Apologies for my scatter-brainedness. I fully intended for this blog to feature more posts about my Hecctrossipy series—(Yes! It does exist!)—characters. Especially now that I had unpublished the first book to do some additional maintenance on it, before re-releasing it when the second book comes out. I had started a fic-fact story series for this blog as a replacement for putting appendices in my books, but I hadn’t written a single story about vervetts and grungols since back in May when I posted the five-part The Trolly Tracks Are Alive story.
The whole point of running this blog in the first place was a means of getting out there on social media to build my author platform. And part of this platform building was intended to be having people get to know Artheena and the rest of the Hecctrossipy crew with the hopes of getting them into these alien folk, enough to someday earn book sales. I was taught, in writers’ workshops, that readers want to know the author too. So I threw true story posts in the mix. and the post writing inspirations kept coming. Then I wanted to write listicles. I wanted to write a coffee review series, a series about my synesthesia, a series about my drunken reasons why it’s best to stay sober, and other series ideas I never went through with. I wanted to write about nightmares, and true stories themed according to what month it was. Then I ended up starting a book review series too, and on top of that, there’s re-blogged posts from others, and—bobobobobeebeebeebee—this blog of mine lost its sense of direction and went all over the place. I just wrote wherever the inspiration took me, making it seem like this blog should be called something like, Bia’s Disorderly Life Blibbity-Bla & Her Randomly Twirled In Book Reviews. Seriously, how in the blue hell would anyone be expected to care that I have a YA Sci-Fi series, when I only write about something that has to do with this series, like, maybe two or three times a year?
After blogging ADD-style for the past few years, I finally have a plan.
From now on, posts will be put in this cycle. Not exactly on a day-of-the-week or week-of-the-month schedule, but in more of a predictable order. So readers would know what to expect, and so this blog would make more sense. The new post cycle will consist of…
1. A post or mini series of posts that have something to do with the Hecctrossipy Series: a Fic-Facts and Flashbacks story, a character profile post, a book excerpt etc.
2. This would be proceeded by a post or mini series that has something to do with real life: a funny memory, a paranormal experience, a listacle, something that went on recently that makes for a blog-worthy story, etc.
3. Lastly, a Bia Bella Book-Hoarder book review.
4. Not really fourth in the cycle, but the only thing that will be posted with no particular rhythm is re-blogs. They’ll come whenever the bloggers I re-blog come out with a new post.
Now that I got a more organized plan, I’ll start this writing rhythm drumming with a post from across the galaxy. I’ve been working on HECCTROSSIPY book 3 The legend of the Land Lives Again. Here is an excerpt of my WIP. This is not chapter 1, but an excerpt from chapter 5. Sorry I’m starting off in a weird place, but excerpts from the chapters before chapter 5 might give away too many spoilers for books 1 and 2. I put a list of notes below the excerpt, in case certain details don’t project clearly enough in your mental movie.
I should mention that, before the scene in this excerpt happened, Artheena had gotten abducted from her backyard by gravely ill grungols whose sickness had turned the purely herbivore people into blood-thirsty meat eaters, hungry for the flesh of young vervetts. During the abduction, Audry and Artheena’s friend, Karen, had a bout of sanity and locked Artheena in a fermentation box that’s used for making a nutritional supplement for senior aged grungols, as an attempt to keep her safe from the other insane grungols. Karen, who works at the local hospital, is the only one who knows how to unlock the box. However, after locking Artheena inside it, she’d unintentionally fallen asleep too long. The box trapped Artheena’s body heat from when she was panicking and putting up a struggle. The trapped heat intensified, like a preheating oven, and cooked Artheena alive.
Also, there’s the mention of water bottle muggings in this scene. I know that sounds silly, but it’s a serious issue for grungols with an illness that makes them feel constantly tortured by unrelenting intense hunger and thirst.
So here goes…
The moment Karen lifted the heavy hatch door of the morgtoast box, she and Audry were blasted by the heat and an intense smell of aluminum foil, sugar, and freshly cut grass—The smell of a cooked vervett. Both grungols burst into panicked tears.
“I think we’re too late, Audry!” wept Karen. “We killed her! Oh, I’m so sorry! I’m so sorry!”
“I’m so sorry, Artheena!” Audry sobbed. “Oh, curse of Jyoseppy!”
Artheena laid at the back of the sweltering box, her body in the tightly balled up position vervetts often go in when they die in agony. She was on her shell with her head bent toward her chest and her limbs tightly folded around her head and body. Her glistening skin looked bright red and swollen.
“We have to tell the guardians!” sobbed Audry, as they climbed into the box, shuttering and flinching at how hot the metal floor felt beneath their feet. “I know it was an accident, but her family should know what happened! Oh, Artheena, I’m so sorry!”
They bent over and grabbed Artheena by the shell with their upper hands, dropping her into their lower hands as they hurriedly lifted her out of the box and placed her on the bearen ground. Her metal shell felt like a dish that had been left in a fully heated oven, which was terrifying. The ambush, the slaughtering, and cleaning up the aftermath still seemed so surreal in the grungols’ minds, but there was no questioning their reality now. Artheena had been cooked to death. Audry’s life-long vervett best friend was gone. Artheena was a sweet, kind hearted, fun and lively person who had so much talent, including her gifted abilities, and so much to contribute to her village. Now here she was, a lifeless body that smelled like it was still cooking.
