Excerpt for a Story I Hope Doesn’t Get Published

With a sudden lack of imagination for what to say here- as well as getting over a flu- I am now kind of desperate to find a subject that won’t sound like I’m rambling, or else nonsensical. (I hope that sentence made sense)

In my last post I mentioned that I took a webinar on self-publishing. And one of the things they said was to keep writing, all the time. That seems pretty obvious (and possible). So I’ll be trying to work on some of these writing exercises I hear about.

Today I happened to glance at our messy bookshelf and misread the name of one our books. Well, as I said, I’m desperate to find something to talk about, and I came up with an idea. I’d write excerpts for the idea that came to mind when I misread the book. An exercise in imagination!

Also, as always, it’s an experiment to see how people react to my writing. I don’t know if I’ve ever said this, but my writing is notorious (in my own small circle) for being confusing and hard to follow, and my humor quite peculiar, so if anyone ever sees something that needs help, please speak up.

The original title was More Work for the Undertaker by Margery Allingham. It’s an amusing title, I suppose, but I never quite understood it and it doesn’t really roll off the tongue, which is probably why I misread it. So I read instead: More Work for the Undead and I see 2 possible storylines here. One of them is for the horror/fantasy genre and the other for comedy. Unfortunately comedy isn’t natural, so I don’t think I can come up with anything more than an image of a lazy zombie being told by his wife to clean up the basement.

Here’s the excerpt:

“Aaron stood up quickly, looking around. He’d definitely seen something- but it had been just far enough so that he couldn’t be sure of what it was.

There was no sound. No movement. There hadn’t been for so long…

Still. If there was something there- in the same room with him- he couldn’t afford to let it go. There was danger, constant danger, and he couldn’t let a threat- of any kind- through.

His whole life- the whole world- had changed only a few years ago. Maybe it had been twenty years ago. One day was much like the last- survival, fear, hunger. Especially hunger. There were some things essential to life: shelter and food. Shelter could easily come in the form of some overturned car. Food- that was entirely different.

Aaron prided himself in being dangerous. Give him chance to chase down prey and he’d be off without a second thought- and so, that’s why, with only a leaf-shifting amount of movement to go on, he immediately stood up to find out more.

But the years had been long. His joints were stiff, it was only a blind, raging determination that kept him going. His mind wandered off, even with this new possible danger- or meal- in mind, and he saw visions before his eyes.

Years before, when the world was large, before the change, Aaron had been here before. He remembered with almost enough amazement to waken his deadened thoughts that the rotting clothes on the rotting, half eaten mannequin had once been fashionable. He wondered vaguely what had happened to fashion, or clothes for that matter. Then he wondered why some idiot had eaten the mannequin- he knew it was a person, sense the remains looked too much like the remains of a real person. He soon realized it must have been an exceptionally desperate undead person- and with that realization, Aaron was brought back to the possible danger.

Desperate people, whether or not they were alive, were dangerous. It would be better if he just left this shelter, look for food elsewhere- which would be unlikely- rather than risk anyone desperate. Fortunately, anyone that dangerous would be easy to find.

Aaron looked around, every nerve as awake as the last few, wearying years would allow. Every sense in his weakened mind worked on their own, even after days and weeks and months of having nothing to do. He turned slowly around and around again, searching for any sign of danger.

There was nothing. There was such silence that…

He wished that there had been something now. At least some sign of life. Some movement. Any movement. But there was only complete silence, as there had been, as there always would be. Little wonder the mannequin was half eaten.

There!

Aaron turned again. He had seen something definite! A slight but definite movement. A part of the wall seemed to move- upwards, and with it was a strange creaking.

He slowly moved toward the wall, now curious. He studied it, waiting, but there was no other motion. But now he saw that it wasn’t a wall. It was- it was a flight of stairs of a kind. It used to move. It had moved. The last, wasted bit of electricity had trembled and fallen into its mechanics, taking years to do anything, and finally there was this slight movement, like the dwindling of a tune in a music box.

In an instant Aaron realized how stupid he’d been. He’d been in this old deserted place an hour or so- he should’ve realized sooner that there would be another level.

Aaron took another glance around, but he knew there was nothing here. That upper floor though…

He went up the escalator, being as quiet as possible. There was no telling what would be up there- it might be anything.

He reached the second floor and carefully walked along the wide hall, still careful of his surroundings, watching out for any movement. He studied everything, fascinated by the new shadows, the new possibilities.

This place felt different. It wasn’t still or dead. There was someone up here. He would search up here until he found them.

But he didn’t have to search for long. He turned a corner, went in to a dark enclosed area. And that’s when he saw it-

It was almost so good he would’ve smiled but those muscles had long been forgotten-

People. The fight wasn’t over yet. Here was something to do.”

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