Thought we’d start a new thing, giving you an insight into our works in progress. Show you The Uncanny Kingdom stories as we develop the first drafts. Right now, I (Matthew Stott, hi there!) have just started (today in fact) the third book in the London Coven series. The second book is out in just a couple of weeks, so I’m getting back into full-steam-ahead mode. By which I mean I was up at half six in the morning, writing chapter one. I SUFFER FOR MY ART.
My best pals.
Okay, here you go, a chunk from the first chapter of book three. First draft, unedited, so cut me some frigging slack, yo…
Deadly Portent, an unedited excerpt
“As I clenched my fists and we made to move forward, a large, shrieking man was ejected at speed from the blind alley that hid The Fenric and landed in a bloody mess at our feet. To any of the passing drinkers and dodgy characters that patrol Soho at all hours, it would have looked like the man with his windmilling arms was just spat out, as if by magic, from a solid brick wall. A few people gave a double take, but most just kept on moving; you don’t get involved unless you have to in a place like London.
David took a knee by the man as he looked up at us, wiping blood from his nose with the back of one hand.
‘Have a tissue,’ said David, holding out a crisp, white one.
‘Where the hell have you been!’ the man yelled, grabbing the tissue and squeezing his nostrils closed with it, ‘I called you an hour ago, what took you so long!’
I helped the man, who was at least twice my size and width, up onto his feet, his knees threatening to drop him again before he pressed his back against the wall and tipped his head back.
‘We came as fast as we could; Hammersmith and Soho are not exactly side-be-side,’ I replied.
‘Yeah, yeah,’ he said, or more accurately, he grunted. The man (not that he was one, not exactly) was Lodo, the doorman at The Fenric, a five-story private members club in the belly of Soho. It was basically a place for the Uncanny to hang out and socialise, like The Beehive, but for a snootier set of clientele. Not for them sticky floors and the smell from the toilets rolling out to assault the noses of the nearest few tables of drinkers to the Gents door.
No, the Fenric was for the more upper-class Uncanny people of London; you had to be invited and accepted by three different members to be given access. I’d never actually been inside myself; I might be of the London Coven, but I was only, after all, a familiar.
‘What exactly is going on in there?’ I asked
‘Didn’t he tell you?’
‘Your manager was pretty keen to get off the phone so he could run for cover,’ I replied. ‘What can you actually tell me about-’
‘She’s a monster! She’s tearing the place apart! Just stop your yapping, get in there and do your bloody job you stupid woman!’
I looked at Lobo’s wide, popping eyes, the veins in his neck sticking out like rope, the spittle on his lips, and punched him square on the jaw. As his eyes rolled shut and he slid to the ground with a solid thump I turned to David, who was looking at me like a teacher would a naughty child.
I shrugged, ‘Reflex.’
David smiled and nodded to the blind alley that housed The Fenric, that of course the both of us could see as clear as day, even as it hid itself from the ordinary folk in Soho. ‘So what d’you thinks waiting for us in there?’
‘Nothing good,’ I replied.
‘You know, we never go anywhere nice.’
I strode into the blind alley, David following on behind. ‘What d’you mean, I took you on that yacht party on the Thames last week.’
‘One of the guests had turned into a werewolf and was eating the other guests.’
‘Yes, but there was free champagne.’
‘And sausage rolls.’
We stopped and looked up at the Fenric’s facade, all dark, weathered bricks and wooden beams criss-crossing.
‘There doesn’t seem to be as much screaming now, ‘ said David. ‘In my experience on the force, that’s never a good thing.’
A window three stories up crashed, causing us to duck for cover as a swarm of shards buzzed down, followed by a chair. The cobbles broke its fall, and also just broke it.
‘Come on,’ I said, and walked into The Fenric.”
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