The grungols stared down at her, their tears instantly evaporating as they fell onto Artheena’s skin. Audry just wanted to end it all with a spear through the heart. This was more so her fault than Karen’s. She was the one who was foolish and careless enough to give in to Jyoseppy’s tempting her to try vervett meat, and then once she started the killing, it instantly caught on and didn’t stop. Artheena and that other girl wouldn’t have been abducted in the first place, if it wasn’t for her.
“I’m going to the surface and turning myself in to the Guardians.” wept Karen.
“This wasn’t your fault.” Audry protested.
“I killed her, Audry! I killed her! I need a yellow collar around my neck right now!”
“You didn’t kill her. You tried to save her,” Audry touched Artheena’s skin, gasping and pulling her hand away at how hot and tender it felt. “I killed her! I’m the one who started all this evil!”
“What are you talking about?” Karen argued, her crying driving her into a coughing fit.
“You know what happened at that dinner party at my house, on the night the three moons aligned.” Audry sniffled. “You were there. Remember?” Karen’s sickly coughing lead to another fit of sobs at the horrific memory. “If you go to the surface and tell the Guardians about Artheena, Karen, please tell them about what I’d done to Jo Joga of South Section 5,835, and how I’d turned Under-Village 3 into a bunch of murderers because of that sick, disgusting dinner party. I’ll wait here with…” Her voice choked before she could say her best friends name out loud.
“Whose going to give her to the forest when we’re yellow-collared?” Karen asked between weepy coughs.
“I don’t want to think about that right now!” Audry sobbed, collapsing beside Artheena’s lifeless body, and going into hysterics. Karen collapsed to the ground too, crying and coughing up rotten stomach fluid.
Audry’s mind was a wash of many happy memories she and Artheena had shared. She couldn’t believe her best friend was gone so soon and so unexpectedly by a careless accident. Probably the worst accident to die from. She’d known people who had died from losing their footing on uneven forest ground and falling over the edge of a high drop-off, or who had gotten in the path of an on-coming hunting spear, but at least these accidental deaths were mercifully quick. Not even the most evil jyoseppy admirer in the world would’ve deserved to die the way Artheena did. Audry’s heart broke for Artheena’s family too. How were they to get past something so traumatic as getting the news that Artheena had died from being cooked to death by their neighborly grungols?
The vervett uttered a weak moan.
“Audry!” Karen exclaimed, sitting up and wiping the back of an upper hand around her slimy snoot. “Audry, she’s alive!”
Artheena moaned again, and her legs twitched slightly. Both grungols jumped to their feet, embracing in a tight hug and praising Jumellica through tears of joyous relief.
“Artheena! Artheena, wake up!” They repeated frantically, gently touching her and shaking her by her shell, which had cooled off a little. She was unresponsive.
“I’ll go get some water,” said Karen, before sprinting away.
“Sweet Jumellica,” Audry began, sitting beside her vervett friend. “Please let Artheena get through this, so I could get her out of this disgusting, evil place. I don’t want her to ever end up back down here again. Me and Mom and Dad, and all of those who had a bout of strength against Jyoseppy’s vervett killer influence, we all want her to be back home with her family. We want her to reunite with her sister, and make a full recovery before the wedding. We want her to go on and have a normal, happy life, and forget about this terrible virus that made Under-Village 3 go completely insane.”
Artheena made a whimpering sound as her arms and legs twitched.
“Artheena, can you hear me?” said Audry, touching the vervett’s burning hot arm. She whimpered again. “Artheena, it’s Audry…” She hesitated on what to say next, knowing that Artheena hated her now. She dreaded the thought of her vervett friend coming to and refusing any help, and then doing something careless, like trying to escape the under-village by running for the nearest trolly tunnel.
While on their way through the West Section, Audry and Karen had heard the sickly coughs of grungols lurking about inside and behind empty buildings. They themselves were scared, fearing that those grungols might be waiting around for some vervett meat or extra water bottles to steal, and might ambush them at any moment. They didn’t have another vervett with them, but Karen’s fake fur still had Artheena’s scent on it, which would trigger the grungols’ insanity if they caught a whiff of it. There had been water bottle muggings since the virus took over. Some grungols, especially the elderly, would cooperatively hand over their well water to prevent a fight. Other times, the muggings turned violent. They were all mad from the unyielding hunger and thirst. The ambush that happened after the two vervetts’ abduction brought on the hellish truth of how ruthlessly Audry’s own kind would turn on one another, desperate for their symptoms to be relieved, no matter how temporary. Nowhere in the under-village was safe.
In case Artheena was able to hear her, Audry didn’t want to tell her where she was and what had happened to her. Instead, Audry focussed on the positive experiences in their nine years of friendship. She told Artheena stories about how the two of them and Mell May used to play Lamb Stalker and Moon Code in the back yard at night when they were little. And those few fun times when she and some grungol friends took Artheena out hiking through the forest in the middle of the night. All the while, Artheena twitched and moaned and whimpered as though she was trying hard to wake up.
