And just in time; I start another job tomorrow. So anyhow, here are the stats:
ms pages: 465
start date: 3 Oct 2011
end date: 25 Oct 2011
And the word splash:
Can you tell who the main characters are? 🙂
This might sound kind of cheesy, but this book has a very special place in my heart. I started it immediately after the 2008 BYU Jordan study abroad program, though it took me until the summer of 2010 to finish it. Even though it’s shorter than Bringing Stella Home, I think it’s much more immersive, with the world itself playing a much larger role as one of the characters.
I’m very satisfied with this draft. I say this with everything I write, but I honestly believe that this is my best work to date. It’s surprising to see just how much my writing has changed between drafts. It seems to be getting better, though, so that’s very encouraging.
I haven’t launched the kickstarter campaign yet, but I hope to do that by the first of next month, so be sure to look out for that. In the meantime, I thought it might be fun to share the prologue, to give you an idea of what the story is about. Enjoy!
The boy felt scared, more scared than he had ever yet been in his young life. It was because of the strange noises in the bulkheads and the way the walls and floor shook, but mostly because everyone around him, even his parents, were scared, and he didn’t know why.
The lights in the hallway flickered as he wandered out of his cabin, and the whine of the engine rose higher and higher. It wasn’t especially loud, but didn’t sound right; the boy knew that much at least. On the other side of the ship, a door hissed as it slid open. The boy turned and saw his uncle and three of his cousins come running out of the bridge, eyes wide with fear.
“She’s gonna blow,” shouted his uncle. “Let’s move!”
The boy stood rooted to the spot, his legs frozen in terror. He watched as his cousins ran to the emergency escape chutes–the ones his parents had adamantly told him never to play in–and dove through.
A groaning noise came through the bulkheads–the terrible sound of metal on metal. He closed his eyes and covered his ears with his hands, and the floor itself dropped out from under him. For a frighteningly disorienting moment, gravity vanished, leaving him floating weightless in the corridor. The taste of vomit filled his mouth and he screamed in fright, but without gravity he could only kick his legs uselessly beneath him.
The moment passed, and he fell to the hard tile floor. Tears of terror clouded his vision, and his arms and legs shook so bad he hardly noticed that the floor was shaking. The ship lurched, sending him sprawling on his hands and knees.
Hands grabbed him underneath his arms, lifting him up and carrying him away. He glanced up and recognized the face of his mother, pulling him towards the escape chutes.
“Mommy,” he cried, “I’m scared.”
“I know, dear,” she told him. “Mommy needs you to be extra brave right now.”
The boy nodded. Though his mother tried to sooth him, he could tell that she was just as frightened as he was. That terrified him more than even the loss of gravity.
“Come on!” the boy’s father shouted, further down the corridor. “Any minute now, and–”
The lights flickered again, and an explosion sounded from deep within the bulkheads of the ship. A low hiss sounded behind them, and not from a door opening.
“Oh God,” the boy’s mother cried. “Is that–”
As if in answer, a mighty wind howled throughout the ship, filling the boy’s ears with its roar. It whipped at his hair and tugged at his clothes, sucking him away like a monster from the bottom of a giant drain. Somehow, he knew that in only a few moments, they would all be dead.
Hands grabbed him, lifting him up toward the escape chute. He screamed, but the roar of the wind was so loud he could barely hear his own voice. His mother slipped something around his neck, and suddenly he was falling through the chute, into darkness.
He came to a stop in a snug little space, closed in on all sides like a glove for his body. A holoscreen lay in front of his face, with a pair of flight sticks and a miniature control board. The boy gripped the flight sticks with his hands and stared dumbly at the screen, barely able to process anything that was happening.
A distant puffing noise sounded through the ultra-soft walls, and then he was falling again–only this time, he couldn’t move his arms or legs. He was locked into position, cushioned on all sides and only able to use his hands.
Fighting back panic, he watched as the holoscreen flickered and came to life. It showed an image of space, the stars spinning wildly as noiseless flashes of light burst into being before fading into after-image amid the blackness of space. He squeezed the dual flight sticks and moved them like he was playing a computer game, but it was no use–he couldn’t equalize.
Mommy, the boy cried inwardly. Panic swept over him, and his hands and arms began to shake. He screamed, but in the tightly enclosed space, there was no one to hear him.
The glowing orb of a planet came into view, filling the screen with its brilliant light. The boy squinted as the display adjusted, showing a brown and yellow landscape framed by a curved horizon. It danced with the spinning stars, moving so quickly that everything was a blur.
A red light started blinking in the corner of the screen, and words flashed across the display. The boy didn’t know how to read, but he knew it was something bad. He tried again with the flight sticks, but that only sent him spinning in a new direction.
Without warning, the screen switched off, and the entire capsule filled with thick, pink foam. The boy gasped and tried to shield himself with his hands, but before he could cover his face it hardened around his body, freezing him into position.
The foam covered his mouth and face, but was just porous enough to allow him to breath–in short bursts, however, because his stomach was severely pinched. The spinning grew worse, until he wanted to throw up. As if from a great distance, he heard a muffled roar through the bulkheads. Everything around him grew increasingly warm, until he began to sweat. He tried to open his mouth to cry out, but his jaw was locked too tightly in place–he couldn’t move anything, not even a finger.
Mommy! he mentally screamed. Where are you?
As if in answer, something popped behind him. Inertia threw him forward, but the foam held him in place, so that all he felt was a tremor through his body. Gravity returned, so that he felt as if he were dangling upside down from his feet. Blood rushed to his head, and he swooned, redness clouding his vision.
Then, like a punch to his face, the shock of impact hit him, causing his bones to shudder. He spun even faster than before, but the foam still held him. It felt as if someone had turned him inside out, though–as if his stomach had swollen and turned to mush.
As the spinning gradually came to a stop, tears streamed from the boy’s eyes. The roaring had died down, leaving him encased in near-absolute silence. That frightened him almost more than the noise.
A sharp hiss filled his ears as the foam grew sticky and porous all around him. He thrashed against it, pulling his hands and arms free as it turned into a sticky, foul-smelling soup. Behind him, a hatch opened, and he struggled toward it, spitting to get the nasty taste out of his mouth.
He crawled out and rose to his feet, blinking in the harsh light of a foreign sun. The hot wind bit him as it blew in his face, stinging his face with sand. He raised a hand to his eye and looked around him at the alien landscape.
A lonely, rust-red desert extended in all directions, with nothing but sand and rock and distant craggy peaks to meet his eye. The sky shone a hazy yellow, completely unlike the clean white light of his family’s ship. A new fear passed through the boy–the fear of being alone.
As he stared at the land around him, he reached down to see what his mother had slipped around his neck. It was a pendant with a little black case at the end. He felt it between his fingers and knew somehow that he would never see her again.
Tears clouded his eyes, and he screamed and wailed for someone, anyone–but in the harsh desert waste, there was none to hear him.
Good stuff. I can hardly wait to get it published!