May 31, 2010

Query Me This...IN DARKER TIMES

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Query:

Dear Mr. Agent,

The year is 2020; seven of the fifty states of the Unites States have taken emancipation and separated – Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin – and have formed Trenweca, a seven-year-old goldmine of a country. Timothy Westwood, an American expatriate with a grimy past involving suspicion for murder, has been given exclusive information via a covert Trenweccan agent about an imminent war Trenweca plans to go on against USA, in fear of USA itself declaring it, even with an unprepared army. Timothy is told by the agent that Canada is knowledgeable of these plans and that they will use Trenweca’s weaknesses to attempt an invasion over it. Timothy, with the help of this mysterious agent, is able to get into Trenweca’s parliament, and is given instructions that will supposedly cease any further ideas of war by Trenweca.

In Darker Times is a 90,000 word crime fantasy thriller about how an unwitting man is manipulated and catapulted into a world of lies, secrets and where no one is who they appear to be. With the help of the strong-headed Violet, an ex-agent for Trenweca, the only one who he can seemingly trust, Timothy races through a cornucopia of reverberating revelations of every turn, including facing the possibility of his own death.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Aleeza Rauf

Phone Number:

Email Address:

Mailing Address:



First Five Pages:

The office was dead silent, pitch black, devoid of any life except for me sitting in a desk in the right end corner beside the window with the panoramic view from the forty-fifth floor, and the light that shone from down below and the buildings surrounding the one where I worked, Gary & Wilkes Accounting Associates in the Edward Steyn Towers was blocked by the floor-length vanishing folds. A minute ago, there would be a spot of light from where I was sitting, emanating from my monitor that had just been put to rest after an extra-long day of work. Normally, my face would’ve been twisted in a disgruntled grimace at the indignation of working overtime, but at the moment I was much too in anticipation to be in any sort of complaining or somnolent state. The email I had received had erased any lethargy lurking in me, which it always did at the middle of the workday, ever since it had made its arrival on my inbox.

I was tempted to open it and read it again, but I managed to control the urge by reminding myself I had reread it at least fifteen times – I could almost recite it by heart now.

Hello Mr. Westwood,

You probably don’t know who I am, but I happen to know you somewhat, as I work as an agent for a secret department of the Trenweca Government. No, you are not being spied upon, but yes, I do have certain business with you that relates to your native country, the United States, and the country you currently reside in, Trenweca.  As I am well aware, you are not in any way related to Politics at the moments, nor keep any significant interests centered on it, but you may be vital to its potential invasion by Canada.

Reply me a blank message if you wish to meet, which I advise should be done as soon as possible. I will arrive at your office at 12:00 A.M. sharp. Please make sure the office is empty completely except for your presence.

Sincerely,

James Cassidy


I drank another sip of my cappuccino and glanced once again at my cell phone as I waited for the mysterious sender of the email to arrive.

11:59, the bright numbers shone on the wide screen. There was still a minute to go before he’d make his grand entrance. Some punctuality he managed.

The door to the office opened after a light knock that acted as a rising action to the climax, thus erasing all doubts for any legitimacy of the email vanished, and my heart began to beat a notch faster.

“Mr. Westwood?” a smooth, generic voice rang out to me.

I stood up from my swivel leather seat and responded, “Yes, that would be me. Let me turn on the lights, please.”

Some shuffling of the feet took place while I walked faster than normal to the switches.

Lights illuminated the face of the speaker. A silver three-piece-suit topped off with a sheen outlined the slim, athletic figure of the man, whose face contained, clean-shaven, aristocratic features, topped by bronze, neat matted hair.

He held out his hand. “Cassidy, James Cassidy.”

I took it, surprised by the vigorous squeeze I received. “Nice to meet you, Mr. Cassidy,” I said. “If you don’t mind, I’d like to quickly get ahead with our business. Quite frankly, I’m dying to hear more details about your brief but intriguing email. Not to mention baffling.”

He smiled as he took a seat on the desk nearest to us, then motioned for me to roll a chair beside him. After I had done so, he said with an air of, “I assure you, this talk will clear away all the baffling.”

“Let’s get straight to the point: Canada is threatening to take over Trenweca?”

“Why is it so surprising?”

I made a derisive snort. “Trenweca is one of the leading developing nations in the world. Our per capita income happens to be the fifth-highest in the world, and it’s been what, seven years since we declared our freedom from the United States? We took seven of USA’s fifty states – Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin, and have turned them almost as wealthy as the United States – respective of their sizes. And now you’re telling me it might just be taken over by Canada.”

