Nine months after his wife’s death, a man is abducted from his house by a band of violent thieves and taken to a nightmarish city called Weatherhead. There he falls under the dark attentions of the cruel, despotic ruler of the city: the wife he thought dead.
This a love story between a person still living and a person still dead. It is also a hate story between the same, a violent story populated with all manner of ruffians, crimes, running street battles between Love and Hate (a particularly nasty bunch who hang out at soda fountains and dress terribly) and knife-fights between mourning and evening spouses. It is a story of how we remember those who are lost, and how we rebuild those who shattered in life. If life is a place in which we die, what does that make death?
Targeted Age Group:: 18-65
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I have always wanted to write a novel that dealt with the ways that we remember people who we have lost. I find the strange ways that we reconstruct our memories of people endlessly fascinating, especially those with whom one might have had a less than ideal relationship. So, loss and remembrance are two themes. Another is simply love. I have tired of the staid, stale portrayals of love, which is largely recycled sugar-coated tropes. Love can be a violent, warlike thing! A struggle, even! I wanted to try and portray this conflict between two lovers in the greater context of the pair trying to remember just exactly who they were and why. The results are often surprising!
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
A toughie. My characters tend to spring out of nowhere, though I did base the wife’s death and her husband’s discovery of her remains on an actual story told to me once by an acquaintance’s acquaintance. That said, I do group my characters in a large, expanded fictional universe that pretty much everything I write takes place in.
Everyone knows that Maggie Mechaine was struck by a rocketing truck and killed, but not everyone knows that she had been in 51 pieces when her husband finally managed to gather her all up again and count her all out.
He had been the first one to arrive at the scene and had already felt that claw of tomorrow in his gut as he scanned the white pricked with red, could never have known, they said, that it was her until he found some bits of her hair. But he did know, even before he found the first clump of it like red grass jutting up out of the white. He knew that hair well, had gathered it in his fists, brushed it, breathed it, and even made faces at it. He crept forward on the balls of his feet, gathering up bloody tufts in his fists, smelling them, making grimaces and retching sounds when he came to the unfamiliar territories of Maggie Mechaine, those parts of her within that he had never known.
The others had come then and dared not approach. They stood and watched him on his hands and knees in the snow, unsure what to do. He had bit the face of the first colleague who had put a gentle hand on his shoulder, tried to pull him up, and this fellow now stood off to one side, holding in place the bleeding flap of the only offended part of him and sobbing in silence.
Maggie Mechaine could not have done this, held herself together. There had been nothing grandiose or poignant or artistic about her death. She was hit face-on by a rocketing truck and solemnly acquiesced in her disintegration. She had lacked the 49 other hands to hold everything in place. There was something else about her hands, though.
Finding these insufficient hands had been worse than finding the rough quadrants of what was left of her face, for though the latter was where he had collided with her numerous times, it had always been a puzzling place. He already knew it was her anyway, and passed over these scraps of jaw and eye. He knew that hair well. He knew she had come to talk a walk here because she told him she would. It had thus been arranged. But when he had come to her hands, he began to choke. They were pristine and were lying together, laced together just as they had been, at the small of her back, he knew, when the truck had finally touched her.
When he was finished, he took out his revolver. 51 pieces, he breathed the ghosts of the words out of his own broken face. He looked up. She called these “scaly days” when the cirrus skidmarked the sky. It meant something was coming, a change in the weather, she’d told him once, wherever you found them you could count on an imminence for they were the forward projection of either something awful or something beautiful, like the brutal black crackle of firstwords on a radio. Would it be song or doom?
The truck, though, in however many shards Maggie Mechaine had left it, was never found.
About the Author:
J.M. Hushour was born, as writers often are. He will also die, as writers almost always do. Before then, he plans to write more novels and learn how to appreciate the novelty of the edible parachute.
He lives near Seattle,a fine writer’s city.
He is the author of The Poem-Skull and Weatherhead. He is concurrently writing the follow-up to The Poem-Skull, titled The Invocations, and a science fiction novel best described as “Groundhog Day Meets The Book of Revelations”.
His favorite color is green and he considers comic books literature.
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