Saturday, April 21, 2007
Directly below you'll find the last sentence or two from 22 death scenes. Below those you'll find the expanded scenes--but with the last sentence(s) whited out. As far as I know, these are all scenes from unpublished works of fiction. No one claimed to have written the scenes specifically for this blog.
You have the opportunity, if you wish it, to guess which endings belong with which scenes. To get the correct answer, simply highlight the whited-out area with your cursor. If you don't care to make a game of it, you may highlight the entire page and just read the scenes. Authors would appreciate any helpful comments that occur to you. Be sure to identify by number which scenes you're commenting on. Character names that appear in both parts of the passages appear as blanks in the endings, to keep it from being too easy.
a. The breath slid from her in a long sigh and she subsided, her body going limp.
b. My head reeled. Mescobal was dead?
c. I'd managed to kill my husband a second time.
d. "Aikel," she whispered as she faded away.
e. She collapsed cross-legged onto the floor next to the dead body that had so recently been an animated human being and stared at it for a very long time.
f. It didn’t take long before his eyes were lifeless and _______ removed his hands.
g. He never saw the wrench before it shattered his skull. He fell, his hands and feet twitching as blood pooled beneath his body.
h. _________ had shot himself in the chest. I don’t know how long it took him to die, sitting there and hurting, alone in his car.
i. "Him," _________ said, and before _________ could do or say anything to save his friend, there was a sickening, wet crunch and the grotesque noise of a tongue lapping at meat.
j. He saw _______ struggling up, heard more shots and then _______ jerked and flopped back, flatter than before.
k. ___________, hero of the Elk Lick Falls High Football Program and Security Officer died screaming in the dark, efficiently separated into his metallic and non-metallic components.
l. Eric! It had to be him. But he was . . . dead. Her thoughts struggled wildly against that reality, the pain of it still too fresh and raw. But if it was Eric, did that mean she was . . .
m. "Maybe you should have taken my advice and returned with six of your friends," _______ muttered.
n. “I’ll take a rain check on that drink,” she said as his face melted away. “I have to see a man about a wolf.”
o. Before I could do much more, in the ominous silence, than seize Lune to me and throw us both to the grassy soil, covering her with my own body, a slamming gale of superheated air rushed over us faster than sound from the deformers' asteroid strike and all I could think as I died in agony, flesh macerated from bone and then ignited, through the desolation and anger at losing Lune and my recovered parents, was, "Oh fuck, they've totaled the dinosaurs again."
p. _______ lifted _______, and as he stood, a line of bullets laced through the two of them. He fell forward over his brother.
q. He was wracked with a spasm, and ________ thought he was going to vomit. Then he unclenched and lay back down.
r. She swayed for a moment and then fell forward, dead before she hit the ground.
s. "I was supposed to look after him," I said, and then blackness smothered me.
t. Then her head went under again and didn’t come back up.
u. It did no good; the scream wasn't auditory.
v. This is my final thought.
1. She knelt over him, tilted his chin back, pinched his nostrils closed and put her lips to his for the first time. Robin blew two breaths, sat up straight, weight evenly above her knees, laced her fingers together and pressed the heels of her hands into his chest to deliver fifteen compressions. Immediately she tilted his head back, pinched his nostrils, blew another two breaths and then listened for his breath. Again and nothing happened. His color just seemed to get worse. She tried again and then one last time. She picked up the telephone from the desk and listened to the hollow dial tone for a few seconds, then slowly put the handset back and looked at Daniel. She collapsed cross-legged onto the floor next to the dead body that had so recently been an animated human being and stared at it for a very long time.
2. It was a service robot from the mining area, a smart electromagnet. Robots like this patrolled the gravity free zones, sweeping up rocks and crushing them to get to the sweet marrow of their ore.
The security chief let out a deep breath he hadn't realized he was holding. He even allowed himself a chuckle to steady his nerves, buzzing with adrenaline.
His sidearm yanked out of his hand. The robot was still operating. Todd tried to back away, but its electromagnet found the prosthetic parts of his body. He fought, but the pull was strong and his boots slid on the polished floor. In frustration, he hurled his heavy flashlight. The robot caught the light and dismantled it.
Todd Burton, hero of the Elk Lick Falls High Football Program and Security Officer died screaming in the dark, efficiently separated into his metallic and non-metallic components.
3. The sun was close to sinking when a tremor went through her. She blinked and sat up, looking around in confusion: something had changed. The snow was falling quickly now, dark clouds covering the sky. She shivered and rubbed her hands against her arms as another tremor touched her. The horizon shimmered and flickered briefly. The fae had left this land, never to return. She gripped the bracken, knuckles white with effort, to no avail.
"Aikel," she whispered as she faded away.
