It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.

 

Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.

 

A terrible first draft with a rewrite twenty years later. (Reader beware. May cause eye bleeding)

page: 1
5

log in

join
share:

posted on Jul, 30 2017 @ 05:42 PM
link   
Greetings Story Section!

I am one day away from a major surgery which will leave me
laid up for quite a while (and have had enough irl discussions
about it to last a lifetime, so I will not be elaborating here),
and I find myself just sitting and watching the minutes
crawl by in silence.

Ugh!

I guess I can write something, though I had previously decided
not to until after emerging from the other side unscathed. Given the
time constraints, I've decided to do something a little different.

It's pretty common in a story forum to have the occasional budding
writer pop in and post a work in the hopes of getting feedback.
It's also very common for the forum denizens to not comment, or if
they do, it's with a pat on the back or glib statement that does
nothing for the writer.

One of the reasons for this is that good feedback takes work, and
often, more work than was put into the story in question. I've seen this
many times over the years and what usually happens is the budding
writer contradicts or makes excuses for every item the critiquer
points out, thereby diminishing the value of the time and effort
put in by the critiquer. Then, nobody wants to put the work in
for a thoughtful review, and rightly so.

I've been on both sides of this, and both can be quite frustrating.

Here I will use my own writing as an example, along with a bit of
advice to new writers: Do not be afraid of a rewrite. The rewrite
is your friend.

There are no successful authors writing rough drafts that they send
out to be checked for grammar and structure just before going to
print. It doesn't happen. (On one occasion, a famous writer did
insist he wrote a prize winning novel over the course of a drunken
three day weekend - but years later he admitted it took five years
and seven rewrites. I've forgotten who it was exactly, sorry I
don't have a link, etc.)

Anyway, I am starting to ramble, so let's cut to the chase.

The following story - The Last Supper - was written by me over
twenty years ago. It's bad. For some reason I'd decided I knew
better than everyone else, and wrote it in a format that I called
a Script/Story. This is literally a first draft. I wrote it on
the fly with a few ideas hashed out beforehand, then sent it thru
a spellchecker, then posted it on a different story forum.

This is how writing starts for many, but it shouldn't be considered
how a good, coherent, and entertaining story is made.

The second story - Bastion - is a first rewrite I did for The Last
Supper. This was done three months ago, as an editing exercise; I
needed a break from editing a more recent work. I do not consider
Bastion to be the final product. If I felt comfortable spending time
on the already much rehashed-by-everyone-else subject matter, I
think it would take at least three more rewrites to get something
worthwhile out of it.

***Note that The Last Supper was the first of a five novel arc
with around 400,000 words total, while Bastion, being merely an
editing exercise, is as you see here, incomplete.

A final word on the matter: While feedback is great (and I for
one greatly appreciate every kind comment), a writer that has
taken the time to craft a story; edit, re-edit, rewrite, format,
etc, etc; knows full well they have created a final and presentable
product that stands on its own. Asking for feedback (in my opinion)
is admitting you don't know the quality of your work yourself, and
reveals you have not yet put the truly hard work in yet.

Just my two cents of course, which may be worth more or less
depending on the writer.

Cheers!

***Warning - the following stories are posted without any further
editing, despite the fact they both need tons. The intent with
Bastion was to work on intelligently disseminating the exposition
that was clumsily handled in The Last Supper. I know it's hard to
say with such a small sample size, but- is there a difference? Better,
worse, or just different? (interested readers will want to know if
there's a value in rewriting or if I'm just talking out of my asterix)
Work on characterizations, etc, would have happened in a future
rewrite or edit.***




posted on Jul, 30 2017 @ 05:43 PM
link   
Presenting: The Last Supper
(inappropriate language replaced by stars)
Part one.


location: outpost-the yard

Frank and Dub are standing in front of the games table
in the middle of the market place. The dealer, a small
grizzled old man, sets up a game of three card monte.

Dub: 'Frankie...buuuuuddy . Hurry up, I'm ***** hungry'

Frank: 'ok, just one last try. Do it'

Frank puts down ten badly wrinkled one hundred dollar
bills. The dealer shows the queen then starts moving the
cards back and forth. His movements start out slow, then
speeds up until his hands are almost blur.

Frank: 'I got it this time old man, your getting slow in
your old age, and I'm just startin to peak..'

The dealer stops the shuffle and motions at the three cards.
Frank points at a card without hesitation.

Frank: 'It's in the middle...'

Dub grunts an knocks Franks hand out of the way. He
leans over and flips the left card revealing the queen.

Frank: '***** me'

The dealer grins revealing a single tooth. He flicks a
hand at Dub with a 'get out of here' guesture..

Dealer: 'you sharp...no play here...'

Frank: 'who? me or him?'

Dealer: 'both...bad fer bidness...now ***** off'

Frank: 'son of a'

Dub: 'the same thing happens every #ing time you play
this rigged game. C'mon, lets go hit the mess hall. I could
eat a damn horse at this point.

Frank: 'I think you did when you ate those tinned hotdogs
yesterday. No way there's real meat in there. Well
***** it I guess, let's go.

The two men make their way through the market crowd, heading
for the outposts general mess hall.




location: outpost-mess hall



The general mess hall is a very large room with plenty of
tables. At one end is the food line, empty and unused. A
few civilians and soldiers sit at various tables. There is
no 'lunchtime' here. people come and go all hours of the
day. Frank and Dub are sitting at an otherwise empty table.

Frank: 'godamn tomb in here'

Dub: 'no point in having a mess hall when there's no food'


An officer enters the room and stops to talk at another table.
The two men look at the him with obvious disgust in their eyes.
Dub shakes his head and looks at Frank.


Dub: 'well, I mean no food for us grunts.'

