Another 5K on Apocalypse Pictures Presents. Or, to make it all Magic Meter-y:
I figure I have another 5-7K left to go on this, so the target word count has been adjusted accordingly.
Having gotten my marching orders from the muse last week, I’m . . . uh, marching toward the end. Man, am I gonna be happy when I get there. It’s been a rough first draft, as I think I might have imparted once or twice, and the rewrite will be no picnic, either. We’re talking about a seriously ugly duckling that will have to be reworked with a pair of pliers and a blowtorch before it becomes anything resembling a swan.
Wow. I just mixed a fairy tale allusion with a Pulp Fiction reference. I must be punchier than I thought. Kids, don’t try this at home.
Since it’s Valentine’s Day, here’s a snippet about love under extreme circumstances:
Amusing though the mental picture of their confusion might be, she could not bring herself to smile. Stephen’s face still hung before her, Stephen in his last days, skeletal, each breath a horrid, rasping struggle for air, most of his hair fallen out and the remaining strands turned ghost-white, unrecognizable as her husband. She shuddered. She hadn’t thought of him that way in over a year. She’d managed to block out the memories of those final hours, seated at his bedside, holding a hand turned rigid, clawlike, and cold. Though he was probably too far-gone to know she was even in the room, she would not allow herself to leave. She’d sworn she’d stay with him, so she would. But every time he exhaled, she silently prayed that his chest would not rise again, that he would finally die so she could run screaming from this room that had become a prison. And then he would gasp again, his ravaged body stubbornly refusing to quit, fighting to survive the unsurvivable, and her horror and revulsion would deepen. Each time she thought it couldn’t get any worse, and each time it did.
If she’d had any inkling how difficult would be the task she had set for herself, she never would have attempted it. Her muscles twitched, her own body urging her to flee this terror, but she would not release his hand. Doubts assailed her. Stephen would never know, the Red Death had ravaged his conscious mind, all that was left was this . . . shell. Stephen was already gone. If she fled now, while she was still asymptomatic, she might avoid the same fate.
Deeper down, a part of her contemplated finishing this herself, putting an end to his suffering and hers. It would be a kindness, even. But he was in no state to be coaxed into taking pills; he’d had nothing to eat or drink in the last twenty-four hours. She had no IV equipment to give him a peaceful, clean, clinical end, nor did she own a gun. She supposed she could simply smother him with one of her own pillows, but she didn’t think she had it in her to be so hands-on. She doubted she could live with herself. And she did not want her last memory of him to be one of her holding a pillow on his face while he thrashed.
A darker part of her wondered if, after this finally ended, she would be able to live with herself at all. It might be better, simpler even, if she just followed him down to oblivion. In which case, nothing she did would even matter.
He exhaled again, a long, shuddery susurration, and she thought her mind might crack and shatter.
So that’s . . . kind of romantic. Isn’t it?
Nah, don’t answer that.
No updates for Write Club.