Here is a brief sample or teaser from my upcoming novel The Windmill, after it was released on Facebook a short while ago. This is the first glimpse of the work I have shown anywhere! Who knows what could happen between now and finishing the book, but here it is!
Cars and London busses, all barrelling along, added to the scene and Feather finally got moving. This unpleasant junction was not what Camden was about. It was familiar enough but it told her nothing. Nothing of the essence of Camden that she wanted to remember. She hurried down the road towards the wilder heart of the place, quickly and uneasily slipping through the streaming streets – almost afraid to look too closely at the surroundings. Finally she passed under a sombre brick railway arch surrounded by high spiked fences and entered the Market – and immediately a new world closed in around her. A world where she hoped to find something that made more sense. This market sprawls in the middle of the town, among a tangle of railway bridges. This was a familiar place. She had been here many times before, she knew that. But even so, she could not find any kind of a map of the place in her head now. Indeed, this place seemed to defy mapping. Looking around at the colourful and untidy chaos of stalls and canopied shops, they just seemed to fit into the bizarrely shaped spaces between and under the railway lines like some sort of growth – which was what it was, she supposed. The feeling was that all you could do here was wander around the seemingly endless avenues, passageways and paths, mostly of smooth and incongruously old-fashioned looking cobbles, and see where you ended up.
The diversity of shapes and ways was only matched by the diversity of people and goods. Mostly it seemed to be clothes and trinkets. Oddments for a determinedly alternative and gothic heap of people. There was a bizarre mixture of cute and deathly here. Pretty pink lacy dresses with slogans about neutron bombs. Classic horrorshow skulls and death-masks. Black underwear in leather, all carefully impregnated with the gothic smell and exhibited under ultraviolet light. Serene mannequins in crazy wigs dressed in contrasting colours with more lace and more frills. Then there were stalls of ethnic trinkets, DVDs, anime, badges, bongs, lamps, furniture, Chinese food cooked in huge woks – and all this vibrancy set up under murky canvas or under the utilitarian brick or metal roofs of the old railway architecture. And all this under trailing wires of light bulbs or netting. This was contrasted with overflowing dustbins and dumped scraps of all kinds in the more out of the way places. An old bath tub filled with masonry fragments. Traffic cones cordoning off piles of timber and roles of plastic. All proving that, in spite of the Goth and counterculture veneer, this was a place with better things to do than fret about pristinity or image.
For Feather, as she slowly wandered through this bustling place, there was a feeling of something waking up in her head. Nothing as direct or concrete as a memory, it was just a feeling. A feeling of extreme familiarity. The realisation came slowly, but with tremendous force, and at last she bought a tray full of Asian food and sat down at a picnic table to think. This was home. These streets were her streets and this market was her market. This was Camden Town. This was where she lived. And this was where she had been found, a few nights ago, passed out in an alley, stuffed full of broken glass.