Frank: 'I hear ya, buddy. Makes me wish I had joined the
guard instead of the exterminators. I'd still be miserable,
but a full kind of miserable, you know?'


The officer comes over the the table and raps on the top to
gain their attention. Dub and Frank look at the mans hand
then up to his face. The officer talks to them with great
distain, a displeasure at having to talk to a lower rank.

Officer: 'Gentlemen.'

Dub and Frank both salute half-heartedly and the man
ignores the jibe and pushes onward.

Officer: 'there are missing items from the officer stores.
Do either of you know who might be responsible?'

Dub: 'haven't the foggiest sir. we just came back from
looting. what went missing?'

Officer: 'some ammo, clothing, and food'

Dubs eyes light up

Dub: 'food? my god thats horrible, what with this famine
and all'

Officer: 'yes, well nothing too serious, mostly potatoes
we think. If you hear anything let me know. We can't have
thievery in the outpost. It demoralizes the men. by the way,
there is a reward'

Dub opens his mouth to say something but Frank cuts him off.

Frank: 'I have some cat food I looted, if your hungry sir'

Officer: 'thanks, but no soldier. As you were'


They watch as the officer talks to the few other occupied
tables and then leaves. Dub smacks the top of the table
with both hands.

Dub: 'Well, lets see it. I didn't know you were holding
out on me'

Frank digs in his pack for a moment, then puts a small can
between them.

Dub: 'nice! fancy feast...and me without my tux'

They both stare at the cat food for a moment.

Frank: 'well? don't tell me you didn't get anything looting.'

Dub: 'I resent that remark. of course I got something.'

Dub takes a quick look over his shoulder and leans
in closer to Frank.

Dub: 'the officer stores are full of loot'

Franks eyes widen as Dub pulls a potato out of his left
pocket. Franks eyes get even wider as Dub pulls another
potato out of his right pocket.

Frank: 'oh my god'

Dub: 'one potato, two potato...your thinkin how great its
gonna be to bite into one of these?'

Frank: 'no, I'm thinkin about how I'm gonna spend the reward
when I turn your mangy ***** in. I'm gonna be knee deep in
hookers and taters for a month'


Dub laughs and slaps Frank on the shoulder, then motions at
the can of cat food.

Dub: 'fifty, fifty?'.

Frank: 'yeah, pass me one of them taters.'



Location: outpost - main gate

3 outpost guards observe a single exterminator approaching.

guard 1: ' HQ, HQ, any XT's due back about now, over'

radio crackles: 'MG, we have no XT's on our schedule.
exercise caution. over'

guard 2: 'maybe his partner got waxed. we're not running
solo missions are we?'

guard 1: 'no. we're not. grab the sixty, but stay cool'

guard 2 swings the M60 up and onto the sand bags.
the stranger puts up his hands.

stranger: 'easy boys, we're all human here. besides your
60's not even belted'

guard 2 : ' #! '

he quickly grabs an ammo belt and fumbles it over the sand
bag wall.

guard 1: 'easy does it son. load it for the next time'

guard 2: 'yessir!'

radio crackles: 'MG,MG...status, over'

guard 1: 'ok, stranger. who the hell are you and what are
you doing out here?'


stranger: 'special ops, code name Pavlov'

guard 1: 'HQ, HQ...does code name Pavlov mean anything
to you? over.'

there is a pause that lasts a minute. nobody speaks.

radio crackles: 'MG, MG...Pavlov to report to the outpost
commander immediately. highest priority. over'

guard 1 looks at the radio. what the *****?

Pavlov: 'I've been out there a long time boys. would sure
appreciate a guide.'

guard 1 motions to guard 3.
The two men leave for the HQ.

guard 1: 'something is going on. You got that ***** wired
tight?'

points to the machine gun.

guard 2: 'yessir. locked and loaded'

guard 1: 'well keep an eye out. I gotta go talk to somebody.'

guard 2 swallows hard and nods his head.



location: outpost - mess hall


Frank: 'how did you know where the queen was?'

Dub: 'I didn't. but that ***** was giving you a red herring.'

Frank leans back in his chair, working a toothpick
around his mouth.'

Frank: '...and...'

Dub: 'He was showing what you thought was the queen the
whole time. thats why he was going slower.let you track it.
the queen was long gone after the first few shuffles. I took a
fifty fifty guess and got it right. red herring.'

Frank: 'son of a ... tomorrow I'm gonna take some cash off
that *****'

Dub: 'nope. he knows that I know. and if I know you know he
know. I know he knows you know'

Frank grimaces and then drums his fingers on the
table for a moment.

Frank: 'I was giving your mom the red herring last night.'

guard 1 approaches the table.

guard 1: 'XT 69. hard at work I see.'

nods at both exterminators.

Dub: 'who's mindin the fence gov?'

guard 1: 'Marks got the 60 on it right now.'

the guards voice drops to a whisper.

guard 1: 'Some ***** goin on...'



Frank and Dub lean in close to listen.

End Part One.



posted on Jul, 30 2017 @ 05:44 PM
link   
part 2


location: HQ - meeting room


7 officers stand at attention. base commander Sykes sits
behind a heavy oak desk. Pavlov is sitting in front of it.
Another man sits in a chair seemingly seperate from the
others.

Pavlov: '...and after 6 weeks I still feel great.'

Sykes: 'So, it's working. 'bout time. now we can turn the
tables on those zed bastards. We appreciate the great risk
you have taken for this experiment. One question remains,
however.'

Pavlov: 'Yes, well...my partner and I were 'caded overnight.
When I woke up he the 'cade was broken and he was gone.'

Sykes: 'did he show any negative effects or anything?'

Pavlov: 'no. nothing. We both did it exactly as we were
told.'

Sykes: 'how long did you look for him?'

