It’s back to Time Shifters today (my time travel adventure for 8-12 year-olds) as I’ve not yet written another word of The House of Stone so I can’t share any more with you. I really must get cracking with it as I’m fast running out of suitable chapters to share from Time Shifters without the use of ingenious WIPpet maths. Today I’ve managed to find an extract from just over halfway in the novel when Maisie, Danny and Lizzie have hitched a ride on a wagon into London. The only trouble is it’s 1666 and the Great Fire of London is raging. The following five paragraphs plus 13 lines are from chapter 21… 5 + 21 = 26 for the 26th June and the 13 lines are in honour of it being 2013. See, I told you I was using ingenious WIPpet maths.
On the other side of the gate the houses were even more squashed together making the relatively wide road claustrophobic. It was packed with people, carts and horses hurrying in both directions in and out of London. The air was hot and heavy with heat and smoke that caught in the back of my throat. The old man started with his hacking cough again.
We held on tight to the sides of the cart as we rumbled down the road. Some of the people we passed had flushed, soot ingrained faces and a couple of the women were crying. The smoke-filled sky above was almost blocked out by the house’s roofs nearly touching. We passed an ironmongers and a bakers tucked between houses. I suddenly realised I was hungry and we’d gone without breakfast. I thought about asking Danny what food we had left in our sack but he was peering over the edge of the cart taking everything in the same as Lizzie was doing on the other side.
The smell, a really horrible mixture of urine, faeces, rotting vegetables and smoke, intensified the further down the road we went. So did the noise and heat and I wiped sweat off my face with the sleeve of my dress. We reached a crossroads jammed with people and the old man steered the horse and cart to the left through the mob and onto a wider street called Cheapside. The road opened up and on the right was a huge church, its square bell tower disappearing into the black smog above.
“What church is that?” I shouted to the old man.
“St Paul’s,” he grunted.
“As in St Paul’s Cathedral? The St Paul’s?” I asked.
“I’ve been to St Paul’s and it doesn’t look anything like it,” Lizzie said.
“That’s because it’s probably going to burn to the ground and they’ll have to rebuild it,” Danny said.
“And you know this because?”
“Because I’m guessing that’s what happens.”
Hot wind buffered my face and embers from the fire whipped up by the wind settled on our clothes and in our hair. We passed coffee houses and another church. People were dragging their belongings out of their houses and into the street. A tavern called The Bull Head was still open and men stood outside with tankards in their hands and the snippets of conversations I caught were all about the fire. The old man turned the horse and cart sharply to the right into Bow Lane full of large and grand looking houses still tightly packed together. It felt hotter and the noise of people shouting was getting louder. We turned left into another street at the bottom of the lane and suddenly there was the fire.
My blog tour for The Butterfly Storm is continuing until Friday. On Monday Elaine interviewed me on her blog and yesterday I was a guest on Raewyn’s blog with a post about the freedom of self-publishing. A little later on this morning an extract of The Butterfly Storm will be featured on British author, Jade Reyner’s blog.
Many thanks to K L Schwengel for hosting WIPpet Wednesday. If you’ve got a work in progress that you’d like to share then choose a suitable extract that corresponds to the day (however tenuously) or write a brand new opening to a potential novel and add the link of your post to the blue linky over on My Random Muse and have a read of the other diverse WIPpets whilst you’re there.