Cutting the Chase

I know, the phrase is cutting to the chase. But that’s not what’s happening.

Poor Jake Calcutta has been in and out of my top drawer a hundred times the past 6 months. I’ve printed bits and read them, highlighting and underlining. I’ve binder-clipped and folded and organized and shuffled. I’ve enlisted pre-alpha readers.

I’ve ignored it mercilessly for weeks at a time.

A third of the way through, Jake left me. Hid out somewhere in the wilderness of Whatcomesnext and no matter how I coaxed, he wouldn’t talk to me.

Turns out he doesn’t see the point of the elaborate chase through time I’d imagined from Day 1.

Turns out he’s right.

Jake Calcutta is willing to wait with the patience of an oak for his prey to appear. Once it does, though, there is no “elaborate chase through time.” There is a pounce and a capture, his nemesis wriggling in his grasp, helpless.

Not with a series of whimpers. With a bang. A whack thump crunch bang.

I’m coming out of a deep dark hole, Jake’s hand reaching down from the ledge to pull me up.

Character Study: Jake Calcutta

forestAs his quarry stumbled noisily along the path he moved silently on a parallel path through the trees. Occasionally he fell behind; unlike the supermen on film, it took time to move truly silently.

But his quarry was in no hurry, and so with spurts of speed through clear spaces, he kept up.

He carried no weapon; needed none but the one inside his head. He valued life, considered it sacred, and wouldn’t take a life unless it were the last desperate option — and even then, he knew he’d give his own before taking another without good cause.

This quarry was no threat, simply a source of information. He’d noticed the so-called tourist’s familiarity with customs in the market and realized they were the underling he’d been waiting for. Whatever function they performed for their employers, their function to him was simple.

To take him to those employers so he could destroy them.