Well, I'm slowly working my way through the sequel. It doesn't even have a title yet. It's just called Children of the Mechanism 2, and I'm going rather slow because I have another full-time job that gets in the way. However, I've churned out five solid chapters. Maybe you'd like to read the rough opening paragraphs? Okay, why not? Here you go:
Children of the Mechanism 2
Chapter One: The Bones Under the Bed
“Never open that door,” the old father said, tipped to one side on his chair, the loose skin of his jowls quivering as he struggled to sit up. “Never open that door, Gis, not for any reason, not for anything in the world.”
The incessant, rhythmic tapping from the end of the hall continued unabated, every metallic clank climbing Gis’s spine and settling at the base of his skull until he could scarcely stand it. The sound had begun in the middle of lunch and continued now long after he’d tossed the residue of the old father’s food into the Refuse Hole. Would it never end?
“But, Father, who is doing this?” Gis asked. “Who is making the terrible sound?”
The old father finally managed to sit up, flopping back against the high headrest of the chair. With a shaky hand, he pushed his wispy white hair back against his skull. His robe hung loosely these days, like a big blanket draped over his shoulders. Gis was tempted to believe the old father changed clothes at night while the children slept, gradually putting on bigger and bigger robes, but he knew this wasn’t the case. The ancient food stains on the front of the robe were the same as ever, years of dribbled meat juice soaking into the gray fabric.
“Listen to me carefully, Gis,” the old father said, dragging his bent fingers through the wild spray of his white beard. “There is something very dangerous on the other side of that door. That’s why we never open it. That’s why we never even touch it.”
“But, Father, you told me the door can’t open,” Gis said, lingering in the entryway of the old father’s bedroom, idly dragging his heel against the smooth carpet. “You said it’s not a real door. You said it many times.”
“I’m just trying to keep you away from it, Gis. I will say whatever I must say to keep you away from it.”
The tapping stopped for a moment, and Gis breathed a sigh of relief. It was like the sudden end of a long nightmare. But then it started up a moment later, and all of his nerves were immediately on edge. He wanted to claw at something, to dig into his own skin, to bite the carpet, or break one of the old father’s dainties on the shelves.
Tap-tap-tap, like metal against metal. Gis couldn’t stand it. He hated it more than he’d hated anything since the Many Deaths.
“But what if this sound never stops?” he said. “How will we…?” How will I not go crazy? How will I not pull the rest of my teeth out and throw myself into the Refuse Hole?
+ + +
There you go. One of these days, the sequel will be ready. In the meantime, if you haven't read the original, check it out by clicking the image: