thirty-nine (The Empire’s Son)

by nike, December 17, 2014
Andrew Irvine (8 April 1902 – 8 June 1924)

Andrew Irvine (8 April 1902 – 8 June 1924)

This guest story in the 200 words/200 days series is brought to you by the inimitable, the awesome, the awe-inspiring Dr Sean Williams.

I’m sure you already know who Sean is, but just in case you haven’t had the pleasure, Sean is a #1 New York Times bestselling author of over forty award-winning novels, one hundred short stories, and the odd odd poem. He lives in Adelaide and is currently virtual writer in residence at Inside a Dog.

His most recent novel is Crash (aka Crashland in the UK), the sequel to Twinmaker. A great starred review of Twinmaker, featured in Booklist had this to say about this wonderful series:

In the masterful hands of Williams, the technology, which has eerie parallels to contemporary life, provides a solid platform for great storytelling, and teens will revel in the drama, Clair’s tenacity, and the memorable characters who discover that their utopia isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

The cliff face is icy and black, and Andrew Irvine is falling, albeit slowly. He can no longer feel his fingers, but he knows that gravity hasn’t completely seized him yet. If it had, he would already be dead–like poor George, who had to be cut free, the first Englishman to stand on the summit just weight to be discarded lest he bring Sandy down too.

The so-called ‘holy’ mountain has claimed them both now.

“Come on, Sandy,” he tells the wind. It won’t do to give in. What would Lyn think? The letter in which she wrote so powerfully about the importance of wishes is tucked under his Gabardine. He wishes he could read it now, but it’s too dark and his hands . . . the slow business of falling . . .

Golden light strikes his face, startling him out of a warm fog. Has one of the others come? Charles, perhaps? Good old Charles.

But the two lamps look like nothing so much as those of a Railless trolleybus, and the Himalayan cliff face a road in England, against which he is spreadeagled like a man already dead.

Andrew Irvine, this Empire’s son, lets go.

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