Pavlov looks at the floor avoiding eye contact.

Pavlov: '3 days. not a trace to be found. doesn't make any
sense.'

Sykes: 'no, it doesn't...'


The man in the corner gets up and moves toward the group,
putting his hand on Pavlov's shoulder.

Dr Rhine: 'Gentlemen. I think it's a little premature to call
this a success.'

Dr Rhine pulls Pavlov's head back slightly and examines his
eyes. Then he opens Pavlovs mouth and peers inside.

Dr Rhine: 'did you or your partner take any nero during your
mission?'

Pavlov shakes off the doctor before answering.

Pavlov: 'no, we did not. The last shots were taken here.'

Dr Rhine: 'yes, of course. of course. Commander, I recommend
a few more tests be done just to be sure. We have plenty of
nero to use in the meantime.'


Sykes picks his service revolver up from the desk, pops out
the clip, then fiddles with it thinking to himself.

Sykes: 'Nero is not the problem, doctor. Food is the problem.
Nero makes us stronger, able to heal faster, but our daily food
requirements are enormous. I can't go an hour without having
something to eat. I start to feel sick and weak.'

Dr Rhine: 'yes, of course, but the civilian population doesn't
use or need nero. Neither do the exterminators. There should
be enough food stored for our purposes.'

Sykes: 'The XT's don't use nero because they think it's the
cause of this whole mess. Plus they can go for weeks in the
inner city on minimal rations. Anyway, the reality is that
the level of discontent is very high. We run the risk of mutiny
if we carry on much longer.'

Dr Rhine: 'Mutiny!'

Sykes: 'Yes. Many already know we are hoarding food stores.
There was a theft recently. We suspect one or more of the XT's
distributed some to the general populace.'



Sykes puts the gun back down beside the clip, and sits back.

Pavlov: 'damn XT's have always operated like a clan. How
many teams are left?'

Sykes: 'Five. We stopped training teams because they act mostly
under thier own authority.'

Pavlov: 'the civies look up to the exterminators. Without thier
leadership, the civies will never mutiny.'

Sykes: 'The exterminators were our best defence when this all
started. Now they are becoming a liability.'

Pavlov: 'Kill them.'


Sykes quickly scans the room for a reaction from his men.
Sykes: 'And who will do that? you?'

Pavlov stands up, and takes the pistol off the desk.

Pavlov: 'yes, and if I fail you can blame the outsider that has
gone insane. But I won't fail.'

Pavlov holds the gun out so that everyone can see it.Then slowly,
impossibly, crushes it to about half its original size.The officer
closest to Pavlov steps back involuntarily.

The doctor notices the movement and although he addresses
everyone, He looks just at the officer.

Dr Rhine: 'Yes. Strength, speed, health. Freedom from the
zeds and security for your familys. Worth fighting for, no?'
Commander, I leave this matter up to you. As for me...'

Rhine turns and walks toward the window and gazes out.
'I need a green'



location: outpost - mess hall



sargeant Samson, Frank and Dub are sitting at a table talking
about the recent vistor to the outpost.

Samson: 'And all he had on him was a knife.'

Frank: 'Huh. Maybe he had to ditch his stuff and run?'

Dub: 'C'mon, nobody ditches equipment that is practically
impossible to find'

Frank: 'True, that. So where is he now?'

Samson: 'In a meeting with all the bigwigs. highest ranked
officers only.'

Dub: 'well your pretty rank.'

Samson: 'Oh, a wise guy eh?'

Samson flips him the bird.Then his radio crackles to life.

Radio: 'uh, sarge. this is MG, comeback.'

The fear is obvious even over the tiny speaker. Samson
picks it up and thumbs the button.

Samson: 'MG, this is Samson, over. What's your panic son?'

radio: 'sarge, there's something, uh, I dunno, I...just
a sec'

Samson: 'MG, if you have zeds and need help you need to
speak up son, over'


Frank and Dub look at each other. A zed attack at night
would be unheard of. Zeds have poor eyesight so they
tend to attack during the day.

radio: 'uh, no zeds sir. there's something large moving in
the treeline. just going in now, might be a deer'

Samson shakes his head..
Kid loses his radio ettiquette when he's excited

Samson: 'This is an order private. return to your post
immediately. over.'

radio: 'uh, yes sir, sir. sorry. just hoping for a meal.
ove...oh *****!.


a shrill, inhuman scream comes over the open channel. Then
a gurgle. Then just low static.

Frank and Dub are already up and running for the door leading
to thier storage lockers. Samson, in his haste, leaves the radio
behind and sprints for the nearest exit.

radio: 'hiiiiiisssssss...'


the radio makes some clicks like someone is thumbing the send
button on the other end.

radio: 'sssssss...Pav v v v lov v v v v...ssssss'


A low, throaty whisper. So deep as to be just audible by human
ears.



location: outpost - main gate


The outpost attack siren is going full blast. Rain is starting
to come down. Despite this, a full moon is peeking out, lighting
the scene. Dub, Frank, and Samson are standing next to the
m60 resting on the sand bags.



Dub: 'didn't fire the sixty. looks like he left his grenade
launcher and ammo just over there.'

Frank: 'what the hell? did he have his own gun?'

Samson: 'just a piece of ***** mini 41. probably couldn't even
kill a deer with that. don't see any zeds. I'm gonna check the
tree line over there.'


Samson steps over the sand bags and starts to follow the wall
along the right hand side. Dub turns to Frank.

Dub: 'Keep us scoped. I'm gonna go over there.'

He points to the treeline on the left.

Frank unslings his Hawk rifle from his back and sets himself up
against the sandbags. A few minutes pass as the men make thier
way to the trees. Frank sees motion down the center and swivels
his rifle towards it. zeds. probably a dozen or so.


never seen zeds at night before. almost comical. they keep
bumping into each other.


