Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Writing, but not "writing"

Xandar peers up at the desktop. Quiet clacking and the occasional sigh are the only things he's heard in days. "What is she doing up there?"

Nekar pats the young man on the shoulder. "It's nearing that time of year again. You're new but you'll get used to it."

"What time? With all that typing I expected some new crumpled pages or characters down here."

"Listen to the typing. Notice anything different?"

"It's too regular. What happened to the long silences, the muttering and the occasaional run for cover when she gets up to trample us while acting out scenes?"

Nekar nods. "Exactly. She's not writing. Not our kind anyway."

Ms. Wildstar wanders over with a frown on her young face. "What other kind is there? I mean, that's worth spending all that time on? She could have written a quarter of a novel by now."

Xander cocks his head. "Were you hoping for some new characters to hang out with?"

"Of course not." Ms. Wildstar stares at the surrounding hills of crumbled paper.

"Cut it out you two. We won't be seeing any new characters around here for a couple months." Nekar points to the glowing screen high above them. "She's writing peptalks, donation requests, a forum full of informative posts, organizing events, and writing down story ideas for NaNo.

"Oh, not NaNo again." Ms. Wildstar wraps her arms around herself and looks to Xander. "You have to watch out for the newbies. They're not the same. Not real characters. If you find one, kill it, cut its head off and bury it."

Xanders eyes grow wide. "Why? What the hell are they?"

"NaNo cast offs." Nekar hands him a Barthromian slingshot. "Sorry, that's all we've got down here right now. Cases of them. Stupid things. She hasn't cut any new weapons in a while and we've used the good ones up."

"I'm supposed to kill it and cut off its head with a damned slingshot?" He holds the rusty metal bar up and examines the yellowed rubber band. "How long have these been down here?"

"A very long time." Nekar hands two more to each of them. "Always stay armed. Once you have them down, paper cut their necks. There's plenty of that."

Ms. Wildstar snorts. "Let's just hope its not a humid day."

"Enough. This is important. These NaNo things, they aren't fully formed and usually dim-witted, but they can show up in masses or alone. Some of them may have abilities we don't know about, ones she didn't fully explore before tossing them out of the story as she's writing. Some of them have family up there." He points to the desktop. "They want to go back and will do anything to make that happen. If we ever want the chance to get back into a WIP, we need to protect her."

Xander tucks his slingshots into to his pants pockets. "And why the decapitation and burying thing?"

Ms. Wildstar does the same. "They turn into zombies if we don't. Kind of hard to get back into a WIP as a brainless character."

Nekar half-stiffles a snicker. "True. How long have you been down here again?"

She glares at him. "Shut up."

"But what happens if we miss one and it goes zombie? How do we kill it?"

"Fire." Nekar takes a long look at all the paper around them. "And that means we all go up with it."

"Oh. Gottcha." Xander stands tall and looks alert. "So what now?"

"We distribute the rest of these slingshots and then wait for November to strike. Good luck to you both." Nekar heads off into the paper with the crate of slingshots. "It's been nice knowing you."

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