Sunday, October 28, 2007

Halloween Choose Your Own Adventure® - Day 7

Guest Maven Diana PeterfreundFrom 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!

(No idea what's going on? Read the "rules.")


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.”

“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.”

Mary pressed her fists to her temples. This was too much to take in. Zombies and dead sisters and men who couldn’t perform and this aching, raving hunger… and they kept calling her stupid! She hated that. Sister Sarah had always been both the smart one and the pretty one – at least, until her wasting disease had left her looking like a half-rotted corpse.

It was a fate Mary had no interest in sharing. She’d show them whose brain was really mush! “Reginald,” she pleaded, batting her eyes. “Help me.” And then she swooned.

Or, at least, she looked like she did. And as Reginald, always the smarmy, patronizing gentleman, stooped to catch her, she reached around and pulled the scalpel out of his pocket.

Quick as you please, she sliced off the top of his head like a Halloween pumpkin and peeled back his overlarge parietal bone. (Yes, she had paid attention during the interminable and agonizing anatomy lessons he seemed to think made good date conversation.) She carved up the good doctor’s grey matter, saving the frontal lobe for herself.

“Here.” Mary tossed the chewier occipital lobe at Nightshade, then let the remainder of the body drop to the ground, where the other zombies swarmed around it, snatching at the skull in a desperate attempt to score a soupçon of cerebellum.

“Bless you!” Nightshade said, his mouth full of gooey bits. “It’s been ages since I’ve had a decent brain to eat. All Hemlock ever allowed us was a few village idiots here and there.”

As the genius physician’s organ of intellect (which had always been his most useful organ) slid down Mary’s throat, she felt her own mind clear. Reginald had been looking for the cure in all the wrong places. The secret wasn’t necessarily abolishment, just management. And all it took was one simple twist and flick of the scalpel.

Already she felt the fullness of the doctor’s knowledge seeping into her soul. It was as if, by eating his brain, she was absorbing everything that Reginald had been. She smiled serenely at the horde of zombies fighting over scraps of the spinal cord. She felt like a hero.

Of course she and the others had been growing more and more mindless all the time. They’d been eating the brains of farm animals, of simpletons and psychos. What did he expect? But oh, to consume a mind like Hemlock’s!

Gone were the horrific hallucinations of Sarah, the muddy memories of old sibling rivalry. Gone too was the source of all that rivalry: Dr. Reginald Hemlock. Two birds, one brain.

“Much better,” Mary said, daintily wiping her bloodied hands on the doctor’s coat. She caught site of her reflection in the surface of the scalpel. Also gone were those horrible rotting sores on her skin. Her face was smooth and fair and exquisitely pale. Brains, apparently, were fabulous for the complexion. Good thing, too. She had no desire to look like her leprosy-ridden sis.

In fact, the only thing left was Nightshade, looking both substantial and scrumptious now that his meal had put a bit of color back into sharp-boned cheeks. Mary stretched out her hand…

A) “Come here, big boy,” she said, as blood lust quickly turned to lust of another kind. “Let’s break a curse or two… together.”

B) …Still gripping tightly to the scalpel. “Nightshade, I have freed you from servitude to that life-preserving mad scientist. Become a servant to me, your zombie queen, and you can eat anyone you want. Be stubborn and perish.”

C) “Behind you!” she shouted, pointing.

Nightshade turned and gasped. “The villagers! It’s our doom!”

Mary rolled her eyes. “You mean our dinner.” She’d keep the priest for herself. At least he could read. Unlike the magistrate.

D) And beckoned to the zombie horde, who had just finished licking clean the good doctor’s cranium, and had begun to shuffle towards the village, a look of whetted hunger in their heretofore lifeless eyes. They ignored her.

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 New York Times best-selling author Julie Leto with the twist YOU choose!

Today's continuation brought to you by Diana Peterfreund.


CM said...

We must have B. B is for Brains.

Maggie Robinson said...

I'm so glad I haven't had breakfast yet. I may never eat breakfast anyway. That jelly doughnut is too reminiscent of....

I'll take A.

B.E. Sanderson said...

Ummm, I'm with Maggie. Eww. And I haven't even had my first cup of coffee yet. Well done, Diana.

I'm going for A, too. Is there a HEA for Mary? (What can I say, I'm a hopeless romantic.)

Vicki said...

Well done Diana! I'm with Maggie, a jelly doughnut is not something I'm likely to eat for a while. At least without thinking of gooey brains. :D

I'm going with A. Besides, it's Julie tomorrow and who better to write a sexy scene between to zombies. :D

Jennifer Linforth said...

"...fighting over scraps of the spinal cord..."

Ya know, break the spinal cord, get into the nooks and crannies and there all all sorts of squishy stuff to suck out. Spine--the new English Muffin.

A... go with A. Great job, Diana!


Diana Peterfreund said...

Vicki, that was my thought too. I don't know if I'm allowed to vote, though.

I figured that between Julie and me, Mary's spine would toughen up.

lacey kaye said...

I like B, but I think C is the one I'm going with.

Thanks, Diana! This cracked me up.

Darcy Burke said...

Oooh, I'm really stuck between A and C. I need a little romance here! But the brains and zombies are so fabulous! Aargh!

Okay, C. I'm going with C. Or A. No, C. C.

Great installment Diana. You had me at parietal bone.

Bill Clark said...

Definitely A. It's time for a good sex scene - but no biting allowed! ;-)

Mary said...

Can't believe I got so busy yesterday I forgot to come here! Ah well. Today I vote A. Definitely A. I'll have to start thinking of good titles.

Steph said...

I'm going to go with A too.

Keira Soleore said...

Diana, I loved this line: "Two birds, one brain." Fabulous!! :)

I'll take A.

Ruth M. said...

A, A sounds good, what other curses, A- Definately A

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