Frank squeezes off a shot and a zombies head explodes in a
spray of mush. he smiles grimly, but it quickly disappears.
#, there's a whole load of them coming, and they look super
pissed.


Dub and Samson sprint back to the gate as Frank squeezes off
a few more shots. Both men jump behind the bags and hunker
down. Shots can be heard from the rooftops.

Dub: 'see anything?'

Samson: 'didn't see ****. gonna have to check again later.
check these ***** out. so blind they're running into each
other trying to get here.'

***continued on next page***



posted on Jul, 30 2017 @ 05:46 PM
link   
Dub checks his AK then rests the barrel on the sandbags.
Samson pulls out his ump, pulls the clip to check it, then
slams it back in. Dub shakes his head slightly.

Samson: 'what? this thing kicks ***** if you know how to
use it.'


Both men open fire as the zeds get within range. Many of them
are already sprinting. The gap is closing quickly.

Frank drops his rifle and rolls over to the m60. The roar of
the heavy machine gun is deafening. spent casings spray off to
the side at a furious rate. Relentlessly, the line of zeds gets
closer to the gate. The zeds in front are almost being pushed
by the mob behind.

Frank yells over the din.

Frank: 'I don't get it. what are they doing here?'

Samson: 'I don't know what attracted them here, but now that
they are, I know whats riling them up.'

Dub: 'yeah, tell the boys to cut the siren.'


Samson reaches for his radio.
#! I left it at the mess hall

Samson: 'no can do. no radio'


Dub looks back at the siren then pokes his elbow at Franks rifle.

Dub: 'shoot it out!'


Sampson drops his empty ump and dive rolls for the rifle.
Firing from his back Samson shoots once, twice, three times.
all misses. *****! I hate rifles.

Frank yells again from the other end of the bags.

Frank: 'hey Dub. You know the rooftop specialist that is holding
the zeds at the main gate with the m60?'

Dub grins to himself

Dub: 'yeah?'

Frank: 'well, he's running out of ammo.'

Frank waves part of the belt of ammo that is swiftly disappearing.
Samson is wrestling with the rifle trying to reload it, spitting
curses.

Dub spins around and emptys the rest of his clip in the direction of
the siren. A second or two passes before it spits sparks and dies.
Samson glances at the m60 churning through its last couple feet of
shells, then raises the rifle so he can scope the treeline.


zeds are no longer coming out of the forest, in fact some of
them appear to be wandering off at the rear.

Samson: 'it's working, it's working.'

The m60 falls silent.


Shots can still be heard from the rooftop but the horde
surges forward anyway and the central bags collapse inward.

Samson flips the rifle over and uses the butt to club the first
zed that stumbles through. Frank jumps up and in one motion
unsheaths his combat knife and jabs it up into the chin of a
zed, the blade digging deep into its brain.

Dub recognizes instantly that the area cannot be held. Not
without ammo anyway. He grabs the bag of grenade ammo
and tosses it into the breach.

Dub: 'FIRE IN THE HOLE!'


The two other men take off along the wall. Dub runs in the other
direction with the single shot launcher. He does a no look shot
over his shoulder then dives over the wall. He lands hard against
the ground and a prickly shrub.
*****, I musta miss...


A huge fireball erupts, blowing sand bags, bricks, and zeds in
every direction. A series of smaller fireballs follow, more zeds
are blown apart.

blackness.

Frank slowly opens his eyes.

Frank: 'ugh, my head is pounding like a sledgehammer.'

Samson: 'hey, you ok buddy?'

he reaches out to give Frank a hand up.

Frank: 'No, I'm not. you used my rifle as a ***** club.'

Samson laughs then gets somber quickly.

Samson: 'yeah, I'm gonna go search the treeline again. Dub's
over there arguing with the captain of the watch. some *****
about no backup because it wasn't an outpost attack. He says
they were going to handle it from the rooftops.'

Frank watches Samson go, then turns toward the wrecked gate.
All the debris is shaped into ragged lines leading out from the
epicenter of the blast.

Frank: 'keeerist on a rubber ***** crutch.'

He heads to the blast zone to look for his rifle.

end The Last Supper excerpt



posted on Jul, 30 2017 @ 05:47 PM
link   
Bastion


Intro:


Vince knelt at the base of a leafless dead tree,
where he’d found the scrap of comic stuck to it’s
trunk, the tattered page still mostly intact save
for a missing panel on the lower right corner.

In the first panel, a trench coated tough guy, likely
the hero, held fast against a slightly ajar door, while
groping undead arms flailed through the narrow gap.

Zombies!, he exclaimed in a spiky speech bubble.
Behind him, a baseball bat can be seen leaning against
the wall.

The next scene has him leap back for the bat, the
door now open and revealing the threat to be a
massive mob of the monsters. On the bottom of the
panel appears the top of a dog’s head with some
short sharp lines to indicate it’s barking.

Careful, Rex, the hero says, I’ll distract them so
we can escape!

The next shows him swinging the bat into a zombie’s
gut, doubling it over mouth agape, while filling a
suitably tattered speech bubble with it’s single
word response: Woof!

Vince guffawed, then curled his lips in a snarl.
The following scene was indecipherable. Something,
possibly blood, had run the ink into a mess. Plus
the bottom corner was missing.

He steeled himself by taking a slow deep breath
then turned the page over, hoping against hope.

No dice.

The other side held a full page ad, drawn comic
style to fit the format.

Mosaic Resequence Foundation reads the title, done
in bold futuristic letters. Below that, a smiling
young woman admires herself in a hand mirror while
adjusting her hair, and nearby a similarly aged
male flexes a bicep and grins over a deeply clefted
chin.

