An upcoming novel by yours truly, one which will be test run on the SP.com boards (not fanfiction.net though) under the alias Point Blank Range, goes to manuscript soon.
After a read through of the plot by a local editor, Point Blank Range has been given the go-ahead to become a novel. Whether the full version gets picked up by a publishing company remains to be seen yet, but for now it's going good. I'm off to Coffs this week, but when i return i'm to continue with the manuscript.
The novel, with it's current working titles as Point Blank Range and what the editor knows as Pieces (lol) to Die For, is an action-adventure novel about a group of rebels in war-torn Europe trying to hunt down a man whose actions have been responsible for so many deaths. The problems is that they too are wanted men and are also being hunted themselves by various governments.
Go to Point Blank Range (a tidbit) to read more. The first chapter is pretty much word-for-word with the novel. i will post the Prologue here next week. Until then, wish me luck.
EDIT: Here's the prologue i promised. This is the fan fiction version not the book version though as i've lost my soft copy of the prologue and only have the hard ciopy *beats it* Anyway, enjoy...
10 YEARS LATER…
The figure standing at the fence was weary, so weary. His eyes sagged under the pressure of sleep deprivation. Somewhere nearby goods trains thudded silently through a station and an owl hooted a whisper in the darkness, but other than that it was silent. The silence clung in the air, and the wind on his cheeks was so cold. Still he struggled on because he had to. Forever moving, forever running, forever changing. He stood outside a small village in the Czech Republic, he hadn’t caught it’s name when he’d passed through, headed west and back home. He’d thought he’d be safe in Moldova, but he was wrong. Now, hunted like a dog, he couldn’t even catch transport out of the small Eastern Block country. He had been trapped behind the unspoken wall of Russia’s lands with little chance of escape. Then an ally, a chance, and now he stood only metres from freedom. By daylight he’d have passed from the Czech Republic and into it’s neighbouring Germany. Once there he’d be a citizen once again, free in the western world, but for now he had the night to carry on through. He had to make it out of the Czech Republic before he could even imagine the true freedom of life in Germany.
He’d tracked across the lands since leaving Prague and his last safe house only days before. After leaving Moldova he’d been moved in a potato shipment lorry across into Romania. There his saviour Alexei had left him with a cousin who would help him across to the next checkpoint of the route. So on it went, from cousin to friend to ex-girlfriend even. Romania led to Hungary, skirting the edges of Hungary to avoid exposure. Hungary was a country on edge, a land ready to put up a fight to their Russian oppressors. Despite being 10 years since the world had fallen into disarray, still Russia had control. They had the money, the connections and the power. There were rumours of the USSR all over again, minus the idiotic war with America – they had learnt from that and would never again. Hungary led to Slovakia and then finally to the Czech Republic. He’d only been in the safe house at Prague for two days when the security had been breached and he’d been told to run. Get out. The authorities were coming, straight from the President, and he had to go. So he went, on horseback, until the horse could take no more. He had no food, drank from whatever frozen river he could find and break into, and barely enough clothing. Still he staggered on for days without sleep. Ever moving. Ever listening. Ever dreaming of his life of freedom in the western world once again.
He hadn’t always been so pathetic. Once upon a time he had controlled an empire, managed a world. He’d been feared. He’d been hated. He’d been the hunter instead of the hunted. But for the last ten years he’d been on the run from authorities all over Europe, changing his appearance and name. Only 5 years before he’d escaped to Moldova just before the Bloc came down once again. Surely he was safe behind this unspoken wall? Surely he could pretend he still wasn’t attached to his old life and just be Nikolai the Baker, strange foreigner but great breadsman.
Then Russia had struck a deal with Britain. Extradition. Find this man. Interpol think you have him. Russia agreed. And they knew perfectly well who Nikolai the Baker really was. Terrorist. Hitman. National Threat. But they had no intention of extradition. They had a point to make to the world. We are the great brown bear once again. Hear us roar. They came for his head.
He staggered on through the darkness and trees, leaving behind the small picnic village he’d come across, the village so picturesque it was almost like a childhood story and the homes were made from gingerbread. Unlike Hungary, the Czech Republic had done well from the control of Russia. This close to the western world they acted almost like spies, opening their doors to presents from neighbouring Germany and Austria, but when the Kremlin came knocking they’d pretend they knew nothing of western aid. So, out of all the countries he had passed through, this one was the nicest. Even at 3am the air was fresh and the soft sounds of a church bell hit his ears as it struck three. It awoke him to his realisation – the sun arose in three hours and if he didn’t make it across the border before sunrise the guards would see him. He hurried on to the border.
The unspoken wall it may have been, but the Eastern Bloc did have real fences stretching all the way across Poland and the Czech Republic, keeping the Germans out. Not since Hitler more than eight decades earlier had anyone tried to take back Russia in their own territory, but still the great brown bear kept it’s walls up. It was more to keep people in than out. And that was to be his problem. Getting out when he was so far in. Reaching the gate and pressing himself to a tree, he watched two guards walk the length of the gate, back and force with silent steps. Nearby something moved in the trees and one turned, firing on it without a warning. A fox fell out into the light of the road – shot right between the eyes. The men just laughed, thick Russian accents hitting the ear of the man in the trees as the other guard congratulated his friend. After a quick grin at the fox, the men returned to their guarding. The man in the trees didn’t dare move, didn’t dare breathe. If that were a fox, what could they do to him? He stood and waited; praying fate would step in and help him over the line.
It did. Almost 95 minutes later the sound of heavy gunfire broke out further down the road. The men at the gate snapped up, looking at it. In silent agreement they raced towards it, flipping a switch on the gate before they left. Awoken by the gunfire, the man in the trees looked up in horror to find the gate closing quickly, triggered by the switch the men had flicked. It was standard rule for the guards – if you have to leave your post then close the gate. It took 45 seconds to shut and lock, then you could go. Or die. It was specifically created for a firefight in which the guards would die. They knew this. Everyone did. It was par for the course. Of course, that now gave the man in the trees 30 seconds to get through the gate. He made a break.
The seconds ticked down in his head. He knew that any second one of the guards could turn and fire at him, killing him instantly. He was out in the open, exposed and probably being watched by CCTV cameras hidden somewhere on the gate. He could almost hear the voice of a guard somewhere yelling at the top of his lungs for his superior – ‘we have a breakaway’. The gate got closer as it almost got closer to snapping shut. He stuck out an arm… and grabbed it! Dragging himself forward with both foot and arm, he dived through the gap and into Germany. He was free! He stood to leave then stopped. He was caught. The gate had closed in on the leg of his pants. He tugged on it but it was caught tight. Then a siren sounded. Red flashing lights atop of the gates started to revolve and voices were heard. Yells in Russian of ‘escapee’ and ‘stop him’. Dogs barking. He tugged harder. Nothing. He was trapped, left to die just inside German territory. He watched the figures and dogs come closer, waiting to be shot, before reality caught up. Lifting himself up he pulled his pants clear off, throwing them free of himself. He was free. Pantless but free. Then, he ran.
The pantless man running from the Russians at the gate story would be told for the next eight years behind the Bloc wall, many saying it was a mere rumour and no one had ever escaped the Russians. How could they? No one in surrounding towns had heard any gunfire that night. No security vision on the escapee had been released; unlike all the other times people had tried to escape. The believers said it was because he wasn’t like the other escapees, it wasn’t just Nikolai the Baker. He’d been someone bigger. A westerner. A spy from the British Army. An ex-terrorist. A man who had once tried to rule the world. The history books would name him other things later, crueller things, but for now he was Russian legend.
He was to become the Serpent. The slipperiest man alive…