Continued from here.
At some point the dog disappeared.
Marie wasn’t paying attention. The stream of tears and mucus and smeared mascara flowing from her face was coming too fast and too furiously to concentrate on anything other than trying to stem the waterworks. It was never ending. Marie kept trying to find the tissues in her purse, before remembering she no longer had her purse, which made her cry harder. She searched around her and found a large leaf, which she blew her nose into with a loud honking snort.
God, she hadn’t cried this hard since her former high school boyfriend had left prom with her former ex-best friend.
There was a rustling in the bushes. The dog reappeared, leaping from the long underbrush with his mottled tail held high. Marie gave a little shriek of surprise and threw her arms up over her face. It was a useless defense, because the dog managed to lick her face anyways, panting and mashing his huge head againse her chest. He seemed somewhat more exuberant than he’d been earlier, and although the light had change, Marie could have sworn he was less grey around his face.
“Milo, heel!” A gruff voice called, to which the dog immediately responded, bounding over to the side of the grizzled looking woman who had called him. She was leaning against a tree at the edge of the clearing, her tan arms crossed over her chest, which was not ample.
Marie stood up, sniffing.
“Who are you?” she managed in a thin whine.
The woman gave her a once-over, snorted, and jerked her head without speaking.
Marie gave her a long uncomprehending stare.
“Follow me, you halfwitted bimbo,” the woman finally said, “and stop sniffling. You’ll get us both shot.”
Continued from here.
It was hours, or perhaps minutes, or perhaps days later when Marie broke into a clearing and took a few stabilizing breaths. She sank down onto a grassy patch in the shade and put her head between her knees. She had long since left beneath any signs of gunfire, and the only noise that accompanied her own ragged breathing was the occasional flirtatious chattering of the birds in the trees, and the shrill yodeling of a solitary monkey. The sun, which was hard enough to see through the dense foliage of the jungle, was flickering just a few feet from the horizon now, and had little chance of making much headway between the ranks of thick old tree trunks.
Marie took her right foot into her hands and pulled it into her lap. The bottom was cut and bleeding, and for the umpteenth time, she cursed herself for dropping her purse and her extra pair of shoes behind her. In New York, she had prided herself on her baby bottom soft skin, pampered by weekly pedicures and mud baths. Now, she wished she’d made a little less fun of girls who went barefoot habitually and had callused heels.
Out of habit, she reached into her back pocket for her cell phone. Her jewel encrusted iPhone was missing, but she pulled out the forgotten Loubouton heel and turned it over in her hands. She found the reminder of home vaguely satisfying.
At the thought of home, Marie finally confronted her surroundings. She had never been the outdoorsy type, but she distantly remembered watching a survival show on T.V. once, and her family had a vacation house in Puerto Rico.From the location of the sun, she was able to determine that it was almost nighttime. Marie recalled that there were other things she could determine from the sun, but she could not for the life of her remember what those things were.
Marie closed her eyes and leaned back against a palm tree trunk.
Okay, she thought to herself. Nighttime in a tropical jungle. I went from the office to a tropical jungle. How did that happen?
All of the sudden, she felt extremely tired. The adrenaline was finally wearing off, as was the last cup of coffee she’d had with lunch.
She had had a weird lunch with Dakota earlier at a bizarre, hippy cult restaurant.
Perhaps I’m tripping.
The thought struck a satisfactory chord. Marie had never done any hallucinogens, but she knew what they were, and she had eaten a sandwich with mushrooms in it. Besides, she didn’t have a better explanation of how she’d gotten here.
I must be on drugs, Marie thought to herself. I’ll wake up in my office, and my PR team can take care of everything tomorrow.
Reassured, she readjusted her grip on her piece of heel, squirmed down into the bed of wild grasses she was sitting on, and drifted to sleep.
When the elevator door opened, Marie was finishing a text message to Kate, asking if she wanted to meet up after work for happy hour.
If she had bothered to look up, she would have noticed that she was no longer in the Everline building.
She was not, for that matter, even on Earth.
She was in a tropical jungle where the afternoon sun was at the apex of its journey across the sky. It was about 88 degrees Farenheit, and there was a war on.
Marie did not look up, however, until she realized that she had no cell service where she was, and by that point it was far too late.
She blinked in the sudden sunlight, felt behind her for the elevator, and, feeling nothing, turned around.
The movement attracted the attention of the closest sniper, who fortunately enough for Marie, had been drinking before he was called in. He took aim with unsteady hands, swaying slightly in his tree perch.
