I say jumpstarting as I’m taking a still-born idea from over a year ago and using those characters and location as a rough framework for this novel. Re-writing and re-editing (yes, I know: editing is for December; but if I didn’t do it now, I couldn’t have used any of that material) gave me about 1,000 words, gratis. There was a NNWM Write-In here at the Licking County Public Library – although I’m the only one here – and in the past 90 min, I was able to add another 1,000. Good first day. It’s my typical “start the story in the middle” approach, and even then, I’m jumping about with flashbacks. Still not quite got the hang of horror writing, but I’m sure I’ll work something out. The closing of what I did today is below the fold.
Later, after their meal and a strained conversation, he returned from harvesting the raccoon’s lifeforce. They stood, with Cat bumping into him, but he looked away from her: up towards the muted flatscreen TV. Across the bottom, the news scroll said something about a large earthquake in northern Japan… in Hokkaido.
“Mother!” He muttered. She followed his look, gasping as she read.
“Aunt Junka! Chris…!” He waved her to silence for a moment. The diner had wifi and he attempted to call the Institute. Nothing. He tried Mother’s personal phone. Nothing. He grit his teeth and tried Maya. Nothing. He felt fear for the first time in his short life.
“I cannot contact anyone: Mother, sister, anyone!” He looked helplessly at Cat. “I do not know what to do!”
She wasn’t really sure what he meant by that: he’d just been standing still the whole time. She took her phone out and pressed a few buttons.
“Wh…when Aunt Junka reached out to me about you coming here, she gave me an emergency contact; let me see if I can get Skype to connect… oh, no!” She handed the phone to Christopher and turned away.
He looked at the ruins of the central lab, outside the cores. The north door frame was completely broken. There was rubble everywhere and what seemed to be dust or smoke floating in the air.
<“Mother? MOTHER! Are you there?!”> He yelled into the phone. Some of the other patrons in the diner looked over. He heard Cat call to them as she pointed at the flat screen TV, ‘his home!’
There was a sound of plastic and metal being pushed aside. His Mother limped slowly into the camera’s view from the left. She was holding her right arm with her left, but appeared largely unhurt.
“<Christopher? How did you…?>”
“<This is via Cat’s Skype account on her phone to the number you gave her.>” He said sharply. “<Are you okay?>” He saw some shadow move in the background.
His mother was able to make a small smile.
“<I… think so. There’s a huge amount of damage here, and I cannot seem to find Maya…>”
Christopher saw one slender hand, then another, stretch up behind Mother. Maya’s head came up as well. She looked….
Maya’s hands pushed their Mother’s head away from her left shoulder. Splitting her mouth wide, Maya sank all of her teeth into the older woman’s neck.
“<Maya! What are you doing?! Stop hurting Mother!>” He yelled at the phone. Getting about one word in three, Cat turned towards him, suddenly scared.
Noticing the comm link for the first time, Maya’s horrible red eyes slid from her mother to the screen. To her brother. He shuddered. He did not know how, but he knew she wanted him to watch this.
He watched helplessly as Mother gave a small cry. Her flesh shriveled up into a parchment, then fell away. When her bones fell to dust Christopher could see that Maya’s shift was largely torn away. Also, her cords and lines were free of her two boxes. She laughed at him hysterically.
“<But… sister… the Laws…?>”
“<Mother never loaded them into me! We’re different, brother. That’s why Mother was fired from Tohsaka: she used something else – someone else – to make us live.>”
Another hysterical laugh, then the image shook as he heard the rumble of an aftershock. The screen went blank, but he saw the audio signal was still connected.
“<I’m coming for you, brother….>”