Y’all! We’re here! We’re at the point where the story starts actually coming together! It’s not just a rough draft that can’t be edited anymore. In fact, editing is the name of the game this week. All those problems surrounding my story are ready to get cleaned up.
Goals I had for this week were fairly straightforward.
1) Narrow the focus. I felt like the story found its footing about halfway through, which meant going in and back filling that focus for the beginning of the story.
2) Discover more about the characters. Sammie and Alice felt flat. I didn’t feel like there was any personality with them. They were just a couple strangers thrown into a weird situation.
3) Bring more descriptors in. I know this is a limitation of my drafting ability. I can’t put descriptions into it. I’m always just trying to get the story out, not make it visual. So getting in what the setting looks like, why it’s a creepy house, what’s off and what’s not. All of those are things that felt lost in the original draft, but were still extremely vibrant in my head.
Those were my major goals, and I think I accomplished at least some of them. It’s definitely more focused. Just like the draft, we jump right into the action, but this time, I knew what was coming. That made it easy to craft a world around the presence of a mummy hidden away that the girls would find at some point. It freed up precious words (have I mentioned how hard it is to stay under 1k words???) to be used in showing the world, the room they are in, and I think the story is a lot better for it.
This week wasn’t without challenges though. I’m still unsure on some things. Namely, why are the girls hiding behind the couch to begin with. I left in that they’d seen a mummy, but that’s never shown. Is that a problem? Should the readers see that? Is that something for another scene in a larger manuscript? Or is it enough that they think they saw a mummy, and are hiding? I don’t really know the answer to these questions yet, but hope to find them in the next few weeks.
The girls also have more personality this go around. A LOT more. Sammie is a sarcastic, sassy young girl now. Alice and her clearly have a rapport that works well between the two. They feel like they’ve been best friends for a long time, which is exactly what I was hoping for. Overall, the dynamics feel more alive, and that definitely helps to improve the story.
Finally, I also found a name for the story. I wanted to convey the fact that we’ve got mummies running left and right, but still keep it sort of hidden as well. So without further ado, I present
Why did I ever think this was a good idea?
The words kept running through my head like bunnies chasing each other in the yard. Constantly moving and always there. Like an hour ago, Alice and I took off to go to the old creepy house down the road. Things seemed fine at the time.
“Well…this didn’t turn out like we thought it would.” I said dryly, sitting behind a gross moldy couch. I was staring at a wallpaper that looked like it was older than Mom. The white had long ago turned to yellow, and the stripes had faded from some dark color to a dull grey. There were cracks in the seams, and it was torn in places. What I wouldn’t give for something bright and cheery.
“There’s no way we just saw a mummy. They don’t exist.” Alice said, sounding like she was trying to reassure herself more than me.
“I mean, they exist.” I said, glancing at her sarcastically.
“Well of course they exist Sammie, but not like, in real life. They’re in Egypt, or museums, or somewhere else that isn’t here. They’re off doing mummy things like laying in glass cases, or being buried under pyramids.”
“Right. They totally can’t be here. In this house. On this night.” I responded reassuringly.
I turned around to survey the room I was in again. It turned out the gross wallpaper and couch weren’t unique to this spot. There were no doors on the “entertainment center”, if you could call it that. The only thing it held of any actual entertainment was some old records that were probably from the 40s or 50s. Even then, that’s really only entertainment for our grandparents. Everything seemed to have a layer of dust too. The floorboards were warped in more than several spots. “At least the house has wood floors? Think how much more gross this would be if it was carpet.” I said, trying to lighten the mood a little.
The only nice thing in the room was a grandfather clock that had to be standing at least 6 feet tall. The gears inside it still turned, and the clock continued to tick along. The clock face read 11:58 PM. Mom would definitely not be happy if we were caught out. We were supposed to be in the basement having a slumber party, but one game of Truth or Dare later and here we are, trying to prove how brave we are.
I sank back into my nook behind the couch. “Two more minutes, then we can go back outside.” Alice sat up a little, looked at me, then turned around to look out into the room.
“I’m going to look at the clock. It’s weird.”
“We have two minutes and you’re going to look at the clock? Come on Alice, lets just wait out our time thinking of some dare that tops this to give Ariel. She deserves it after this.” A few seconds go by without a response. I looked over, but she was already halfway across the room. “Alice! Seriously?”
The room lit up from a bright flash of lightning, followed almost immediately by loud thunder that scared me out of hiding. I ran over to Alice who was inspecting the clock. “Look, there’s no dust on this. But there’s no footprints on the floor either.”
I stood there staring at the steps we left in the dust leading to the clock.
The hands on the clock all moved smoothly into place, pointing straight up. Midnight. Suddenly, the clock began to move. Like, more than the normal moving parts. The whole thing began to move to the side. “What did you do?” I shrieked.
“Nothing! I swear. It just started moving.” She screamed back, never looking away from the wall. I raised my flashlight to look at the spot where the clock used to be. A hole had appeared. It wasn’t very deep, maybe only two feet. In that small notch in the wall was a problem. A big problem.
Standing there completely still was a body wrapped in cloth. Dark, torn, gross cloth. We stood there, mouths open, trying to take in what we were seeing. Before we could, IT groaned a loud, guttural noise. We both turned to run.
Alice quickly overtook me. She was always faster than I was. “It’s chasing us!” she screamed as she passed. She started to grab anything in arms reach to toss behind her and slow it down. First it was a record off the entertainment center, then it was a lamp next to the door.
“Stop! You’re hitting me not it!” I yelled, but she continued to throw things as fast as she could. We ran down the hallway and several small porcelain figurines came flying by my face. I had to duck to dodge them. Judging by the sound of the mummy behind me, it wasn’t as agile as I was. I rounded the corner and saw freedom. The front door of the house was open, with Alice waiting to shut it behind me, already drenched from the storm outside.
“Hurry! It’s behind you!” She yelled.
“I know it’s behind me! I wouldn’t be running this way if it was in front of me!” I yelled back. I passed through the doorway, and Alice slammed it quickly behind me. We didn’t stop to question if it knew how to open doors, running towards the other side of the hedge where our friends were waiting for us. We turned the corner, but weren’t greeted by friends. They weren’t there.
Confused where they could be, we walked home, hoping they’d ended up there. We walked downstairs where the party was, but all the lights were off and no one was home. I flicked the light switch on, and froze. There in the middle of the room was a body wrapped in old rags lying on the floor.