Richard Pierce

Life, Writing

Day 231

This evening, I’ve decided to sit on one of the comfy chairs in our nascent library and write at least part of my blog here, into my phone, rather than sitting in the office (where I’ve just had my weekly video call with Colonel L, more of which later). The added bonus of course is that the front legs of this comfy chair are standing on this troublesome last length of wood that’s meant to become the uppermost shelf of the book wall and that we’re trying to unwarp (no typo), so I’m using my considerable weight on the chair to keep one dampened and then ironed (by M) end of it down. It remains to be seen whether or not this tactic will work.

As for my call with Colonel L, it has become one of the highlights of my week, not just because we’re such good friends, but because he’s so darn interesting. Some people tell me I’ve had an interesting life (which I invariably dispute because I think it has in fact been very ordinary), but L has so many fabulous stories to tell that I just need to sit and listen (and watch). And of course I can’t use any of them in my books because L is now also a writer and has first call on his own stories. We were remembering today when he was serving in Bosnia in 1997, and sending me emails with his unique narrative already in evidence then. I must dig them out, not to use, but just to reread them because they were magical. I also must redouble my efforts to track down an article about him that appeared in Communications Week International around that time.

Brief break to get curry and eat.

I did do a relatively superficial search for the CWI article, with no luck.

I need to start writing the blog in the mornings again. Time compresses so much in the evening. Actually, all time is compressing, and all the books in my head are straining to come out. I can’t write them all at once. Even The Mortality Code has stalled again since I worked on it a few weeks ago.




For a moment, Aggie stands still, can’t decide whether to turn for home, or to follow the tunnel to the next stage of its progress. She weighs the tiny device in her hand, no more than the size of a credit card. The next generation will be even smaller. Ones they’ll implant under the skin or inject into the blood stream if they can find a delivery mechanism for a big enough payload of acid to destroy any human robot that is captured. But if they’re able to use dead bodies already anyway, they won’t really need an acid payload, except to destroy the evidence, she supposes.

In the end, she decides to follow the tunnel away from home. She needs more time, and she’s curious where the ultimate destination for it is. But then she stops again, her boots scuffing the dirty ground. Perhaps she did miss something on the way between the house and the cathedral, that something Cassie wanted her to find. Why the hell couldn’t she just … Oh, that’s a stupid question, an ever-decreasing circle question, because any communication could have been intercepted, and the case of Martin has already shown that no-one can be trusted. ‘Fuck it,’ she says out loud. ‘No. I want to do this.’ She drops the device into a pocket, marches away from the cathedral in the opposite direction to the house. This time she walks even more slowly than before, gazes more intently at everything in the tunnel above, around and under her. Even hidden doorways wouldn’t escape her now, but she finds nothing, even though, by the time she reaches the next doorway, she has lost track of time. She sensed, though, some moments back, how the tunnel took a swing, to her left, and started heading in a westerly direction.

This door is locked. She can’t just push it open. And it has modern locks on it, again the special ones which only her key will open. She’s about to put the key in the first lock when she senses something, something where the end of the tunnel should by rights be. She reaches out with her left hand, to touch the final wall of the tunnel, the rock which should signal the end of the trek. But the rock isn’t a rock. It feels smooth under her fingers, as if it’s not really there, and however hard she strains her eyes this time, no matter how far she screws up the contrast or intensity, nothing can seem to penetrate it. She pushes harder, and it doesn’t give. It’s an invisible barrier. Aggie sighs, kicks at it with her booted feet. Nothing. No give, no pain in her feet, nothing. Not even any resistance, it seems. It’s like all energy spent on it just dissipates, like it just absorbs anything that’s thrown at it.

Aggie leans against this nothingness now, both palms against it, as if she’s helping to jump-start a car. Still nothing. She retreats into herself, bids her coil to unwind so rapidly that nothing human would be able to stop her, and strikes out against the obstruction. Action and reaction are not equal and opposite her, because she doesn’t bounce off it, she just sticks to it, and slides off it, in the end. ‘I give up,’ she shouts at the thig she cannot see or feel, turns away, and puts the key into the first lock in the door. The sudden bright light behind her that throws her huge shadow onto the door makes her jump.

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