Tough day today. Only 2.2K words, but I did my daily 2K norm, so I feel good about that. Inching forward (although hating every word I write, the plague of all first drafts).
TUBE, DRAFT 1, CHAPTER 25 (EXCERPT)
Olesya shivered, taking in the surroundings.
It seemed as though she hasn’t seen it all until now, at least not in detail. The junction was at least two dozen railroads wide, with some of them dead-ending into buffers, squalid trains of various build and age, discolored by years of elements beating down on them, snaked along the tracks, silent, gutted, windows broken, roofs snow-capped. Yet something was strange about this place, something alarming. Olesya couldn’t place it, roving her eyes between carriages, until it hit her.
“There are no power lines,” she breathed a plume of warmth into the frozen air.
“What?” asked Mitya.
“No power lines, no poles with wires, nothing...” she gazed around and beyond the carriages, but there was nothing there except a flat plain covered in snow. It ran off into the horizon where it melted into the sky leaden with grey clouds. “Where are we? Where is this place, and why is it abandoned like this?”
Rocks crunched under footsteps.
“Guys?” Masha beckoned to them. “You must come inside.”
“What is it?” Mitya raised his brows questioningly.
“It’s Galka. It’s not looking good. And, well...” she faltered, her grudging demeanor replaced with worry. “Some people are not taking lightly what you are doing and what you, Olesya, are talking about. They, well...go see for yourself.”
“Wait,” Olesya hopped down the embankment, snatching Masha’s arm. “What about you?”
She studied Olesya for a beat before answering. “What about me?”
“Do you believe me?”
Olesya’s question hung in the air, unanswered, picked up by the wind and scattered into silence. Only it wasn’t silence anymore. There was movement above their heads, movement that didn’t predict anything good, movement that brought with it the chill and the gnawing rigidity of that which is beyond life.
“You can’t waste your time on talking, you must dance. You know that, don’t you?” dull words rung out from above, and a shuffling motion. A handful of snowdust scattered in the air, sparkling, and settled on three unturned faces.
Olesya and Mitya didn’t make a sound. It was Masha whose cry soared into a pitchy yelp. She brought both hands to her cheeks, squishing her open mouth into a gaping void of horror.
(Painting by Norman Wilkinson.)