Almost there. Really.
I’m really proud of the next story. I wrote it with a young adult audience in mind, and it has many dark undertones throughout its 88000 word length. Cult Of The Snake is a horror/urban fantasy story about a small group of university students out to stop a snake goddess/Naga queen from coming back to Earth, with the help of Garuda. Hindu mythology, splashes of Greek mythology, a lot of death, destruction and mayhem, and the destruction of lots of property. It’d make an awesome film, but I’m biased.
For the first time in ages, two of the characters are actually based on real people. The gay best friend of the main character is based on a gay friend of mine, who helped me a little with the way his relationships have worked in the past. It was his idea, by the way, to [*spoiler alert!*] kill off the character at the end. And the main female character was based on a lady I had come to know at around the time it was written (early 2011), just with her age halved, and her appearance changed. Of course, enough changes were made in the characters to make them different by the time the story was finished, but for this one I just needed some help to get the characters the way I wanted them, with all their little inconsistencies. As a famous author once said (and I’m paraphrasing here): the difference between fiction and reality is fiction has to make sense.
Any way, this story is a newer one, and I still like it. The main male character starts a little emo-like, but the female drags him out of it, and he becomes that staple of horror fiction – the reluctant hero.
Craig sighed as he played with the drink in his hand. Tayla stared at it as well before she lowered her eyes. “I’m sorry,” she muttered.
“What for?” Craig asked.
“Dragging you out here like this, making you listen to me bitch and moan, and now we’re just sitting here like two strangers.” She looked up at him again and was unable to stop the tears from coming.
Without really thinking he rested his hand on hers. “Tayla, it’s okay. At least it got me out of the apartment for a change.”
She smiled at him. “You’re just saying that.” She sighed again and looked at his hand on hers, but made no attempt to move it.
He stared at her. Her thick, dark hair fell more than half way down her back in natural waves, offset perfectly by wide hazel eyes. She had a sweet, almost child-like smile and not for the first time he found himself thinking of her as quite an attractive young lady. “No, I’m not,” he laughed. “If you hadn’t called, I’d be sitting at home watching football all day, maybe doing some study.”
“Yeah, I should be doing that as well,” she muttered.
“You don’t need a tutor this year, then?” he asked suddenly, just trying to prevent the conversation from falling into another lull.
“Second semester when my psych subjects start. Definitely. I’ll be calling you. This semester everything’s easy, and for psych it’s just stats.” Her face seemed to perk up for the first time since they’d come into the pub for lunch. “And that’s just maths. That’s all.”
“Who you got?”
“Carmichael. I can’t think of his first name…”
“Michael.” Craig laughed. “He was my stats lecturer as well. How many octopus stories have you heard?”
“My God! Like, every lecture!” She laughed, a real genuine laugh, her head thrown backwards. Craig smiled and shook his head, noticing that her hand did not leave his.
“Wait. You’ve got the film he made about octopuses and stats to come yet. Last lesson of the semester.” He shook his head. “Guy knows his stuff, but he’s a complete nutcase.”
The strains of the opening bars of ‘Jessica’ interrupted them.
“Sorry,” Craig said, finally removing his hand and fumbling for his phone. “Craig Stevenson,” he said down it.
Tayla watched him curiously as his face went from joy to genuine concern. He said very little, until, “I’ll get there as soon as I can. See you soon, Bry.” He disconnected the call and just stared at the screen in front of him blankly.
“What’s the matter?” Tayla asked carefully.
He looked up at her. “You’re not going to believe this,” he muttered, “but one of my friends has disappeared.” She stared at him, eyes wide, mouth open a little. “He was exploring a tunnel underneath the railway station and he just…” He pushed himself to his feet and grabbed his cane. “I’ve got to go. I’m sorry…”
“No, wait. I’ll give you a lift.” Tayla’s mind had gone into a numb sort of shock. How could this be happening again?
“No, Tayla, I couldn’t ask…”
“I’m giving you a lift,” she repeated as she made her way ahead of him to hold the door open. He shook his head and limped after her.
Yes, this story has been submitted already. It is still sitting at one publishing house, so who knows? Anyway, for the time being:
Rejection total: 110 + 2 = 112