Playing with fire & a sneak peak at a labour of love.

Last week I took a gamble and sent a query letter detailing the plot points of my manuscript off to a company located halfway around the world in Brooklyn NY. In addition to a synopsis of my work, the letter also outlined my intent to become a published author and detailed what minor successes I have had to date. I chose the literary agent after a considerable amount of research as they came with the highest level of recommendation and boasted an impressive line-up of authors. In my eyes when I sent this letter off I was playing with fire. My manuscript has only been recently completed and is in the stages of being rewritten and edited, but I’ve been through the waiting game with agents and publishers before and know that it can take months for someone to respond to your work, if they respond at all. So imagine my elation/horror when two days later I receive a reply from the agent asking to view my entire manuscript!

For those of you who do work (or aspire to work) in the publishing industry you will know that an agent or publishing house will usually ask to see first 20-50 pages of a script they deem worthy of further review. So when the email arrived asking for the entire script my joy and excitement quickly gave way to angst and the crippling realisation that the script wasn’t anywhere near ready to view in its entirety. I sent what little I could to the agent with the promise of more to come, and have now spent so much of the past week reworking my script that I feel as though I am on the verge of growing to hate my labour of love once again. I played with fire by jumping the gun, never assuming that I would be burnt so quickly.

In any case, before I take a deep breath and delve back into the nightmarish stack of crisp white paper still waiting to be edited, I wanted to share with you all a little snippet from something that has been a few years in the making. I hope that you enjoy it…

The spring sun had set on Marseilles, France’s second largest city and its largest commercial port. The temperature was a mild eighteen degrees Celsius and the trade wind known as the Mistral blew through the valleys of the Rhone before finally unleashing their bitter assault on the city. The harshly-cold wind was an unwelcome change from the warm early spring days the city had experienced over the past week, and many residents had locked themselves indoors for the night. High above the city sat the Notre-Dame de la Garde, a huge basilica positioned on the city’s highest natural point, a limestone outcrop on the south side of the old port. The de la Garde looked grand against the moonlight, the cold winds lashing over its stone surface leaving a faint trace of limestone in the air. The basilica was a tourist mecca and a local place of worship for Marseilles’ religious population, but right now the holy building had been closed down for the night. The huge building had been abandoned, save for the four men standing on the limestone balcony that lined its edges.

The four men gazed out over the city below, lights glistened through windows and streets cut an intricate maze through buildings as far as the eye could see. To the south the Mediterranean Sea was visible, it’s usually calm surface rippled with small wind swell created by the Mistral. The moon’s light reflected off the deep blue surface, broken only by the small whitecaps rolling silently towards the shoreline. The four men were brothers by blood, but their appearances were startling different, even when concealed by their heavy robes designed to protect them against the cold night air. The eldest brother was tall, his features dark and handsome, his eyes an endless and deadly hazel. His body was lean, yet surprisingly muscular; his age indeterminable beneath his priest’s robes and hood. Concealed beneath his robes were two pearl white handguns held in pancake holsters against his ribs.

The second brother was huge. Taller and broader than his siblings, he physically dominated the foursome. His shoulders were wide and his chest shaped as though Da Vinci himself has chiselled it from the finest of stone. His hair was a dark brown and his eyes a fiery emerald green. He wore a beard, thick and woolly, poking out from within the hood of his robe. In his right hand he held a small flick knife, the blade three inches long and cast from a blood red metal. He spun the knife effortlessly between his fingers as he watched the skyline. To his left stood the third eldest of the brothers; the quiet one, his head cast down at the floor.

The quiet one was the meekest of the foursome, standing at an embarrassing five feet nine inches with thin, sinewy shoulders. But what he lacked in physical dominance he made up for with his mysticism. Many myths surrounded the quiet one, no one had ever seen his face; his brothers included. The quiet one was known for his bizarre dress patterns; full military Special Forces combat attire, all black. His face eternally covered by a black face mask, complete with breathing apparatus that could be seen right now hanging from beneath the hood that was pulled deep over his head; a slight hiss audible as oxygen passed through the device.

The youngest of the brothers stood apart from his siblings, his head turned high towards the moon above. The hood of his robe had been removed and draped across his shoulders and neck, revealing a beautifully hideous face to the world. His head was shaved smooth, his features made sharper by the pale green tattoos that covered his face. His entire skeletal system had been tattooed onto his skin. Cheekbones, ribs, phalanges and metatarsals were replicated in soft green ink. He was tall, six feet three inches, and his eyes were a translucent grey. Death incarnate.

And there you have it. A brief interlude to a work that has been years in the making. Stay tuned, I promise to post more very soon….

Author: Chris Nicholas

Chris Nicholas is an author from Brisbane, Australia. He has published two novels, and is currently working on his third.

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