Moveable Type tells me that this is my 500th blog post. I've probably logged almost a million words since I started this online journal back in February 2002. I've had a lot of fun, and I enjoy writing in this thing every day, so I expect the fun will continue indefinitely. Keep your fingers crossed.
To Crystal, who asked in my previous post: trackback doesn't seem to work on my server. I tried and I tried, and I got tech support from Moveable Type to try, but no go. The problem seems to be on my server side but, since it didn't seem to be much of an issue, I let it rest. Your post has forced me off my backside (or, rather, onto my backside) to send off a Work Request. We'll see what comes of that.
I hope that you readers (however many of you there are) have been enjoying my posts. The sense of writing for an audience definitely lends me incentive to keep writing (either that or cower in fear, take your pick), and I've really appreciated hearing from you over the past year and a half!
And don't stop your feedback!
A pretty quiet day today. I fired off two more resumes; Dan and I went out for a workout at the gym, I wrote more of The Young City, picked up Erin from work and came home. Now I'm preparing for tomorrow's interview -- a half-hour one for an admin assistant position at a local art gallery at 11 a.m. Wish me luck!
Young City Scorecard:
The Young City is really coming together; or, rather, the part that I'm working on now. I still have no idea how this story is going to end, beyond vague ideas, but right now the ride through the sewers is good and fun.
This is the scene I worked on today (close to a first draft), following on from the attack on the store by Aldous Birge's henchmen...
The basement door burst open. The henchmen piled down the steps, candles high.
Rosemary shoved Faith to the steps. They clambered down, and stared to find themselves inside a long square tunnel of running water. At the base of the steps was a jetty, bobbing in the stream, and beside it a large flatbed boat, four feet wide and four times as long, bucking against the current. Two lanterns shone forward, one at the bow and one at the stern. They made the slick brick walls gleam like something molten. The air sopped their skin and smelled of all the alleyways in Toronto concentrated into a single drop then multiplied.
The boatman lay unconscious, half in the stream. Above, voices and clattering crates approached the hatchway. Rosemary clicked back to reality and shoved Faith towards the boat. "In! Now!"
"What are you doing--"
"Don't argue! Go!" Rosemary pulled the rope from its hook and jumped onto the boat as it started to slide away. Faith gripped the sides, but it held steady under Rosemary's feet. There were poles on the bottom of the boat. Rosemary picked one up and pushed away from the wall, sending the boat towards the stronger part of the current.
Then she looked up, and paled. The hatch was directly above her. One of the henchmen stared down, a gun in his hand, aimed.
"Down!" She dove on top of Faith, shielding her and making them as small as possible.
The gunshot sent splinters flying. The tunnel rang like the inside of a drum.
Then the boat caught the current and gathered speed as it floated downstream, leaving the jetty far behind.
For a long while, Faith and Rosemary lay huddled in the bottom of the boat, gasping. Finally, Faith pushed Rosemary aside and sat up. Rosemary took the opportunity to check herself for holes. She didn't find any.
"Are you all right?" she asked Faith.
Faith nodded, her cheeks pale. "Where are we?"
"Storm sewer," Rosemary replied.
They were in the centre of the stream. The wet walls curved above them, the brickwork sweeping past like picket fences by a highway.
Faith tried to gather her breath, with little success. "What--" she breathed, then started again. "Who--" Another breath. "I cannot stop shaking."
Rosemary squeezed her shoulder. "I know." Her own throat was dry.
"What-- what do we do now?"
Rosemary sat and stared at the passing brickwork. Finally, she said, "I don't know. Get out of here. Find Peter and Edmund. I don't know where to start." Then her eyes focused on the path ahead. The curved brick wall angled into what had previously been open tunnel. She shot a glance to her right. The distance between starboard and brick wall was narrowing steadily. She stood up. "Steering! That's where we start!"
"What?" gasped Faith.
"Pass me that pole!" Rosemary snapped her fingers.
Then Faith saw the approaching bend and she looked around frantically. She found the pole lying forgotten on the bottom of the boat and she picked it up. It was eight feet long and hard to handle, but Rosemary clasped it and dipped it into the water. The brickwork floor almost snatched it from her hands.
"I can't slow us down," she shouted over the rushing water. "Faith! Does this boat have a rudder?"
Faith turned. Stretching on her stomach, she reached for a twisting plank of wood resting beneath the back lantern. "Yes!"
"Turn it!" Rosemary's voice rose with anxiety.
Faith turned it. The boat lurched to the right.
"The other way!" Rosemary shrieked. Her words echoed throughout the tunnel.
Faith twisted the rudder, but it was too late. Rosemary threw herself to the wooden bottom as the boat smashed up against the wall, the starboard side rising as it scraped against the brickwork. Faith screamed. The boat slowed. Rosemary twisted her staff and planted the end of it against the wall. She pushed.
The boat began to ease itself back out into the stream.