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A pinch and a punch for the first of the month! I’m pretty psyched because this is my birthday month and I have officially sign up for NaNoWriMo! It’s not going to be easy with writing, working, watching over eleven children writing their own books and handling the laundry, but somebody has to do it!
Good luck to all my fellow writers out there challenging this lovely month with their perfect prose of 50,000 words or more. Last year was my first time doing NaNoWriMo and I was really pleased to complete The Iron Pendulum. With any luck, my new work-in-progress, The Cure, will be just as much fun. The book will be targeted at the young adult audience and has built up a storyline in my mind over the past few weeks thanks to the Book Tuesday blog. If you haven’t read the excerpts I posted, here is the link…
Celebrating a year more in a lifetime of dreams can’t be so bad when things you enjoy surround you and attract more of the same. I can’t say it’s all roses. Life is tough and this has been a hard year. But, in the grand scheme of things, it’s better to point out the good bits than overwhelm myself in sorrow. There’s plenty of time for tears…and apparently sleep.
Right, I can’t dilly-dally. Word counts don’t increase on their own and I have some work to do.
Have a lovely evening folks.
A flu pandemic has wiped out most of the adult population, leaving communities across the world fighting for food and survival. A new regime has risen from the hysteria, known as SG16. Their militia have their objectives: to find a cure for the new world and arrest all vagrants outside the safety zones. The only way to do that is to find a survivor who holds the gene that can fight against the flu virus; an infected survivor with the right antibodies. James, Chelsea and their baby might just hold the cure that everyone is looking for. But there are no guarantees on their survival under SG16’s rule. Can they stay hidden long enough to find an escape? It all depends on the cure!
Previously on The Cure…
Beth, James and Chelsea were hiding out in a barn, hoping the SG16 Squad wouldn’t find them and their little baby.
Beth sighed and watched the drops falling a few inches from her stubby nose. Her fifteen-year old body ached as she rocked the little baby to and fro. The cold was a permanent friend as long as this rain kept falling and the first chills of winter settled in. What would they do for food once the frost covered the farmland and surrounding forests? Foraging had saved them so far and the thought of looting houses made her cringe and squeeze the blonde fuzz bundle in her arms. Her mind drifted to the first few months after the sirens were constant and the smell of death overpowered everything….
Clouds had shifted aimlessly across the skyline, oblivious to the the screams on the earth below. Pain tore throw her lower abdomen; searing sharp pangs that convulsed her body into grotesque shapes. The sun shone down and warmed the earth. Waves of heat fumes danced in the distance along the deserted road. The leaves and flowers shifted as a slight breeze picked up, waving their dancing heads in the already stifling heat.
Beads of sweat formed pattens on the side of her bony cheeks, following the sharp contours of her face and gently dripped off her chin. She sighed and lay back on the rough mattress that had been pulled out of an overpacked shed of junk. The smell was indescribable, but she couldn’t care less at that moment. Another convulsion of pain spasmed through her thin, frail body. She was far too young to be enduring childbirth and there was a higher chance of her dying than surviving this ordeal. The young man squatting next to her on the dirt, holding her hand and doing his best to mop her forehead could see this, but bravely smiled and showed his flashy yellowing teeth. His voice cracked from dryness and fatigue.
“Come on Chelsea! Just a couple more and the baby will be out. Isn’t that what they say on tv?” he glanced to the girl not much older than him performing the precarious role of midwife. She didn’t bother looking at him but continued to mop at the blood coming out of Chelsea and her grim expression did nothing to allay the fear building in the young man’s chest. His eyes filled with childish tears that he wished he could let fall but knew he had to be a man. If he was man enough to create this child and put his girlfriend through pain he had never imagined, he could suck up those tears and man up!
Chelsea groaned and felt a rush of adrenalin flowing through her as the baby’s head pushed out. She screamed at the prolonged stretch and sucked in air as though someone had put her in a vacuum.
In…out…one more breath.
And then the big push for the shoulders. A tearing feeling and excruciating agony rocked through her, arching her brittle back further and twisting her spine until the relief of the child leaving her body with a braying sound made her collapse against the stinking mattress. The sweat ran off her and she lay still, her eyes open to the blue sky and shape shifting clouds drifting slowly by with a sense of peace. It would be so easy to die just then, her body not her own as the child midwife tugged at her, cleaning her and the baby and cutting the life -line between them – separating them at last. There was no need for her now that he or she was out and safe. James would look after the baby. Her eyes closed slowly and she drifted into a peaceful sleep, the pain humming far away in the background, numbed by the pure tiredness of her small teenage body.
Hi again and welcome to Book Tuesday.
