Over the next couple months, I’m going to share some of the false starts and cut endings of my first novel, ALL IS SILENCE. Here are the first words as I wrote them long hand, long before I got serious about writing the novel. Maybe an R rating for language.
Remember, as part of the THIS SALE GOES TO ELEVENSIES, the ALL IS SILENCE ebook is priced for the first time at $2.99 the entire month of November on all major sales sites. Also in honor of NANOWRIMO, TOILS AND SNARES is also on sale for $0.99 until November 7th.
Original Scene written in summer of 2011 perhaps, at least a year before NaNoWriMo 2012
Working Title: Zombie Zoo
Lizzy stared across the shotgun in her lap at the body on the floor. Damn fool hadn’t absorbed all the pellets. Half of the canned goods in the pantry had small holes still leaking liquids. F***ing a**hole. Not like there weren’t more canned goods than any of the survivors could ever eat in their lifetimes or before the cans rusted away or the food went bad. Besides she’d always hated her step-dad’s choices in food: Garbanzos, Mixed veggies. Creamed corn. Pickled beets.
But did she want to stay in the house now? No way in hell she was going to bury it. It. Not human. Humans didn’t act like that to other humans. Even under these conditions. She drug the body out the front door, wryly observing that her visitor had ruined mom’s crème-colored carpet. NO way those stains would ever come out. She let his body roll down the stairs, “Fair Warning.” She hoped the others were close enough to see the results.
She dead-bolted the door. Plenty of windows if someone really had a death wish and she’d hear them. She strode through the house checking all the windows and doors. She knew how hard this house was to break into, she’d been locked out of it enough. He step-dad had always threatened that she would get kicked out the day she turned 18. Well, I’m leaving a little early, dickhead. I won’t be 18 for three more months. Hell, I might not make it to 18.
She finished her inspection at the upstairs shower. Thank god the electricity and water hadn’t failed. How long would that take? She closed and latched the door then shoved the window to make sure it was locked. She set the shotgun upright on the toilet tank. Within easy reach. She longed for the time a few days ago when she thought she was the last person alive in a hundred miles. That illusion had been shattered rather unpleasantly.
Her black knit dress was stained with blood and the other bodily fluids. She’d have to get more clothes. She’d want more skirts like it, calf length and dark. Let you pee without getting tangled up. In case you were surprised. She’d been wearing her mary janes but her combat boots were coming out of the closet or out from under the pile of dirty clothes on her floor. Second hand at Sally Ann’s, they were actual combat boots, not some Hot Topic knock-off.
She stripped off her t-shirt happy to find no blood or bodily fluids. It had a graphic that looked like kanji but read “F*** You,” if you rotated it sideways. Mom had never let her out of the house with it on.
She jerked the water knob and twisted it all the way to hot. She grabbed the shotgun and sat down to pee. For the umpteenth time she checked that the magazine was full and that one shell waited in the chamber. Maybe her OCD would come in handy in this brave new world. She didn’t bother to wipe, reset the gun on the toilet and climbed into the steaming hot shower. She wanted to sear off the top layer of her flesh. The regular cuts on her arms had healed to angry white lines, though a few still stood out red from the last time she’d used her knife. So long ago. A thought flashed through Lizy’s head, but she shoved it aside. How easy would it be just to go to sleep? Mom had enough sleeping pills in her cabinet, but no, the last experience had led inevitably to this moment. But maybe she’d take the bottle with her.
The water poured down drenching her hair, dead and faded from too many bleachings and colorings. The water was hot, but not too hot. The Dickhead wanted to save electricity so the hot water was set to 110 degrees.
As she soaped herself she dispassionately looked at her own body. She’d always been a bit on the soft side, but two weeks of being sick, plus the aftermath had given her muscles a tightness and tone they’d always lacked. If Chad could see her now would he even recognize her? Her hair had grown out enough that she’d seen dark roots at the scalp and he’d never seen her with hair more than about an inch long. It was long enough now to lay down. Rinsing the soap off she felt the stubble in her armpits and on her legs. F*** it. She’d always thought shaving was stupid.
Under the hot faucet she let it flow over her face, rinsing her mouth, letting the water in and out. She scrubbed at herself. Suddenly tears flowed. Where the hell was Zach? How come he hadn’t been around when the a**hole and his gang had showed up? He’d promised to be back. Like he’d ever been on time.
For the all times she’d wished everything and everyone would go away, now she wished she wasn’t alone. She sank down into the water, tears washed away by the deluge. With hair in her eyes and shaking with sobs, she wrapped her arms around her legs and gave in. She’d never cried before. Not like this. Not since she was a little kid. Never let anyone in. No weakness. Weakness got you pushed around. Like her mom. Always needed a man. What kind of man was never as important as the fact that he had testosterone and a penis. Her body wracked with all the pain she’d never shared. And the only people she really cared about: Mom and Billy. Gone.
When the water changed from warm to lukewarm to cold in a matter of seconds she broke out of it. She gritted her teeth, slammed the knob in, shook her hair and scraped the drops of water from her body. Her legs complained as she stood and her fingers had gone all wrinkly. She grabbed the fluffy towel with “For Guests” emblazoned on it. The ‘good’ towels her mom always said. Like they’d ever had any f***ing guests since Auntie died.
The crying had done her good. She felt wrung out, but clean inside and out. When she stepped out of the tub a wave of dizziness swept over her she realized how hungry she was. She wrapped the fuzzy towel around herself and pulled the T-shirt over her damp hair. Funny how free she felt. She glanced at her face in the mirror amazed that her face did not look more like she’d been crying. She smirked at herself. Not bad for a vigilante killer. She snagged the shotgun off the toilet as she headed downstairs.
20 minutes later one of the last pizzas from their store run was sitting half eaten on the table. She’d never eaten like that. A half-finished beer sat next to the pizza. Lizy belched. Tasted as bad the second time. D***head certainly had no taste.
And some notes: Rescuing cats and dogs, filching small items as she goes. Guilty. Too much time as a klepto-5 finger discount. My little pretties… Cigarettes? Cell phone stuff? Need a cell phone for each service. At what point would the systems shut down?
Do people who survive without immunity lose some elements of humanity? Are there wild ones? Rabid humans? Zombies, but not traditional zombies. Angry, bitter beings who resent those who did not get their humanity stripped away? Feral ones… Children, adults, teenagers, teen boys would be really dangerous because of strength, stamina, etc.
Current Author’s Note: Writing’s a bit rough, but the essence of Lizzie is there. And the focus on peeing, my editor came to notice. It was there long before NANOWRIMO.