I've been live-writing a horror story that has grown to include Beasts, bagpipes, flaming spiders, and more! It's all to support my book "Temporary Anne", about a woman too evil to escape hell -- but so evil she JUST MIGHT.
At each stop of the tour, I put another installment of the story up, and readers help decide what comes next. If you missed part of the story, here's the complete blog tour list:
1. Life Is Good: Friday 9/13
2. Strange Pegs: 9/16
3. Laws Of Gravity 9/18
4. The Blutonian Death Egg 9/20
6. Jessica Bell Author/Musician 9/26
8. Jess' Book Blog 10/3
We're up to part SEVEN, and it's a doozy:
"You've got, I'd say, ten minutes," the man says.
"Before the egg sacs hatch?" one of me says.
"Before the poison paralyzes us?" another of me says.
"Before that guy" -- I gesture up -- "Gets away?" I say.
"Yes," says the Bearded Man. "And also..."
All of mes are waiting for him to finish the sentence. The pause goes on for long enough that I, or one of me, anyway, finally grows impatient.
"Well?!" I or someone like me says. "What, you need more dramatic effect?"
"NO!" snaps The Bearded Man. "SHUT UP!"
We all are quiet then.
He looks sad for a moment.
"Did you hear that?" he finally asks.
"Hear what?" me and another me say.
The third me says "I heard it. She's dead."
"Who's dead?" I ask but there's been only one female around here anyway and I know the answer to it.
"So there is a bottom," says the Bearded Man, "And that's not good for us. Not good, at all." He looks around at us again.
"What I was going to say, and it just got more urgent, is that you need to gather up as many of you as you can so that the antivenom can meld you back together. We've got enough problems without you running around creating more problems."
"ME?" all the mes say. "I didn't do any of this!"
The Bearded Man looks directly at me, the real me, or at least the first me: the me who is telling you this.
***WE TOLD YOU NOT TO TALK DIRECTLY TO US****
Look, I'm sorry, but I...
***SORRY IS NOT AN OPTION****
What does that mean?
***IT MEANS WHAT IT MEANS****
But that's true of everything. Except puns, I think. Because with puns you really mean something other than...
***GO ON WITH THE STORY****
Do I have to be upside down?
Probably? Or Yes?
*** NOW, GO ON WITH THE STORY****
I looked back at The Bearded Man, who says to me:
"Who do you think is creating all this? Stephen King? Well he's not, he's dead, as are hundreds of others, thanks to you!"
There is the sound of an explosion from the top of the pit, followed by the faint echo of someone shouting "WOW! THAT REALLY BLEW ME AWAY!" I ponder, briefly, how loud the explosion had to be to reach down here so quickly, and so audibly.
"...probably thousands," The Bearded Man says, "And our only-- our only -- chance to stop them is to gather up as many of you as we can, and grab The Beast, damn, we could really have used the Drum Major, maybe... NO. I can't let you make more."
I realize, then, that he is pointing one of the bagpipes at me.
"The Beast?" I say. "But he's down there," and I point to where the egg sacs are heaving.
"Yes," The Bearded Man says. "And that's where we're going. All of us."
The other two mes all join me in shaking our heads.
"No way," I say. "We'll just be heading in the direction that is not full of spiders and monsters."
"Don't make me use this," The Bearded Man says, menacing us with the bagpipes.
"Yeah, by all means, lets not force you to play Scotland the Brave while dancing around in a kilt."
The Bearded Man blows into one of the pipes, inflating the bag. As the windy, whirly strains of bagpipes begin to sound, the pipe that had been pointing at me is lifted, slightly, by his hand, and a flare of something very much like a laser shoots over my head. There is a flash, a pop, smoke, and a bit of rock-dust floats around me. I turn around and most of the wall of the pit has been disintegrated, to about twenty feet back.
"Wow," I say, as we all fall through the web, which is suddenly unsupported, and we drop into the blackness below us, The Bearded Man using his grappling hook/jetpack to stay with us, shouting directions.
"You!" at one of me "Push that egg sac off the net!"
"You!" at another of me. "Get by him!" The other me did what he was told and stood next to me, as the first me began pushing at the writhing, swollen egg sac. There were many more below us.
"Use that disintegrator on them!" I tell The Bearded Man.
"Doesn't work on things YOU make up," he says. "That's why I have to do this!" And he pointed the bagpipe at me, and started to play it again.
"What the! No! I..." I start to protest, but then realize I had enough time to protest, or live, and I needed to do the latter more than the former. So I dove off the edge of this web, just as the disintegrator fires, and I hear not the whoosh of disintegration but some sort of zapping or popping sound, and The Bearded Man is yelling:
"YOU #$**#%&$ IDIOT!"
I fall to the next net, and seeing him looking down at me with his arm on the copy of me, I jump off that, too, and so I can barely see that something else has happened, that the me he's standing next to has become all stretched out and stringy and that The Bearded Man is having trouble letting go of him.
"YOU CAUSED ME TO INTEGRATE HIM WITH A SPIDER'S WEB!" I hear, but I'm diving off the next web, and the next, jumping my way down, and I'm about ten webs down from him when the spider's egg sacs hatch.
***YES, NOW WE ARE GETTING TO THE GOOD PART****
That depends on how you define good part.
No, not agaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaiii...
OKAY, Readers, what happens next? Help Sandra decide by leaving your ideas in the comments.
The FIRST REVIEWS ARE IN: "It's fascinating. If you like horror, this is definitely a book worth reading."-- Andrew Leon
"Another chilling tale from the author of The Scariest Thing You Can't Imagine. ...Pagel's style reminds me a lot of Vonnegut's work in that while the narration seems jaunty with its humorous asides and such, there's a lot of hidden depth to that narration."-- PT Dilloway.
OH, AND ONE MORE THING: For being so great and all, I am going to make my book the After absolutely free today!
Saoirse's life didn't really begin until it ended: When a plane crashes, Saoirse wakes up in 'the After,' a place where everything is exactly what you want, unless what you want is to not be there.
Confused at first, Saoirse's new... life?... takes a turn for the (more) unexpected when William Howard Taft knocks on her door and says he knows a way out. From there, Saoirse travels through scenarios that are fantastical and mundane at the same time, trying to discover not just a way to end this new existence, but also whether she wants to do that in the first place.
'the After' is a heartbreakingly sad and funny mystical journey through one version of what happens after we die, told through the eyes of a woman clinging to the memory of a life she didn't know she cared about. Thoughtful but action-packed, 'the After' presents an entirely new and not always comforting view of what comes next for us all.
"A masterpiece of speculative fiction" -- author Michael Offutt. GET IT FREE TODAY BY CLICKING HERE.