This week I will be featuring the start of an idea that came to me whilst writing Deception. The plot is simple and has probably been used a few too many times; hence the reason I never bothered following through with this story. Anyway, I was going through my files and stumbled upon it again, so I decided to give you a taster. It’s about a group of teenagers that have survived a flu pandemic. One of the teens was pregnant at the time and will play a key role in the future plot.
Tell me what you think and if you would like me to continue the story each week (similar to what I did with Cecil The Bully). As always, thanks for reading and giving your feedback. I appreciate it.
The sun crept over the horizon and slowly lit the valley below. Trees turned their leaves to the warmth and the fog that had engulfed the night rose to meet the morning light. James turned under the covers and stretched his young body to its full length. He knew he was tall for his age and used it to his advantage with the girls and sports coaches. Everyone seemed to like his sense of humour and devil-may-care attitude, but deep down he knew the truth. Scratch a little below the surface and you found a scared little boy whose dad had left when he was four and a mother with relationship issues to say the least. He had to use his height to push out unwelcome male visitors who thought a night cap included a one night stand.
Everything in Jame’s world had alway had some sort of balance. Making sure his school life was bearable against Mom’s “friends” who liked to visit late at night; balancing friendships with the guys against girls who wanted him for his social status and feigned confidence. That was until Chelsea arrived at the school. She was different, so original to the churned out sheep that circulated the dating scene. Her hair shone bright in the sun and she wasn’t afraid to braid it. Soft patterns and little clips made her look angelic and his heart melted at the sight of her. She was shy and seemed to enjoy hanging out with the nerds in the library. It gave him an excuse to update his knowledge on reference books and fiction titles as he sauntered along the narrow aisles,, watching her laugh and use her hands to gesture at every conversation. She liked to chew on the tip of her ponytail and twirled it in her long fingers, caressing her hair whilst she chatted.
Yes James could feel the uncontrollable adrenalin rush through his body at the thought of Chelsea. If only she would notice him! Her bright blue eyes secretly followed him and she wondered when he would get up the courage to approach her. A girl had to be careful not to give one guy too much attention, especially in a new school. Everyone was a stranger but wanted to be a friend. It took time to find the real thing amongst the fakers who wanted the skinny on a girl’s past. Chelsea knew the drill. She had moved around so much with her dad being in the army, she felt that this was the norm. Find a few easy friends, no-one too intense and wait out another year of school in a strange town. Soon enough she would be packed up and moved to another place, maybe country to continue her studies amongst strangers. Army brats knew how to take care of themselves, even if it felt endlessly tiring and terrifying to meet new kids and maintain temporary friendships.
“Hi!” a deep voice said behind her. She spun around, surprised out if her internal monologue. It was James, tall, handsome with long blonde hair and dark eyes that didn’t quite match his fair skin and hair.
“Hi yourself ,” Chelsea replied, smiling at his awkward stance and twisting her braided hair around nervous fingers. “Aren’t you in my library club?”
“Yeah! Uh, so I was wondering, what are you doing after the sponsored walk next week? A group of us are thinking of going into town and getting something to eat.”
“Okay. Yeah that sounds good thanks. Can I invite some of my friends from library too?”
“Yes sure.” James shifted his weight from one foot to the other, looking awkward and out of place amongst the other teenagers with their noses buried in books. “Okay I will see you after the walk on Friday then!” he smiled and walked off into the crowd of teens trying to escape through the library doors as the bell rang to announce the change of lessons.
That had been weeks, no months ago. A lifetime ago.
The baby wailed and everyone cringed in fear. The patrols had been cruising past more frequently and if they didn’t do something to quiet it down, they would be found. It was early evening but it had been raining for most of the day, the coldness seeping through their dirty layers of clothing. Beth stood up and stretched her stiff joints, hearing her back crack into place. The scarf covering her frizzy black hair was the brightest thing on her and could be seen more clearly than the dark velvet coat and grey skinny jeans that covered her thin body. She reached out to take the baby from its dozing mother. The movement woke her, her startling blue eyes showing fear until they focused on Beth’s dark arms pulling the baby from her clutches.
“Don’t worry. I’ll take her for a while,” Beth whispered as she gently plucked the baby out of Chelsea’s weakening grip. The little bundle wriggled and made a loud burp which cracked the three gaunt faces around the fire and gave them something to smile about for a moment. “Better in than out, as Shrek would say!” Beth smiled. The baby smiled back at her and wriggled some more, getting on with her own business in the already full nappy.
Their hiding place was not much. After leaving the buildings behind and following the long road through the farmlands, they had happened upon a barn that was still full of hay. It was warm enough when dry but the drips and drops of water seeped through cracks in the corrugated roof, making slush puddles on the dirt floor and wetting the hay to the point of stinking rot. No-one complained because they all knew the consequences of getting caught by the SX16 squad. Death would be welcome in comparison.
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