These aren’t your parent’s old genes, the blurb
below boasts. Why settle for hand me downs! Slip
into a new you, today!

Off to the side was a smaller drawing that mimicked
a well known painting of a farmer holding a pitch
fork and his bonnet wearing wife, only here, both
their mouths formed perfect round O’s of shock.

There was more information at the bottom, including
disclaimers, but Vince crumpled the page with a sigh
and tossed it.

He’d only picked up the scrap to escape from reality,
if only for a moment, but instead found it slapping
him in the face.

The comic had almost gotten it right: The start
of genetic tampering en masse, the rise of mutated
monsters, though most avoided the word zombies, and
the surprise of the world at the horror it should
have seen coming.

Almost right...

The sound of skittering paws and heavy panting
made Vince spin on a heel and peer across the
dried mud flat’s uninterrupted horizon. A pair
of animals approached, dogs - dogs he’d thought
he’d lost earlier in the day. These ones were
of course part of the problem; mangy, mutated,
and voracious.

This was why one must always be within scrambling
distance of a refuge, however slight, Vince reminded
himself as he clambered into the branches of the
nearby tree.

While the crazed red eyed animals snapped at
him from below, Vince reached into a pocket,
shook a cigarette out from a packet, then after
lighting it, took a long relaxing puff.

What the comic had gotten wrong was that the
virus, or whatever term the egg heads used,
had jumped from species to species. They
should have seen that particular pickle coming,
Vince figured. That had created a much larger
problem, and though there was a cure of sorts
for the human version, for the animals, well,
there was a popular saying nowadays- One thing
at a time, mate.

***

Vince jerked awake, instantly aware of where he
was, yet still nearly falling off his perch as
his body insisted on checking his reflexes. A
searing sensation on his collarbone told him
he’d fallen asleep after lighting his third
smoke, the offending butt still lay at the vee
of his jacket. It tumbled as he squirmed to
a more comfortable sitting position.

Below, the dogs stirred from where they lay,
and began to circle the tree’s thick trunk
once more.

Rescue had not come. Not that he’d expected it
to, but one could always hope. Not a thing moved
across the flats, the only sign of human habitation,
the fort that was merely a speck in the distance.
One of the last bastions against the scourge. He
allowed a wry grin at the description- not his, but
spoken by one more poetic. He used it anyway, and
often; he found it great for picking up chicks.

A particularly acrobatic leap from one of the
snapping canines brought him back to the moment.

Nothing to do now but buy his freedom with the
currency of the land, Vince mused. With a small
sharp knife kept for just such a purpose, he
carved a short line across his scalp and leaned
forward to catch the blood as it leaked out.

Once he felt there was enough, he took aim at the
smaller of the two mutated creatures and flung the
handful at it, spattering it’s muzzle.

Instantly the other animal pounced, and the two
rolled around in a cloud of dust until the smaller
took off, with the other in hot pursuit.

“Good boy, Rex,” Vince muttered as he eased his
way to the ground. “Now I make my escape.”

While others might carry a blood bag around, Vince
considered himself old school. Besides, he needed
his pockets to carry the other currency of the land.

Out came the flask and he took a long draught,
splashed some on his head, then after returning
the drink to a pocket, held a hand firmly pressed
to the cut.

Time to head back.
And just like in the comic, the outcome was
uncertain.


end intro

part 2 - Bug Squashers


“Whatchoo got, hombre?” Frank said as he sat down
across from Dub, who’d just dropped a green canvas
duffel bag on the table. Frank licked his lips. The bag
appeared full, and more to the point, full of promise.

“Whatchoo got?” Dub shot back after seeing his friend
carrying not much of anything, save a well taken care
of rifle that was always slung over his back.

The two were at one of a dozen tables in the mess
hall, which was reserved for bastion military only,
and for good reason. There was actually food here.

Frank gave a wry grin then swiped his long scraggly
brown hair to one side. “Went about five miles east,
checked out a couple burned out farmhouses, a gas
station, hell, I even checked an outhouse just in
case. Slim pickins.”

“An outhouse,” Dub repeated with a mock gag. “Well
I had a bit more luck.” Out of the heavy sack came
a series of cans, their contents read aloud before
being set down. “Let’s see. Beets. And olives. And
sardines. And sardines. And sardines.”

There was a lot of sardines.

Frank stared at the stash for a long moment, then
gave Dub a dirty glare. “You know I hate sardines.
And no real man eats beets. Or olives.”

“Olives make a martini,” Dub countered.

Frank: “True that.”

...continued on next page...



posted on Jul, 30 2017 @ 05:49 PM
link   
With a chuckle, Dub relented and reached into the
bag one more time, and said, “I did find one more
thing, a rare treat. Right up your alley.” A small tin
was presented. Cat food.

“Seriously,” Frank exclaimed as his eyes lit up. “Fancy
feast. Chicken.” He wagged a finger at his buddy. “You
are one fortuitous foraging #er.” He licked his fingers,
smoothed back his hair, and pried the lid off the tin.
“And now, so am I.”

“You guys see Vince?”

“Jumpin-” Frank exclaimed as he spun in his seat, fork
still poised at his lips. “Give me a sec, I need to crawl
back into my skin.”

The newcomer, Lola, smirked at Dub, who’d seen her
coming, and said, “Well?”

Dub shook his head. “Nope. He’s late. Unless he’s
hanging out with one of his chickees.”

Lola sighed and her hand slipped down the the revolver
hung low on her leg, quick draw style. “They haven’t
seen him either,” she said. “I better go check on him.
He’s got a nose for trouble.” She glanced at the rank
bits on Frank’s fork. “That’s disgusting.”

Frank stuck out his chest, indignant. “Cats are finicky
eaters, I’ll have you know. And anything that’s good for
them is twice as good for people.”

