- See more at: http://blogtimenow.com/blogging/automatically-redirect-blogger-blog-another-blog-website/#sthash.UVsgb4Gv.dpuf Erin's Alter Ego Writes Books: Back in action and a short story

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Back in action and a short story

Sorry guys, I know you've missed me. Just wanted to let you know that I haven't forgotten you.

So a quick update: Extraordinarily Average has been completed and is going through a painful editing process. They say that the best writers are those who can edit. Well, I hope that's not true. Ask a friend of mine: she spotted a massive typo in the second paragraph of the entire book. And I mean massive.

I've also started outlining my next book (jumping on the vampire bandwagon, but it was a bandwagon that I initially jumped on way back in 2002, so I'm actually ahead of the game - more on that when I get to it), and my husband and I are talking about possibly doing a joint book after that. So who knows, it'll be interesting coming up.

And on top of that, I've been trying to do some entries for advertising awards. Which in of itself is always both a pleasure and a chore, aka I love doing it and coming up with great ideas. It's always a strange thing to compare advertising writing to literature writing.

So, in honor of my latest shenanigans, here is one of my short story entries into NYC Midnight. In these competitions, you have a weekend to write a 1,000 word short story with a required location, object, and genre. This entry was one of my favorites that I did for it, and while perhaps a bit cliched, I still think it's fun.

So here goes. My given location was a rehab clinic, my object a wig, and my genre was sci-fi. At least the sci-fi part was easy for me. There was a lot that I wanted to say, but couldn't given the 1,000 word limit. Enjoy.

High Hopes

The wig fit perfectly on her sad, bald head.
Looking at herself in the dirty mirror, Sadie allowed a small, hopeful smile – her first since coming to this rehab center one month ago.
She turned her head side to side to check, but she was sure the brunette wig looked natural. Hope fluttered in her chest, as addictive as any drug.
Well, she amended, almost any drug.
This wig was her miracle. Yesterday she found it stashed in a trash bin, just sitting there, her ticket out of this horrible place. It was a slim and desperate chance, but Sadie had no other alternative. She had to get out of here. And now, she had the chance to escape.
With hair, she looked no different than the horrible nurses and orderlies that flitted about Infinite Dreams Rehab Center. Everyone knew that withdrawal from the drug Kobra caused one's hair to fall out, among other horrible side effects, so it was instantly obvious who was a patient and who wasn't.
And Sadie was a patient here. She had once been addicted to Kobra.
A homemade concoction of codeine drugs and household chemicals, Kobra was the most destroying and addicting drug anyone in the world had ever experienced. Named for the black discoloration and scaly skin it caused, it created one hell of a hit and was the perfect, inexpensive substitute for heroin. But it was also the most dangerous drug ever created, causing addicts to rot from the inside. Once a person was addicted to Kobra, their life expectancy plummeted to less than three months. And if a person tried Kobra once, they were addicted to Kobra for the rest of their short life. It was over a million times more addicting than heroin. Scientists were baffled by it.
So the Government decided to end the drug addiction. Sadie was forcefully grabbed from her home where she was having her last, precious hit and checked into Infinite Dreams Rehab Center against her will. There, she went through a painful three weeks of withdrawal, including days of endless vomiting and 106 degree fevers. They had kept her strapped to her hospital bed, ignoring her screams. She finally overcame the addiction, but at an enormous cost to herself.
And afterward? They wouldn't listen to her pleas to let her leave. It seemed that they left her to rot in her cell (for there was no other way to describe her dirty hospital room). They beat and hit her if she made too much of a fuss. It was like she was stuck in a nightmare she couldn't wake up from.
But now she had outsmarted them. Because now she had this wonderful wig. It gave her all the hope she needed. She could get out. And she would.
So she made her escape.
She moved swiftly and silently through the corridors, avoiding all contact. She might look normal, but she didn't want to risk it. Not when she was so close to freedom.
There was one terrifying moment when a nurse passed by dragging a screaming, bald patient behind her. They hadn't noticed Sadie. She breathed a sigh of relief and ran the opposite way from them.
And suddenly, there it was. The entrance to the building, her gateway to the outside world. She nearly cried out in joy. She ran the last few yards to the front doors and pushed through them, practically flying, sunlight haloing her wig, her heart light and her hopes high.
It felt as wonderful as a dream.
She had won.
She was free.

“Hmmm,” the technician murmured. The computer chirruped cheerfully and he typed a few commands. The machine beyond the observation deck whirred to life and shifted through the pods, bringing up the one he had called to face the glass.
“What is it?” the nervous-looking gentleman asked behind him. A battle-scarred General in military uniform stood next to him in the darkness.
The technician pointed through the glass. “She's having a good dream, Mr. Eiderman. A really good dream, it seems,” he added appreciatively.
The General gave a short laugh in response.
Beyond the glass was a stasis storage facility where hundreds and hundreds of human bodies slept submerged in a translucent goo inside two meter long pods. The three of men examined Sadie's pod where she floated, asleep to the world. Her tranquil face, obscured by a breathing apparatus, was one in the sea of patients interred at the Inifinite Dreams Rehab Center.
Mr. Eiderman watched Sadie's face with both sick fascination and horror. “She can dream in there?”
“Of course, sir,” the technician replied. “All of the patients at Infinite Dreams still have REM sleep while in stasis.”
“How long will they be like this?” Mr. Eiderman asked the General.
The General cleared his throat. “Forever, most likely, unless we can find a cure for their addiction to the drug. Problem is, when we tried conventional methods of weaning them off the drugs, they died within days from withdrawal. When we tried putting them in stasis until their bodies could handle being off Kobra, their minds weren't free of the addiction and they went back on the drug once they were out. So this,” he nodded to the glass, “is a far kinder fate than what awaits these poor bastards, should they be let out. It's the only way we can control them.”
“All of them?” Mr. Eiderman squeaked. “None of them can leave?” The General nodded again. “What are you going to do with them, then? Just leave them like this?”
“Well,” the General said, a slow smile creeping into his face, “that's why the Government is looking for investors like yourself, Mr. Eiderman. We're interested in finding another energy source that's not nuclear or coal.”
“What do you mean?”
“Have you ever heard of harnessing the power of humans for energy?”

And if you've made this this far, thank you very much for reading!

x Erin

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