The second potential NaNoWriMo project, 2023. My Sister Alex.

NaNoWriMo is a month-long creative writing challenge that takes place every November.

As I said last week, I’m trying to decide which project I’m going to work on for NaNoWriMo this year.

As usual, I have a choice of stories and I’ve narrowed it down to three. I’m taking a look at each of them, in turn.

The second one is,

My Sister Alex.

A Science Fiction adventure.

You learn that your sister’s dead, half a Galaxy away. Little do you know, your problems are only just beginning.

Max Walters is an ordinary guy. A surveyor, working on the edge of exploration. When he gets the call that nobody wants, he doesn’t hesitate, he’s on the next flight home.

How could he expect what happens next? He’s come to the attention of some very bad people. They try to kill him, in the one place he should have been safe.

Then he finds himself being chased across the Galaxy.

What was Max’s sister mixed up in?

More importantly, what’s his connection to it all?

This novel is set in the same universe as The Hitman and the Thief, a far future where the Galaxy is colonised and vast passenger liners cross interstellar space, keeping everyone connected.

Here’s the start of the novel, just to give you some idea of where it’s going.

It all came down to this. The ten-day dash, halfway across the inhabited part of the Galaxy. It all ended in this dingy corridor, under flickering fluorescent lights. There was a strange smell, not quite cleaning fluids, something else, a sweet and cloying odour that was only just on the bearable side of unpleasant. The walls were painted in faded institutional green and there were worn plastic tiles on the floor.

My companion, an overweight detective called Treyner, was shuffling uncomfortably. He had tried to engage me in conversation, about the upcoming elections, sports and new movies. It wasn’t that I didn’t appreciate him trying to establish a rapport but, after I told him that, where we were, we didn’t get much news, it all turned to silence.

Now, he just seemed eager to get this all over with. He had explained what would happen and I had just nodded. Even if I’d wanted to engage, I wouldn’t have been able to. I was running on automatic pilot, unable to take in or process what he was telling me.

Of course, I had seen enough movies to know what to expect. At least I wasn’t space-lagged, we had sorted the time difference out on the way. Despite the length of my trip, this was still something that happened to other people. I was functioning on automatic, my mind was back on Aspirion, in my manager’s office, at the precise moment when I had been given the news that my twin sister, Alex, was dead.

The door we stopped at and he knocked on was wooden, with a frosted glass panel, behind which bright light could be seen. Examination Room 2 said the sign. It creaked open on dry hinges to reveal a white-coated figure.

“Come in,” he said, avoiding all eye contact with either of us. His demeanour was professional, without any trace of empathy. Everywhere was tiled and gleaming, my eye was drawn to the bright metal bench in the middle of the room. Racks of shiny tools caught the light from the rows of bright fluorescent tubes. There was no shadow, the room felt stark and impersonal. Along one wall was a set of square doors, with black painted numbers above silver handles.

“Who are you here for, detective Treyner?” the white-coated man spoke, his voice flat, as devoid of emotion as the room.

“Walters, A,” replied my companion.

The attendant nodded, looked at a list on a clipboard. He went to door Number 15. I was suddenly struck with a feeling of irony, that was the number of the house where Alex and I had grown up. He pulled on the handle and a trolley slid out, the unevenly ridged contents covered by a white sheet.

“If you’re ready, Mr Walters,” the detective said. “Can you formally identify the deceased as your sister, Ms Alexandra Walters?”

He nodded and the mortuary attendant pulled back the sheet. I looked at the face. There was a sudden rush of emotions.

“Please take your time,” he added, placing what he must have thought was a comforting hand on my shoulder.

How long did it take to recognise your twin sister?

It wasn’t her.

Next week, I’ll be sharing the final contender, Crime of the Century.

Do you want to know where this story goes from here?

Is this what I should be working on this November?

Why not comment below and give me your thoughts?

If you missed last week’s post, you can find it HERE

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