I have officially completed the first draft of my second novel, Mya. This doesn't mean it will see the light of day anytime soon. In truth, now is when the *real* writing begins. Nevertheless, it was nice to have a story from A to B, like a skeleton, that I want to finish building. Below is an excerpt--NOTE: it is extremely rough and unpolished. To continue the metaphor, it's the skeleton without the flesh.
When I had left the apartment, I tried to ease the door shut, but even the small click of the door roused Mya. Slowly, her eyes fluttered and finally opened on the ceiling of the apartment. It was a monotone white space with a long flower of smoke that opened up from the sliding door balcony. She shifted in bed, turning toward the windows—outside was a purer white than the ceiling now. It was morning, but there was no sun, and the light simply existed through the fog. The glow and the black pillars of smoke had disappeared as the cloud had descended upon the suburb, much as it had up on them in their own apartments. She watched the glass, her moving back and forth along the blankness like she was seeing an actual view.
Mya’s head hurt constantly now, no matter how many pills she took—the pain had even blurred her constant nausea. And she wasn’t even sure if the fog outside was truly there or if it was her eyesight blurring in and out, as it tended to do now. She still saw things around her and heard voices—growling, accusatory voices—though she knew them for what they were. Some were startling, that was all. She had a vague memory of lying in bed with me the night before, and saying strange things—the voice hadn’t sounded like hers. In the “light” of day, she wasn’t sure if she had imagined it. What did this all mean? Was this the end? Or near to it? She regretted not having at least a better idea of when she could be finished.
Mya closed her eyes. There was no darkness in there, though. Flashes of light, sharp and throbbing assaulted her. In the “background”, a glow like she and I had seen in the cloud the previous night—if we had seen it. There was only white out there now. Perhaps the fire was out. She opened her eyes. She jumped into a sitting position: outside the cloud was swirling around the deep beckoning claws of flame. There was a loud crash somewhere outside, beneath the balcony, and the pristine white rails were growing black and slowly twisting and warping.
Mya reached over to her medication and grabbed them with both hands then scurried out of the bed on her knees and into the living room. There was no flame outside the window of the living room, but like storm clouds, dark fast-moving swells of black smoke passed by the window on their way to the sky. Unable to look away from the window, her eyes wide and irrational, she poured several bottles of pills in her mouth—she choked and had to spit them out, but on her second attempt, she managed to get them down. It didn’t last, only a few minutes later, she vomited noisily, coughing and regurgitating the pills.
A dark shape appeared in the corner of her eye and she turned her head—a brutish, black figure stood in the bedroom doorway, his body charred and skin sliding off his flesh in several places. Mya recoiled, still on her knees, into the corner of the room. The blackened man didn’t move, almost seeming as scared of her as she was of him—he was clawing at his face, tearing lines of blood and flesh away with each swipe. Mya screamed and cried out.
“No. No! Go!” She closed her eyes and opened them several times, but the scarred man still stood there, pulling at his skin while he stared at her, his eyes somehow completely lucid and undamaged. He had emotion in his eyes, something harsh and severe. Regret? Hate? He started moaning, a long drawn-out sad groan which only terminated when he managed to tear out his own throat. He took one step toward Mya, and she screamed again—but he fell. He fell straight forward, his head slapping against the hardwood flooring, and his body twitching with its final throes.
“No, go away, go away!” Mya screamed, closing her eyes again—the body remained when she opened them. She started gathering pills again from the ground where she vomited them up and tried swallowing them again. She went one at a time, one after another, her eyes fixated on the burning man, his body searing and torn apart by his own fingers. A pool of blood was growing beneath him and toward Mya.