In honour of Valentine’s Day, I ran a search on the text of The Daemon Parallel, and found exactly one incidence of the word ‘romantic’. (What can I say? It’s not really that sort of book…) But I thought an extract surrounding that word might make for a fun teaser…
“Come on, Eve. Where are you?”
“I’m here. In the garden.”
Cameron twisted round. Under the yellow streetlight,
Eve’s pale features and old-fashioned clothes made her
look like a ghost.
“You’re really jumpy for a boy. Come on, this
way.” She motioned him to climb over the fence,
and follow her into the shed. “The owners are away.
Nobody will notice.”
The inside of the shed was cramped, and Cameron
found himself crushed up against a lawnmower, while
Eve perched on a sack of compost.
“It is you, isn’t it? Proper you, I mean.” He studied her
in the dim light.
“Of course it’s me. Idiot.”
The scornful tone of her voice was definitely familiar,
and her eyes held none of the terrible hunger he’d seen
when she’d been possessed by Mrs Ferguson.
“What did you say to me in the kitchen? Just after
Ferguson de-possessed you and Grandma Ives came in.”
“I said I wasn’t supposed to talk, then I told you off
for nosing about in my bedroom,” said Eve with a frown.
“Then you told a rubbish joke, then—”
“Ok, ok, I believe you! You’re definitely nippy enough.
How did you manage to sneak out?”
“She’s listening to an opera. She always does when she’s
pleased. She’s fed recently too, so she’ll likely fall asleep. I
left the window open, so I can tell when it’s nearly over.”
She tilted her head, and Cameron realised he could hear
a mournful bass voice echoing faintly down the street.
There was a pause, then an answering chorus of strings.
“I know this one,” she said. “There’s a while to go yet.
Radames and Aida still have to be buried alive in the tomb.”
“Sounds like a laugh a minute,” said Cameron.
“It’s very romantic,” said Eve. “They die together, but
at least they’re not alone.”
There was an awkward silence, and Cameron shifted
about, trying not to stand on anything sharp.
“Anyway,” said Cameron eventually, “I don’t know
what you’re on about, saying I’m jumpy. I’ve a right to
be. That Auntie Monster of yours tried to catch me and
eat me. Twice!”
“I’m not sure she does eat people,” said Eve. “At least
not all the time. I think it’s worse than that…”
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Countdown to publication: 37 days