#JuNoWriMo excerpt – 3

I’m nearing done – about 8000 words to go. For your enjoyment, bemusement, disdain, or just to ignore.

 

By the afternoon of the fifth day, their concerns were at a peak. Simon was extremely pale, and he didn’t have the energy to keep his eyes open for very long, and when he did, he couldn’t speak above a whisper. Everyone was gathered around him, trying, but failing, to talk about positive things, when they heard the footfalls in the brush behind them. Walter stood there, carrying a rifle. “Hello again. Do you think you might be more willing to listen to me now?”

“Listen to you? You’re part of the reason he’s like this. Why would we listen to you?” Emily’s voice was ragged, but it was filled with contempt.

“You know why. I can heal him.” Walter paused. “If he does what I want.”

Simon struggled to sit up when he heard Walter’s voice. “It doesn’t want you. You know that. I can’t give it to you.”

“I know. It would be so much easier if you could. I could kill as many of you as it took to get it, and then go away and never have to see your obnoxious faces again. But things don’t want to work that way, so we’ll do it the harder way. And for that, I need him alive, and willing to do what I ask.

“I’ve told you that I’ll let you go when I get what I want. Anywhere, any time in history. Of course, dragging Simon along, sick like that, would be a pain. But I can fix that.”

“Do you promise you’ll let us go? And heal him?”

“I haven’t lied to you. Well, not about that.”

Simon motioned weakly to Emily. “No. Don’t let him.”

“But you could die. You will die.”

“I know. Remember – I have to. We all do. That’s what they told me. If he heals me, we’ll never stop it. The monsters will win.”

“I don’t want to lose you. I’ve missed you so much.”

“You won’t. You have Daniel, and Teresa. And if there’s anything we’ve learned, it’s that the future isn’t as set in stone as we might have thought.” Simon coughed again, and it took a very long time for him to stop. When the coughing finally came to an end, he closed his eyes, his breathing very shallow.

“It’s now or never – he’s done for if you don’t let me help.”

Letting Simon go was the most difficult thing Emily had ever chosen to do, but she couldn’t let Walter heal him when he’d specifically asked for him not to. She leaned over and kissed him, and then looked up at Walter, her voice weak. “Never, I think.”

Simon opened his eyes one more time and smiled at his wife. “Thank you.”

Walter had a desperate look on his face. “Hey, Simon – before you go. If you don’t say yes, I’ll kill your wife. Your kids. Your friends. And then I’ll figure out how to take the umbrella and go back and kill your family.” He raised his rifle and aimed it at Emily. “Now!”

His last gambit failed, however, as the last breath passed through Simon’s lips and he fell limp back into Emily’s arms.

Jenna cried out and Pater raised his own gun to aim at Walter. “You did this.”

“I tried to save him. Not that it matters now. He’s gone, and none of us will get the umbrella. Enjoy failure.

“And shoot me if you want. It won’t do anything. And then I’ll enjoy killing you.”

Simon’s hand opened, and the umbrella fell to the ground with a soft thump. Watching from a distance, Aiden felt his heart sink, and he started to run forward. Then he saw the umbrella lift itself off the ground and start to glow, soft and blue. As everyone watched, transfixed, it drifted over to Emily and hovered in front of her. Having seen what it could do to people who tried to take it against its will, she reached out her hand slowly, tentatively, until she felt her fingers close around the wooden handle. Walter cried out, and raised his gun to fire at Emily, but as he shot, she vanished, along with the motionless body of her husband.

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