savored the taste as I brought the cup to my lips, before setting it back on the melamine coaster to the right of my laptop. On my screen, the cursor blinked, stationed at the final words: The End.
The process, from that first glimmer of an idea, right through to the flash of the cursor, tea, and sense of accomplishment, all boiled down to those two words: The End. It isn’t the end though, not by a long-shot.
Now, I will spend hours cutting, editing, re-writing scenes. I’ll tighten up lines, remove excess words, encourage flow and enhance action scenes. I re-read the final chapter, just to be sure I’d tied up the loose ends.
A thump to the door of my room saw me frown at the impending intrusion. I let out a sigh of disdain as I spun my writing chair round. It wasn’t a writing chair as such, but since I spent most of my free time tapping away, immersed in a story therein, it became a fitting title for the furniture.
The back of the chair clunked off the edge of the rustic pine desk, atop which sat my symbiont imagination, stored on a flickering screen linked to a hard drive, the very embodiment of the writer I continually strive to become. I pulled the door wide, the tension on the hinge requiring at least one solid foot to hold it open.
“Hi, welcome, come on in. Thanks for wasting my time!” I yelled up the corridor.
Not a single soul stood in the doorway. I hadn’t heard the front door go. It hadn’t slammed shut to indicate that the caller had left, too impatient for me to get to them. How odd! I cursed whoever sought to waste my precious editing time, the excitement already beginning to take form and grow inside me, curious to know what the readers—if there should be any, would make of my latest offering.
Still a little vexed, I flopped back down into my chair, careful not to tilt back too far against the padded rest. It had a mind of its own. Sometimes it would hold fast, and sometimes it would simply collapse, leaving me on my back eyeing up the cracked ceiling.
I tapped the spacebar on my notebook. I used it purely for writing and solely for my novels, you see. A bigger version of the same machine shadowed it, placed before me on my desk along with pens, bits of scribbled upon paper, research notes and character traits—all of which formed part of my learning curve.
Before me, the same two words flicked up: The End.
My earlier annoyance began to ebb away as the sense of satisfaction embraced me. I scrolled back to page one, line one, to begin the first sweep edits.
It was late evening, approaching summer and the end of a beautiful day drew near. Behind my desk, a window overlooking the garden, its frame flanked by three-quarter length curtains, remained slightly open to allow natural light, and natural breeze to filter in.
“Why did you kill me?” I heard a voice say, somewhere behind me.
I spun in the chair, convinced that the door would be ajar, and one of the house’s other residents would be playing some kind of prank. My blood began to bubble once more as I flew to yank the door wide again, hoping to catch the culprit.
Don’t these idiots have better things to do than play games? Do they not know I have important work to do? I cursed under my breath.
I let the door slam this time, it rattled the frame in its wake. The room had lost a lot of its warmth, presumably because of the near wind tunnel I’d created by holding open the door. It was possible to feel the draft from the corridor outside, even with it closed. I went back to my desk and sipped at the now tepid tea, determined to focus on the editing in hand.
“I said, why did you kill me?” The voice boomed, louder this time.
I slammed my palms on the wooden top of the desk, my cup jumped and fell sideways, only stayed by the handle.
“God-dammit, stop messing about or so help me…” I yelled.
The sentence hung in the air as I pulled the door for a third time.
An ethereal figure stood a metre from my face, his form barely tenuous as it shifted before me. I could make out the patterned, thick shirt that he wore, despite seeing the wall behind him, through him. The logo at his breast read: SGFC.
As I looked in sheer disbelief, a fireman’s axe began to materialise, the handle practically touching my own chest and the pointed side of the head buried deep under his chin. In his grip, he held a tiny, pale white hand. The hand belonged to a small child, her onesie covered in dirt, her head at an impossible angle.
“I had a wife and family. I was due for retirement, payback for years of loyal service. You made me kill her,” he tilted his head to the child, “then you killed me, why?” He finished.
“G…Garrett? You’re Brin Garrett?” I began, “That’s not possible, I made you up. You’re in my head, you’re book one.” I babbled.
The little girl began to cry, her head lolled rhythmically backwards and forwards, supported only by her shoulder.
“Mommy.” She muttered, “I want my mommy.”
“Answer the question, Moore.” Garett insisted.
“I… I can’t. It was part of the story, that’s all. You had to die. It was either you or Nathan…” I pleaded.
I looked to the left of the spectral duo. The corridor was full. They were all there, Colin Snape, the infected family at the farmhouse. The girl sliced in half, her hand holding onto her dismembered legs as they dragged her torso along the laminate floored entranceway to my flat. A woman, or pieces of her, flapped close behind, the mines of the base scene having ripped her apart. The would-be rapist, his desire now a white, pulsing vapor and his accomplice, clutching his own entrails in faded hands.
Their voices pushed into my mind, accusing, angry. I couldn’t focus, couldn’t understand the jumbled words, yet the cries of pain, the underlying sense of damnation, I could feel.
“Ian, are you alright mate?” A familiar voice called, “Ian! You okay buddy?”
“What? Uh… I must have flaked out. I’ve been editing pretty hard tonight.” I mumbled.
“You should eat something, rest awhile. It’s going to take you ages to delete all those random letters. What you do, sleep on the keyboard?” Jerry laughed, “Go get some rest. I’m looking forward to the next book, mate.” He added, thumping my back as he disappeared up the stairs.
My eyes followed him, searching. Not a ghost in sight.
So here’s the pull. Would something like that inspire you to go and find the first book? Would it draw you in to know the history of the book you read (Evolution)? Would I be better off just placing chapter one of Salby Damned in Evo and vice versa?