Saturday, October 27, 2007

Halloween Choose Your Own Adventure® - Day 6

Guest Maven Kalen HughesFrom now until Halloween, the Manuscript Mavens are running a Choose Your Own Adventure® story, in which YOU vote on what happens next! Every morning brings a new author, from the Mavens to the just-sold, to the best-selling. And every night brings a new twist!

Get your Choose Your Own Adventure® votes in by 8:00pm EST (5:00pm PST) and you'll be eligible for random prize drawings. Vote every day, and you'll be eligible for the Grand Prize--autographed books from Maven pals and Guest Mavens!

(Already read the intro? Skip to today's story. No idea what's going on? Read the "rules.")


Oh, how she wanted to believe him!

But oh, how she wanted to eat him!

Mary backed away, horrified by the manner in which her heart ached, even as her belly growled with an unholy hunger. She must run away. She could never hold dear Reginald again. But before she could turn and bolt for the trees, Sarah’s bitter laughter rang through the snowy silence. “Hemlock, your stupidity knows no bounds. You can’t want her to remember everything. Even if you manage to reverse the contagion… If she remembers what you did that night, she’ll never forgive you.”

Mary blinked, frozen in place as surely as the icicles that hung from the moldering thatch of Hemlock House. Reginald went so pale he almost looked unappetizing. Her stomach growled again. Why couldn’t she remember? Why? It hardly seemed fair that her ghoul of a sister and even the sniggering zombies all seemed to know. Wasn’t she a zombie? Shouldn’t she know at least as much as the others?

“Yes, Hemlock,” the viscount’s icy voice brought the temperature even lower. “Why don’t you explain to your sweet little Mary exactly how she became a zombie?”

Reginald’s eyes widened, his mouth opened as though to speak, but no sound came out.

Her sister laughed again, a cruel sound that even Mary’s dim zombie brain shrank away from, the retreat as instinctive as a roach skittering away from the light. “Yes, explain why she became what she is. Why you did this to all of us!”

“Reggie wouldn’t--”

“Reggie wouldn’t,” her sister parroted. “Reggie did! This is all his fault. My death, Nightshade’s eternal circling round and round and round and round. Even the horses are cursed, all because Hemlock here couldn’t bear to let me go!”

“You? Reginald loves me, he just said so.” Her logic was perfect. Zombie brain indeed. Reginald had called her “darling”. He had said that there was hope because there was love. He loved her. Her not Sarah. Sarah always thought everything was about her.

“He loves you now. He loves you because you’re stupid.”

“Docile,” the viscount said with a snap of his odd teeth.

“Easy. Silly. Quiet. Too Stupid to Live!” the zombies chimed in all at once.

“Ask him to explain about the zombies. Ask him where they came from in the first place? Why no one else is left alive.”

Mary looked into the eyes of the man she loved, the man whose arms she wanted to shelter within . . . the only living, breathing, edible person left alive. He must have had a reason, a good reason. Mustn’t he?


The doctor shifted his weight from foot to foot, staring at the ground. “I was trying to save Sarah you see . . .”

Sarah. Why was everything always about Sarah. Mary felt the urge to eat his brain grow. Her mouth watered. His brain, maybe his eyes, maybe even his heart. She could hear it beating. Thump-thump. Thump-thump. Thump-thump. Like a dinner gong summoning her to the feast.

“If I’d managed to cure her lycanthropy I’d have shamed them all. Frankenstein, Jekyll, Van Helsing. They’d have been nothing next to me! Don’t you see, I had to do it.”

A) The pale man in the spattered gloves made an exasperated noise. Mary looked at his sharp face. Did she know him? He was looking at her like he knew her. Behind him the gang of street urchins rolled their eyes. “He had to do it,” they all said in a chorus. “Had to.” There were the filthiest urchins she’d ever seen. “Had to make our village into a giant devils snare, trapping us all here and attracting every undead creature in England like moths to the flame.”

B) Mary sat bolt upright in bed and put one hand to her clammy cheek. It was a dream. Just a dream. Her heart slowed as she calmed herself. A low moan worked its way through her bedroom door, like the sound of a bare foot on an ancient hardwood floor. The handle rattled and the door swung open . . .

