Cherie Priest

Tiny Godzilla since 1975

more more more

7 years ago, mid-afternoon

Last night, in lieu of television or backseat-gaming, I sat on the couch with my laptop and cranked out another 2000-plus words on The Ado Ward. BOO-YAH. This thing might get finished one day yet. A few weeks ago I made the outlandish claim (on my LJ) that I’d try to have this one wrapped up to Draft Zero status by the end of this month — and oh yes, I’m going to fail on that point. But there’s a perfectly realistic chance that I might see a whole draft by the end of next month … or much sooner if I can keep my head down, my computer booted, and my typing fingers nimble.

Let’s see. Where are we now? Oh yes. Melissa and Teresa have broken into the abandoned hospital’s main building, where they have promptly gotten lost. It’s stormy-dark outside and much, much darker inside; and though the girls have flashlights, they can’t find any indication of where the ado ward might be located. (They don’t yet know that it’s in another building, so they’ve got to poke around and figure it out for themselves.) While they rifle through the mostly empty drawers and file cabinets at the triage center, heavy footsteps bang around somewhere upstairs — and a small, elusive monster-thing keeps watch from the edge of the flashlight beams.

Next up: Back to Bentley and the gang in the ward proper. Their sole surviving counselor is teetering on the edge of a nervous breakdown when back-up arrives in the form of Frank, a buff and vaguely suspicious middle-aged guy who knows much, much more about the situation than he lets on. Frank has been an aide in the ado ward for several years; but before that, he operated a roadside attraction in the back boonies of Florida — you know the place.

Frank looks like he’s maybe 45 or 50 years old. But magic does funny things to people. Frank’s been tied up in this story for nearly sixty years, and he’s just about ready to be finished with it.

First, he’ll have to help the kids survive the night and escape the sinister shrink, Ediford Pechtman — a nasty fellow who once tried to murder a mermaid for the jewels in her costume crown. At the moment, Ediford’s digging around in the empty hospital’s main building; he’s doing his best to open a safe that might hold something he wants very badly. Except that it doesn’t. And except that the hospital isn’t empty. He doesn’t know about Melissa and Teresa yet, but if the girls aren’t careful, he’ll find them soon enough.

* * *

Yipe. I’m getting close enough to the end that I’m going to have to stop these almost-spoilery updates and resort to mere word-counting. Alas!

Work in progress

7 years ago, in the early afternoon

The Ado Ward marches forward.

The outermost bands of Hurricane Tammy are coming ashore, the power has gone out in the old hospital, one nurse is dead from a kamikaze tree through the torso, and two teenage girls have stolen a vintage Vespa — which they boldly ride out into the storm, hoping to rescue their friend.

Tonight, I hope to get the girls up into the hospital proper. They’ve already arrived and stashed the Vespa in a narrow alley, and they’re looking for a good entrance to the main building (since they don’t know where the adolescent ward is located, exactly). Once inside, they’ll have to explore their way through the abandoned campus, locate the correct wing, and dodge the homicidal, supernatural psychiatrist who’s busy trying to break into the hospital safe.

Meanwhile, Bentley (so named for the place of his conception — or that’s what he likes to tell people) is stuck in the dark with three other juvenile delinquents and one youngish counselor. They’re collectively held hostage by the enormous live oak which burst through the entrance, speared the nurse, and blocked the main corridor; and the blind-eyed, cat-sized white creatures that crawl through the ductwork are starting to freak people out.

MWOO HAH HAH.