Word count is currently at 32,000 words, and I've decided to put it out there... I know, this is a bit unlike me, revealing what I've written, but I'm pasting in a little from pages 20-22. It's raw, unedited, and a mess, the kind of thing you expect from the high-speed word factory that is NaNoWriMo, but it gives you an idea of what I've been doing for the last couple of weeks.
When I've been stuck for a direction, I've been using the game mechanics for "Out of Control" dreams to inspire the course of the story. Anyway, I'd best get back to it. Some of this will appear in the WILD corebook, maybe even in its entirety as a separate book, maybe as a stretch goal on Kickstarter or something. You never know...
Anyway, the story so far... Clarity is asleep, but she doesn't realise it. She's trapped in a sleeping state, and in her dream, she's gone to the hospital where the previous night the doctor transformed into a hideous monster and tried to attack her. She's gone back to try and get her bag...
The corridor was strangely dark, but I guessed that was only to be expected as it ran down the middle of the building, away from any windows or natural light. The strip lights overhead flickered again. What was it with the power in this place? Were they really that badly funded?
There was no sign of anyone. No nurses. No doctors doing their rounds. To the right were a number of private rooms, with their doors open. The first one contained an elderly lady who looked like she was strapped into her bed, the TV on one of those adjustable arms was positioned less than thirty centimetres away from her face, illuminating it with the horrors of daytime television, the sounds of chat-show applause could be heard through her headphones even out in the corridor. With her arms strapped down, I wondered if this was some form of brainwashing or torture. What had the poor lady done to deserve such a horrible treatment?
The next door was even worse. I could only see the peak in the blankets where the occupant’s feet remained. Surrounding her (I’m assuming it was female, I didn’t think they mixed genders on these wards) was a doctor, a man in a suit, and a teenage girl. Wait. That was... Lisa?
I pushed the door further open. It was Lisa, she was crying. The doctor looked familiar too. Wasn’t that the doctor who just saw to my head downstairs? And the man in the suit. I recognised his hair. Dad?
I edged further into the room, part of me knowing what I would see.
“I really can’t understand it,” the doctor said, “there’s no response to stimulus, but she’s showing a lot of brain activity. It’s not a coma, so to speak. She’s just not waking up. It may be the combination of the drugs in her system-”
“My daughter never used drugs,” Dad spat, interrupting the doctor mid-sentence.
I could see the patient’s face.
It was me.
“Still, she did have large traces of Flunitrazepam, and Gamma-hydroxybutyrate in her system, there’s a good chance that her drink was spiked. She could have passed out, fell, and caused the head trauma. There’s not really much we can do except wait.”
“But I’m right here!” I said. Nothing. No response.
Am I dead? A ghost?
“Monitor her progress, doctor. I’ll make arrangements to have her transferred to York. I don’t care about the cost. I’m not losing her.” My father was doing what he always did when he felt helpless - he threw money at the situation and hoped it would improve.
“I’m RIGHT HERE!!” I shouted.
The doctor turned to me. The real me. Not the one unconscious in the bed. That couldn’t be me. I was standing here in the room. He turned to me, his eyes white and pupil-less, and hissed.
“What the hell?”
He started transforming again. His arms reaching out for me, while the rest of him grew to ridiculous proportions. He bent forward to fit in the room, the stilt-like legs having to bend as well. The lights flickered even more, and my ears were filled with the sound of a distant rumbling. Something really bad was happening, and no one else in the room seemed to notice. Lisa was crying still, my dad frozen in place, staring at my sleeping self. I had no choice. I had to back out of the room, out of the reach of the creature the doctor had become. It flailed at me, swiping with impossibly long arms. Its elbow knocked into my dad, but he didn’t even flinch. He didn’t feel it, he just stood there, deep in thought, oblivious.
“Daaaaad!” I screamed, but he didn’t move. There wasn’t even a flicker of motion or recognition. I may as well not have been there.
One of the doctor’s hands grabbed my jacket. I screamed, struggling to get free, but its pale and disgusting hands held the fabric like a vice. There was nothing in the pockets, it was a sacrifice I could bear. I slipped out of the jacket’s sleeves and almost fell back into the ward’s corridor, as the doctor-spider pulled my jacket into the room, jamming it into his face. His jaw extended and extended again. Becoming a hideous maw, lined with tiny teeth. It crammed the jacket into its mouth, devouring it, making horrific noises like a child faking the enjoyment of food.
I had to get out of here. It was a nightmare I kept returning to, and there was no waking.
