A little early this week in posting this blog but I’m excited because I have started a new Jasmine Frame story. It is set between the events of Blueprint and Painted Ladies so is both a sequel and a prequel. It occurs at another important stage in Jasmine’s transition that sees her involved in another case. Like Blueprint I will be posting an episode each week, the difference being that this time I have some idea where it is going. What I don’t know is how long it will be or what convolutions will occur in the plot as we go along.
My other source of excitement this week was the news that a publisher is interested in publishing my fantasy novel, Evil Above the Stars featuring the heroine, September Weekes. The publisher is Elsewhen Press, a small publisher of SF and Fantasy. Like my Jasmine Frame stories, I have been developing September’s adventures for a few years now. I couldn’t be more delighted that it looks as though they’ll be available to an audience. More news as it develops.
So, here is the first episode of The Switch.
The Switch: part 1
The soles of her running shoes barely touched the concrete pavement as she loped along at a swift but comfortable pace. Despite it being the end of a long working day at the end of a long working week she felt exhilarated and bounding with energy. A weight had been taken off her. No longer would she have the burden of living two lives. From now on she was only Jasmine Frame. James was no more. Ahead of her stretched three weeks of leave from the Kintbridge police force; three weeks to sort out the legal papers; three weeks to acclimatise to being Jasmine full-time.
There was still plenty of light on this July evening but the temperature was comfortable now. Running was easy. The shoulder-length blonde wig was a bit of an irritation as were the silicone inserts in her sports bra, but they were necessary. They made her feel more feminine but she longed for the day when her body would match her image of herself. The wig could be discarded soon but it would be some years before she had breasts of her own to fill the bra cups. She hadn’t even started the gender altering drugs yet, and as for surgery, well, that was in the distant future.
She crossed the road and joined the gravel path that circled the common land that had been an air base. Where once there had been the roar of jet bombers now there was peace but for the call of birds. Sometimes she met other joggers and dog walkers, but this evening she was alone.
Or so she thought. She heard voices, young raucous voices, angry voices. She crested a low rise. Now the path dropped down to one of the old access roads onto the airfield. There were five young people by a disused gatehouse. Their noise and movements attracted Jasmine’s attention as she jogged towards them. There was one girl with long dark hair who slouched a couple of metres apart from the other four who appeared to be boys. Three of them were surrounding the last, jostling and shoving him. The three were taller and tougher looking than the subject of their attack. He tried to evade them but was unable to escape their triangle. Two of his assailants grabbed him and dragged him towards the open door of the concrete hut. From the shouts and swearing Jasmine gathered that it wasn’t some game in progress. This was an assault.
Jasmine stopped and pulled her phone from her belt. She thumbed the contact to the police station and spoke urgently.
‘Back-up required, youths fighting, north entrance to Enborne Common off Bowdown Road.’ She sprinted down the path towards the road. The three boys were trying to push the other through the doorway but he had a foot up on the door jamb pushing back while he waved his arms trying to keep them free. The girl hung behind not helping the assailants or their victim.
‘Stop. Police,’ Jasmine shouted realising that she had used her male voice. The girl and the boys looked around and paused in their pushing. The short boy shook himself free.
‘Fuck off,’ one of the boys shouted towards Jasmine and grabbed the boy’s arm
‘Leave him alone,’ Jasmine roared. ‘The police are on their way.’ She waved her phone to emphasise the point. The two other boys looked at the one holding the victim.
‘Come on Kyle. Let’s go. The fuzz are coming,’ one said.
Kyle glared at Jasmine, his lip curling. Jasmine could see him matching her masculine voice to her bosomed vest and blonde curls.
‘Don’t listen to him, guys. It’s a freak, a perv.’ Kyle took a firmer grip on the small lad who was struggling to get free.
Jasmine took a few steps closer, stretching to her full height, unfortunately no greater than Kyle’s, and adopting a pose with her arms and fists that suggested that she could look after herself in a fight. She was confident she could take Kyle alone but knew she couldn’t defend herself against all three, or four if the girl decided to join in. What was she getting into? At least there were no knives in sight. Knives were her worst fear.
‘Leave it Kyle,’ the other boy spoke up, ‘Perhaps the trannie has called the police.’ A siren sounded in the distance and all the young people stiffened. Jasmine smiled, it may not have been the car she’d called for but it was a useful coincidence.
‘There. They’ll be here in moments,’ Jasmine said in as calm a voice as she could manage, striving to raise her pitch. The three bigger boys and the girl gazed towards the road. The victim wriggled free of Kyle and ran towards Jasmine. Kyle moved to follow. Jasmine grabbed the small lad and held him protectively.
‘If you run, you may avoid being arrested,’ Jasmine added.
‘Come on, Kyle. It’s not worth it,’ the girl said. Kyle stopped a couple of metres from Jasmine and the boy. His fists clenched and the muscles in his bare arms tensed. Was he going to attack? Jasmine prepared to push the lad away while she defended him.
The same or a different siren sounded, closer. The other two boys ran off. The girl tugged on Kyle’s shoulder. After a moment he relaxed and allowed himself to be pulled away. He turned and with the girl ran off in the same direction as the others.
Jasmine was left with the victim of the attack. The top of his head was barely up to her shoulder. The sides of his head were shaved and there was a tuft of spiky black hair on top. His cheeks and chin were smooth and soft. He wore a loose T-shirt and baggy knee-length cotton shorts. Jasmine thought he must be about twelve or thirteen and perhaps rather than being short was actually quite tall for his age.
‘Hi, I’m Jasmine. Who are you?’ Jasmine asked, smiling broadly to reassure the young lad.
The boy frowned.
‘I’m Dan,’ his voice was a soft treble, ‘Are you a trannie?’
Jasmine sighed. She wasn’t surprised that she’d been read. The aggressive Kyle had spotted her. It wasn’t surprising when her shouted police voice didn’t match her waxed arms and legs to say nothing of her now slightly skewed wig.
‘Yes, I’m trans,’ she admitted. ‘What was all that about?’
Dan ignored her question
‘Are the police really coming?’
‘I hope so. I called for back-up.’
‘You’re a cop?’
‘They have trannies then.’
‘A few.’ Jasmine had been listening to Dan’s questions and watching him. His interest in her didn’t seem to be the fascination with the weird or the disgust that being read often generated. This young boy intrigued her. ‘You haven’t answered my question, Dan. Why were Kyle and his friends all over you?’
Dan didn’t reply at first. Jasmine watched various emotions pass across his face. Finally he spoke.
‘He was going to fuck me.’
Jasmine knew that her shock must have registered on her face. Did Dan know what he was implying? She had to spell it out.
‘What? You’re underage. Does Kyle want to be known as a gay paedo?’
‘It’s not like that. I’m sixteen and he wants to show everyone that I’m a girl.’