Monday, October 29, 2007

Halloween Choose Your Own Adventure® - Day 9

Guest Maven Carrie RyanFrom 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.")

Continued...

One by one, she snagged the tip of the gloved fingers in her mouth and ripped the leather free. When she was done, she looked at his bare hands and gasped. "Why, sir..." she breathed, her entire body going hot as her mind danced with a hundred possibilities.

"You're all thumbs!" she said with disbelief. He sighed, the air rushing from him like a squished zombie lung. He flexed his ten thumbs, trailing one across her nipple one last time but her body failed to respond. Both their shoulders slumped as the sexual tension in the room fizzled like the beakers surrounding them.

"Curses," she whispered. "I was really looking forward to that." She started to pull her clothes back on, thanking heavens that her stays were broken and would no longer be cutting into her undead flesh.

"Just one curse, I'm afraid." He let his head drop to his hands, his thumbs tugging at his too long tresses. "I was kinda hoping you'd be able to help me with it, too."

She sighed, flicking a fingernail against one of the boiling beakers: plink… plink… plink. She admired her many different fingers: index, ring, pinkie.

"I blame your sister, really." He continued, holding his right hand up and inspecting his cuticles. "It was she I was first in love with. She I wooed in my carriage that night. She my life has always revolved around. But then when I couldn't," he coughed, his nubby thumbs covering his mouth, causing Mary to shudder and look away. "Well, your sister cursed me for being so fumbling. I hate to say it, Mary, but she's kind of a witch."

Mary stopped pinging the beakers with her fingernails. "I know," she admitted. "It runs in the family. Along with a few other things. Doesn't every family have its skeletons? Or rather zombies?" She felt a familiar pinch of hunger in her stomach and stole a sidelong glance at Lord Nightshade. Idly she wondered what sort of defense he'd be able to muster with his hands being as ungainly as they were.

She could feel her senses leaving her, the clarity she'd felt after eating Dr. Hemlock dissipating. "Any idea of that handsome Marquis of Moonlight is still around?" she wondered out loud. "I'm feeling a might peckish. Perhaps a snack will help fuel the flames." She hopped from the table and began pacing around the lab, peering through boiling beakers of various colors, watching the way the light played off her ever-dried out and deadening skin.

"Is that all you ever think about, Mary?" Lord Nightshade asked. "A man stands cursed before you, begging entrance to your body. A tragedy stirs about your village and your sister is goodness knows where, ready to strike again. I can't even leave this place without coming back here because my stupid imp can't ever figure out what I'm pointing to and only knows how to turn right. And here you are asking about a snack!"

Now he was up pacing as well. Mary had to admit, he was working himself up to a rather tasty smelling sweat. She licked her lips. "Seriously," she croaked. "I think we need to find this Moonlight guy posthaste. Or maybe, since you brought him up, your impish driver is available?"

"Mary," Nightshade growled. "You don't want to eat the imp, his brain is rotten and he's a horrible driver. Even killed a man once while I was in the carriage. But that is not the point. Do you not see we have bigger issues than your stomach! Get a grip on yourself!"

He was making her feel stupid. Just like Hemlock made her feel stupid. She was quite tired of feeling stupid. "You've never truly understood me, Nightshade," she said. "You know I can't think on an empty stomach." She stalked closer towards him, knocking beakers from tables as she passed. "And here you are complaining about too many thumbs. Perhaps the way to end the curse has been before us all along." She pulled one of his thumbs into her mouth, her lips closing around the soft, tender flesh.

His eyelids flitted shut. "This isn't what I had in mind when I said we needed to find a way to break the curse," he groaned. He felt her tongue wrapping around his skin, her teeth encircling the joint. He stepped back until his hips rested against one of the tables. He could feel the steam from the tipped beakers behind him. His skin tingled, his every nerve alive as if he were on fire.

"You know, Mary," he gasped. "I really think you must realize that…"

(A) his voice turned into a scream as Mary's teeth ripped through his flesh. Somehow Nightshade didn't feel as if this cure was going to turn out so well for him, after all, things hadn't ended too well for poor Hemlock…

(B) "My coat is on fire," he said, rather dully. "And your sister has reappeared over there. And I think I might have figured out how to save the town from tragedy. And I'm certain it might have been you I loved all along. I think. Oh, and it appears the combination of liquids we've spilled are combining to create some sort of cloud of elixir to rid us of our curses. You're no longer a zombie, my fingers have returned. We are saved." He turned back to his cuticles. "And I think it might cure the zombies too. Just saying, is all."

(C) Before he could finish, Mary tried to say something, her words garbled by Nightshades thumb in her mouth. "Huh?" he asked. "I said," she said, "That I finally remembered what it was I was trying to remember before…."

(D) "Oh curses," Nightshade mumbled. "It's that infernal Marquis of Moonlight here to rescue the damsel again. I hate it when he does that!"

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 Ann Aguirre with the twist YOU choose!

Today's continuation brought to you by Carrie Ryan.

27 comments:

Maggie Robinson said...

Could this get any wackier? Whackier? Neither looks right. Anyway, I absolutely loved B, but must go with D, since it's time for a real hero.

