Noah, who once hoped to become a comic book or graphic novel illustrator, is completely blind due to a degenerative eye disease and has rarely left the Seattle area since his diagnosis. While Archer has never previously traveled for longer than a weekend with Noah along.
Reaching the Netherlands, they face a chaotic world better suited to a particularly alert cat than a young blind man and his novice guide. If the physical fear and stresses of public transportation and city streets are not bad enough, Noah and Archer find even their marriage threatened by the daily battle they wage without and within their own relationship.
Includes a bonus story! Go back to the beginning with the prequel and see how Noah and Archer first met and how their relationship evolved.
Jordan Taylor © 2018
All Rights Reserved
“Dr. Chamaeleo?” Archer jabbed my shoulder with two fingers. “Really? How many superheroes or villains already exist who have chameleon or camouflage or shapeshifter abilities and names?”
“Meaning it’s a classic,” I said. “Who gets tired of shifters?”
“I don’t know. You can do better, Noah. I thought you said you wanted to create a blind superhero. Where’s that guy?”
I didn’t answer for a minute, distracted by the plane’s engine, voices of passengers concealed by the roar, and an infant crying a dozen rows ahead of us.
Archer shifted beside me, probably looking out the window. We had a whole row of three to ourselves, having followed advice from my father about booking a window and aisle seat toward the tail of the plane. The middle seat never sold, leaving us room to roam.
Archer insisted he wanted an aisle. He liked to be able to move. Really, I was beginning to wonder if he was claustrophobic. I had never known that about him. Maybe that was the point of these trips? Getting to know everything you had missed about one another before the vows.
Not as if I could enjoy the view, so he had taken the window while he could still see the vanishing Cascade Mountains or ocean or British Columbia. I wasn’t even sure which direction the plane was taking. North or east?
I had badgered him to read the opening scene—first page, first draft—of my masterpiece in progress while we waited to board. We’d been interrupted by irksome matters like getting on the plane and settling in and taking off. After all the waiting, Archer had finally said something. Yet, now I had a funny feeling about the whereabouts of all that admiring praise I’d been expecting.
What if Archer did not appreciate how much work it had been, writing that first page?
“I did,” I said about the hero question. “I just… I’m not sure—” I shrugged. “No one wants to read about a blind superhero.”
“That’s your motivation now? ‘No one wants to read it’?” I could not hear Archer sigh over the noise of the plane, but I was sure he did. “I thought this was for fun. What difference does it make if nameless strangers want to read your comic book? One step at a time, Noah. Isn’t the point of the outline writing what you care about? Next, you’ll be telling me your hero isn’t even gay.”
“I just don’t think blind will work.” I felt into the now empty aisle seat to my right for my water bottle.
“That’s mine,” Archer said as I removed the cap.
“It is not. I tore the paper on mine so I could feel it.” I drank. “You’re such a dickhead sometimes.”
“What would I do besides enhanced non-sight senses? Hence, a Daredevil ripoff?” I asked, carefully twisting the cap back in place. “It’s been done before. Anyway, don’t you think a gay, blind superhero is a bit much?”
“Maybe for the 1970s. You just said it: so much has been done before. It’s time for a blind gay superhero. Not to mention a few leading women who dress like normal people in safe, practical costumes. Not bras and shin guards to fight all the creatures of the underworld.”
“Your views are too radical for today’s fantasy audience—”
“First of all, that’s not even true.” Now he just sounded irritated. “There are a lot of smart people in the world who are fed up with panty heroines, and there are gay superheroes around already. Second, I told you to stop with the audience bit. If you’re not doing this outline for yourself, who, exactly, are you writing for?”
I sat in silence, leaned close to him at the window so we could hear one another.
Of course I couldn’t admit it, but that was a damn good question. When, and how, had I gotten it in my head that I wanted to develop my comic book idea with an artist and actually publish? I wasn’t sure, but…there it was.
I had somehow regressed over ten years to junior high when I had read everyone from Chris Claremont to Jim Lee, Frank Miller, and Tim Truman, then drew and wrote my own, filling sketchbook after sketchbook. A long, long time ago. Yet, apparently, not as long as I’d led myself to believe.
So was I interested in seriously writing a comic book? Even if I could no longer be my own artist? Even if I had to collaborate with someone else, whose work I would never see? It sounded like a horrible idea. So I felt surprised to discover that I was unsure of the answer.
I said none of this to Archer. I had told him I wanted to do an outline just for fun and I’d welcome his feedback, and for now, that was the story I was sticking to. Trouble was, Archer hadn’t given much feedback. Asking where the blind guy was and why I cared about a mythical audience? Not helping.
“Anything else?” I asked. “About the first page?”
“Except?” I prompted. I knew that tone.
“Except…” Maybe a shrug? “You know.”
“No. That’s why I asked for your feedback. I’m just starting outlines and scenes and characters. Now’s the time.”
“Well.” Like a sentence. Like, No.
“You know Whiteout is an office supply, right? No one is going to think of blizzards or anything if that’s what you’re going for.”
“I thought of blizzards.”
Author of fiction from short stories to epics, designer of award-winning book covers, lover of travel and ice cream, Jordan finds it easier to write a novel than remember to keep up a blog. She writes historical fiction (mostly World War One and steampunk), contemporary fiction from dog stories to thrillers, paranormal, occasional romance, and young adult titles. Her series include Lightfall, Great War Centennial, and the best-selling Angel Paws stories.