Comfy shoes are nice, we slip them on and get that familiar feeling, and they fit in all the right places. This week I slipped a comfy pair of shoes back on and it was like returning home again, although the comfy shoes in question were in fact of a big shiny clown sized nature… yes the Last Mask continues where it left of and I have started to craft the final two volumes, returning to the world that is welcoming to one and all.
While editing the first novel I had no problem reading the tale over and over again, which seems a bit unusual for editing, and indeed was eager to get back on with the rest of the series, as I wanted to read what happened. That last bit may sound strange to you, as I am the writer, but it is true, I am just as eager to find out what unfolds in the story as everyone else hopefully is, and I am really missing a good, crazy read.
The flow chart I use for the trilogy is nearly complete and I even wrote a rough draft of the very final scene, oh just wait until you read that one. So what I wanted to present here are two extracts from the first novel, which I hope show the world of the Joke and why I like returning to this interesting world.
The first extract contains the arrival of our most darkest of characters and also contains some of the first writing done on the book, although it undoubtedly went through a bit of a change as it made its way to final edition -
Dark tendrils of mirth crept out of the shadows and wove their way across the green fields towards the big top; the merriment of the show within the circus drawing them towards it like a bright flame.
He was approaching. His black claws reaching out into this world like a slithering death, exploring this fresh realm that was full of new sensations, but also held many old memories for this ebony clown.
The Harlequin moved with a grace that was not a part of this world, his dance a thing of sardonic joy and his smile a sneer of pain. His every step brought dead flowers to bloom for the briefest of moments, restoring their life back to vivid colour, before withering them once more to dried dead husks. Death passed in his shadows for he was the master of their dark depths and none would escape his decaying gaze. No mind would be left whole again on this day.
Beside him crept silence, the pale shattered ghost of the twisted mime called Sile. Her face a distorted work of art that bore no resemblance to the beauty she once wore, a visage now twisted by the cruel humours of the Joke. Wisdom and madness lurked within her mind as her baleful eyes sought out their goal, broken pits of raven dark scanning the land with a hunger for this soul.
And before this grim pair trotted a dog wearing a big, frilly white collar, a pug whose face also bore the marks of the Joke. A snout made red and an eye circled in blue, highlighting the face of the one called Rex, a compatriot of the dark who knew where the true power was.
Across the fields they moved, this grotesque trio, leaving a wake of death in their path. The Harlequin knew their goal was now near, as this was the time and the place of which they had told, but the clown still remained out of reach, his face unseen by Sile’s dark eyes.
The music of the circus continued to draw the shadows near, but for others the missing of the performance would cost them very dear.
Hopefully the contrast of light humour and dark poetics comes across in this scene with the contrast of a pug dog trotting along in the company of a dark twisted pair, a theme often repeated in the novel. To write the world of the Joke it takes getting your mind in the right place, but with this series it currently seems to be no problem doing that. You worry that maybe you can’t repeat what you have done before, but it feels like they are waiting for me to get back.
And now we come to our second extract, the point where we are introduced to probably the most memorable double act in our journey through the Joke -
Bludgeon Lane was not a very noteworthy place within the Joke, not a sight that you would go out of your way to see. It was a fairly quiet lane, due to the fact that only one house remained occupied, and the fact that that house remained occupied was the reason no one else wished to live in this lane any more.
The house was a lopsided shell of suffering and degradation, a home to the horrors of a twisted pair, the two nastiest, most evil individuals you would ever have the misfortune to meet. And if you did happen to meet them, it would most certainly be to your misfortune.
Within its dank depths a single tiny candle fought a valiant battle against the darkness, fighting back the shadows that echoed with the cries of terror and pain, as a clown sipped at his tea with pleasure and disdain.
Flopsy enjoyed a nice cup of peppermint tea at the end of a hard day’s work, and today had indeed been full of hard work, some of which still remained under those dirty nails of his. But now was the time to take a brief pause from the activities of the day, and to put his big feet up for a moment’s break, to enjoy the melody of pain and suffering that crept up from the depths of this place.
Savouring the pleasure of the tea, while seated in his favourite chair, he let the labours of his love wash away, until he heard that familiar gentle jingling of bells approaching from the dark, making the tails of his cap shake gently, and his big red nose quiver with anticipation.
The lonely candle shuddered.
And so we meet our tea loving clown, a scene that I had been waiting to write as the drawing of the double act had been crafted long before this scene, so their expectations of what I was going to do were high and I couldn’t disappoint them now, as they can get violent.
The shape of the final two parts of the trilogy is shaping up well and the comfy shoes are indeed feeling very comfortable for this epic journey through the Joke, so I would like to now leave you with an exclusive peek at book two, the very first piece of dialogue from said volume.
“Popcorn, Mister Scamboldi?”