Escape Artist
(Icarus Down Passes 45,000 Words)

A little Zoe Keating to brighten your day. This is a fascinating video, so check it out. Her latest album, Into the Trees is due out March 1st.

Icarus Down Scorecard
Word Count: 47,850
Increase Since Last Report: 5990 (Feb 8)

Icarus Down is on a bit of a roll. I’m closing in on the first act (which will likely top out at 35,000. I’ve already written 12,000 words in Act Two, and Act Three should be about as long as well.

Today is going to be spent cleaning and, I hope, writing, so I leave you with the video above, and another sample from the middle of the book…

I stepped out of my cabin and stood a moment in the corridor, seeing if someone would step out of the apartment next to me. The workers in Ezer’s room paused in their hammering, but the door stayed firmly closed. I stayed where I was for one minute longer than it took to feel silly. Then I glanced at my watch, turned, and walked away. As I walked through the school’s corridors, I heard footsteps behind me. Looking back, however, showed me no one.

I nodded to the cadet on duty at the reception desk and signed out. Then I pushed open the pilot academy’s doors, and stepped into the public corridors, slipping into the crowds like a warm blanket.

I had time to kill before I met Rachel, so I decided to do a circuit of my city. I kept up my measured, rehab-instructed pace, stopping every ten minutes or so to look out a window, catch my breath and pretend to rub my sore joints and muscles. I glanced at the corridor behind me, seeing if there were faces in the crowd that I recognized from ten minutes ago. It was on my fourth rest-stop that I saw him. Or, rather, them.

It was a pair of battery boys — two girls, actually. I’d seen them the first three times I’d stopped. Each time, they’d sweep out the ladder between them. One would climb and pull out the old battery. The other would catch it, and toss up a new one. The lamp would flicker to life. Then the lamp girl would jump down and they’d sweep up the ladder between them, ready to march on.

It was on my fourth rest stop that I realized that the lamps they were changing the batteries to hadn’t gone out. Hmm… Two battery girls carrying a ladder between them versus a cadet at pilot school nearing the end of his rehab period. That’s a fairly evenly matched race. Looking out the window at the chasm, I smiled. Time to earn your pay, girls.

I turned away and headed down the corridor towards the Point, picking up the pace. As I broke into a jog, theatrically pumping my arms to make it look like exercise, I heard the footfalls pick up behind me, and I could picture the two girls tromping along, holding the ladder between them. I chuckled.

I ducked through one of the side doors leading to the Great Hall. Not only was the scenery nice, there were hills. I slowed my pace slightly so the girls could keep me in sight. I thought briefly about stopping for them. After all, what would the battery girls do, standing there holding a ladder with no batteries around them to change?

But I didn’t stop; maybe the thought of the heavy ladder they were carrying made me magnanimous. I did a lazy circuit of the Great Hall, exiting at the far end, making for the Point. I dodged and weaved past people on their way to home or work, nodding cheerily at those who moved aside to let me pass. Behind me, I heard the tromp-tromp of the girls’ feet as they struggled to keep up.

Finally, as the crowds ebbed and I neared the Point, I ducked into one of the washrooms and pressed up against the wall, listening as the footfalls approached. They slowed to a stop, and for a moment, all was silent.

I peered around the corner and saw my pursuers leaning against the wall, the ladder propped between them, hands to their chests, gasping for air. That’s when I stepped out and jogged over. I nodded as I passed them. “Ladies.”

As I jogged away, I felt their glares on my back, but I didn’t hear any more footfalls behind me.

I took a moment to shower at one of the larger washrooms closer to the Great Hall. There was nothing I could do about the sweat on my clothes, but I felt cleaner nonetheless. Then, glancing at my watch, I made for the place where Rachel had told me to meet her.

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