A Word Count and a Snippet

Administrative note: the house is much improved, but there’s still a lot to get done, so expect this week to be light on updates. Meanwhile, I stopped letting the house be an excuse to not write, so here’s a word count, albeit an anemic one:

Today’s word count: 315
Total: 70,713

And here’s a snippet from today’s session:

A line of vehicles rolled up in front of the building; an old school bus, covered in makeshift armor, flanked on each end by two modified Hummers with machine guns mounted on their roofs. The Hummers were each packed full of men with guns, and more armed men peered out from the windows of the bus, along with a few women and children. Most of the men wore some combination of camouflage and trucker hats. To Hannah, they looked like something out of a redneck version of The Road Warrior.

A Word Count and a Snippet

Today’s word count: 709
Total: 70,398

The snippet:

The buzzer rang, cutting her off as they both looked out of the kitchen toward the door. “Hold that thought,” he told her as he went to see who was there.

He couldn’t detect any signs of life coming from the other side of the door, and the smell wasn’t human. Bracing himself, Alek opened the door to find Carl. “We have a situation.”

Alek looked back at Hannah, standing in the kitchen doorway, and thought how badly he wanted to hear whatever it was she had to tell him. With a sigh, he turned back to Carl. “Of course we do.”

A Word Count and a Snippet

Today’s word count: 696
Total: 69,424

The snippet:

Hannah looked up at him and felt a profound sadness that she tried not to let show. Why couldn’t she feel so strongly for this guy? He was cute, and sweet, and funny, and best of all, uncomplicated. She thought of all the baggage that Alek must carry, and wondered if she could truly handle it. Chris’s baggage was a small carry-on case next to Alek’s gigantic, horror-filled steamer trunk.

A Word Count and a Snippet

Today’s word count: 293 (filled in some transitions to finish up a couple of scenes)
Total:68,728

The snippet:

Alek stood back and watched as she bounced him and did her best to sooth him, until his angry cries subsided into hiccups and sniffles. “Is he gonna be okay?” she asked.

“He’ll be fine. Just keep doing what you’re doing. This should run its course in a day or two. If it doesn’t, I’ll need to see him again.” He smiled as she nuzzled her brother. “You’re really good with him.”

Hannah gave him a sleepy smile. Her hair was tangled and disheveled, and sleep still clung to her eyes. But she was beautiful. Alek caught himself imagining what it would be like to wake up to this sight every day, and cut off that fruitless line of thought.

A Word Count and a Snippet

Today’s word count: 543
Total count: 68,435

Today’s snippet:

He remembered the day it all changed, when he knew he was and would always be a doctor. He and Esme were on the prowl, strolling the streets of Berlin. Hunting. They stepped onto a busy street just in time to see a boy get struck by a car. Alek didn’t think, just acted, and managed to keep the boy stable until help arrived. It was the first innocent life he’d saved since before his village was invaded.

Esme had laughed when he tried to tell her how good it had felt, that he knew deep down that saving lives was still his purpose. “A vampire doctor,” she’d said, cackling. “Don’t be absurd. Your purpose is to kill. Your purpose is vengeance. Don’t ever forget that, my sweet Alek.”

The following night, she’d presented him with the boy’s head. The night after that, he’d walked out of her life, and never looked back.

A Word Count and a Snippet

Today’s count: 550
Total: 67,897

The snippet:

He needed a distraction. He looked around for something to read, but if she had any books, they were apparently still packed in one of the boxes stacked at the other end of the room, and he wasn’t about to dig through them without permission. With a sigh, he hauled himself out of the chair, its cushions so deep they threatened to swallow him. He checked to make sure the baby was still breathing freely, then went out to the porch, leaving the door open behind him so he could hear if Noah ran into trouble.

As he leaned against a post and stared out at the night, his fingers itched to hold a cigarette. It had been a lifetime since he’d last smoked one. The cravings had mostly died along with his humanity. But it had been a comforting habit, even moreso in a time when nobody knew it could be a deadly one, and sometimes he still missed it.

Sixty Thou and a Snippet

I passed the 60K mark on Dominion this morning, and I’m still muddling through the middle. Um, I think it’s safe to say that I’m not going to finish this thing up by mid-August like I’d planned. Too soon to tell whether this means I won’t be able to publish by Halloween, since I’m likely to pick up momentum once I hit the ramp up to the climax and then sail through to the end. But right now, I’m only averaging about 700 words a day, which is one scene every two days (and breaks from writing on the weekends), and I’ve got about five more scenes to go before I hit that ramp.

At any rate, it’s coming along. Here’s a snippet from today’s session:

The smell of rotting meat assaulted them, making Hannah’s stomach churn. She had to swallow against her gag reflex as she followed Zach into the tiny cell. Inside, strapped to a gurney, lay Bob. Except he didn’t lie there so much as writhe and squirm. The sight of him made her want to gag some more. His skin showed visible signs of decay, and it had mostly sloughed off where the restraints came in contact with it. His lips were missing, and as he strained toward them and gnashed his teeth, she saw that his tongue was gone, too. The flesh on the bottom half of his face had mostly rotted away.

Zach pulled a pair of gloves out of one pocket and put them on. From the other pocket he drew a scalpel and forceps, along with an empty vial that he handed to Hannah. “This’ll just take a sec’,” he said as he leaned over Bob and began carving out a small chunk of his thigh. If the pathetic thing on the gurney felt the scalpel cutting into him, it was impossible to tell. Zach grasped the sample with the forceps and turned back to Hannah. She tucked the gun under her arm and opened the vial so he could drop it in. She secured the lid and handed it back to Zach, who put everything back in his pockets and stripped off his gloves. “That’s it.”

A hand grabbed Zach’s sleeve. He let out a high pitched scream as it yanked him back, and as Bob pulled him down his other hand, or what was left of it, slipped free of its restraint. It grabbed Zach around the back of the neck and tried to pull him down toward those gnashing teeth. Hannah pointed the gun and fired. Bob’s head exploded like a melon, and his hands went limp. Zach fell backward on his rear and scrambled back against the wall, breathing hard. “Shit!”

Hannah brandished the gun. “Thought you said I wouldn’t need this.”

He pointed accusingly at Bob. “That’s never happened before!”

“That’s no reason not to expect it.” She reached down to help him up. After a few deep, calming breaths, he examined the corpse. Raw flesh and gray skin coated the wrist restraints and lay globbed up on the gurney. This time Hannah had to swallow the bile that rose in the back of her throat.

Zach’s face had gone pale. “He just slipped his hands off, like they were gloves.”