A while back I wrote a short novelette. It took me a very long time to write it, but I have written almost as much on this squeal in the last year as I wrote entirely for "Hole in a Field". To show that I have been doing something with the little mystery I created I present you with a sample chapter for what will become "Foresight" (Ironic).
The last preview was of Chapter 9 and is linked here.
Chapter 19: Down to Business
"Sir?" came the secretary's voice from a cracked door.
The Man in the Suit was looking at the digital pictures of what had been found in the hole in the field. A black pillar or stele covered in arcane writing. It was vantablack and seemed to be emitting some kind of signal. Four of the five people who had been investigating it had died, and the bodies of random people had been found in the underground chamber. Was this what the Cloak had warned him about?
"Yes?" asked the Man in the Suit.
"I know it doesn't seem important," she said. "But I wasn't able to cancel the meeting you had set up for this morning."
"Which meeting would that be?" he asked staring into the black on his monitor.
"It's with the TV producers about the show," she said sheepishly.
His chin dropped to his chest and he buried his face in his hands, "okay."
"I said OKAY!" he yelled. Followed immediately by, "Sorry. Sorry. I'll do the meeting. Sorry to yell."
"It's okay," she said. As the door nearly shut she said, "I heard what happened."
Part of his job was the management of the image of the White Hats. The organization was still seen as a group of weirdoes by the public, and those were the few who knew they existed. As funded and official as they were, they were at best seen as cryptic specialists in investigative work, unable to get the funding necessary to be proactive in research and development constantly taking work outside of the stated mission of the group.
The obscure hipster mystic image suited the founders of the group just fine, they had started it as graduate students and had spun it into an online community, that was all the fame they ever wanted and they liked doing the work. But for the financiers, the management that knew how important the work they were doing really is, they needed the public to want the help, they needed the public to offer to help them, they needed more money, more applicants, more trust. They needed a TV show.
"Well if it isn't the notorious Man in the Suit," said the gleaming white smile that walked as a man, Tyler.
"Such poise," said bombshell in a pantsuit, Judy. "I could sell a horror anthology series with you as the Rod Sterling in an instant."
Why did everyone always reference the Twilight Zone? Thought the man in the suit. "Tyler, Judy, we have spoken in email, good to finally meet you."
"Ooh," said Tyler. "Do you hear that voice Jude? Sounds like Morgan Freeman."
"I was thinking Yul Brynner," said Judy.
"You are right, that is the voice of a pharaoh," said Tyler, sitting down first. "Have you ever considered voice over work?"
"No," he said. "I've never managed to get out of management fields."
"The world of movie trailers weeps for their loss," said Judy taking a seat.
"We wanted to alk to you about what we see the show being," said Tyler.
"So you have agreed to a show," said the Man in the Suit.
"Tentatively," said Judy. "You have enough material to fill three shows, case files for a police procedural, enough history to fill a history channel hidden mysteries series, and enough investigators to run a Cops style reality show."
"So you want three shows?"
"Not so fast," said Tyler. "We are just worried that horror fantasy entertainment is getting played out. We have shows that are deep into horror, we have shows that are deep into alternate history."
"What?" asked Tyler.
"You said 'alternate history'," said the Man in the Suit. "It isn't alternate anything. It happened, people just don't want to admit that."
"You say that with such conviction," said Judy, smiling and fluttering her eyes a bit. "Makes a believer out of me."
"Point is," continued Tyler, his smile having never left his face, though his eyes weren't smiling completely. It was a forced smile, he hated being here and hated the show ideas, he thought the whole thing was a farce, like every hack script with the words 'based on true events' written on the cover. "The point I am trying to make is that you need a hook that sets yourself apart from those and I think we have the idea.
"It's actually brilliant," said Judy, her smile was legitimate, she probably talked Tyler into coming, probably threw this idea at him to keep the project alive. She was flirting with him.
"We want the characters to be really relatable," said Tyler. "But funny. We were thinking a comedy like 'Seinfeld' but instead of comedians they are researchers. The core of the show is actually the dialogue between the characters and them being in the various restaurants and hotels, but with the work they do being the background."
"Stop a second," said the Man in the Suit. "I had four people die in the last 24 hours."
Tyler and Judy went pale, Judy's mouth dropped open and Tyler's forced grin broke.
"I know you have to worry about media markets," he said. "I know that things are about selling. But the reason we want the show is because we want people to know that what we do is dangerous, and the things in the dark are real, and they are here."
There was a shimmer in the room, just for an instant, and Judy started shrieking. No, wait, Tyler was shrieking. Judy was shivering and remaining motionless. The room was covered in tiny wolf and daddy long leg spiders.
"I'm sorry," said the Man in the Suit. "I think I have another appointment that takes precedence."
"I can come back," said the Cloak stepping out of his door that had materialized in the office.
"I was talking to them," he said. "Judy, Tyler, it was good talking to you, but my friend has something important to tell me I am sure, he never shows up for any other reason."
"My apologies," said the Cloak, as Tyler ran shrieking out of the office, nearly going thru the Cloak's door into the place of harsh yellow light and discordant clicking.
"It was a good meeting I think," said Judy standing in the most rigid way possible, she had a card. "Here is my personal number if you want to get together later and talk. I never got your name."
"No one has heard his name in a long time Madam," said the Cloak.
"I'll call you, Judy," he said, taking the card. "I know it is a lot to ask, but I am going to need your help, I don't believe Tyler is going to have a lot of faith in the show."
She smiled for a half second, before a spider crawled on her face causing her to cringe, and close her mouth and eyes.
"Shall I fetch my creature to dispose of the little pests?" asked the Cloak.
"Judy, we're going to get something to get rid of the bugs, going to need you to keep your eyes closed for a couple minutes," he said. "Trade secret, has to be protected."