Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Sweet Dreams

Okay, I wrote a sentimental scene last night. In fact, most of the scenes I wrote were sentimental moments in the middle of zombie mayhem (Zombie Mayhem would be a good name for a band). Most of the actual slaughter will have to wait for the rewrite, but I wanted to get the few scenes where I knew what was going to happen done before the end of the month. Among them were: citizens find refuge in the church; Pastor Jim goes out to rescue the woman he's in love with, owner and bartender of The Point, Brooke Adams (the one with the scar); Brooke and Jim hide out in a coffin escaping zombies and she says: "Is that a prayerbook in your pocket or are you happy to see me?" (turns out it's a crucifix); N'Vonecz floats through the air in the middle of a cyclone chasing David Graham. And then there's this scene:

Ma Carter had for so long been able to ignore the clanking of pipes in her water closet while she slept, that the ringing of the church bell went unnoticed as well.

As she slept she had the dream that had been coming to her more and more often. She was in a lush garden. Trees hundred of years old towered overhead, surrounding the acre or so of grass and flowerbeds. With her in the meadow were two animals, a lamb and a rattlesnake. Ma Carter had never been one to place too much faith in dreams, and this one was no exception.

When she awoke the first few times, she puzzled over the dream’s meaning. Was she in Eden along with the animal representations of Christ and Satan? Was she being reminded of Christ’s (Christ, yes?) exhortation to be as gentle as a lamb, but as cunning as a serpent? Was it just another day at the petting zoo? Now she just ignored the possible symbolism of the dream and enjoyed the coolness of the grass beneath her feet, the softness of the lamb’s wool, and tried to ignore the fact that the rattler kept inching closer.

If the ringing of the church bell hadn’t woken her, the breaking of glass and smashing of the front door two stories below didn’t phase her either.

The zombies, smarter than they had been when they started out, performed a systematic search of the house. Each room they entered and found unoccupied the angrier they got. The anger was translated into violence directed at the heirlooms and antiques in the boarding house. Their loss of focus began to whittle away at their intelligence.

As the monsters made their way onto the third floor landing, Ma Carter’s dream changed. Ravens began to fly overhead and perched in the trees surrounding the clearing. Worried by this new development, Carter looked down at the lamb, which looked around at the birds, then at her and smiled. She felt the lamb’s peace fill her soul and she smiled back.

At that moment the rattlesnake struck. Just as quickly, the lamb leapt between her and the snake. The snakes fangs sliced into the lamb’s exposed chest, but the lamb shook it free and trampled it with its tiny hooves before it fell victim to the snake’s venom.

Ma Carter knelt and cradled the lamb’s head in her lap.

As the zombies reached her door and touched the handle, the ravens in the dream attacked. As they flew toward the defenseless woman in the middle of the green, the lamb’s body EXPLODED in a ball of light. As the ravens collided with the sphere of light enveloping the woman, the wheeled off and burst into flame.

Within the ball of light, Ma Carter felt herself dissolving, fading away. It wasn’t painful, wasn’t frightening, yet she was glad she’d never have to experience it again all the same.

When the zombies entered the room, the last one in the house, there was no one to attack, no living body for them to destroy.

They fell upon each other.

I checked the scripture reference (Matt. 10:15-17) and found it's serpents and doves, so in the rewrite she'll have a dove on her shoulder and the bird'll peck the snake to death - or have really strong talons (or the dove equivalent) and tear the rattlesnake in half, soft wool will change to soft feathers, and she'll cradle the whole bird in her lap, not just its head. I guess the dove will coo instead of smile.

The shifting perspective may be a problem (she can't know about the zombies because she's asleep, they can't know about her dream because they're not omniscient zombies), but that's a problem to worry about in January.

(daily word count: 3,853 words; total word count: 71,449 words; body count: unknown - zombies are shown carrying countless bodies up to the abandoned mine for disposal, but no "on-screen" deaths last night)