“Riiight,” Lola drawled, then with a wink to Dub she
spun on a heel and left.

As she made her way to the door, Frank couldn’t help
but stare: Lola’s clothes were all black, and tight, mainly
because small strips of dark leather tied down any loose
bits, for absolute silence. Then there was the belted
black corset. If there ever was a real life comic book
heroine, she was it.

Frank turned back to Dub: “So. You’re wife is looking
good today. Corset’s kind of racey though. What’s up
with that?”

“It’s a secret,” Dub answered as he fought with the
metal tab on a sardine can. A second later it snapped
off without showing a glimmer of the contents. “Ah,
crabapples.”

“Fumigators.”

Frank: “Jumpin...”

“That’s Exterminators,” Dub corrected as he examined
the seam of the can lid close up.

“Ah yes,” the newcomer, Zander, said with a mocking
tone. “You killed roaches in the old world, you kill
roaches in the new world. Fumigator would be more
appropriate though, don’t you think?”

Dub didn’t answer right away. Fact was, the base
sub-commander was right. Dub had run a pest control
service. Terminator Exterminator. Made a decent buck
at it too. Then one day, a woman called saying she
wanted her no good boyfriend taken care of, wink wink.
Dub would have hung up, but she was crying, and the
story gushed out, a horrifying tale of her daughter being
abused.

Money passed hands. Guns were loaded. People
buried. Interestingly, Dub found he could live with the
deed. Ended up doing it more than once, if the circum-
stances demanded it. Apparently, roaches came in all
sizes.

“If you say so, Zander,” Dub said, unwilling to get into
a sniping contest.

“That’s Zander sir,” Zander corrected. He reached out,
probed the pile of cans, and whistled. “That’s some
premium loot you’ve got there. Must have gone far
abroad to find that.” He piled the cans into a tidy stack
then said, “Problem is, you didn’t report it. Sardines are
on the base priority list.” His eyes narrowed. “What do
you say about that?”

Dub leaned back in his chair, and placed both his
palms behind his head, knitting the fingers. He
was a big man, as big as Zander anyway, but more
imposing was the array of cobbled together armor,
kevlar and the like, which made him look even bigger.
Plus there was the big knife sheath strapped across
his chest, another, smaller, on an arm, a looped utility
belt, half of it filled with three inch spikes, railroad,
the others with shot gun shells. An unusually robust
pistol was tucked in a wide holster.

Dub: “I say I was just heading over to submit it all to
stores.”

“Don’t bother,” Zander said as he felt any resistance
from the other slip away. “I’ll take it.” He scooped
up the cans into the crook of an arm, then after a
pause he tossed two of the flat cans back. “Just so
you don’t think I’m a total dick.”

“Too late,” Frank murmured.

“What?” Zander snapped.

Frank held up the fancy feast. “You’re too late for
the cat food. I’ve already dug into it.”

Zander left in a huff.

“What a twat,” Frank said between bites. “Aren’t you
mad? You should have up and swatted him.”

“Nah,” Dub said as he took up a can, the battle with
the pull tab starting anew. “I got all that from
the base stores to begin with.”

A spray of fancy feast decorated the table. “You are
a bad man,” Frank chortled. “But in a good way.” He
pointed the fork at his friend. “But bad. Bad, bad,
bad.”



end part 2

part 3


There comes a time in everyone’s life where mortal
threat and awkward happenstance crash into the cross
road called here and now.

Vince wasn’t absolutely sure this was his turn, but
if it wasn’t, he gave fate kudos for the effort.

On his way back to the Bastion of Hope, a name he
coined and used exclusively (though everyone else
called it by it’s real name, Culvertville, which his
opinion was not nearly as poetic) he’d crossed the
dried mud plain, aiming for a rancid puddle he’d
passed on the way out.

All the blood he lost earlier hadn’t made him dizzy
yet, but it might, unless he found some water soon.
Said refreshments lay at the end of a long line of
fallen down fence posts, the kind that used to have
barb wire attached, but in this case, the steel had
long been either scavenged or rusted away. Three
of the posts still stood, the last being the one with
the bit of water.

Once he spotted the three wooden uprights, he
allowed himself to relax a bit. He shifted the sub-
machine gun that hung across his back, tried to
find a spot that wasn’t sore from the jabbing metal
edges, then gave up.

That was when the moment came.

A familiar pitter patter of paws made him do a
shoulder check. A canine. One of the ones from
earlier. The smaller of the two. Somehow it had
dispatched it’s larger companion. Not that that
mattered much. The little ones made up for size
with feistiness.

He couldn’t use the machine gun due to it’s con-
dition, and the bowie knife at his waist was not an
option. A quick look around told him what he already
knew; no significant cover or refuge.

He’d have to take what he could get.

***

What he could get was a dead run to the fence posts,
where he managed to clamber to the top of the last
one, before his pursuer made a last snap at his
lifting heels.

He teetered there, windmilled his arms for what was
surely half of eternity, while the dog scurried round
in a tight circle, it’s jowls and teeth dripping nasty
gore.

There wasn’t enough room for both feet, and Vince
found himself balancing on one, until the mutt leapt
for him, making him hop to the other foot.

That went on for the other half of eternity.

He got a break from the acrobatics when the animal
paused to sniff the post then lifted a leg and
relieved itself, adding to the small puddle there.

Well that explained where the water had come from,
Vince mused with a grimace.

Suddenly, the dog leapt a short distance back, with
neither a bark or yelp, and sprayed the mud flat
with a blackish tinged gush of blood and brain.

...continued next page...



posted on Jul, 30 2017 @ 05:50 PM
link   
Vince, perplexed, crouched on the post, and two
full seconds after the creature’s demise the
follow up sound of a gun shot rang out, which made
him tumble off in surprise.

