Made my word count, with a couple of words to spare. Just over 2500 words today. It was a close thing, and I made it just under the wire.
So, my excerpt – remember, this is the first draft. I’ve fixed most of the typos, but not all (and only for the section I put in here – many words in the book aren’t even spelt remotely correctly, I type fast and I don’t edit on the first draft – Grammarly will fix it for me after I’m done).
When we got back to base it was clear Jenny was in a foul mood. She stormed off to her room, the first one completed. It was her room because she was using it for an office, normally she would be the last person to claim a space, but this time she needed it for work. I let her go and got to work. A little while later I heard music coming from the room. She was playing the violin. Of course, she could play the violin.
I dropped back into work mode, pulling wiring under Cholo’s direction.
“You know, I was almost an electrician.”
“How come you didn’t go through with it?”
“Got in a fight with my teacher. Punched that fucker out. They didn’t want me back in the school after that. I guess I see their point.”
That’s Cholo. He’s smart, good at almost everything except fitting in.
“Hey, I’ve been meaning to ask, what’s your real name?”
“What, chu think Cholo ain’t my real name?”
“I suspect that the name on your birth certificate wasn’t Cholo, yeah.”
“Okay, it’s true, but I don’t like my name. It’s stupid.”
“So, what is it?”
“You promise not to laugh?”
“Sure, I won’t laugh.”
“That’s… yeah, okay. I get why you went with something else, but come on, Cholo?”
“I didn’t give myself that name. I was going by slaughter, but people kept calling me Cholo, I decided to go with it.”
“Maybe it’s because you keep pretending to be Hispanic.”
“Oh, yeah, probably. I never thought of that.” He had a smirk on his face.
“So, why do you do it?”
“Big suicidal tendencies fan and I love the Transplants too. It’s a style I really dig. That’s all, I just like the way it looks. The fake Hispanic accent, I think it’s funny.”
“That’s pretty fucking racist.”
“Yeah, I know, that’s why it’s funny.”
God, he made me so mad.
We got the wiring running from the main transformer outside to the little huts. It’s amazing how fast things go when everyone involved is superhuman.
“Okay, time to test this portion of the circuit.” Cholo hooked a voltmeter in. It showed current flowing, so far so good.
We kept going. By the time I was too tired to keep working Jenny had come back out.
“Hey Miranda, can I talk to you?”
“That’s what I’m here for.” I followed her to her office.
“I don’t know if I can do this. I don’t know if I can leave.”
“Well, I’m terrified I’m coming back to a factory full of corpses for a start.”
“Nope. Try again.”
“Yeah. That’s why I keep you around. Okay, it’s June.”
“What about her?”
“She wants to take a break, spend some time apart. I’m pretty sure she found someone new. Of course, I can’t blame her, I mean, I’m never around, I’m emotionally distant, I’m not there for her, and I always show up when I need something. I think she’s done.”
“Well, that’s really shitty. She should be glad to have you in her life.”
“That’s the thing, she doesn’t. It’s totally my fault. I’m wondering if I should stay here, try to make things work, send Marcus to Utah instead.”
“Seriously? Over a girl? Well, I guess the heart wants what it wants, but I feel like if the world is destroyed it will really fuck up your love life you know?”
“Okay, that’s true… but we don’t know anything yet.”
“We know that there’s an honest to god demon making a lair in the salt flats in Utah. That’s far from nothing.”
“So, I’m being a little emo bitch?”
“Yep. Now, vag up and pull on your big girl panties and book us some plane tickets.”
“Shit, I never thought about that. How the hell are we going to get on a plane? You realise they will search our baggage?”
“So, maybe we drive instead. I guess I wasn’t thinking about trying to take dose onto a plane. Wait, this means I will always have to be back in less than two weeks, no matter where I fly.”
“I have some ideas on that, but they have to wait. In the meantime, yeah, I guess we drive. Two doses each in our bags. That way we can manage to get there… fuck. I can’t do this.”
“You can, I promise you.”
“Just, look, I haven’t ever really had the opportunity to be a normal girl. All I want to do right now is watch terrible movies and eat ice cream from the carton, pretend I’m a normal girl who just got dumped.”
“You know that a lot of girls don’t really do that right? It’s a stereotype, not reality.”
“How would I know? Hell, I’ve barely seen the movies the stereotypes are from. I just got dumped. I’m sad. I don’t know what to do with that.”
“Go, we’ll find a couple of nice Mormon girls to tempt with our lesbian wiles. Or boys, whatever works for you. There’s an old saying, the best way to get over someone is to get under someone.”
“That’s terrible. My god that’s terrible.”
“You said you wanted to be a normal girl. That’s a normal girl thing. Margaritas and cute… well, whoever’s.”
“Okay, so we go out drinking and picking up boys while we try to save the world? I think there may be a flaw in your plan.”
