Friday, December 29, 2006

Title, Teaser, Editing

Going over the edited copy of Dying to Live. After some discussion, have decided to make the "2" into a "to." I hope I can be excused if I still abbreviate it to D2L, as I think that looks cool. The editing is the usual stuff - a lot of adverbs and passive constructions have been excised, but it makes the whole thing read a lot tighter and snappier now. My thanks to my editor at Permuted.

Here's a teaser. It was always one of my favorite passages, as three of our protagonists work their way through an abandoned city. Any comments are welcomed.

The wrecked cars in front of the building were especially dense, essentially shutting off the entrance, and many of them were also badly burned, as though they had kept coming there and crashing, even when the wrecks were already two deep and up on the sidewalk. I couldn’t help but shake my head at the sign above the entrance: “MERCY HOSPITAL.”

I had thought perhaps of checking out the building when Tanya had mentioned it the night before, but it didn’t look too inviting now. With such a traffic jam in front of the doors, I couldn’t even see any way in. “Come on,” she whispered, “let’s go. I hated hospitals before this, and now they must be crawling with them. Let’s go.”

Just then we heard a wail. At a smashed-out window on the third floor, one of the dead had spotted us. It wore a nurse’s uniform, covered in blood, and was partly burned all over. It was pointing at us.

The room behind her must’ve been crowded with other zombies, for at her signal of new prey, they pressed forward and toppled her out the window. She flipped in the air and landed on her back with a horrible, dull thud. The impact was hard enough that her upper torso and arms bounced up, then flopped back down. The fall must’ve broken her back, as her arms kept writhing and her head kept lolling around, yet she made no move to get up.

As my gaze moved back to the window, another zombie crawled onto the sill. It was burned so badly I couldn’t tell what it had been in life. The others pushed it out. Unlike the other, it landed face first, a more fatal landing, as the head snapped back, then flopped forward, and the whole body stayed still. Mercy Hospital was continuing to claim victims.

More zombies stood at the window, flailing and clamoring and killing themselves to get at us. I turned to see both Tanya and Popcorn just as mesmerized by the grotesque display of undead, human lemmings. And I saw, almost at the same time as I smelled its hideous stench, a zombie’s rotted hand reaching for the back of Tanya’s neck.


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