I finished tidying the first brain-vomit draft last night, so my plan now is to let it percolate in a bottom drawer for a few weeks so I can get some perspective on it. My next big project is editing the Redlitzer anthology and teaching a couple of workshops for the winners, and finishing the novel in between the cracks of life!.
The opening of The Witches Scale for your delectation:
Kit hadn’t seen the first one, but PC Wright told him not to worry – this one was worse.
The throat was cut – that wasn’t too bad, quite neat in fact and he had witnessed that sort of thing before – but the woman’s skirts (Kit could see in the lamp light that she wore several against the cold, green, brown, black, some red ruffles) had been part-pulled up, part-torn, and her fat little middle-aged belly exposed and cut open to leave a dark bloody abyss. Intestines reached up over each shoulder; a separate piece of about two feet had been lopped off and put to one side as if whoever did it had a grander plan. Thick wavy dark brown hair acted as a pillow for her head and mutilated face; the lacerations weren’t in the usual fashion of whores getting sliced by their pimps or dissatisfied customers. There was a design here and that disturbed him even more than the smell of shit and piss emanating from the unfortunate woman, who was no longer in a position to care or to cover herself and try to preserve a little bit of modesty. No, thought Kit, that’s what bothered him most, that the woman was so terribly exposed in her death, so terribly, terribly helpless.
Hanbury Street was quiet but Kit knew that was only temporary. PC Ned Watkins had sounded his whistle but a moment ago, and soon the place would be crawling with police, pressmen, terrified whores, and general gawkers. Thomas Wright, who’d been crouched down peering closely at the body while young Watkins threw up his pint and pork pie in a corner, made a noise – that strange noise Kit had come to associate with police who’d found someone they knew on this kind of day. It held despair, disappointment, disgust, rage and, peculiarly, a kind of knowing lack of surprise, as if this was somehow to be expected. Kit was coming to recognise it in the first pursing of the lips, the earliest expulsion of air. He wondered if he’d start doing it soon.