Parabiosis – Proof of Concept

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Every once in a while I get an idea for a novel but I’m not sure how well it’ll transition from brain to page. So I take the story out for a test drive. I call it a Proof-of-Concept and wrote about it here.

This story has been stuck in the back of my mind since my daughter was a few months old. I plotted it out in my head as I bounced her to sleep.

It’s the second in my Northern Ontario / horror / LGBT+ romance novellas that I have in various states of writing. The first Paragenesis is at 35,000 of 50,000 words.

This one will follow the main character going up north to meet his boyfriend’s family. His family that has been tasked with protecting their community and the world from mind-controlling aliens.

I walked along the shore of the little lake. In summer this must have been the favourite beach area for the small town, but now that it was closer to Halloween, it felt dead. The leaves had fallen weeks ago and all the trees were bare.

There was a sense of impatience in the still water and surrounding nature. I imagined great ancient gods rising from the lake, or fay hiding behind the birch and pine trees. It was forced and didn’t fit.

This lake with its still water was man-made and its depths hid the construction equipment that hit an underground river. No dinosaurs, monsters, or eldritch horrors, just a man-made happy accident. There were no mythical creatures hiding in this land; Northern Ontario was too ancient and too new all at once for that sort of silliness.

“You’re being silly, there isn’t anything to worry about.” I spoke out loud and was only replied by my own muffled echo. The only answer I got was from the crows. Those I recognized, smaller than Ottawa but just as annoying.

I took in the stillness and felt the anticipation for winter coming from the lake and forests. It was the same country, same province even, but home was busy. The leaves there were just finishing their fall, winter loomed but not like this. This was a hunger that radiated off everything. “You’ve been reading to many comic books. I half expect the Westmeath Shadow to come out and fight some aliens.” Both of those were made up. I thought.

As I often did in the city, I had let my feet do the walking as I did the thinking. The lake was far behind me and I was surrounded by trees. I still couldn’t wrap my mind around how small most of them were. The whole area had been burned a hundred years ago and the trees still hadn’t reached the massive size I was used to.

I smelled something wrong before I saw it. The smell of earth and moulding leaves gave way to rotting meat and trash. I’d somehow walked into the local dump. “Who builds a dump near a lake?” I asked aloud and I think the crows actually laughed in response.

The smell was horrible and I turned away but something caught my eye. Something moved deeper in the dump. I followed, I’m not sure why. My fight with Matéo must have hit me harder than I thought. “Great, now I’m following a bear,” I whispered this as the smell of rot grew stronger.

I walked around a large assortment of garbage bags pilled on top of an old boat and that’s when I saw Herman. He was one of the silent people that lived in the big house on Principle Street, that Matéo had referred to as, “The Germans”.

Herman walked into a shed and came out with a shovel. To get to the shed he had to avoid what looked like hundreds of bodies in various states of decay.

Coming out of the shed, he walked towards a giant hole reminiscent of a pit mine. I was trying to swallow down bile and a scream when someone cupped their hand over my mouth and pulled me back.

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