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The Official Companion App to the forthcoming Novel 'The Dark Era' by James Eddy.
Founded : 2014
Sometimes, it kind of makes me wonder why I wanted to be a writer in the first place. I’ve pretty much always had a decent vocabulary I think; ever since I started reading encyclopaedias for fun when I was about 11 or 12. And when I got a thesaurus I really was well away. That’s what turned ‘guilt’ into ‘contrition’, ‘regret’, ‘remorse’, ‘shame’; or, ‘anger’ into ‘annoyance’, ‘irritation’, ‘dismay’, ‘disgust’, ‘exasperation’ or whatever. Mum always says that I love words and making use of them. She probably just means that I talk too much.
Really, I’d have liked to have been a musician or something like that. I was always a sucker for stories in songs and that was really what I wanted to do most. The problem was that I couldn’t learn to play anything to any decent level; not like Emily, she picked up the guitar really quick, it’s just she’s never been that interested in it as anything more than something to do for fun.
I think I’m interested in stories more than anything though. Even at school, my favourite teachers were the ones that used their words to paint pictures in my imagination, and my best friends were the ones who told jokes or span yarns. As I’ve got older, I’ve surrounded myself with people that are storytellers; most of my friends are much better at telling them than me as well.
Now, writing’s just kind of become something that I do, or that I say I do anyway. I like telling people I’m a writer. It feels like something that’s worthwhile and it sounds a lot better than simply being a mouthy drunk.
Blindly he went on, boarding another train that took him straight back to Alveston. It was only when he was able to play Born to Run on the stereo of his BMW that he felt any better. It was a song that had a magical quality for him. It never failed to make him feel the way he did when he first heard it on the radio in 1975; the sense that as long as there was a road to travel and something still worth fighting for, there was nothing that could stop him. It was a feeling he loved and cherished, if only because it never seemed to last long enough anymore.
On the short drive home, he stopped off to get some fish and chips. Battered cod rather than rollmop herrings was definitely more of his mother’s influence; his displeasure at how little change he got from a five pound note was more of his father’s.
Back at the flat, David plated up his dinner and managed to eat all the fish and most of the chips. In a way, that annoyed him. He’d been relatively slim all his life, despite rarely eating healthily or looking after himself in any way. The last few years had suggested that he was going to pay for this though; not only was he unable to eat as much as he used to but he’d also started to develop a much more noticeable belly.
He leaned back into his sofa and drifted off to sleep. The sound of the telephone ringing woke him. He picked up the receiver.
"Hello," he said drowsily.
"Dad?" said the voice on the other end of the line.
David immediately felt more awake.
''Why don't you ever turn on your mobile? I've left five or six voicemails for you since lunchtime.”
For several seconds David was confused; the sleepy fizz inside his head hardly helping him as he tried to work out what she meant. He’d had his phone with him and switched on all day. Then he understood. He’d had his work mobile, which he always left on in case someone needed to contact him about a case. Standing up, he went to the kitchen and found his other mobile phone sitting where he’d left it, on one of the work surfaces.
"Damn it. Sorry Em, I forgot to take it with me today," he explained.
She didn't say anything for a few moments. He could tell that she was annoyed.
"What's the matter sweetheart?" he asked.
She took a deep breath and when she spoke her words were slow and deliberate:
''I don't know quite how to tell you this but… Granddad's collapsed and it looks like it’s pretty serious. He's in a coma."
“Hello Mr Karski,” an unseen voice said to him, “I am Doctor Eugenius Stark and I am here to take care of you.”
Karski was still blind and the all-consuming darkness made Stark’s voice seem more powerful and imposing:
“You have been involved in a train accident and it will require my particular expertise to fix you and make you strong again.”
Karski tried to move his arms and legs but he was completely immobilised. His lack of freedom was different to how it had been on the train though. He could feel the straps on his limbs that were fixing him to what he assumed was some kind of table.
“Do not struggle Mr Karski. This treatment is for your own good and for the good of us all.”
He struggled some more and tried to speak but he felt several strong hands on his throat, holding him down and strangling his words. He relented. The hands did not.
“You cannot comprehend what you can become. And that is your biggest problem Mr Karski. Without my help, you lack the imagination to be everything that you can possibly be. Without me, you cannot become The Manterrosh, the scourge of the Curzonian menace. It is that which is your true destiny.”
Karski tried to protest. It was no good though, he couldn’t make a sound.
“You and your people are nothing more than caterpillars. You are insects that do nothing other than exist. The rest of your insignificant species will never be able to attain the extraordinary greatness that I and I alone can give to you. They will never ever become butterflies. They will only be destroyed… But you can still be saved. You can join with us to become the most feared of all the weapons our glorious leader has at his disposal. Then the world will belong to Erom Babylon and the great Sinistrian people. And you will be a part of that too; another glorious instrument of our greatness and the defining example of my artistry.”
The voice stopped and the hands left Karski’s throat. Everything was silent, black and empty and he wondered what Stark was waiting for. He felt his hands and legs being released and hope briefly swelled in his chest. He wondered if he was being rescued and freed from his dark prison. He didn’t have to wonder for long. Before he could react in any way, his neck was being strapped down onto the table.
“I want to give you a sporting chance,” he heard the doctor say.
What is The Dark Era?
The Dark Era is really three stories in one and they’re all set over a single weekend in May 2010. The stories look at three generations of the same family: a grandfather, a father and a son.
When the grandfather, Stanislaw Gombrowicz, falls into a coma, he finds that he’s inside a fantasy world with quite a few similarities to the conflict and experiences that made him travel to England from Poland in 1945. Through a blue haze of fog and sparkling light, he travels over, under and across this world; fighting to survive, while images from the past and the future echo through his mind.
While this is happening, the second story is taking place in the real world. In many ways, this is a coming of age story that happens to be about a middle aged man. It is the story of how Stanislaw’s son, David, tries to come to terms with his past mistakes and with the difficulties that exist in his relationship with his father, as he races across the country to be at his bedside.
The third story follows David’s son, Jonathon, as he struggles to put together a book about his grandfather’s experiences during World War II. In this he’s hardly helped by Stanislaw’s Alzheimers ravaged memories, by the distractions of enjoying his own life, and also by his attempts to avoid seeing his father.
These stories ultimately combine. Showing how a family can preserve and let go of the past to create a better future.
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Website : www.jameseddy.co.uk
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