4. Samael grinned. “I was there when you learned about the secret arts, remember? The ones that even God denies exist? You are a powerful magician, Sariel.”
Sariel’s hold on the gun relaxed a little. “I study the knowledge for its own sake, Sam. I always did. Just because. It doesn’t have to mean that I use it.”
Sam’s grin grew even wider. “You have your ways,” he said. “You could get close to them. Waterman’s only a man and he’ll be lonely now that you’ve offed his girlfriend. I’d be willing to bet he’d fall for your like a crow with fresh road kill. You’re a w-”
Sariel pulled the trigger, holding the Demon Lord while he discorporated. “I’ll take a rain check on that drink,” she said as his face melted away. “I have to see a man about a wolf.”
5. I scrambled out from beneath Surya, easing her down onto the floor. She let out a choked cry of pain as I moved. Horrified, I saw blood pulsing from her chest, black in the shadows, spilling over her habit. The horrible warmth soaked into my breeches as I knelt beside her, spurted through my fingers as I tried to staunch the flow. She shuddered under my hands, her limbs twitching spasmodically.
“Don’t move, Surya - Surya – please, please –!” I begged.
She made a little noise; half sigh, half sob. “The price…” she whispered. A bubble of blood broke on her lips, and a droplet of dark liquid ran along her cheek to pool under her eye like a tear.
“No!” I cried. “Please!”
The breath slid from her in a long sigh and she subsided, her body going limp.
6. They were a few feet into the darkness of the main tunnel when something leaped on Coyote Cody's back. He heard Luke hit the ground beside him. Cold, stale breath puffed down over his ear, and he realized that the approach of new threats had been veiled by the blade's reaction to the demon corpses. One of those supernatural sneaks crouched on Coyote Cody's back. It murmured appreciation for the taste of his fear.
The fact that Coyote Cody was sustaining his captor pissed him right the hell off. "You wanna start paying rent, asshole?"
"Scared little humans. Thanks for removing that cursed seal. It burns. Which of you would like to carry it for us?"
"Him," Luke said, and before Coyote Cody could do or say anything to save his friend, there was a sickening, wet crunch and the grotesque noise of a tongue lapping at meat.
7. I was standing there naked when a dead man sauntered into my bathroom.
Sauntered, not shambled.
That was the second frightening thing.
I'm not the screaming type or I would have shrieked. I produced an eeep! Like a paralized parakeet.
I didn't need the air of chemical putrescence he brought with him to know he was a revenant. A smell as sharp as teeth.
"Nathan," I gasped. I shouldn't have. The name gave the empty eyes focus. I skittered backwards until the shelves holding my soaps and pretty bottles bit my bare behind.
He curled back his lips and leered.
That was the third frightening thing.
So I heaved my entire container of rose-scented sea salt at him. The spew of crystals caught him full in the face.
He dissolved, all lacy and pock-marked, like the ice from your chest freezer when you dump it in the sink and run hot water over it. Even his clothes, the funeral black suit writhed and curled like burning paper and collapsed in a drift of dark dust on the bathroom tiles.
I threw up in the tub.
I'd managed to kill my husband a second time.
8. “Are you calling this murder?” Digger asked.
“What else would I call two dead crewmen? I’m going to initiate a full-scale investigation,” the Captain said.
“It looks like a mutual suicide pact between lovers.” Digger wanted to excuse the dead bodies.
“What do you think I am? An idiot? You've been on the bad side of everyone since we took you on as crew. Once the robot gets the surveillance tapes, we’ll know the truth. If you had a hand in this death, you'll face your day in court," the Captain growled, tapping his belt buckle. A robot appeared at his side.
“Aw fuck,” Digger said, jamming an electric power cell against the robot to fry its memory chips. It burst into flame. Startled, the Captain turned back towards his cabin. He never saw the wrench before it shattered his skull. He fell, his hands and feet twitching as blood pooled beneath his body.
9. "You're cracked, Toots, but I guess that'll happen when there's nothing left but your head."
Saki sighed, raising a hand. She felt Jita and Taro on the island and had no doubt they would be here any moment. It was time to clean up her mess.
"You were my first actual enemy. You were a doozy, and you're one helluva fighter, but it's over. You threatened my boys." She raised her energy to a lethal level and formed it to her will. "I wish you peace, whoever you are.
"Nonono! the alien screamed inside her head, the thought so emphatic that Saki wanted to clap her hands over her ears. I will not die on this godforsaken mudball!
She loosed the blast with a hoarse shout, leaping into the air as it detonated--crushing, then vaporizing the alien's head and tearing up the ground for yards around. The internal scream inside went on and on, high and drilling, until Saki did clap her hands over her ears.
It did no good; the scream wasn't auditory.
