That’s Kimi. I’m packing her off for a while.
Before I taped her mouth up and shoved her in the case, here’s how it went…
It was a deathly day some months ago. Deathly grey, deathly dire, people I knew were ill and dying, and I had an itch, an itch to change direction.
I was alone when the itch came, editing a gruesome short about false love and devotion. Kimi was there, in the gloomy wings, as per always.
“I’m going nowhere,” she said, because of course she knew my thoughts before I did. “What happened to your book three idea, the one where I finally get a proper mission?”
“You’re sorry?” Now she was sitting on the dining table, legs swinging.
She looked let down, sad.
“An adult novel? God.”
Staring at the floor.
She raised her pretty head and looked at me, a serious look, (which she always found hard to do). “If I had one wish…” She paused for dramatic effect. “…It would be…”
I raised an eyebrow, blinked, smiled, nodded, then grinned, because I knew she hated verbiage overload.
“Twat!” she said, puckishly, so I raised both eyebrows and nodded some more. She gave a slight smile.
“If I had one wish, boss, it would be that there was none of the censorship stuff, no stupid ratings, and that kids were encouraged to find literature, to discover, to learn, and to grow, not just as great humans but some as great writers, too.”
Kimi was beginning to sound like me.
“I do trust you,” she said. “I understand that kids will get their hands on whatever it is they want to read even if it means sneaking a torch under the bedclothes, but they miss out when so much is hidden away from them.”
“What do you mean you’ll be dead soon? Crap a corpse, boss, that’s just ridiculous. Stop feeling sorry for yourself. If you really want to write an…” she made rabbit-ear fingers and twitched them, “…`adult novel`, that’s cool, but you could easily write my next adventure at the same time.”
Now her eyes were wet. This was hard.
“Can I at least be in your new book? A whatchacallit… cameo?”
“See what you can do? SEE. WHAT. YOU. CAN. DO? You can do anything you want, isn’t that what you always say?”
“Why can’t you promise? I’m not happy about this stasis thing. I’ve got good stories in me, boss. Really good stories. And what about the fans, thousands of them bought my books – thousands. Not to mention the thousands more you stupidly gave away. You are throwing away a golden egg.”
That made me laugh.
“What’s it about, this new book without me?”
I saw the dead, the dying, the liars the gullible and the manipulators, the torture, the lust and abuse, and I saw in my mind’s eye flashed snippets of scenes waiting to be written of hurt and harm and the rotten dead amid autumnal settings, rich golds, mushrooms and intense brambles on the edge of decay. And crows.
“So what if there’s crows in it. How thrilling,” Kimi said. “Exactly how long am I going away for?”
I cringed – she screamed.
Tears came next, great hacking snuffles. Brought a tear to my eye, I can tell you.
“I hu-hope it’s not going to bu-be rude trashy stuff,” she sobbed.
“Good,” she said when I thought another promise.
“You won’t forget me, will you?”
How could I? Kimi’s adventures were as fresh in my mind as the day they were written, and the ideas for more were piled high and clamouring. Of course I would never forget.
“Well, I wish you luck,” she said. “And let me read it first before anyone else.”
“Course I will. I promise,” I said out loud and the dog looked at me funny.
“I don’t want you making a fool of yourself.”
“But your new book sounds cool.”