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Monthly Archives: July 2015
“Do you want to be?”
“Not a what,” I say with glee.
They look confused.
They frown. They glare.
I smile back, a silent
They try again.
“What’s your career?”
I chortle –
“Now, that’s a better question,
Hands held down the shaking body as she flailed and jerked instinctively. Her head thrashed from side to side as she fought to see. A field of blurry white. Light. Ceiling. Walls. Coats. Words she used to know rushed through her head. A dark head with black strings and a shiny metal circle leaned closer as they rushed by the walls.
She wrenched back onto the gurney, as far away as she could get, nearly flinging herself off, and screamed wordlessly. The high, thin sound shattered the white with the gentleness of a knife. She couldn’t stop. Couldn’t stop the screaming. Couldn’t stop the images. Couldn’t stop anything. Tears ran down her face. She didn’t know.
“God have mercy.”
She continued to scream as strong hands pushed her back into place and thick restraints were fastened.
“Haloperidol – get a 0.4mg – no, a 0.5mg syringe. Now!”
It was as if she didn’t need to breath. Only scream. She didn’t stop until the drug replaced the white with utter blackness.
Of the three novels I started here (or novellas, who knows?), one has proved much more challenging to move forward with than the others. The goal was to try out three different genres: science fiction, fantasy, and horror.
The science fiction and fantasy have been much easier to move forward with (ideas, purpose, overall plot focus, etc). I think the reason is familiarity and complication level. I’m definitely more familiar with science fiction and fantasy, and while some books in those genres have extremely intricate plots, others don’t. It depends on how many twists, turns, and dramatic reveals the author wants the book to have. If that isn’t the emphasis, you can move forward without too much planning.
I’m not sure it’s possible to have a successful horror book without twists, turns, and dramatic reveals.
As a result, I’ve been doing a great deal of research into the horror genre (with lots more to go) to help me feel a bit more grounded on reader expectations – especially what not to do. I may break those rules anyway, but I’ll have tried. Anyone who wants to share rules, favorite books/movies, etc, please, feel free. This is a genre I’ve never tried, and it requires a level of intricacy that hasn’t been my usual style so far. While I truly believe that writing challenges are good for a writer’s brain and skills, I also know that listening to other perspectives and techniques is very beneficial (seriously, I will take whatever tips/links you want to give).
You see, to make matters worse for myself, when I finally came up with a focus I like for the horror story, it turned out to be something that I don’t know much about. So that’s requiring a good amount of research, too. That’s partly because it may require an ensemble cast. Like usual, my brain isn’t taking the easy road when it comes to ideas.
This may be the one that makes me break the revision rule.
In any case, I haven’t posted on this story since July 3rd, (and it didn’t even have a working title at that point) so here is a refresher before we move on:
Cinnamon and blood. The warm spicy aroma once associated with cake and cookies mixed with the metallic wrongness until the once bright room blurred and bile burned its way up the back of her throat.
Sudden pain in her head broke through the dizziness, and when she reached one shaking hand to her forehead, she realized that somehow she had ended up on the floor. She immediately pushed up to her feet only to stumble backwards, hitting the counter hard with her shoulders before sliding down the smooth cupboards to the cold tile. The shaking made the dizziness worse, and the quivering weakness of her muscles made the fear spread through her like blood.
The reminder brought the smell back so strongly that she would have whimpered if she’d had the strength. There was something… Her shattered mind didn’t want to remember, so the images came like flashes of light through a murky haze. Unwillingly, she turned her head to the right and the pooling horror lying there. Tears and bile swelled as her small body shuddered. Gasping breaths racked her as she spun back and desperately tried to crawl away from the desecration of her childhood.
Every inch was a struggle as she forced trembling muscles to reach and pull. She didn’t hear the footsteps or the hissing curse, but the warm drops down her face made her raise her head and whimper.
Sweat and tears
Fighting the heat
Trying to cool
With her last strength
She reaches the door and
Flips a switch:
Deus Ex Machine
Pressing against us
Worse than heat, stealing our breaths
The sound of crying slowly penetrated the fog of pain and shock. He struggled against the unfocused feeling to raise his head.
“Sarah,” he whispered.
He could barely see her through the tall grasses and weeds. She was curled up on her side with her back to him. Although he couldn’t see any injuries, he could hear her crying. He tried to get up, to go to her, but his body seemed almost disconnected. It didn’t want to do what he told it to. He heard her whimper. Trembling, he forced himself to his knees. Face taut with determination, he attempted to stand.
He couldn’t. And the hard landing back on his hands cut his palms on the sharp grass. Sarah stopped crying. Teeth gritted, Matt concentrated with all his might and crawled toward where he’d last heard his little sister.
Hand. Knee. Hand. Knee. Matt focused on each movement even as he strained to hear Sarah. As he crawled, his body began to steady. Movements became easier. As his body began to act more normal, he dared to raise his head. He could see her huddled form through the grass. Almost there.
“Sarah.” Her name came out a hoarse croak. He cleared his throat as he crawled forward. “Sarah, are you ok?”
A sniffle eased some of the tension in him. At least, she was still alive.