Simone didn't know what she had been a part of…

She slipped her thin arm around his shoulders, and he lolled against her. She hefted his weight, and he vaguely tried to help, pushing against the grassy island.

She levered Roger against the skimmer, and heaved.

Groaning with pain, Roger Duroc eased himself into the driver's seat. He was out of breath.

Her feet were deep in the mud at the bottom now. She pulled them up, and heard submarine sucking sounds. The water was up to her chest. Her thousand-dollar dress might as well be a potato sack now.

He had found her in a swamp, and given her a way out. Now, they were even.

And there was the question of her desertion.

The cold started seeping into her body. She put her hands on the side of the skimmer, and pulled herself up.

Roger shifted, and there was a gun in his hand, its barrel against her forehead.

She slipped back into the water, her feet touching the bottom.

Not saying anything, Roger flipped off the safety catch with a shaking thumb. Simone looked up into his muddy eyes.

There were big things nearby, shaking the cypresses.

With his left hand, Roger engaged the skimmer's' engine. A wash began to swirl from the stern, and the craft rose in the water.

Simone bowed her head, her chin dipped into the swamp.

When she looked up, Roger's skimmer was gone, leaving only a frothy wake and a wave that rocked her in the water.

She slid up onto the island, and waited for the Suitcase People.


'When I was a boy I was the hero in comic books and movies. I grew up believing in a dream. Now I've lived it out. That's all a man can ask for.'

Elvis Presley

In case you're confused by the development of the Demon Download Cycle, here's an order of chronology and a taste of things to come. Though Demon Download is the first in the series, Krokodil Tears takes place slightly earlier, with Comeback Tour following on directly from the latter. A forthcoming book will go back to the beginning and deal with 'Route 666', the path taken through the wilderness by the founders of Deseret, and the intertwining adventures of Jessamyn Bonney, Chantal Juillerat, Nathan Stack, Hawk-That-Settles, Redd Harvest and Elvis Presley. These will continue until the apocalyptic conclusion of United States Calvary.

But there's a long and surprising road to travel before then. Interestingly, when this alternate future was originally mapped out in 1989, we made several elements - the premiership of Boris Yeltsin, the casting of Drew Barrymore in sex Goddess roles - that have since come to take place in the real world. Let's just hope that most of the rest of the cycle remains on an alternate timeline.

In writing this book, I owe a great debt to the various people who've written about Elvis Presley and related subjects. I'd like especially to credit Dirk Vallenga and Mick Farren's scarifying Elvis and the Colonel (1988), for the low-down on Colonel Parker, Fred L. Worth and Steven D. Tamerius's Elvis: His Life from A to Z (1988), for everything from details of Elvis's favourite foods to movies and songs, Luis Valdez's film La Bamba (1987), for the subtitle, and, especially, Greil Marcus's Mystery Train (1977), the best thing I've ever read about rock 'n' roll. Thanks also to Brian Craig

The End
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