“Good point. Maybe one evening though, probably we won’t lose the war if we go out for an evening.”
Thank you. I’m sorry to dump this on you. It’s not really fair. I mean, I co-opted you into my war, now I’m trying to co-opt you into my dating life. Seems like a big burden to drop on someone.”
“Don’t sweat it. That’s what friends are for.”
“Are we what?”
“Friends. I mean, I addicted you to demon blood, I risk your life every day, I ignore you, isolate myself.”
“Yeah, we’re friends. Of course, we are. I can’t think of anyone who needs a friend more than you, and I like you, hell, I love you, you idiot.”
“Not like that. As a friend. I got your back. Someone has to.”
“Okay. Thank you. I’ve never had a friend before.”
“Wow, that’s the saddest thing I’ve heard in a very long time. Look, you deserve some support okay. We settled this. If you had been there you would just be dead too. You saved the world, like a few months ago, you are going off to try and save it again.”
We hung out, we prepped weapons, we waited. Jenny wanted to go through dose day before we left. The closer it came, the more nervous she became.
I knew what it was, she didn’t feel like she could leave these guys behind. We were building up our base of operations pretty fast, making it into a headquarters instead of just an abandoned factory.
It was weird, we had a little village of little huts, all laid out in these giant rooms. At this point, the new order was almost two dozen strong, and we had huts for all of us. We were working on the main dining hall and a communal kitchen. It was kind of classic anarchist stuff.
It’s funny, as I’m describing this, it sounds post-apocalyptic. Then again, Detroit is kind of post-apocalyptic. Nobody is really paying attention to what happens in the margins, in the cracks.
We had this place humming along. The only part we hadn’t been able to manage so far was plumbing, we had managed to turn on one water line, we filled up buckets. Cholo had managed to rig up a shower. It was a bucket on a pulley system, you could fill it with both hot and cold water, using a kettle to fill it. Also, we didn’t have real stoves yet, homemade jobs that burned wood, alcohol, whatever. It wasn’t exactly the Ritz. Our huts though, they were nice. There was a lot of Fordite, so I was decorating my hut with the brightly coloured stones.
Sorry, I get off track. I loved that stage, it was so hopeful, so much fun, like being camping with a bunch of friends. Anyway, I think Jenny thought that too, and she knew that it probably wouldn’t last if we left.
Finally, she dosed, and then she tried to put it off again. “Look, just another day or two to get…”
“What do you mean nope?”
“Whatever bullshit excuse you are about to give me, it doesn’t work. There is nothing that we can do today that we can’t do in a few weeks. It’s time to go.”
Cholo provided us with a car. It was a sweet ride. “How off the radar do we have to stay?”
“Owner’s dead, he was living in it. It’s registered for the next year, and I can forge us a pink slip no problem. Only thing is, the owner is still moving around.”
“Okay, so a vampire?”
“Yeah, not just any vampire though. We had this bad boy in the basement of the church.”
“Not a worry then.”
We started driving to Utah at first light. I noticed that Jenny was going about ten as we crawled through the early morning streets. “Hey Grandma, you wanna step on it? By the time we reach Utah it’s going to be way too late. We’ll be driving halfway through the fiery inferno.”
She stepped on the gas. The car was an older Cadillac, the kind that seems to breed here. Tan, of course. I mean, it could have been black, or pink, or really anything, but tan.
We had burner phones, and so did most of the group. Marcus had orders to give us a daily status update, while Cholo was going to call anyway, just because he wanted to.
Yeah, that’s right, I had finally admitted to myself that I was crushing on him. He was strangely cool, for all of his weirdness. Since we’d actually talked I kind of realised that maybe the way he dressed wasn’t that big a deal. The whole talking like a gangster thing, that still pissed me off.
Anyway, the weather was unseasonably warm. Seriously, crazy weather. We drove through bright sunshine. That first day we didn’t talk much. our plan had the drive taking three days, pretty much the best method of making it.
There are issues with living the life we do. I still have ID, even credit cards, but Jenny doesn’t, and neither do most of the punks. That makes things like hotels a challenge. We tend to stay in places that take cash and don’t ask questions. I wanted one night in a real hotel, and Jenny agreed to it. Not that I gave her a choice.
So, that night, using my credit card, we checked into an actual hotel. Not like a good one, but you couldn’t park within two feet of your room. I had a plan. I ordered room service and took a batch. Jenny worked. Of course, Jenny worked. She combed the Internet looking for traces of other breakthroughs, cult activity, anything that would let us know that there was a situation we needed to deal with. After my bath, I threw on the TV and perused the pay per view selection. “Hey Jenny, we’ve got a few important choices to make.”
“Cheesy horror or chick flick for starters.”
“I don’t know. Whatever.”
“Okay, cheesy horror it is.”