The bullet whizzed by her right ear taking out a few branches behind her before embedding itself deep into an old palm tree. Marie had never been particularly athletic, but she executed a nearly perfect sideways jeté attempting to scramble out of the way of the attack, dropping her iPhone somewhere in the underbrush.
Upon landing, the spindly right heel of her favorite pair of Loubouton’s snapped off at the stem. Miraculously, she managed not to fall.
“Fuck!” Marie cried.
“Fuck,” the sniper thought to himself, taking aim again.
He shot and missed again as Marie bent down and grabbed the broken piece of her heel, staring at the shiny red underside.
Close by, somebody else screamed as they were successfully hit by a sober marksman.
With shaking hands, Marie opened her purse and took out the pair of folded-up black ballet flats she always kept on hand in case of emergency. She tucked the broken heel into her back pocket and stood up to change her shoes, as a wild woman came charging out of the bush and shoved her.
Marie fell back, losing her grip on the flats. She swore again.
“What the fuck?”
“Gurgh,” the woman replied, clutching at the bullet wound in her chest. She gave Marie a long look, as if she wanted to say something very important. Her dirty fingers clenched reflexively as the red stain in her shirt started to widen.
“Gurgh,” she said again, more insistently, before keeling over.
Marie took that as her cue. She kicked off her broken Loubouton’s and ran.
So the Anomaly universe is one in which ten reincarnations of the same planet exist. These planets are labeled Aarth through Jarth and are about 1000 years apart in age. These planets all experienced civilization on very similar timelines and are geographically identical.
Hence (in Earth terms):
Aarth ~ 6000 AD
Barth ~ 5000 AD
Carth ~ 4000 AD
Darth ~ 3000 AD
Earth ~ 2000 AD
Farth ~ 1000 AD
Garth ~ 0
Harth ~ 1000 BC
Iarth ~ 2000 BC
Jarth ~ 3000 BC
At the time that our story is taking place, planets Aarth though Carth are missing and presumed dead. Xionsyes Zelo, a multi quillionnaire living on Darth (he’s in sanitation) has employed a group of scientists to recreate a copy of Darth within a separate dimension. This dimension is called 4A.
So now our chart looks like this:
Darth ~ 3000 AD
4A ~ ??? AD
Earth ~ 2000 AD
Farth ~ 1000 AD
Garth ~ 0
Harth ~ 1000 BC
Iarth ~ 2000 BC
Jarth ~ 3000 BC
Most of the action takes place within the 4A dimension. It is populated with a mix of people from planets Barth though Jarth. As you can imagine, given the wide range of advancements on all the planets, this can be… confusing.
More on that later.
Here’s a really random scene about Dakota rowing? I don’t know. Go with it.
Dakota opened the door of his car and got out. The early morning air was thick with dew and fog, so thick he could taste the heaviness in it. He ignored it, breathing deeply. The rain that was predicted for later would clear out the air.
The misty light made everything look somewhat hazy, but the color of the grass and the leaves on the trees was a spectacular lush green, even though the tree trunks had receded into grey masses that had barely any weight or substance. It was as if the greenery had sucked up all the surrounding density so that while everything else was a hazy nothingness, the greenery was almost overwhelmingly thick.
The boathouse itself was transformed into an almost ethereal form, looming mistily from behind several large and bushy maple trees. The faded, peeling white paint and the aging wood behind it blended into a soft grey. The gutter, which by day was a useless rusted thing hanging to the building’s columns by a single screw, had become an interesting object, alive with dripping dew in the persistent wet. It sparkled somewhat dimly as Dakota walked by it, catching rays of light that had somehow made it past the thick cloud cover.
As he unlocked the boathouse and pushed back the heavy wooden door – the slide it was attached to was rusty and complained noisily about the intrusion – he couldn’t help the sudden rush of excitement he always felt about going out on the water. He was especially fond of rowing alone. Dakota had loved the bustle of his boathouse back home when he was on the team in high school. That boathouse had been far newer and more state of the art than this one, which was really a decrepit old house that had had its garage emptied out for boats. Coming here felt more like a sacred and private ritual than an experience to be shared with teammates. Sure, he knew other rowers here, and had gone out a few times in a double with a guy friend from work, but he preferred having the place to himself.
Dakota signed out a single and picked out oars, carefully laying them down on the dock within reach, but out of the way. He went back to the boathouse and took a deep breathe before hoisting the boat he had picked up and over his head and walking it carefully down to the dock. He flipped it and put it gently into the water with one practiced motion and secured his oars, before quickly running back to the house and locking the door back up. That was the most nerve-wracking part of rowing alone; there was no one to hold the boat for him while he locked up.
