I’ve been sitting on this news for a few days now, but since I already have the contract (which I have every intention of signing) in my hands, I can finally announce that Flipside Publishing, publisher of my book, Lower Myths, has accepted a short novel of mine for publication.
Title and opening paragraphs after the cut.
The Viewless Dark
We were among the first to receive the call, if not the first. My brother was a history professor living in a campus-owned house just a few blocks from the library, and I was Flo’s only known friend. I was sleeping on the couch, buried in De Rerum Natura, when the phone rang. When I glanced at my wristwatch I knew there was something wrong. It was only eight. Nobody calls us at eight. We don’t have many friends. So when my brother lowered the receiver and said, “Anthony”, I swung my legs to the floor and asked, “Where did they find her?”
They found her in one of the reading rooms, on her stomach, her right cheek sticking to the cold tile, her right hand hugging a package to her chest. Apparently she was locked inside. The investigators grilled all of the librarians, and they all swore they never saw her. The last one who checked the room was a student assistant from the College of Arts and Letters, my college. The SA was a fourth-year undergrad who was also the one entrusted that night to lock the doors. “Are you sure you checked the room thoroughly?” I heard the investigators ask her, over and over. They led her back into the room, said, “Show us.” The SA, slightly trembling, retraced her steps from last night and walked around the tables, twice, peering down the dark bookshelves. The investigators pounced on her like predators: “Did you look behind the bookshelves? Did you check the curtains? Did you try the washroom?” and on and on, until the undergrad finally broke down and confessed that she just walked around the room, a casual check, something she had done for years now. If she didn’t find the girl, that just meant she was hiding from her. “I called out,” the SA said, in tears. “I always do that. I said, ‘Is there anybody here? It’s closing time. We’re locking the doors.’ But no one replied.”
“But what if the girl had passed out?” the investigators said, relentless. “What if she had fainted, and so she didn’t hear you, and you didn’t see her because you didn’t exactly look?” At this the SA paled considerably, imagining a poor freshman waking up from a faint, trying the door, finding it locked, banging on the door, kicking it, crying, her sounds swallowed by the dark and the many rooms. I pitied the SA. I wanted to tell her that Flo never cried, or panicked. I wanted to tell her that being locked alone in a dark and empty building would mean only one of two things to Flo: nothing, or a great adventure.
End of excerpt. © Eliza Victoria
I wrote this novella at a fevered pitch one week during Christmas vacation in college, and continued writing it for years. I couldn’t stop editing. It went through several (major and minor) revisions, and now it’s more or less ready. I’m happy to find it a home.
Target publication is the second week of July. Stay tuned.