Shigem approaches the monitor, the last remaining Beast in the room. He turns with affection to look at his creator. “You’ve been a bit ignored, haven’t you, sitting over there?” he asks, and Jaymi nods. “Oh well,” continues Shigem, “I’ll leave you with this, in case it helps: whenever life gets a bit much and I’m in danger of coming over all unnecessary, I just think of pineapple upside-down cake. As soon as I think about it, all is well with the world. I mean, isn’t it the coolest, how it tells you all about itself, in its actual name? And how adorably sweet and lovely, back in those caveman days or whenever it was, that while everyone else from the cave was out somewhere killing other people from other caves, there was one little queen like me who decided it was so much more important to stay back home alone in the cave and invent pineapple upside-down cake instead. I know just why she did that.” He climbs gracefully up to the monitor, grabs its edges with a flourish of strength that causes his bangles to jangle in the quiet of the study, and glances back at his maker, one last time. “I’d also like to point out that when it comes to fruitcakes, being heavily fruited is not the same thing as being over-fruited. Bye-bye, Jaymi!” Shigem’s warm brown eyes flash the most beautiful smile his creator has ever seen, and perhaps will ever see. Then he’s gone, like his companions before him—all sealed into their allotted games forever, never again to run wild through the danger and mess of meat-space.
And so it is, that these seven Beasts are born into the upcoming worlds of The Imagination Thief, The Platinum Raven, The Host in the Attic, Apricot Eyes and Hallucination in Hong Kong, from their respective origins here in the house on Electra Drive, the house on Zeus Drive, the house on Jupiter Drive or the Melrose Avenue building.
Jaymi Peek looks around the newfound stillness of his study; and a luminous sense of peace expands throughout the room.
Magic and enchantment, mined out of dead things!
He sniffs, becoming aware of the scent of a bonfire drifting in through his terrace doors from somewhere across the Hollywood canyons, most likely tended by a gardener at the edge of some hillside estate like this one; and a memory floats back to him. He closes his eyes, trying to grasp it.
Yes: years ago, woodlands at dusk in the late summer, somewhere on the outskirts of Omaha, Nebraska. Nervous on the group’s edge, a sixteen-year-old Jaymi plays a violin, and the liquid magic of his music is delighting his audience. An end-of-summer hour, near the end of all their childhoods.
This moving image of him and his audience flickers and slows, as flames from the bonfire flare high, roaring up soundless to obscure the scene. Then they die back down to reveal him anew. An hour after his audience was banished, there he remains in the dark of the clearing: a lone violinist, playing music in the woodlands, as if for all time…
Now that the Jaymi Beast and all his companions have been laminated into their game-worlds, destined to remain locked into pixel form forever, to be played by future gamers, how poignant it is to reflect on what the Jaymi Beast felt during the brief period he was at large in meat-space. Throughout all the urgency and drama of his mission to Mount Lee with the others, did the Jaymi Beast feel like a Beast, as opposed to a human?
Deep inside the Jaymi Beast, was there, in fact…?
And somewhere inside himself, Jaymi Peek smiles.
At last he can resist the temptation no longer. He jumps up, strides over to his main computer monitor and fires up the world of The Imagination Thief.
From a black screen, the three words of the game’s opening title fade up, stand for a few seconds, then fade back down into black, before the first scene begins.
“Are you ready for this?” calls Raven to me from the corridor outside my office. “Don’t forget we’re pressing the button tomorrow!”
I sink back in my chair, my feet resting on my cluttered desktop. “Oh, I’ll remember, thank you.”
“OK, then. Goodnight.” The main door hisses and clicks shut after her, muffling her steps across the stone floor of the outside lobby, where a lift-bell rings. To my left, the sun sinks over the Hudson River, turning its water into twinkly pink vertical strips between the towers of Battery Park City.
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