Recovering, he shaded his eyes and spotted a dark
figure approaching in the distance, the waves of
heat coming off the flat adding a shimmering effect
that was more than a little unnerving.

***

“What were you doing,” Lola snapped as she came
closer, “trying to earn a native Indian name like
Dances With Dogs?”

“What was I supposed to do,” Vince answered as he
dusted himself off.

Lola pointed at his submachine gun. “Shoot the
damn thing.”

After unslinging the weapon, Vince shucked the clip
and showed the gleaming shells within. “I have only
nineteen left in this clip. I’ll be damned if I use
them on a mangy mutt.”

Lola opened her mouth to rebut, but then settled for
rolling her eyes and scratching behind an ear. “You
are the stingiest miser slash hoarder slash whacko
I’ve ever met.”

Vince examined his weapon with some reverence. “No,
it’s just that I only intend to defend myself with this
in the most dire of circumstances.” He stroked the barrel.
“It’s fricking legendary, mate.”

“It’s a piece of *****, and you’re a twit,” Lola said as
she turned to go.

An eardrum shattering rat-ta-tat-tat rent the air,
and when she spun back she spat, “You said...”

Vince blew at the smoke coming from the barrel
of the weapon and said with a grin and a shrug,
“Was defending my ego. Important thing that.”

***

A little later...

Lola: “What about sticking the mutt with your knife?”

Vince: “I spent three hours sharpening it last night,
I’m not going to-”

Lola: “Forget I asked.”

***

Zander entered the base commander’s office, and a
quick glance told him he was the last to arrive. Doctor
Rhine, Captain Sampson, and a few other officers, along
with Commander Sykes, all looked his way, with Sykes
nodding for the door to be shut.

Zander did so, then settled into the bunch as the Doctor
started talking from where he’d left off, not bothering
to get Zander caught up.

Rhine: “I understand your objections, but let me clarify.
There was indeed a problem with HERO. The company
knows now that they rushed it into production too soon.
That said, the number of people with negative effects
was minimal.”

Sykes: “A quarter of the general population is not
minimal.”

Rhine held up a hand, and pushed his glasses back
into place. “Semantics. Look. Hero2 is a fully mature
rendering of modern genetic manipulation. We can
debate this all day, but the proof is on it’s way back
here as we speak.”

“You mean Pavlov,” one of the officers said. “I hear
he went crazy and killed his partner out there.”

After rubbing at the bridge of his nose, Rhine pushed
on. “Rumors. Once you see how well the new formula
works, we’ll get all the base guards on board. This
is a new day gentlemen. We’ll be able to push the
mutants hordes back, and before too long, defeat them
entirely.”

Zander pushed forward and crossed his arms. “That’s
good news. But that being the case, the Exterminators
will have to go. They don’t take HERO, and they won’t
likely take HERO2. Can’t have dissenters in the ranks.”

“Not happening,” Sykes said as he crossed his own
arms. “If Dub were to take HERO, he’d have your
position.”

Zander’s gaze flicked to the Doctor’s for the briefest
of moments, then back to the Commander. “Not a
good choice. He’s too...” He searched for the right
word. “Unpredictable.”

“We’ll know more when Pavlov gets back,” Sampson
piped up, breaking the tension. “We’re done right? My
son is expecting me-”

Sykes nodded, and the men streamed out until only him
and the Doctor were left.

Rhine: “Zander’s right. The Exterminators thumb their
noses at us. Refuse HERO. It sets a bad example. You
will have to deal with them. Sooner. Or later.”



end part 3

part 4


Making his way down the hall, Captain Sampson ran his
fingers through his hair, pulling just a bit in an effort to
assuage a building headache.

Fact was, there were too many groups vying for control
in Culvertville. There were the soldiers left over from the
old world, now banded together in their own battalions.
Hard men, war worn, but still set on the idea the mutant
hordes could be defeated. In this Bastion, that was
Commander Sykes, his protege- Zander, and perhaps
two hundred officers and grunts.

There were the Exterminators- a group of self styled
mercenaries and former survivalist types, led by Dub
and Lola. The two groups didn’t seem all that different
at first glance, until one realized Dub's group outright
blamed the genetic resequencing company for the world’s
current situation.

Then there was the militia, which was nearly everyone
else, anyone that could wield a gun, weapon, assist
the wounded, run ammo and food to the walls. That
was where Sampson was Captain, though he was also a
liasion to the other groups.

That was where the headache grew from- trying to keep
the peace between them all. Either that, or it was the
doses of HERO he’d begun to take a week ago- a public
display of his dedication, made during one of the frequent
visits by company reps.

HERO.

Helical Elixer Recombinant (Oral). Just the type of
name a bunch of eggheads would cobble together
then pat themselves on the back about. And of course
the soldiers ate that line of tripe up, along with the pills.

At least it was a pill. Rumors suggested HERO2 was
delivered via needle.

Samson hated needles.

***

Despite his throbbing head, he said hellos and how
are ya’s as he went, then coming up to the mess hall,
and hearing loud laughter, he poked his head in, saw
Dub and Frank, but before he could withdraw, they
spotted him.

They waved him over. Drat.

“Capitan,” Frank said with an accent. “How’s our
company inside man? Any new secrets to share?”

Sampson’s eyes darted around the other sparsely
populated tables, and said loud enough for any
evesdroppers to hear, “I never share secrets, and
even if I did, it wouldn’t be with a bunch of
troublemakers like you.”

Frank grimaced at his faux pas. A joke was a joke,
but the verbal mis-step could cause issues for their
friend.

“There’s nothing we don’t already know,” Dub said.
He waved Sampson down into a seat, and after the
captain did with a rub at his temple, Dub added,
“How’s the HERO doing for you?”

