There’s a rustle and a whisper behind the skin of night, with a scent of limonene, as his knowledge coalesces: shrill girls giggle, then they shush one another, as he hears them and looks around in vain to see who’s there … and Jaymi smiles, for this kerfuffle is the opening of the soundtrack he’s about to reveal.
Next comes the chuckle of an Arcadian brook, on whose idealised bank Kim is reclining in the garb of a shepherd, blond and Classical, contemplating how nothing lasts, nothing can be grasped forever, everybody passes and decays at last.
Dawn glows pale at the side of the heavens, his flock is scattered peaceably around the field behind him, and blue through the air comes a call from that heifer lowing at the skies—an echo of a footnote of stone via song.
Before this eclogue can wilt into too etiolated an idyll, Jaymi electrifies it by touching Kim’s shoulders with a jolt of something new to him. Almost pre-physical, certainly pre-sexual, it’s nonetheless an ecstatic ripple that runs through his body like a touch of the divine, as if from a figure leaning down from behind—a young female figure, he senses (for thus has Jaymi shown himself, on this unique occasion). And THIS exists also! she seems to be informing Kim.
Into his pastoral aloneness comes her touch, an intimation of her smile, and a promise that before too long (oh soon, very soon) he will know about things he doesn’t yet know about. Until then, she’ll watch to check he’s still on track to know them. And she’ll love him unseen, while he nears that knowledge—so he may feel her breath upon his neck, while she watches. She knows Kim will have to see horrors on his journey. She’s sorry in advance: so sorry he will have to see that, so sorry that the other one will do that, so sorry they will leave him such an echo and a stain… But she’d hate it even more if he were not to break through, to his arrival and completion.
An electronic pulse floats down into the soundtrack—the sexiest music Kim has ever heard, though he wouldn’t yet know to call it such. That Greek Golden-Age paradise of Arcadia slides down the hill-slopes, into the town on the island. His unseen protector leads him through its narrow whitewashed alleyways to the entrance of a little club called City Bar. Standing close to him in the alleyway outside it, she attends with sweetness to Kim’s appearance, straightening and smoothing down his shepherd garb, during which their eyes hardly meet, until he lays his head on her shoulder. She puts her finger to her mouth, bidding silence, whispers something indistinct and kisses him on the lips, soft and warm. Then she turns away to leave. He keeps hold of her hand for a moment, then lets it drop. She slips off into the gathering crowd, around a whitewashed angle of wall, and is gone.
Jaymi’s attention departs in her—but then it reconsiders this, eases up and out of her, and floats around and down again unseen, where Kim walks into City Bar.
Inside the venue, Kim’s and Jaymi’s eyes take a moment to adjust to the dark. Under the spotlights, a skinny sexy boy is dancing manically, feminine and ash-blond, and Kim hears his own voice asking in his head, “Am I silver who needs gold, or am I gold who needs silver, or am I either silver or gold who needs more of the same?” The androgynous stranger catches his eye for an instant, without expression … and this whole soundtrack clicks one step closer to full orchestration, as the half-created Kim achieves his first realisation that the object of his own inchoate yearning will be another individual Beast.
Kim cannot yet have any intimation of Shigem in particular, but this soundtrack straight away features the incursion of an audio sample so imbued with soft dark enchantment that it almost feels like an intimation of him. This sample is arcing back here from a point far ahead, deep in the game-play of The Imagination Thief, where Jaymi will use it as a sound from Kim’s amber days, thus: “That soundtrack was playing, and now it reached the infinitely creepy-sweet ‘Mysteries of Love’. And through your leaded window, all those distant background figures, standing still or gesturing in talk or crawling ant-like across the frame, were sealed in a different world, photographed and laminated here in your memory.” And Jaymi’s eyes feel as if they glow, to recall that that moment in the game will occur just before Shigem and Kim will meet and pair for life.
For more about "The Beasts of Electra Drive" by Rohan Quine, see
For some great reviews of it, see
And to pick it up from whichever retailer you prefer, the retailers’ links for the audiobook format are at
and for the paperback format and the ebook format are at