“It is very much all of the above you mentioned. What it is not is properly armed for a war.”

My cynical self evaporated. “War?”

“With the United States.”

“I’m sorry?”

“You heard me right, Mr. Westwood. Although it isn’t out for anyone except the intense insiders to know, your beloved country may well as be preparing for it. The United States was never happy with your segregation, and its current President, Cynthia Faulkner is going to look to bring you back, and in the opinions of Trenweca’s Parliament, even if it involves a war between the two nations.”

A while after I drank it all in, I asked him, “Why are you telling me this?”

“You’ve done a Masters in American History from Brown University, summa cum laude. Back when the United States still consisted of fifty states.”

“But I work as an auditor. I don’t understand –”

“You worked two years as an assistant to the Secretary of State before you partook in the independence movement by Trenweca.”

“I moved mostly because I was incarcerated for involvement in the murder of Alexa Jennings and Walter Jennings. After that, I was forbidden to ever seek a political job in the States or in Trenweca.”

His smile was sly. “The charges will be removed from your records when you perform a task for us.”

“I don’t mind them being there in the first place, you see,” I retorted, “since they’re false. Alexa Jennings was killed at the hands of her psychopathic father, Walter, who attempted to kill me using the same knife. I grabbed it from him while he tried to thrust it into my abdomen, and I had no choice but to use it on him when he grabbed his loaded rifle. That’s why the knife contained my fingerprints, Mr. Cassidy. Not because I killed both of them, or because I am a mad killer running on loose.”

“Mr. Westwood, I assure you I am not blaming you for anything. I came here to ask you of a simple task you could do to let go then, of those charges, which may as well not matter to you, but have made you an outcast in USA, which is why you dislike their justice system so highly.”

Gritting my teeth in annoyance, I said, “What task do you have in mind?”

“When you sign my contact that includes all the minor details, the major ones will be that, first, I will erase all charges in all files in Trenweca that are held against your name. For this, you will need to apply for a job in the Trenweca Parliament, which, by my help, you will get easily. Your job will be to follow our instructions to prevent Trenweca declaring war in a rash movement before America does, in fear that it will any day do so themselves. What they don’t know is that Canada has gotten wind of this very interesting piece of news, and they plan to use it their advantage. While your country uselessly battles with USA, Canada will let USA suck out every ounce of blood from Trenweca, then when it’s about to collapse, it will lend a pillar of support in the form of their own army, which they will use as a route to gain into your country – and you know the rest.”

I stared at this man before me, who had just asked me to go as on a secret mission for the wellbeing of my country. “Who are you again?” I asked.

“I work for a covert division under Trenweca’s political offices. It was created by a leading leader in the Trenweca Independence Movement, Kyle Worthington, which I’m sure you know of. I don’t have much time Mr. Westwood, I can only grant you three days’ duration before we switch to another candidate. We, or I, thought you’d like a life free of stains of a crime you were never involved in. That you would like to save the country that granted you a second life, a life of normality and let you release the burden of living as a pariah. I hope I was not wrong. Till next time, if there is one, Mr. Timothy Westwood. Email me your response on the same ID as you did today by Monday. Have a safe weekend. I can say confidently it isn’t likely so many more are to come here.”

He left me without further ado, leaving me sitting in my chair, in a daze of disbelief and giddiness. And another feeling – an indescribable feeling that tugged at me. An unpleasant feeling.

Click here for the discussion thread.

2 comments:

Amanda said...

While I think you have an interesting concept, you could definitely make your query a little easier to read. There are a several run-on sentences in the first paragraph which are confusing, e.g. "Timothy Westwood, an American expatriate with a grimy past involving suspicion for murder, has been given exclusive information via a covert Trenweccan agent about an imminent war Trenweca plans to go on against USA, in fear of USA itself declaring it, even with an unprepared army." Break this sentence up to clarify what you are trying to say. Also, I don't think you have an invasion 'over' anything. I think you have an invasion 'into' another country.
Also- you should put the title of your book in all-caps. Make sure it is clear what your book is called.
Good luck!

Jenny said...

This query isn't enough developed from the original idea; there really isn't much beyond some coverings for the original prompt, so I only know the setup, not the plot. I'm not going to believe in Trenweca without an extremely good justification, but if you can pull it off I think this would be intriguing.

I'm also curious about how this is a fantasy, since there's no hint of it in the query or pages.

Regarding the pages, there was some nice description, but too much info-dumping and "as you know Bob"-ing to make it feel natural to me.