10. John stood up, kicked Peter so hard that Peter flew off the ground and landed a few feet away. Peter coughed, the air gone from his lungs, tried to get up and managed to, standing in front of John and then swinging at John again with the one good arm he had, trying to hit him and knock him out with the force he had. One punch landed and John took a step back, but the rest of the attack was useless.
John hit Peter hard in the face and Peter flew backwards, landing on the ground again. John kicked him, once, and then again, and then leaned down and held Peter's throat.
“What you do to me, I simply do back,” said John. “See how much more effectively I can uphold my honor.” Peter struggled for breath, but there was no energy left in his broken body, his mouth and nose bleeding, his bones broken. It didn’t take long before his eyes were lifeless and John removed his hands.
11. Why was the bastard running? Why didn't he use his own weapon? Alex tossed aside the tranq gun, stooped, pulled up his jeans leg and grabbed his own, real gun. Just as the main doors opened, and two more guards spilled out. Time to stop being heroic. Alex ran for the car, knowing that tranq guns didn't have much of a range. Thankfully, he had driven, and thus was the one with the keys. The sound of gunfire caused him to zag in a different direction, making for the cover of the nearest car not ten meters away. Diving behind it to the sound of more shots, he allowed himself to catch his breath, peering underneath the body of the vehicle to assess the situation. He saw Fabian struggling up, heard more shots and then Fabian jerked and flopped back, flatter than before.
12. I retched, and gagged, and heaved more liquid out of myself. Moved again, I threw up again. And again.
After that my head cleared a little, and I could look up to see who had hold of me. Verdinnian. He was scowling down at me, his nostrils pinched together.
"You with us, yet, Aquilla?
"That daft Arab took a branch for a snake, and you piled into him.
"Scrabbling, I tried to stand up; Verdinnian hauled me to my feet. Everything spun in fits and starts. I tried to find my horse, but the moment I took a step, I fell down again.
I was dragged up once more.
"That's fine work," Verdinnian added. "The Arab's back is broke, and if that weren't bad enough, you've also broke the cat's neck."
His words were punctuated by a shot.
My head reeled. Mescobal was dead?
13. With a sudden burst of passion, the commander tried to heave himself up sideways like a wounded crab. The scaly thing on his body surged forward, writhing up his skin.
“Rigel! Rigel!” Natalja cried. “Lord Rigel!”
After his last effort, the commander was mostly still. He rocked his head back and forth, muttering to himself. She wasn’t sure if he could hear her.
“Lord Rigel, I can’t take on this sort of demon. Whatever you’re going to turn into is going to kill all of us. Fight it!”
She almost took hold of his hand while she said this, but she couldn’t bring herself to do it. Besides, there wasn’t anything much like a hand left.The commander seemed to come to himself a little while later. His eyes wandered the room until they locked onto hers, not quite focused.
He was wracked with a spasm, and Natalja thought he was going to vomit. Then he unclenched and lay back down.
14. The wave that came up behind her didn’t seem all that big. It lifted her a little, and I heard her laugh. It hit the shore and began to pull back, and as it sucked away from the sand it took my sister with it. I was close enough to see the fear on her face as she was swept backwards, off her feet.
Rob ran for the house as soon as he realized the riptide had caught her. “Stay here,” he shouted to me, “and don’t lose sight of her.”
I picked his shirt up off the sand and held it. Sarah would want something warm when she came back. It didn’t occur to me, not really, that the ocean could take her. My sister’s head bobbed up and down in the water, farther from me each time it reappeared. I saw her arms thrashing as she tried to swim out of the current sideways like our father had taught us, but it wouldn’t let her go. Then her head went under again and didn’t come back up.
15. Later, as I soak the rest of reality out of every pore through the magic of soapy bubbles, I return to my plans for world domination. The world would really be a better place if I were the only person in it. ‘Oleanders,’ I ponder, preparing my bath. ‘All parts of an oleander are poisonous, maybe I can go around smacking people with branches of it.' I giggle out loud at the thought.
I sigh sleepily. “I'll get started tomorrow,” I gurgle. Something is not right. I take a deep breath, but what I would have said next is lost from my mind, what with not having the ability to breathe water. ‘Why did I have to take such a deep breath!’ I reprimand myself. This is my final thought.
16. The fat asshole contractor took another guy with him for backup - like he needed any, the idiot - and together they found William slumped down in his car. I told myself it probably hadn’t been too hot there in the car even though the morning was almost gone when they found him. You’d expect it to be awfully hot; it was August in the South, but I didn’t think it was hot where William was. I could picture where they found him, sitting in his car beside the river, in the summer shade dapple of gargantuan green-canopy trees surrounding his small stilt house, the swift, soothing sound of the river running past him. A big bottle of Jack Daniels had spilled all over the front seat. William had shot himself in the chest. I don’t know how long it took him to die, sitting there and hurting, alone in his car.
