Wednesday, November 16, 2011

What To Write, What To Write?

Since Castle wasn't on this week, what am I going to talk about? How about my latest project, Nightmares. It's a YA thriller, about a dream-transfer experiment which goes awry, and turns people into monsters. My hero, Tommy, must face off against a demon that was created from one of his dreams...literally his own worst nightmare, come to life.  

I think it's a page-turner, but I suppose the readers will be the ultimate judges.

I completed the first draft about a week and a half ago. 65,000 words. Since then, I've been revising and tidying up. It's now up to 68,000, and I expect to finish the second pass this weekend, at the latest. Two friends--both avid fiction junkies--have agreed to look at it. If anyone else wants to see it, please post a comment and let me know.

A little while back, I posted the prologue to my blog. (I looked it up. September!) Continuing, below is chapter 1.


     The sun was in my eyes. But it didn't matter. I could still see her in the distance, just as I had remembered her. She was wearing the same floral print dress. She cradled a dozen red roses in her arms. I had sent them. Somehow. The wind was strong, and whipped her hair savagely across her face, obscuring her porcelain features. Everything, except for her mouth.
     I wanted to distrust my eyes. This just couldn't be real. It was as though nothing had changed. It was was like time had simply stopped and stood idly by, in deference to her. It had been...I can't remember how long it had been since I had last seen her. She was so beautiful. All I wanted was to hold her. But the rolling and waving meadow separating us seemed endless. Miles of heather, clover, and goldenrod. And I have hay fever.
     We were frozen on opposite sides of an immense gulf. But I was determined to let nothing keep us apart this time. She eyed me lovingly, longingly. I felt a few beads of perspiration gather on my forehead. My palms were sweaty. She licked her lips.
      And then we started running towards each other. In slow-motion, just like in the movies. Our arms outstretched, we raced across the field, trying to eliminate the distance. It was taking forever. The sun remained big and bright, and birds were chirping. More movie imagery. 
     Soon I was close, almost close enough to smell her. We ceased running and then walked a few deliberate paces. We stopped, and just stood, staring, not twenty feet apart. The wind now was blowing directly at her face, forcing her to squint slightly, but drawing her hair back in a magnificent amber flow. The wind also playfully lifted that beautiful sun dress, occasionally treating me to a glimpse of her silk thigh. Then it was quiet. Silent. Dead, eerie calm.
      She held up something shiny, something silvery. It was a key. She looked at it, kissed it, and then bent down to place it beneath a garden gnome that was at her feet. She straightened back up and blew me a kiss that, by the time it arrived at my cheek, had swelled into a small, localized gale. 
      I touched my cheek where the wind had caressed it, and looked at her. She looked down. My gaze followed hers. There were now four gnomes. Suddenly, the gnomes grew and grew and grew, until they became four armed men, soldiers, most likely Chinese or perhaps North Korean. I’ve never actually seen a Chinese or North Korean soldier up close, though we did study the Korean War in history last year. Also, I used to watch the show M*A*S*H a lot. And they looked kind of like the extras, who never really said anything, but just looked menacing.
      The sky changed color and the wind immediately died.
      These words don't do justice to the gamut of synonyms for scared that flashed through me at that moment. I was paralyzed. Frozen with fear. And suddenly everything was very loud. My heartbeat echoed in my ears and reverberated through the air. I felt sure that even the soldiers could feel its rhythm. But they just stared, their gaze fixed upon my chest.
     And still she stood there. Strangely, they seemed oblivious to her. Perhaps she would be spared. Or maybe she was next. I wanted to call out to her. But the sounds weren't there. Why wasn't she running? Was her fear so great that it rendered the body null? Was she hoping for an opportunity to save me? Or did she want to see the end? What possible reason could she have?
     She smiled. My heartbeat grew in intensity and volume.
     Upon the command of one, they leveled their rifles and took aim. Although I don't speak Chinese or Korean, I assume the leader was counting.
     The birds were singing again. The leader glanced back at her. Her gaze shifted from his face to mine. He looked at me. He was no longer a man, exactly. His face resembled that of a gargoyle, with a beak, and horns. His eyes then began to glow.
     She parted her lips slightly and licked them, and then casually drew the hair back behind her left ear. A golden wedding ring glittered in the sun. I felt a tear in my eye.
     The leader raised his arm quickly, and then snapped it down again, only now it seemed to move frame by frame. She screamed.
     Smoke and fire belched from the three rifle barrels, as the retort echoed among the hills. I actually saw the bullets speeding towards my heart.
     I put up my hands. "Go away," I said.
     And they did. The bullets, the soldiers, the gargoyle, and the girl. Into thin air.

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