ISHERWOOD

Posted: October 3, 2015 in Uncategorized

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There is a story that has been stirring around in my head for a good many years. This story is
actually a combination of several stories that I have been wanting to tell, but until now my ability
was not quite up to the standards of the visions from which these (and now “it”) sprang.
Originally, this story was going to be entitled The Footprinters, but after having read George S.
Stewart’s Earth Abides, and having loved that first of the post-apocalyptic classics, the name of
Stewart’s protagonist, Isherwood Williams, stuck with me. While the work itself is not by any
means inspired by Stewart or his story, the name haunted me.

The story opens with the visit from attorney Abrey Chan with his client, death row inmate Haley
Alexander Maxwood. The meeting ends abruptly with a dismissal by Maxwood of Chan, but not
before Maxwood asks about Chan’s granddaughter—a child that Maxwood has never met and
shouldn’t even know about. Specifically, Maxwood, a confessed serial killer, tells Chan to ask
his granddaugther, Liza, how bad her nightmares are these days. Later, it is revealed that not only
does Liza suffer from nightmares, but when she dreams, she is a princess in the land of
Isherwood, and her subjects are suffering at the hands of an upstart laird who would be king,
Laird Maxum. Chan is shaken by this turn of events and begins investigating the possibility of
other dimensions.

Isherwood is principally, however, the story of Trace Williams, who awakens from the aftermath
of a terrible interstate highway crash and finds he is unable to move. He’s in a hospital attended
by Nurse Sherry Tomlinson, who understands fundamentally that Trace is somehow trapped in
his body but unable to communicate. She finds a way to break through to him, and thus begin the
process of bringing him back into control of his body. But first Trace—who assumes that he is
indeed dying—travels to Isherwood when Nurse Williams closes his eyes and demands he sleep
and gather his strength. There, in an alien, almost medieval land with a strange blue sun, he finds
himself in the body of a young boy named Trey, who is being pursued by the Laird’s foul
minions.

Between his frequent trips back and forth between Earth and Isherwood, Trace learns that the
people he knows here also exist there, but have no knowledge as to their other lives. In this
respect, he comes to learn, Isherwood is either a shadow of Earth or possibly the reverse is true.
Before he can discover enough, however, Trace (or Trey) and Sherry (who is actually an old
witch named Sherrin) are swept up in a civil war for the mastery of Isherwood.

Right now the book stands at 30,000 words, but I fear it will be far longer than that. I am
nowhere near the halfway point. I estimate it will end up being closer to 150,000 words in length,
or about the length of three Bill Travis books, back to back. And that’s only the first installment.

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