All of Your Questions Were Misspelled (or Here's an Air Pirates Excerpt Instead)

The title is a vacuously true way of saying that you asked no questions. Therefore I have no answers and am forced -- forced! -- to come up with original content. You are devious blog readers indeed.

Ah, but I can be devious too. Rather than write something new, I will post something I've already written but never shown you.

This is the new beginning to Air Pirates.* It's a prologue. Now, I know the taboos against prologues--I've written about them myself, after all. But I'm doing this one for good reasons (or so I tell myself): (1) to clue the reader in that Sam is a more major player than he appears at first and (2) to add tension to Hagai's trip to the post and first meeting with Sam.

Plus, it's short.

* As of draft 5, beta version 2. This is possibly the most boring footnote I've ever written.


Providence, Yesterday

You’ve been here everyday for a week, mate,” said the shopkeep.

Good stew,” Sam said, keeping his face carefully shadowed. He had thought he could say it with a straight face.

You waiting for someone?”

Sam said nothing, just slurped his stew.

The shopkeep eyed him warily. “You ain’t a knocker are you?”

Wouldn’t be a smart question if I were, aye?” Sam met his gaze, like a wolf eyeing a rabbit. Sometimes it was best to let folks think you were dangerous, as showing them only caused trouble. Other times – and Sam could see by the fear in the man’s eyes this was one of those times – it was best to play it friendly.

Sam smiled. “I’m just drumming you, baron. I ain’t gonna kill anyone.”

Course.” The shopkeep laughed nervously. “But you are waiting?”

Sam slurped again. The silence stretched to discomfort, and the shopkeep soon found he had other customers to tend to.

Sam waited. He waited until the post station closed for the day then went back to his ship. When the post opened the next morning, he waited some more. That boy better show up soon, he thought.

It wasn’t that Sam was impatient. He’d waited four years for the stone; he could float a few days until this Hagai Wainwright picked up his post.

No, Sam was patient as the dead. Others less so: the Imperial Navy, Jacobin Savage… The longer Sam stayed in one place, the sooner someone would find where that place was. That’s why it was best to stay friendly. Folks talked about you less if they liked you.

Morning,” said the shopkeep.

Morning,” Sam replied with a smile.

Got your pepper stew all ready.”

He dropped it on the table. Sam picked his spoon out of the spongy, boiled sludge.

That boy better show up soon.


Hilabeans said...

Nicely done, oh devious one. ;)

Hah! That rhymed.

I love the insight into Sam's character and your wolf / rabbit simile.

Personally, I like a short prologue. It gives you a taste of what's to come.


Unknown Blogger said...

very nice! I'm looking forward to buying a copy of the finished product on Amazon!

Adam Heine said...

Thanks, Hilary. I'm glad you liked it :-)

Andy, I look forward to that too!

Andrew Rosenberg said...

Hmm, I was hoping for a payoff at the end. Does make me wonder who he's waiting for.
Interesting hook.

Matthew Delman said...

I loved this prologue when I read Air Pirates and I love it now too. It gives the whole thing a much more sinister air than starting with the boy does.

Natalie Whipple said...

No questions! Aw, I feel so bad! I think I missed the part where you asked. Or I read it and got distracted and never came back to ask. I'm spacey like that these days.

Anyway...I like the prologue! Having read it without, I feel like this would have helped me a lot in understanding the duality of the book.

Adam Heine said...

Matt: Not everybody feels that way, but as long as some people do I know I'm not way off.

Natalie, that's good to hear. Your input was a large part of why it's there :-)

Myrna Foster said...

I like it.