I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this but I wrote a book last year. The basic premise is a guy invents a time machine, which gets hijacked and used in an attempt to wipe out humanity. You know, everyday life kind of stuff! Anyway the full word count is about 100,000 but this is just the prologue.
One of my proof readers (thanks Rich) suggested I include this part in the prologue, rather than where it had been in one of the later chapters. Partly to start the book with something completely unrelated to the main story, partly because it is a time travel book and doesn’t need to be set out in chronological order. So I split the chapter in half, put this part at the start and left the other bit where it had been. Which means the book starts like this.
‘Where did you even find a deckchair out here?’ Andrea looked amused and slightly nervous, as if he might have stolen it from an unsuspecting, undeserving old lady.
Peter glanced up from the magazine he had appropriated and took a good swig from the can of beer in his other hand, before considering his response. Then he swung his legs, one on either side of the seat and sat up as best as he could. ‘It’s amazing what you can get out here if you’re willing to barter, they love a bit of bartering these archaeologists.’ He smiled, indicating that the word bartering was being used in a wildly loose sense. Andrea picked up a piece from the small spoil heap she had built up. With a flourish she sent a stone at him as fast as she could, it hit the tin can with a noise that sounded a little bit like “tonk”, and then got back to her work.
For his part Peter tried to ignore the conversations of the people surrounding his makeshift sun lounger. A lot of the men talking had beards, which seemed to be a prerequisite for being a successful archaeologist, it made his face itch just looking at them. He couldn’t help hearing some of the things that the men were saying, a lot of the talk seemed to be around just how famous they would all become when the findings from this site were published. He knew Andrea was indifferent to fame and fortune, especially since they had taken possession of quite a large sum of money from the Colonel. However a number of the hairy guys, and a few of the marginally less hairy women, seemed to think they might become the talk of the excavating community. One of the men was saying, ‘It’s got to be worth something, it’s the earliest proto-settlement anyone’s found. Sure, there’s not a lot of it, but the remains that are here are something else. For one thing the burials are unlike any others ever unearthed.’
Thankfully he managed to drift away from the conversation at this point, trying to concentrate on the article in front of him, which was suggesting that wool was this year’s new black. He dropped the magazine on to his chest, staring forlornly at the dark shadow cast by a tree nearby. The African sun seemed to laugh in the faces of the fashion people who had written the piece he was just reading. He looked towards the pit his wife was kneeling in, she was quietly involved in something. She looked up nervously and saw him staring. She blinked at him then realised he was scrutinising her, smiled and returned to her work. Peter lifted the magazine and tried to find a less depressing article…