Monday, April 11, 2011


Two years.

Wow, it's been a long time.

Chase is a character who wouldn't give up. I first created her over a decade ago, but never did anything with the concept. I returned to the idea a couple of years ago to work through a few Indiana Jones issues, and I had a blast. Serialising pulp adventure fiction on this blog taught me a lot about craft and my own voice.

I published three stories on this blog back then. Two novellas and a short. As much fun as they were, I can look back now and see only the faults. The poor writing. The structural errors. The lack of character development.

The old material will stay up a short while longer, for old times sake, but the Marah Chase project is about to enter a new phase, and soon everything will be cleared away to make room for the next stage.

Watch this space.

Monday, September 15, 2008


Marah Chase skidded to a stop on the dirt track.

Her motorcycle idled beneath her, the engine rumbling. She knew she had very little left in the tank, in more ways than one.
The motorcycle was running low on petrol, maybe less than five miles left in it.

She looked back up the mountain road the way she’d just come. Around the bend, clearing the rocks, three jeeps were racing toward her. Each one full of armed soldiers. To the left was the river delta, behind her was the castle and the troops.
With only one option, Chase pointed the motorcycle toward the city and strangled the throttle. Up ahead, racing toward her from the city, were more soldiers. Two jeeps and four motorcycles, all aiming to stop her.

She had really annoyed these people.

“Distraction.” Chase said to herself, under her breath.

She gunned the engine and raced towards the oncoming soldiers.
As she rode, Chase routed through her satchel, looking at the artefacts she had taken from the castle. One was wrapped in faded oilcloth; she touched it reverently and put it back in the bag. Along with the wrapped item, she had three large eggs.
Neither Chase nor the soldiers changed course, ready for a head on collision. The soldiers drew their guns and began taking aim, drawing a bead on their target.
She raced on toward them without changing course.

As soon as she was within range of their shots, Chase offered up a silent apology to whoever was listening, and held one of the eggs in the air above her.
The soldiers hesitated with their shots, not wanting to hit the egg.
Using the hesitation to her advantage, Chase threw the egg into the air above her.
The soldiers swerved to try and catch it, opening a path for Chase to ride between them, saluting as she went.

She checked her military wristwatch, which was counting down to the deadline.
Five minutes.

She was running late for an appointment, but that was the story of her life.

The engine of the motorcycle screamed out another complaint as she entered the city limits. It wasn’t going to carry her much farther, she knew. Just another three miles, that was all she needed.

Behind her was the sound of engines and gunfire as the soldiers were again closing in. Their vehicles were in much better condition, and there was going to be no way she could out pace them in a long distance race.

Crossing into the city, Chase pulled her motorcycle off the road and into the yard of the nearest squat house. She stayed behind the houses, keeping them between her and the road, as she made up ground quickly. Swerving occasionally between the houses, she managed to keep out of sight of the chasing soldiers, although the sound of their engines was never far behind.

It was a few minutes after eight on a Monday morning, and rush hour was picking up.
Once she reached the centre of the city, she pulled onto the main road. Modern public transport mingled with much older forms; animals and cycles pulling carts. Civilians on pushbikes, or walking across the road, with no regard for traffic.
Chase weaved amongst them, hoping that this would slow her pursuers down and stop them from using their guns. It worked for a few moments, giving her some vital distance.
She risked a glance behind her when she heard shouting. The armed motorcyclists were weaving amongst the commuters, pushing them side when necessary.
Some were preparing to outflank her on their smaller, faster, engines.

She braked and spun to the left, riding up the steps and into a large white building.
She braked in the lobby, realising she was in a hospital. The atmosphere of solitude and illness was overwhelming, and orderlies in white coats began to run toward her, shouting in the local language.

She waved at them and turned the motorcycle to face back the way she had just come. It was only seconds before one of the chasing soldiers burst into the lobby after her, the sound of his lighter engine filled the lobby like a high pitched squeal compared to her low rumble.

She threw one of the remaining eggs at the rider, and he jumped from the cycle to catch it. Chase jumped onto it, and blew a kiss at the rider as he held the egg close, before riding her new bike out into the morning traffic again.

Two minutes.

The speed she rode out at was enough to take her momentarily airborne as she raced off the top step, lifting her over the jeep that had pulled to a halt outside.
Hitting the ground behind them, she almost lost balance and fell, but managed to right herself and ride across into the smaller road opposite.

If the soldiers had known where she was going, they would have had this road blocked off, so Chase took it as a good omen that they hadn’t, and rode the engine flat out down the two-mile straight, before skidding to a halt on the air strip.
It was a small airstrip, often used for lightweight civilian craft. Later in a working day, there would be small craft taking off and landing here, but right now it was empty.

Totally empty.

Chase couldn’t help but let out a strangled cry as she watched the plane -her plane- taking off at the far end of the runway. It took to the sky, and began climbing, gaining altitude quickly.

She looked at her watch, and saw that she’d missed her deadline by forty seconds. The pilot had stayed true to his instruction and not waited a second longer.
She turned to look behind her, at the soldiers closing in on her with guns aimed, and then back at the quickly shrinking plane.

She cursed again.

It was August 1945.

She was in Hiroshima.

And she’d just missed her ride.