Nil by Mouth by LynC is a small novel with a big theme – how would you cope with life after you had been used by aliens as an incubation tank?
With LynC, we will also have the wonderful George Ivanoff will be helping us launch this book at Continuum this year. The details are:
Continuum X: Carnival of Lost Souls
6th to 9th June, 2014
InterContinental Melbourne, The Rialto
Collins Street, Melbourne
Today, for you, I have an excerpt from this incredible book.
The rain felt wonderful on my face and in my eyes. After months, or was it years, stuck in a windowless room, unable to even move, just lying here on the cold hard ground in the rain was bliss. Someone had thrown a blanket over me, but it was getting drenched too. I started shivering.
A face loomed over me, “Are you trying to die, or what?” But it was gone before I could work out an answer. There was a conversation going on nearby. I heard ‘Nil by mouth’ and ‘pregnant’, so I knew they were talking about me. I couldn’t be bothered turning my head to see who was speaking. After so long being held, supported and stationary, my muscles had atrophied and many of my joints were frozen. Any movement was a real pain – literally.
So I lay in the rain and shivered and tried to work out if I wanted to live or not.
How had things come to this?
Years ago, things were going fine. My wife and I ran a hotel on the northern outskirts of the business district. Not close enough to attract city rates, but close enough to attract business lunches in our little restaurant, and the odd office worker staying overnight. We weren’t rolling in cash, and it was hard work, but we were making enough to pay our small staff and even save a little.
Then she got pregnant and tried to tell me it was mine. But I knew it wasn’t.
Way back, when I was an impoverished student, I’d tried to sell my sperm to one of those sperm banks. They paid me, thanked me, and told me never to darken their doors again. Like all law students I was a bit of a litigious bastard back then and I pushed until they were forced to tell me why.
I shoot blanks.
By the time I recovered from that shock I’d been kicked out of law school and spent the best part of two years just bumming around the country. I came to my senses working behind the bar of what was to become my pub, when the current owner died some years later. I married the maitre d’, and, like I said, things went along fine for quite a while.
I told her I didn’t care. I didn’t. I really didn’t. This was the only way I was ever going to have children, after all. I thought of it like artificial insemination with a donor dad, except it wasn’t artificial. Big deal. I was prepared to give the kid my name and help bring it up. What more could I do?
She couldn’t handle it though. Not the guilt of sleeping around. I think she’d been offering our customers a little extra on the side since before I arrived. Not that. It was the knowing that I knew that she couldn’t handle. I could see it every time she looked at me, until she couldn’t look any more, and one day I woke up to find her gone; and our savings with her.
It’s even harder work running a pub on your own, and the downhill slide had already set in when the Aliens invaded.
If you would like to pick up this book before the event, here are the links:
Also available in many good bookstores in both formats.