C) “And I have to do this!” Mary leapt upon the doctor, her sharp teeth easily crushing his skull and revealing his tasty, tantalizing brain. Blood sprayed across her face and the zombies cheered.

D) “My what?” Sarah screamed. “I didn’t have lycanthropy you moron. I had leprosy. Leprosy!” And with that she vanished just as quickly as she’d appeared. A few of the zombies sniggered and poor Reggie looked abashed.

Nightshade cracked his neck and flexed his hands in their spattered gloves. “Mary my dear, is it just me or are you famished? I for one think the good doctor here is big enough to share.”

YOUR TURN: You decide what happens next! Leave your vote in the comments by 8pm (5pm Pacific) every day between now and Halloween---Tomorrow's story continued by Diana Peterfreund with the twist YOU choose!

Today's continuation brought to you by Kalen Hughes.


Darcy Burke said...

I have to pick D. I admit I'm rooting for Mary and Nightshade!

Great installment, Kalen. The zombie cheering slayed me.

Vicki said...

I'm going with B. I love the fact that it was a dream (maybe)and that someone or something is now rattling the door handle. :)

I'm with Darcy on the zombie chant/cheering. That cracked me up.

Regardless of which one is picked I can't wait for tomorrow's installment from Diana.

Maggie Robinson said...

Oh, shades of Bobby in the shower. B, please, although I bet the brains were tasty. Fab installment.

B.E. Sanderson said...

Oooo, hard to choose today. D is tempting, but I think I'm going with B. What's behind door #1? ;o)

Erica Ridley said...

Definitely D! D rocks! =)

Thanks, Kalen!

Bill Clark said...

Leprosy, schmeprosy...there's more to Sarah than meets the eye, even though she has suddenly vanished. :-)

Let's go with D and find out more. Diana getting married this weekend? Like, she had a bachelorette party the other she spending her honeymoon writing chapter 7? "Not tonight, SB, I have to write for the Mavens" - just what every groom wants to hear on his wedding night! :-)

beverley said...

Yay for B)

Keira Soleore said...

I vote in for: D

Jennifer Linforth said...

A! Go for A...

That dude could be ANYONE! A Zombie sex god, a disgruntled agent, a writer with a pitch gone terribly wrong...

ANYONE I tell you! Off to have brains for lunch.


Tessa Dare said...

Definitely decided on delicious D!!!

And I think we've found the title of this story: "To Stupid to Live"! LOL.

Great job, Kalen!

Tessa Dare said...

Ack - that should be "Too Stupid to Live", of course.

Apparently, this morning I am Too Stupid To Type.

Jacqueline Barbour said...

I'm definitely in the D camp. (Hmmm, is that because I saw the letter D everywhere I went yesterday?)

Loved it!

Steph said...

I'm going to go with B.

Kalen Hughes said...

Once someone else had made our heroine a zombie with brains that were turning to mush how could I resist the TSTL line? *grin* I can't tell you all how much fun this was!!!

Am I allowed to vote on my own entry? My favorite option is C, but I think I'll vote for D. I'm open to any option where Hemlock becomes a snack. LOL!

Ruth M. said...

Ooh C!!!! Must have brains!!! She needs them, the silly thing.

Darcy Burke said...

Thanks for being with us on Saturday! Kalen, these are awesome choices, because every one has a vote! Two hours left to weigh in!

A: 1
B: 5
C: 1
D: 7

lacey kaye said...

Love, love this installment. Way to go, Kalen!

I vote D. I'm with Darcy in giving Viscount Nightshade another chance.

Marnee Jo said...

I say D, just because.

B.E. Sanderson said...

Ack. I almost forgot about the title contest.

How about: "He Broke Her Heart, So She Ate His Brain"?

(Although... 'Too Stupid to Live' does have a certain something.)

Keira Soleore said...

Title suggestions...

Guess What's For Dinner?

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?

Undead and Unpopular

Manuscript Mavens

Manuscript Mavens