As I mentioned earlier, I’m doing two projects this year for Camp Nano. The editing project – The Soul Between Us – is nearly finished. I will likely have the completed third draft by Sunday afternoon.
The first draft of Castle of Three Kings has taken a turn I did not expect. The outline has to be completely reworked (or tossed out the window) and while I believe this is a good thing, it also means I will likely not get the draft done by the end of the month.
I’m still going to try.
I mean, after Sunday I will only have the one project to work on. If I bust my butt, I should be able to do it.
As always, if you’re participating this year, then I wish you the best of luck. Keep writing! Keep drowning in caffeine. Keep snacking on unhealthy things because you don’t have time to cook.
Your family will forgive you next month.
** Snippet – The Soul Between Us **
He swept the back of the room twice with his light, finding nothing but old chairs and a cabinet. Tessa went still beside him, her light trained on the corner by the door. Cordon directed his light there too, stiffening as he took in the familiar shape of the soldier standing there.
Unease roiled in his gut. The man looked more solid this time, the shades of his uniform clearer. Desert shades, if Cordon wasn’t mistaken. He’d seen enough news reports to recognize it. There was blood on his chest that looked fresh and Cordon took a protective step in front of Tessa.
Reaching for the first words he could think of Cordon said; “We don’t want any trouble.”
“You mean you see him too?” Tessa whispered.
“Yeah, I see him,” Cordon said. “Last time he ran before I could ask him anything.”
That wasn’t quite right. The soldier hadn’t run anywhere, he’d just disappeared.
Not liking the way the soldier continued to stare at them, unmoving in his bloody uniform, Cordon ignored Tessa and spoke again. “Are you hurt or something?”
Tessa tugged on his jacket sleeve but he wouldn’t turn away from the threat.
“Cordon, that’s Cabby.”
The name struck him in the chest and Cordon gripped his flashlight harder. “That’s not possible, Tessa. Cabby has nothing to do with this place. There’s no reason he would be here, ghost or not.”
Good God, they needed to get out of this place.
The soldier took a step forward, his movements just as unsteady as before, only now Cordon could see why. It was a limp; a staggering, uneven limp as the soldier was forced to drag his left foot forward. He reached out a burnt and gnarled hand and the wind began to pick up.
Only it was a wind coming from the doorway, from the soldier and not from the window. It howled at them, creating little dervishes in the corners and whipping up dirt to fling into their faces. Cursing, Cordon ducked his head, trying to shield his eyes from the worst of it. He could feel Tessa gripping his arm but through the haze of watery eyes and dust he couldn’t see her face. She seemed to be ducking her head as well because he thought he could make out her ear.
An ache settled in his chest and for a second he feared he was having a heart attack.
But he was only thirty. Thirty-year-old men did not have heart attacks.
There were no such things as ghosts either but when he lifted his head, intent on checking the soldier’s position, he found the man a foot away and looking far more apparition-like than before. His skin was translucent gray, like all the color had been leached out of him, and as Cordon continued to stare he could see the wall behind him. It was as if he’d been transposed in a photograph – there but not quite there – and Cordon’s chest ached all the more.
The eyes were the worst; two horrible shadowed holes with no color to speak of.
“Oh, Cabby,” Tessa’s voice managed to reach him over the wind and Cordon tensed.
There’s no such thing as ghosts. And then, because he needed to say it out loud; “There’s no such thing as ghosts.”
In response, the soldier took a jerky step forward, crowding into Cordon, arms wrapping around him as though in a grab or a hug. But instead of a solid grip, Cordon felt icy tendrils sink into his skin, burrowing down and coiling around his bones. The ache in his chest intensified and a sensation like having his veins frost over began slithering its way up his arms and over his shoulders. He heard Tessa’s voice but couldn’t make out what she was saying.