Now that I’ve submitted the most recent project to a publisher for consideration, it’s time for a new story … How about this one?
“Has it rained in the last two weeks?” [she] asked.
No one answered. She spun around, hands on hips. Three of the four candidates frantically tapped at devices. Jayce gazed at the sky above the high red cliffs on the far side of the dry river bed.
“No, Professor [name],” he said. “This isn’t from rain. No other environmental indicators, no new growth, no water washouts in the sandstone.”
She nodded. “Any word on the equipment?”
“The team on the east side are near the bridge.” Jayce pointed south, tapped his notepad. “The other team are at the way-station hut.” He swiped the screen. “Nothing reported about the lost equipment, and no signals yet.”
[Prof] jabbed a finger at the three city kids. “You,” the tall one lifted his gaze, “go to the east team, double-check as you go. Go as high as the ’87 flood-marker. Call a halt when you reach the main team.” She ran her gaze over the other two. “You two go up the cliff and do the same there. That equipment is expensive. Look hard. You,” she grabbed Jayce by the arm, “come with me. We’ll check the river bed.”
The teams separated, their voices fading with the variable winds through gully and ravine.
“What do you think this is?” she cracked the hard, dry surface with a boot.
“Do you really want an answer to that?” Jayce watched the sand trickle up through the crack her boots had made.
She laughed. “You fell off that bridge.”
“Do you remember it?”
“I was there. I jumped in after you, brought you back.” She pulled in close, nose to nose, bored deep into his eyes. “Is that why you’re here?”
Jayce blinked. His mouth fell open.
“Is it calling you again?” she grabbed his arms and stood over him, breathing heavy.
The panic turned to twitches, tics. His fingers scrabbled at the radio, spun the dial. His shoulders rounded in, he called out, the words indecipherable through clenched teeth.
The other candidates were too far away, ahead or above. Their voices on the radio ignored the instructions and jammed the signal with the chatter about weather, geology, satellite. The mic light remained red.
“They can’t hear us, Jayce. They don’t know what we know. They’re not local to this area.” She clicked her fingers. “Can you hear it, Jayce? Are you imagining what the flight from the bridge will do?” She kicked at the drying crust. “There’s no water this time, Jayce. No coming back if you do it.”
“What do you want?” he whispered. “She won’t let me spill her secrets. She won’t let you in.”
He: Darin Jayce, PhD Candidate.
Logline: An innocent soul who sees a different reality seeks oblivion before the darkness overwhelms his life and steals his body for purposes he refuses to believe are possible.
The Professor is the antagonist he can see, the [other] is the baddie he can’t see.
Urban fantasy, dark or horror — it’s not finished, so I’ll decide for certain when all the bits are sewed together.
There’s a bridge over a river that flooded and wiped out a whole town. All that remains is that bridge (which has a portal, if the key is used) and one hut. The one survivor from the tragedy is Darin Jayce. And he has the key, but doesn’t know it. The two antagonists fought each other, and their casting of curses lost the key. They think Darin can help them find it, because he’s the last of the townspeople, who ensured the portal was locked.
What do you think?
I might do this one, done a few notes here and there, an interview with one or two characters, even if I don’t have names for the two antagonists yet. If I finish it before the end of July, I’ll sub it to a publisher, otherwise, I’ll give it a bit of time and publish it in September.
There are also two other stories yelling at me for a bit of attention. With other stuff that’s happening, I might let them have a bit of down-time until later in the year.