The images on the screens implode. The burning sky above the trees powers down. Fire alarms and tornado sirens and echoing screams are stifled. Even the primordial rumblings in the Throne Room, in the belly of it all, cease. A cord has been pulled.(more) A tapeworm yanked free.
For a moment. One dark, precious moment, then the electric buzz kicks back to life, sirens and sinners howl, the bank of TV's light up again, and, behind me, more porcelain spikes shoot up from the salt-tinged soil, blocking the gap in the trees.
The centermost TV addresses me, and my head snaps away from the now-towering fangs behind me.
You never found your shoes.
Her black-and-white image regards me straight on, then stretches out open palms to show me a pair of horseshoes and a handful of wicked nails.
I struggle up, and sand flies as I run. I round a corner, and another bank of TV's flicker ahead of me. No image of Her this time, but on one screen, something else -
Catt staggers down an abandoned highway, stopping sometimes to stare at what appears to be blank sky. At the shadowed edges of the screen, glinting eyes appear. I shiver.
Another screen follows Sven, walking away from a gentle-faced woman, and into a darkened archway in the side of a hill.
A breath of stale-sweat wind ruffles the boughs crowding the path through the dank wood. The air turns clammy. I walk on, glancing behind me, bare feet scuffing through sand.
The wood thinned suddenly, trees glitching out of existence as I passed them. Two rivers swept through gashes in the yellow mud.
A satyr appeared beside me, arm around my waist.
"I can't wait to see this. You lose, you're mine. I'm Asmodeus." (less)
'BREAKING, RULES: MY VIOLENT SECRET AGENT LIFE'
Ugh. Adrift. Asleep. Fuck that alarm. Coffee time...
Oh, hi. Listen, before any of my whole insane 'secret agent team' thing, you should know that way back (more)in college, I had to take all sorts of pre-requisite classes: among them, writing courses -- and the professors had in common their lists of RULES: Rules Of Things To Never Do When Writing A Story.
[Invariably, the class or I would point out all the successful films and books merrily breaking them].
Never write your last chapter first and especially don't think you won't have to change it. [Harry Potter?]
Never switcheroo the villain to suddenly be a long lost family member. [Luke, I am your plot device]
Never switcheroo a character to not really exist, so that the world's reality, isn't. [the first rule of Fight Club is I See Dead People]
Meta-Aware breaking the fourth wall is bad. [...Bueller?]
A dream within a dream never works. [Inception]
Don't ever write regional or era dialect truly and phonetically. [Huck Finn]
Never, ever, yank the narrator out from under the reader - and suddenly reveal the narrator isn't the person the readers thought he was. [...or else Verbal Kint might have to go all Keyser Soze on you]
Never open with a dream, nor make the point of attack waking up, alone, to the alarm clock or door knock. ["like The Matrix?"]
Don't resort to formula outlines, like Campbell's "hero's journey". [ pretty much all of the above]
Well, dear reader, I'm breaking rules left and right. The current in which my characters are travelling cannot be fought, especially when the rapids are so compelling, the distance so important, and when the characters happen to have been real people.