After a dry spell that lasted way too long for our farmer-neighbors’ preference, we’ve been having a lot of rain in the last couple of weeks, and as a result the grain in the fields has made up for lost time and is now coming along a lot better than it was doing in May and early June. The atmosphere of relief around here is palpable. Most of what’s grown in our immediate neighborhood barley rather than wheat, and destined for Guinness or anomal feed rather than anyone’s bread machine. But the locals still depend on the crops they grow to keep them (or their cattle) eatingafter the growing season is over.
The wildlife is also interested in eating that grain, of course, and as a result a sound specific to this time of year is now to be heard day and night: the bird-scarer. This is a simple device that creates a loud gas-powered BANG at intervals. (The better sort of these create the noise at random intervals rather than just doing it once every, say, four minutes and thirty seconds. But both kinds are in use within earshot of the house.)
You quickly learn not to notice this sound after a while (or else you go stark raving nuts…). But this morning I found myself noticing the noise, and realized that it was trying to remind me of something: specifically, the half-finished story of which a fragment follows — this passage being what was triggered by hearing a series of those BANGs late last summer. The story, “Borderlands”, takes place between the events of The Door into Sunset and The Door into Starlight; in it Herewiss is called in to solve a particularly nasty series of murders. Freelorn goes along with him, partly to get away from some of the more annoying aspects of being a king (like work…) and partly because, in general, there’s just no keeping him out of Herewiss’s business anyway. As the story develops, this turns out to have been an extremely good thing…
Really must finish this: it doesn’t have that much further to go. The story will turn up at the online store when it’s done (since there are already some other MK-based works on offer there), and maybe I’ll submit it someplace as well. Meanwhile, the fragment is under the cut.