And I had such hopes for Nightshade.

Marnee Jo said...

I agree, Maggie; this is wacky/whacky!

I am going to go with D too! I'm a total sucker for HEA.

This totally cracked me up though! The carriage that only goes right?! That was awesome.

lacey kaye said...

I love it! I laughed out loud, all alone in my little office. Hilarious.

So I see the draw of D, but I love the tongue-in-cheek of B. I have to go B. Who else would have summarized it so neatly?

B.E. Sanderson said...

Hmmm... B or C... B or C... B or C...

I'm beginning to sound as dumb as Mary when she's hungry.

I choose B.

Christine Koehler said...

He turned back to his cuticles. "And I think it might cure the zombies too. Just saying, is all."

Haha, OK, I need to pick B. That line is just too funny not to be included.

Mary said...

I'm voting B: The Accidental Cure.

Darcy Burke said...

OMG, hilarious stuff, Carrie! I have to go with C. B is a great summary, but I want to know what Mary's been trying to remember. It could be the key to her HEA!

Fantastic installment!!!

Erica Ridley said...

Awesome, Carrie! You rock!

B for me too...

MsHellion said...

I love B--it's so Charles Dickens--but I'm going to have to pick D. Moonlight is my favorite character.

Totally dying at him being "all thumbs"--*ROTFLMAO*

Vicki said...

D, it must be D. :) Loved the thumbs!!!

Jennifer Linforth said...

D! D!

Because I lay odds the guy has two left feet...

Thanks for the laugh.

Jennifer

Tessa Dare said...

New title possibility... "Maneater"?

Hmm, I'm torn. I think I'm choosing B, because I like neat and tidy resolutions.

Hilarious, Carrie!

Steph said...

I'm going to vote B too. :)

Anne-Marie Carroll said...

Yep, whacky. lol Hmmm, A-M tapping her finger against her chin, (look Mom, no beakers. lol) I vote B.

Great job ladies.

Bill Clark said...

Lacey said:

I love it! I laughed out loud, all alone in my little office. Hilarious.

I agree, except that I did my laughing out loud in the public library, and got my knuckles rapped by a rather severe librarian with granny glasses and her hair in a tight bun.

B is my choice. We need to wrap things up here, ladies, and Carrie has given us such an elegant lead-in to solving all the problems in Cotswold and bringing about the possibility of HEA. So B, definitely B.

begging entrance to your body

Carrie's opening line and this one had me in stitches. When the bun-haired libarian asked me what was so funny, I told her I was torn between begging her pardon and begging entrance into her body. That was when she hit me...

lacey kaye said...

I told her I was torn between begging her pardon and begging entrance into her body. That was when she hit me...

*giggles*

Bill Clark said...

Lacey thinks bloody knuckles are funny?! :-)

Is there an official CYOA(R) title contest afoot that I somehow managed to miss, or has advance word of it leaked out and people are entering it regardless?

My offer: The Cotswold Curse

Oh, and let's add a subtitle - why not?

...Being the True Story of the Late Mysterious Happenings in Rural Oxfordshire, Together With the Perilous Adventures of Miss Mary Goodweather and her Pesky Virginhood.

*Bill sits back and waits to collect his prize*

Ann Aguirre said...

Oh my goodness, what a story I have inherited...

Darcy Burke said...

Great title, Bill, I'm totally laughing out loud. Since tomorrow is the last installment and won't require a vote, we're asking people to submit their title tomorrow via comments and then we'll post the winners on Thursday.

So, put your thinking hats on, readers!

Carrie said...

Yeah, Ann, sorry about that :) I felt the same way when I read Julie's ending!

Thanks for all your wonderful comments, everyone! I was so scared y'all would be like "huh? that Carrie chick is weird and one of us is going to tell her she's not funny." I had a blast writing totally outside my comfort zone with a character I chould just have fun with.

I can't tell y'all how much fun I've had reading all the installments -- can't wait for tomorrow Ann!! :)

CrystalGB said...

My choice is D. :)

Christine Koehler said...

The Cotswold Curse: Being the True Story of the Late Mysterious Happenings in Rural Oxfordshire, Together With the Perilous Adventures of Miss Mary Goodweather and her Pesky Virginhood

HAHA! I'm sorry, but I can't top this. I'm laughing in my office, but I am the librarian, so who reprimands me?

lacey kaye said...

Me, too, Christine. I loaded this page up instantly to reply to it and say so, but one of those bosses who likes to peek over shoulders showed up ;-)

Jacqueline Barbour said...

Oh, dear. B, C, or D? So many choices, so little time...

Um, C. I HAVE to know what Mary remembered...

Ruth M. said...

C ! What is it she forgot to remember???

B had me laughing, so I had to read it to my daughters (ages 15 and 19)

THEN I go and read the "pesky virgenhood" title and snorted tea!

Of course then the girls just had to read the ENITRE series from the beginning.

We vote c

lacey kaye said...

And you made your choice right on time!

I have to say, I'm delighted you shared it with someone. Two someones. Hi, ladies!

Keira Soleore said...

Very cool how the story gets turned around and around. I choose C or D. Hm. Decisions, decisions.

D

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