Staggering back to my feet, I ran down the ward back to the lifts. The area had access to four lifts, and in front of me was a mass of windows overlooking the town. The storm clouds had returned, time had strangely passed and it was almost dark outside. On the beach, in the distance, a bonfire spat tiny, glowing sparks into the heavens. It looked like there were people being thrown onto the flames.
This isn’t how it’s supposed to be.
Am I dead? I don’t feel dead. If what I was seeing was true, I never regained consciousness after the party. I’d been drugged, and hit my head. If that’s true, then I’m actually asleep. I’m dreaming all of this. It’s all in my head. But how do I wake up from this?
I can’t jump out of the window. You can’t die in your dreams or you die in real life, isn’t that what they always say? One, two, Freddy’s coming for you? I can’t just splash water on my face to wake myself up, I’ve already splashed water, and been in the middle of that downpour.
C’mon, Clarity. What are you supposed to do?
I didn’t have time to think about it, as the sounds of splintering wood, shattering glass and the sparking of broken lighting echoed. I knew what was coming. Looking back at the ward, the doors had come off of their usually incredibly strong hinges, as the doctor-creature forced its way through.
Its huge hands grabbed the door frame, pulling its long body through. Its head a distorted mockery of what once was human. It screamed an unearthly howl, exposing those rows of hundreds of razor sharp teeth. I froze. I had no idea what to do. This was all too much.
I looked frantically from side to side. The lifts weren’t coming. There was the exit to the stairs. I forced my legs to move, and threw myself at the doors to the stairwell. They seemed to be chained shut. What kind of a fire exit was that? I always worried about fire exits in hospitals. They always seemed to make the buildings so high, but hardly any of the patients in there could use the stairs. The lifts always shut down in times of emergencies, so what, do they just expect you to roast in your bed? Was this a horrific act of revenge on the building’s designers, lock the fire exit so even the nurses and doctors couldn’t escape the fire? Why should they get out when the patients can’t?
The chain holding the doors shut wasn’t very tight, and I could almost force an arm through it. The doctor-creature was now in the room with me, at the lifts. Its arms and legs were enough to span the whole room, while its head edged ever closer to me. I could get my arm through right up to the shoulder. I glanced through the doors to see if I could make it, but the metal stairs beyond were a mass of rust, flames and decay. Parts of the stairs looked like they would crumble at any minute. This was it, I was in hell, and I was about to be ripped apart.
The windows overlooking the storm beaten town shattered inwards and my ears were deafened by a combination of wind, breaking glass and gunfire. The doctor-creature screamed in pain as parts of its body and arms were riddled with holes, sending masses of black, oozing blood splattering over the far walls.
Crouched on the windowsill was a girl, about my age. Dressed in a leather jacket, skirt and boots, she held in her hands an assault rifle that continued to rattle out round upon round into the doctor. But that was not the most remarkable thing. Coming out of her back were two enormous wings. Not white like an angel, more the colour of a falcon.
“Stay down,” said my guardian angel, as she hopped into the room. The gun had ceased firing, and she held it upright while the empty magazine ejected onto the floor. She reached behind her and grabbed another and was about to slap the new cartridge into the gun when the doctor-creature swiped at her, grabbing her left wing.
She groaned, but didn’t make the sound of pain that I sort of expected as the creature ripped the wing off, and started ramming parts of it into his mouth.
Instead, she just cocked the rifle, levelling it against her shoulder, and simply said, “chew on this!” The gun spat round upon round into the doctor-creature’s face, forcing it back up against the wall. Its arms and legs twitched as the creature’s head was reduced to a mass of black ooze that decorated the pock-marked plaster wall behind it. The firing continued until the magazine was empty again, and it ejected onto the floor to join its spent cousin.
The creature was dead. It had taken so much damage to its face and body that parts of it were no longer connected.
“Shit, shitting shit,” the angel said. Not exactly the words I would have expected to come from an angel’s mouth. But then, my religious education class didn’t really mention anything about assault rifles either. She took off the jacket, and the other wing (and the remains of the damaged one) came with it. She dumped it on the floor, “I really liked that jacket, too.”
“Thank you!” was about all I could squeak out at this point.
“No problem,” she said. She came over to me, slung the rifle under her arm and reached to help me up. She couldn’t have been much taller than me, blonde and very pretty. She radiated a sense of efficiency, calm and...
“Hope,” she said.
“I’m Hope. You looked like you were in trouble.”