Karen came hurrying back, lugging a stack of water barrels in her right arms. A small cave moss fabric bag swung wildly in her lower left hand.
“Karen! Oh, thank Jumellica.” Audry quickly got to her feet and helped her friend unstack the water and put it on the ground. “You’re back a lot sooner than I expected.”
“I went to the hospital instead of going all the way to the water store, and then trying to find a place that sold medical supplies that hadn’t been trashed or looted.” They were right in the hospital’s back yard, but safely hidden behind a brick wall that divided the section of medicinal fermentation devices from the rest of the yard. Since Karen was a doctor, the other hospital staff would’ve had no problem sparing her some medical supplies and water..
“What’s in the bag?” Audry asked.
Karen knelt beside Artheena and put the bag on the ground, taking each item out. “I got a barrel opener, of course, a cup for getting her to drink once she wakes up, a jar of Coxin Dulsinnamite, and scissors for getting off her nightshirt so we could get the oil on her whole body.”
“Coxin Dulsinnamite?” Audry looked uncertain. “Are you sure that stuff works on vervetts?”
“It works just as good as lisp leaf gel,” said Karen. “Maybe better. Vervetts just don’t use it, because they hate how it smells.”
Karen and Audry began piercing open barrels of water and pouring them over Artheena. Her skin eventually turned a shade or two less red. The water made her twitch a lot more, which was a sure sign that she was coming back.
When the fourth barrel was poured over her, her limbs and neck unfolded and slowly spread out, like she was a blooming flower. Audry and Karen rejoiced to the good entity. Artheena’s moaning and whimpering became a mumble. Another good sign.
Karen carefully cut away Artheena’s stained and sweat soaked nightshirt. Her tender, heat damaged skin would’ve made the simple act of untying the night shirt and pulling it off excruciatingly painful. Once she was stripped, all eight grungol hands got to work thoroughly rubbing the Coxin Dulsinnamite all over her skin, from the soles of her feet to her tender, reddened scalp. The extremely greasy, clearish yellow-brown condensed root oil stank like a cross between Earth’s cooked shrimp and dirty socks, but it was a highly effective healer of venomous insect bites, allergy rashes, welts, infected cuts, and other injuries or damages to the skin, especially severe burns. Karen gently examined Artheena’s eyes before lotioning her eyelids. They looked swollen at first, which frightened them. Would the heat have done permanent damage to the vervett’s eyesight? To the grungols’ great relief, the swelling wasn’t swelling, but a build-up of thick, milky mucus that Artheena’s eyes had defensively excreted to help keep them cool. When Karen poured water into them, the mucus washed away down the sides of the vervett’s face in gelatinous globs, revealing Artheena’s beautiful, pearly, purple-ringed blue eyes that looked perfectly in tact. It was a miracle. The grungols praised Jumellica, but were careful to not cheer to loud.
They talked to her as they continued lotioning her skin, telling her all the good things they hoped would happen in her future, once she was back in her village. Artheena’s eyes fluttered open for a split moment, and she opened her mouth as though about to speak.
*Grungol: A furry, lop-eared, nocturnal species of Velva Leenan people. Two legs. Four arms. Flat torso. Hands have Four flat fingers and feet have four flat toes. Dog-like head and face, except for herbivore teeth.
*Vervett: A diurnal species of Velva Leenan people that are anatomically human-like. Silver or gold turtle-like shell on their backs, which spans from just above their butts to partway up the back of their necks. Vitamins, minerals, and other elements that go unused during vervetts’ everyday digestion form deposits on their shells that look like colorful gemstones. These people have a distinctive natural smell, like a mixture of foil, sugar, and cut grass.
*Guardian: Velva Leena’s hierarchy race of vervetts.
Yellow collar: An outstandingly yellow metal collar that is worn by those who committed a serious crime and sentenced to serving time as the Guardians’ slave.
*Under-village: A village deep below the ground where grungols reside.
*Lamb Stalker: A game similar to Hide and Seek, except it’s preferably played outdoors where there’s a lot of bushes and trees to hide behind or beneath. Two to four players seek out the lamb, while the player who is the lamb has to sneakingly change hiding places without being seen or heard, except for when the lamb makes a bleating noise to give the seekers a hint where they might be hiding. The seeker who finds the lamb first gets to be the lamb next.
*Moon Code: A fortune telling game where the three moons are asked questions, and the moons’ frequent shifting and tilting are interpreted to mean certain answers.
*Jumellica: A faceless, genderless entity in charge of the positive side of Velva Leena’s creation. Similar to Earth’s God.
*Jyoseppy: A faceless, genderless entity in charge of the negative side of Velva Leena’s creation. Similar to Earth’s Satan.
Thanks for reading. I hope you found it enjoyable, in a disturbing sort of way. This is from my rough draft, so this scene will most likely be re-edited and tweaked fifty times over, before book 3 is officially out on Amazon.
Love you all! Post you soon!