Have reached 28,000 words of my newest novel: the Secret of Folloman Finn. Still in Chapter 2 (which is really about four chapters). A little excerpt follows:

As I righted myself, I realized I wasn’t alone.

Jane was here. I could see the reflection of the phosphorus lamps in her eyes. During the day, they were the deepest brown. When the lights dimmed, they become blacks, casting near perfect reflections in her almond shaped eyes.

Except for the dim light from the streets below, it was dark. I could make our her silhouette, her graceful curves, her one leg folded over the other, moving rhythmically with a song only she could hear.


“You got yourself in deep that time.”

Her voice. I loved the sound. I couldn’t properly describe it. The perfect pitch of femininity, except when she grew angry with me, then the same pitch could shoot through my spine.

“Little bit,” I said.

I needed a shower, and I was mostly naked. But none of that mattered because this was Jane. And she wasn’t real. Or at least, I didn’t think she was real. Not that I didn’t believe in an afterlife (I didn’t) or because I didn’t believe in ghosts (nope, didn’t believe in those either) but because this Jane was some idealized version. A version that packed more wisdom than either of us ever had. We never fought, though sometimes we playfully jousted. The kind of sparring that would make our friends nervous but meant absolutely nothing to us.

She was with me only a few weeks after Cresek-Tawn. There she was, sitting with me in the wagon, chatting away about the sunset. Even back then I knew it wasn’t really her.

Seeing her in my room was more painful than anything the Crucifiers could’ve done to me. Because I knew if I stormed across the room and tried to draw her into my arms she’d be gone. Like trying to remember a dream – the harder you concentrated, the more it slipped away.

I wondered if this ethereal version knew that I wanted her to leave me alone.

This version probably didn’t care.

“You continue to amaze me, Nate.”

“That was a pretty decent job, wasn’t it? The birds were a stroke of genius.”

“I don’t mean the job. I mean you amaze me. You put yourself through Kaazlimãt, all for that stupid atlas. You get yourself beat up, locked up, then nearly killed by the Crucifiers. You walk out the front door without a second look…”

“A job well done.” My stomach growled. I needed food, real food.

“And yet you come here, back to the Plague House.”

“It’s home.”

“No it’s not.”

I started to pull on my boot, hating how she could lead me to somewhere I didn’t want to go.

“This is a Plague House. Before that a whore house. This isn’t home. This is only a hideout. Like the twenty five others before it.”

“I was exhausted, Jane. I needed sleep, and food. And I’d love a bath.”

“I’m sure Bartimus could’ve provided you a banquet, and hot showers, and probably even a bed. Maybe even with Amber.”

I hated when she mentioned Amber. Like somehow she had caught me doing something wrong. Except Jane was dead, so a relationship with Amber couldn’t have been wrong, could it?

“But instead of collecting your prize, you came back here first.”

A breeze rippled through the room and I smelt her. So faint I wondered if I imagined it. Perhaps.

“What happened to you in there, Nathaniel?”

She sat beside me. The bed depressed under her weight though I couldn’t feel her warmth. I closed my eyes and wished that I could reach across and touch her. But that wouldn’t happen. We sat like that, lost in the faint sounds of the city and darkness. I could hear only my breathing.

“The job’s not done.”

With my eyes closed, I saw the gaze of the Nameless man. Brutalized beyond any of my experiences. Those eyes, they alone had been spared because I knew his tormentor wanted him to see what was happening to him. To watch as his life was stripped away fleshy bit by fleshy bit. Then he was kept alive with the miracles of some perverse medicine.

That man needed vengeance.

“I have to kill someone.”

“You’re not a murder, Nate. Not anymore.”

“This isn’t murder. I’ll be the hand of vengeance.”

“Just like you were the hand of mercy?”

I shook my head and was off the bed, frantically throwing on clothing. “This is different, Jane. If you would’ve seen him. If you would’ve experienced what they’d done to him.”

“You think by murdering you can make it better?”

“Nothing will make him better.”

“I didn’t mean him. I meant you. You think by killing that you can make it go away?”

I stormed out of my room.

Okay, maybe we did fight.