17. Even now Callie could hear the metal scream, feel her body jolt sideways as the two vehicles slammed together. Her T-boned door crumpled inward as the truck's fender plowed its way inside. Quick and irreversible, the damage ground through her -- crushed arm, crushed ribs, crushed heart. If there had been pain, thankfully she didn't remember it. Only a wonderment as the coupled vehicles skidded to a stop.
Like spreading fog, an intense white light rose up, enveloping her. So blinding she tried to shut her eyes against the glare, only to find them already closed. A dim figure appeared in the midst of that brilliance, coming toward her, arms wide and welcoming. She couldn't make out the face, but the figure radiated an aura of peace, warmth and unconditional love. Eric! It had to be him. But he was … dead. Her thoughts struggled wildly against that reality, the pain of it still too fresh and raw. But if it was Eric, did that mean she was . . .
18. Alyson stumbled down the stairs, arms scrabbling feebly for support. A white hot pain was spreading throughout her chest, making each ragged breath a labor.
“Quite a powerful venom, no?” A voice called out from above.
She caught herself on an iron railing and searched for the speaker. Her vision was blurring. Every muscle in her body was contracting painfully.
“I imagine that right now, you’re beginning to regret your disobedience.” The voice belonged to the Duke. He stood atop a dilapidated balcony and leered down at her, his form splitting and swimming as her vision grew worse.
“What did you-“ Alyson gasped. A thousand wasps were assaulting her lungs. Her knees buckled and threatened to give way.
“Sleep now,” the Duke purred.
Alyson choked on something wet and warm. The pain in her abdomen rose to a furious crescendo. She swayed for a moment and then fell forward, dead before she hit the ground.
19. "Go get two more friends. We'll try again without the archer," Barro said.
"You think you're that good?"
"I'm better than the woman who defeated your leader. He's dead if you don't know yet. She didn't even have a blade in hand and was already wounded. Unlike her, I'm not wounded. Maybe you should go back and return with four Kogs."
Wazig charged upon hearing the insult. Barro stepped to the side at the critical moment. With his sword blocking Wazig's sword, Barro was free to thrust his dagger low from the side so Wazig couldn't make use of his shield at all. The look on Wazig's face left no doubt in Barro's mind that the fight was essentially over. By then Wazig's sword was falling to the ground with Wazig toppling across it.
"Maybe you should have taken my advice and returned with six of your friends," Barro muttered.
20. "Get out of here," I told them. "They must know where we are."
A shockingly bright light was scorching down the sky, trailing fire. It struck the ground in total silence. A searchlight beamed upward into its trajectory, luminous as the weapon burn from Phlogkaalik's Adamski saucer crystal. Lune's weapon spoke to the sky. Brilliant crimson light bloomed directly ahead of me, then, at the horizon. Before I could do much more, in the ominous silence, than seize Lune to me and throw us both to the grassy soil, covering her with my own body, a slamming gale of superheated air rushed over us faster than sound from the deformers' asteroid strike and all I could think as I died in agony, flesh macerated from bone and then ignited, through the desolation and anger at losing Lune and my recovered parents, was, `Oh fuck, they've totaled the dinosaurs again.'
--August the 1st is too late
21. “I know,” he said. “It doesn’t make sense now, but when it does make sense--you’ll remember me, and the picture. I want you to know that it won’t be too late, even then, whenever that is.”
“And I want you to forgive me.”
She was interrupted by the sound of many engines straining uphill. Voices came up the road to them, shouting, “The sweep!” and other voices screamed. Strangers began running into the woods.
“Get out of here,” Eli shouted, pulling Kate by her arm away from Justin.
“Shut up and run,” he said.
Black pickup trucks, each holding a dozen Community patrollers with automatic rifles, threaded along the road encircling the camp and stopped, evenly spaced like beads on a string. The black-uniformed officers hopped out of the trucks and commenced firing at every upright, un-uniformed being.
Eli lifted Justin, and as he stood, a line of bullets laced through the two of them. He fell forward over his brother.
22. Then there was this horrible frozen silence. Trev stood right in front of me, because I was hiding Rose behind me. His breath blew hot and oniony on my face and his eyes were wide, wide open, and I knew this wasn't what he'd planned, and then a shout rang from the other side of the road: "Run, Trev, run!" and he was gone.
The lorry driver staggered out of his cab, with blood streaming down his face and saying: "He came from nowhere, he came from nowhere." He peered at a dark object in the road and then he turned around and threw up on the pavement.
Rose was vomiting into the hedge. I stood alone on the pavement looking thirty metres along the road to where some clothes were scattered across the road with something broken and sprawling in them and dark stuff around them.
"'I was supposed to look after him," I said, and then blackness smothered me.