It only took him a few strokes to bring himself up to a good pace, body moving fluidly, oars slipping seamlessly in and out of the water, flicking horizontally at the end of a stroke and hovering just over the surface as he moved forward to take another stroke. The single moved forward without jerking, the clean wake a sign of good rhythm. Every few strokes he cast a glance over his shoulder, watching his point.
Within five minutes the inlet widened into the lake and Dakota set a course along the west shoreline, keeping in within sight so he didn’t get lost in the fog. It hovered over the lake in dense clouds, and as he rowed through them, it became harder to see long distances. On the horizon, the water blended with the sky seamlessly, the shoreline impossible to see through the haze. Dakota felt like he was rowing amongst the clouds.
Back from Boston. Too tired to explain this random scene.
Claire slammed her fist on the desk. Marie flinched, surprised.
“The people in this office aren’t intimidated by you!” Claire screamed at her, bracing her hands on the desk and leaning forward, “They think you’re a laughingstock! Honestly, can you get over yourself for a minute? You waltz in here like you’re the Queen of England and throw orders around that half the time don’t make any sense – half the time you’re late or hung-over or god knows what – you haven’t been here for a week – everyone knows you got this job because your father gave it to you, which is a shame because, god, M, you could be good at this!”
Claire paused, breathing heavily. Marie hadn’t moved a centimeter since she started.
“Listen, some of the things you come up with on a whim are brilliant,” Claire continued, softening somewhat. “If you tried, if you applied yourself to this job, you could excel at it, really. Why don’t you have any ambition?”
Claire stopped, apparently waiting for an answer. Marie shifted and looked up.
“You ugly, pathetic bitch! How dare you question my right to be here?” Marie screamed, standing up. “Get the hell out!”
Claire whirled on her heel and stomped to the door, yanking it open and pausing. She turned her head back to Marie.
“No one gives a shit that you’re pretty and popular. One of these days, you’re going to have to face the music, and what will you do then?”
She walked out, slamming the door behind her. Through the clear glass Marie watched her grab her purse from her desk, storm towards the elevators, and slam the button with one hand. As Claire disappeared behind the closing elevators, Marie felt the attention in the office turn towards her. She heard a low murmur of voices and grins concealed hastily behind hands, eyes reluctant to meet hers, but wanting to see her reaction.
Marie swiveled in her chair to face the giant picture window with its idyllic view. In a movie, she thought dryly, this is where the clouds would roll in so it could start raining to symbolize my internal turmoil. Unsurprisingly, it’s a beautiful day. She watched the sunlight glitter on the water until her urge to smash something had largely faded.
I’m turning twenty-five in three days, Marie mused. I’m still single. Most guys would sell their souls to sleep with me. I’m still attractive. I’m getting older. I’m still extremely popular. I have a high-paying job. My dad got it for me. My employees think I’m an idiot. Am I an idiot? Claire thinks I’m an alcoholic. I’m definitely not an alcoholic. Oh God, am I an alcoholic?
Marie rubbed her eyes hard with her fists, then looked down at the bruises on her wrist.
“I’m definitely an idiot,” she moaned quietly to herself.
This is a follow up to last week’s post about the book I writing. Because apparently I have completely lost my mind.
I have 25 days to finish the first 50 pages of my manuscript. Oh my god. Am I crazy? Yes. Yes, I am clinically insane.
First impressions of this process? This is way harder than I thought it would be. I don’t know what force of insanity gripped me last week when I was all like “yeah whatever I can write a book by March 15th”, but it is no longer with me. March 15th is a lot scarier this side of Valentine’s day.
I did get to the library and write about 16 pages last Wednesday, which made me feel better. The perk of writing a daily blog seems to be the newfound ability to pound out a few hundred words like it ain’t no thang. However, the process of actually planning the layout of a book seems to be beyond my humble abilities at this point, and I’m a little concerned that the plot I have written – if you could even call it that at this point – is irreparably juvenile. At this point in the game, however, I do not have time to scrap the whole thing and start from scratch. Luckily, I have an amazing writing mentor/ friend/ yoga student of mine who has graciously agreed to help me get my cards in order. His name is A. I’m meeting with him this Wednesday. I also have two hot, talented, amazing coworkers/ girlfriends who follow my blog regularly who I’m totally making proofread this thing for me before I send it in Varenka Pond and Scarlett o’Hara that means you two.
Oh my goodness, you guys. I can’t. I just reread everything I’ve written for this trying to find something worthwhile posting for y’all to sample and I can’t share any of this. It’s so bad. It’s offensively bad. It’s like a tween hipster trying to write ironic Twilight fan fiction.
I guess it’s time for Plan B- scrap it and start from scratch.