I am currently working on “Cannibal Hearts”, the next book in the Book Of Lost Doors series that I started with “Catskinner’s Book”. This is how it opens, taken from chapter one:
“what is visible is rhythm interrupted.”
I had an office. The sign on the door read James Ozwryck, Vice President, Facilities Management. Inside the office you’d find a desk, a whole bunch of clipboards and three ring binders, and a pretty nice computer. Sometimes you’d find me, but I wouldn’t count on it. Usually I was out managing a facility. Or, more likely, trying to manage the people who were supposed to be managing a facility. They were in the basement.
Down the dark staircase to the basement under the old supermarket—now subdivided into offices, most of them, including mine at the moment, empty—and through a room filled with the rusting shells of vending machines, I walked quickly. I was not in a good mood.
Past the Authorized Personnel Only sign, in a wide low room, three men held down a fourth. He was seated in a big metal chair that looked like it had been made by welding old car parts together. Knowing these guys, it probably had been. Soft groans were coming from the man in the chair, and blood dripped through the chair to stain the concrete below.
“I’m sorry,” I said, maybe a little louder than necessary, “Is this a bad time?”
Two heads swiveled to meet my glare with their own. The one on the left—bone white, bald, tattooed and pierced, housing a pair of dead flat bloodshot eyes—hissed at me. “Precious is descending to the next level.”
I sighed and deep in my head Catskinner, my imaginary friend, chuckled. It’s not a good sound. “Well,” I said aloud, “I’m very happy for him, but right now I’ve got a move out walk through that I need an engineer to do. I mean, you guys are on the clock, aren’t you?”
The guy who’d talked back to me—Exquisite, he called himself—blinked and lost the scary, post-human look in his eyes. “Oh, shit,” he said softly, “was that today?”
“Yeah.” I said. “The fifteenth, isn’t it?”
He gave a quick glance to the big scheduling calendar on the wall then back at me. “Gimme one minute.” He leaned to plant a kiss on the side of the kid in the chair’s head then hopped up. He was wearing a full length leather apron that he pulled off and hung on a hook on the wall. Underneath he was naked except for tattoos and a lot of strange bits of metal in places that I didn’t want to look at but Catskinner wanted to use my eyes to examine closely.
Fortunately he got dressed in about the minute he’d asked for, jeans, long-sleeved uniform shirt, chunky steel-toed boots. He pulled on a knitted cap in matching dark blue and looked not nearly so, well, dead. He still looked like he wasn’t terribly healthy, but people wouldn’t run screaming from the room.
In my business, that’s about the best I can ask for from most of my employees.