“Good,” Sampson answered, “I’m stronger, more alert,
and...”, his voice trailed off.

“...And,” Frank prodded, as both he and Dub leaned
in. “Constant wood?”

The trio traded verbal jabs, mostly about how much
wood a woodchuck could chuck, enhanced or not.
Then Sampson pressed at both his temples and grim-
aced.

Sampson: “What I mean is, there’s a constant buzz
in the back of my head.” He drew a deep breath, held
it, then let out a sigh. “Anyway. You gents might
appreciate knowing Pavlov is on his way back. With
the results of the HERO2 field test.”

“Jesus,” Dub murmured. “Rhine won’t stop feeding the
beast that felled civilization.”

“Ain’t that the truth,” Frank agreed. He motioned to
the half eaten can of sardines. “You gonna finish
that?”

“You don’t eat sardines,” Dub said.

“No,” Frank agreed as he reeled in the prize. “But
my cat does. And I’m sure as hell not giving him
Fancy Feast.”

...next page...



posted on Jul, 30 2017 @ 05:51 PM
link   
“And on that note,” Sampson said as he stood up, “I’m
out. See you gents later.” Feeling at odds, he left,
grateful to be away; they were friends, but his job
was a delicate balancing act. Should he convey any of
his suspicions, which were in truth as yet unvalidated,
it would just stir the pot more and make his daily
tasks impossible.

Those suspicions involved the one person Dub enjoyed
grinding an axe about: Doctor Rhine.

***

“Doctor Rhine?” the soldier said from the doorway.
“You have a visitor.” The man paused, then said
in a low tone that carried the weight of importance,
“A chopper.”

Rhine nodded and dismissed the messenger with a
flick of his fingers.

The denizens of Culvertville thought him the physical
presence of the Mosaic company, considered him evil
he was certain, given the many glares he received.
A secret meeting in a chopper with a shadowy figure
only made it seem worse.

He pulled on a jacket and straightened his tie, his
mouth forming a grim line as he steeled himself.
The real Company was paying a visit, and in a couple
minutes there would be a cornucopia of posturing and
kowtowing, with him doing the latter.

Pity. But he needed their resources, whatever the
cost.

***

Rhine crouch walked to the chopper, holding his
crazily flapping coat against the gusts of air thrown
off by the still spinning rotors. They showed no
sign of slowing.

Shadowy figure was not a figure of speech. Shoes
and lower legs were all Rhine could see, like the
last time, and like the last time, the discussion
would take place with the rep comfortably seated
inside and Rhine uncomfortably buffeted.

“Results?” The shadow queried.

“You’re early,” Rhine had to nearly shout so as
not to have his words carried off. “My test subject
is not back yet.” He looked around, pulling his
coat even tighter, and added, “I am wondering if
we are moving forward too quickly. That is to say,
dosing the entire barracks based on a single test,
that’s not terribly scientific-”

Shadow: “Refresh my memory. I know you’ve said
it before, but I need you to repeat it again. The
mutants, the one outside the walls terrorizing the
countryside, those can be annihilated when we decide
the time is right, correct?”

Rhine: “Yes, we still have the capability, heaven forbid
it become common knowledge. The effect would be
nearly instantaneous. But my concern is the men, the
soldiers-”

The Shadows feet shifted as he leaned forward, almost
but not quite bringing his face into the light. “Do
you know who survived the apocalypse?”

The doctor dry swallowed. It was exceedingly rare for
a rep to use that word, more often it was ‘Accident’.
He knew the answer, knew what was coming, but for the
sake of his own plans decided it was best to act dim.
“The fortunate?”

“Soldiers,” the Shadow snapped. “Mercenaries. Killers.
Not all of them of course, but the vast majority.
When the cure is unleashed into the wild, that type of
survivor will revert to form and begin a war over the
remaining resources.”

“Ah yes, now I remember,” Rhine said, picking it up
from there. “HERO was the bait, and HERO2 is the
poison.”

For a moment Rhine thought he could see a glint of
teeth as the visitor responded, a grin?

“You’re playing with me,” Shadow said, “but tell me
this, who do you want in the new world- warriors
tearing up what’s left, or sheep?”

“Sheep,” Rhine admitted. “That is to say, sheeple.”

The other gave let out a raucous laugh then waved
at the pilot. The chopper began to lift off, making
Rhine duck even lower against the blast.

Shadow: “Time grows short. Expedite matters.”

A minute later, the doctor stood alone, staring up
after the receding craft. His eyes narrowed. Matters
would be expedited. But not theirs.

All the research, all the mis-steps, all the sacrifices
were converging on one thing, and it wasn’t world
domination.

No.

It was... perfection.


end Bastion excerpt



posted on Jul, 30 2017 @ 05:56 PM
link   
Eep! Hope I got those all posted in order.

At any rate, as mentioned above, the point of this rewrite
was to work on exposition. A rewrite generally doesn't
address everything - that would simply be too daunting a
task. Anything that is out of place or terrible, like dialogue,
events, or plot holes would at this point just be noted. I
consider anything needing corrections/improvements to be
in 'placeholder' status until I can get back to fix it.




posted on Jul, 30 2017 @ 08:07 PM
link   
a reply to: shlaw

I think that the biggest problem that you will face when looking for quality feedback of any kind is that those of us that are capable of giving it to you are too busy working on our own writing to work on yours! Personally, I feel like other writers are not the best judges of writing, unless they are qualified editors. I prefer the opinions of readers. Maybe ask your nurse to read it?

Regardless, do not stress over this. Have your surgery, recover well, and come back to it. You are obviously a competent writer. I wish you health and wellness in the future.
edit on 30-7-2017 by MisterMcKill because: Grammar. Sigh.




top topics



 
5

log in

join