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Finished the first draft of Gifts Of The Mother Friday. Just over 75,000 words. Managed to get the clean-up edit done late Saturday night, and it's off to the betas now. Even got a few paragraphs of my next project (Politics of Empire 4) done. Here's the last excerpt from Gifts of The Mother's first draft:

I made sure the door was locked, headed to the elevators, down to the lobby, and out to the parking lot. It was three or four miles to the courthouse. If I walked the whole distance, it would be at least an hour until I was even ready to begin looking. Instead, I got into the Porsche and started the engine. I'd probably have to leave it parked somewhere that wasn't legal, but so be it. I could pay a parking ticket, a towing fee, or even replace the damned thing a lot easier than I could replace Julie.

For the record, even the streets on the way were a mess. You'd think everyone would be trying to get away from an area of riots, but you'd be wrong. There were at least as many headed in as were headed out. Maybe some of them were like me, trying to rescue someone inside. Maybe others lived nearby and were trying to get in to protect their property or grab whatever was portable before they left. Doubtless, there were a lot of idiot spectators also, and maybe even a few looking to take advantage of the riot for some five-finger discounts, but it was pointless for me to worry about which were which. Chaos was everywhere, people honking, ignoring traffic signals, and just taking advantage or any opening they could find in the traffic. The advantages of the Porsche were speed and maneuverability, but I had to be willing to risk collisions in order to take advantage of them. I found myself wishing for something like an Abrams tank instead. Tanks just crushed whatever got in their way, and if there were little bumps in the road, so be it. Nobody was going to pull in front of an Abrams, an advantage the Porsche did not have. I managed to stop in time to avoid several, but hit a compact Nissan across the left rear - the driver cut me off and kept going after the collision. Whether they didn't care or simply had something that important to do, the result was the same. It wasn't like cops were going to be responding to little fender benders or even hit and runs in the middle of a riot.

I'd expected to run into a cordon of some sort, keeping people away from the riot, but I didn't. Instead, I could see the smoke getting closer as I approached the 110. First and Second split off from each other; I followed First but saw what looked like a grass field on the left. I pulled into a full parking lot to dodge trees along the street side, and left the Porsche parked on the edge of what looked like a soccer field. Not like anyone was using it at the moment, and I was willing to take whatever my chances were with parking enforcement. It had been less than twenty minutes since I left Zeb - actually pretty good time for the streets of Los Angeles. If I'd tried to walk, I'd most likely have been run down - especially with Zeb's 'not important' spell working.

I'd expected that the freeways would be a natural barrier for the riot, but it was starting to leak through here, and not just the usual members of the underclasses. As I'd seen on the news, these rioters cut across all levels of society. Suits and the remnants of ties were at least as prevalent as homeless grime and tatters. I thought I saw the remnants of judicial robes on one woman. Even here on the fringes, there were several bodies lying scattered about, beaten unconscious or dead by the mob. I had to force myself to ignore them. Much as I wanted to help, if I stopped to look at every body strewn about, I'd never find Julie.

I skulked along the edge of the sidewalks, next to the buildings, taking advantage of every bit of cover that interrupted line of sight that I could. Downtown L.A.'s parking situation made things a little easier - cars were parked everywhere that wasn't blatantly illegal, and a few places that were. Just a normal day in LA before this riot had started. I concentrated on Julie, and got an area still in front of me, which made sense. I think the official address was on Hill Street, but First went right by what most people thought of as the front of the building.

Passing under California 110, I noticed the lack of the homeless people that normally took advantage of the shelter of the freeway. Their stuff was still strewn about, filling rusty shopping cards and blocking the sidewalk, but the people themselves were somewhere else. No doubt either fled, participating in the riots, or as one of the bumps lying around, beaten senseless or worse. The sound of gunfire erupted at some distance in front of me, abruptly cutting off. It was a warning that the .45 I carried was an absolute last resort, and it probably wouldn't save us if I used it. My hope was in stealth and in not being noticed.

The fire station on the north side of First just the other side was on fire itself, the trucks burning fiercely in their bays, already mostly consumed. The building itself was engulfed in flames; I hoped there was nobody left inside but there was nothing I could do for them if there were. Even if there was an organized firefighting unit on the scene, the best they could have done was keep it from spreading. But no firefighters were in evidence, organized or not. Judging by what I'd already seen, they'd been caught up in the rioting themselves.

Copyright 2022 Dan Melson. All Rights Reserved.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Dan Melson published on November 28, 2022 7:00 AM.

Gifts Of The Mother (Gates to Faerie 2): Over The Hump was the previous entry in this blog.

First Draft Excerpt from Measure Of Adulthood is the next entry in this blog.

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