Today we welcome, Amelia Faulkner, author of Blind Man’s Wolf. I was absolutely fascinated by what she has to say about the London Underground.
London’s Abandoned Underground
Every city has its abandoned spots, and London is no exception. Land is at a premium in such a densely-packed capital, yet still there are places where you can be a minute away from a busy street yet utterly unseen.
Many of those places are London’s many disused and demolished former Tube stations. In many cases “demolished” simply means that the ticket hall and entrances have been torn down; but below the surface remain empty platforms, some of which regularly see trains pass through them with passengers unaware that the darkness outside their window is anything other than a tunnel.
London Underground still have access to most of these “demolished” stations: hidden doors in small alleys, or unmarked entrances beside bigger buildings. Some are used for storerooms and some are just checked occasionally for maintenance. Occasionally London Underground may arrange a tour of one of the safer, cleaner abandoned stations, and Aldwych in particular is often available as a film or television set.
Many of these stations were either already closed or received a bomb or two during World War Two, and their platforms and storage areas were co-opted as air raid shelters. Rudimentary ventilation had to be added, and some of the extant stations still retain their wartime furniture and décor.
I was fortunate enough to do some work with London Underground around ten years ago and while I wasn’t able to gain access to closed stations, I had frequent access to closed-off portions of stations which were still open and was always struck by the eerie nature of such old, silent caverns mere seconds away from some of the busiest commuter passageways in the city.
They seemed like the ideal spot for a pack of werewolves who wanted to stay out sight, so I co-opted a genuine, abandoned station in Whitechapel and put it to work. St. Mary’s was a beautiful station built on Whitechapel Road in 1884, but by 1938 it had been made obsolete and closed down. It took a couple of bombs during the Blitz and was subsequently demolished, but its platforms were used as air raid shelters, bricked up to prevent people falling onto the tracks.
Every door goes somewhere, even the unmarked ones.
Especially the unmarked ones.
A night-blind vampire. A werewolf with lousy self-confidence. And a whole hell of a lot of danger…
Tooth & Claw, Book 1.
Ellis O’Neill is an art dealer with too many problems: his eyesight has deteriorated to the point of night-blindness; he’s estranged from his family, to whom he owes a considerable sum of money; and his guide dog went right off him the night Ellis died. Without his dog, Ellis is trapped in a life bouncing between home and work, dependent on his personal assistant.
Werewolf Randall Carter has problems of his own. He loves his pack, he really does, but as their Omega he’s always the one to bear the brunt of their rage. It’s a role he can’t avoid, and Randall isn’t sure he can take it for much longer, so he buries himself in his day job. Randall’s the best dog trainer in the city, and when he’s offered a client who needs him to work evenings he’d be a fool to turn it down.
Soon Randall is falling for someone he should despise. Everything about the undead is anathema to his kind, but Ellis is exactly the kind of guy Randall would want to ask out on a date – if he were still breathing. Worse, they may not have too long to figure their feelings out. Someone or something is gunning for Ellis and anyone else who gets in the way; they won’t rest until the vampire is destroyed.
Ellis heard Randall’s clothing shift, felt the body under his hands move, and Randall’s warmth drew around him until it touched his face in return. His hands cupped Ellis’ cheeks as Ellis’ held Randall’s. His fingers splayed into Ellis’ hair and his soft palms came to rest over his cheeks. Randall’s heart raced along ten to the dozen.
There was nowhere else to go from here. Ellis couldn’t have pulled away if he’d wanted to. Randall’s lips were within his reach, and he had an open invitation to meet them with his own.
Only a fucking idiot turned that down.
Ellis pressed his chest to Randall’s and lowered his head. He knew where Randall’s mouth was. It waited for him, hungry but restrained, while Randall’s breath heated the air between them. He breathed in, accepting the heat into his own lungs.
Then his lips met Randall’s.
God, there was more to it than that, though. Randall’s mouth invited him, each breath pushing warmth and need into Ellis’ as he parted his lips and pressed. He felt the hard length in Randall’s jeans as it clamoured for attention against his thigh, and the firm buttons of his nipples as they strove to reach him through both their shirts. Randall tasted weakly of tea and salt. His lips tightened against Ellis’ as they responded to their presence. Randall’s nose bumped against Ellis’ cheek, and Ellis slid his tongue forward to caress the delicate skin beyond Randall’s outer lips.
Randall’s whimper returned, stronger. Longer. Louder. His fingers delved deeper into Ellis’ hair, his palms shifted to cup his ears.
Ellis’ body thrummed in tune with Randall’s pulse. He tipped his head further and butted his tongue against Randall’s teeth, and Randall’s mouth opened for him.
It didn’t matter where they were any more. He wanted Randall, now.
Ellis needed him.
God, he needed him.
About the author
Amelia Faulkner was born in the rolling green countryside of Oxfordshire, and moved to London once she was mostly grown up. She has a degree in Computer Science, and spent quite a long time working with computers until her childhood love of writing could no longer be ignored.
Since then she has written for corporate clients and personal pleasure, and finally stepped away from office-bound working in 2011 to freelance from home.
Amelia is also a keen photographer and film-goer, and resides in the city (not the City) with her husband. She is notoriously camera-shy, so please enjoy this picture of her cat!
Mailing list: http://eepurl.com/ZiAEX