Here is a sample of what I’ve been working on while not blogging, and not being all that social on WordPress. I had posted Chapter 20: TRUDGING THE STORM, of the second book in my series, a few months ago. A huge thanks to all who had read, liked, and commented on those posts. Since then, that chapter has been re-numbered and revised. Being the extreme writing perfectionist I am, it’ll most likely end up getting another revision or ten.
Are you ready to get grossed out over an extraterrestrial illness? This chapter tells all the gray, rotten cheesy details. This first section tells about Artheena’s traumatic childhood memories from when she had skeevids.
For those of you who know nothing about my YA/sci-fi & fantasy series, or if you’re someone who just randomly stumbled upon this post, here is a little fill-in for you.
This story takes place on a different planet. Artheena is my main character in books 1 and 2. Mell May is her adopted sister, and Willberry is her five-year-old brother. Vervetts are the species of people they are, and Guardians are just a ruling race of vervetts. Jumellica is like a Velva Leenan version of God. A garden feeder is where compost is stored, and sackamuppo is an herbal skin treatment that prevents scars.
Here is the first rough draft excerpt of Chapter 24: SKEEVIDS, from HECCTROSSIPY 2 The Will of the Dark creator. Enjoy—but don’t read this before, during, or after a meal.
Like how human children get chicken pox, vervett children get skeevids, including little Guardians. Artheena and Mell May had gotten skeevids when they were Willberry’s age.
Mell May got it first, but her case was unusually mild. She had a fever like Artheena did, but her grayish white skeevid bumps were small—no bigger than the average pimple—and she didn’t suffer through the other unbearable symptoms. Her appetite was normal, she was able to get up and move around without being in constant pain, and her recovery was quick. Freakishly quick. The inflamed holes left behind from when all her skeevids popped, barely needed any plugging paste to boost their healing. They seemed to close up on their own, and her skin was almost magically smooth and healthy again.
Mom and dad and the other grownups they knew gushed about how little Mell May was such an amazing surviver. She escaped death twice, and then Jumellica took exceptional care of her, by healing her skeevids so miraculously. They took this as a sign that the good entity must have something extra special planned for Mell May’s future. This was one of the few and far between times during their childhood, where Artheena felt jealous of her sister.
Meanwhile, Artheena’s case of skeevids was the most traumatic twelve days of her life. She couldn’t eat or play, or do anything, but lay in bed and suffer, or scream in agony in the bathtub. All the while, the grayish white bumps all over her skin constantly swelled and popped, and then regrew. Skeevids usually form and grow gradually throughout the day, but sometimes Artheena saw them appear as gray circles on her skin, and then swell into round, hard bumps, right before her eyes. It was a total nightmare. The sound skeevids made when they burst was one that would stay in her memory, like a permanent scar. It was a loud popping and splattering sound that, to us,, would sound like someone shooting water balloons with a BB gun. The bigger the skeevid, the louder and more liquidy the pop. Even worse, when skeevids burst, they splatter out a greasy gray fluid that, to us, would smell like rotten cheese.
Artheena’s fever was so high, it felt as though her body might cook itself to death. Mom tried to cool it down by putting damp wash cloths over her forehead and cheeks, but she could only keep them on Artheena’s skin for a short few moments at a time. The wash cloths weren’t wet enough to make them heavy, but to Artheena’s severely tender, skeevid infected skin, they felt heavier than bricks, making her face feel as though it was being painfully crushed. When mom removed the wash cloths, it barely gave Artheena any relief. Her head and joints ached from the fever, and the skeevid bumps made her skin constantly ache all over. She got quite a few of the largest sized ones, that swell up to the size of Earth’s tennis balls. These always swelled up on one of her limbs, while she was sleeping. Then she’d wake up with her leg or arm in throbbing pain, which didn’t go away until the huge skeevid burst.
Even the simplest movements were agonizing. She couldn’t sit or stand, or open her mouth to drink and eat without crying out in pain. So much pain made her unable to walk.
When she needed a bath, mom and dad had to carry her into the bathroom, using a towel like a stretcher. Being carried in their arms felt a hundred times more crushing on her body, than the damp cloths did on her face. She was in too much pain to be able to use the toilet bucket, leaving her with no choice but to pee in the paper shroud that mom and dad kept her wrapped in, while she was in bed. Even worse, her vomiting and diarrhea was beyond her control. This humiliated her more than what a grotesque, rank smelling, skeevid popping, grease dripping mess she was.
She always loved her bath time, but while sick with skeevids, taking a bath felt like the most brutal torture that could possibly exist. Mom and dad persistently tried to comfort her with reassuring words of Jumellica’s love for her, and how she was going to be all better, any given day. But Artheena was in too much agony to listen to them, and she screamed over all their coddling. The sensation of water on her skin felt both icy cold, and scalding hot at the same time. No matter how gentle mom and dad tried to be, when they wiped Artheena down with a wash cloth, to her, it felt like they were shredding her skin with a giant vegetable peeler.
Her skin was so sensitive, she couldn’t even ware clothes. The slightest brushing of fabric against her skin felt like being stung by hundreds of insects while getting scratched with razor sharp thorns.
The only thing that she had to let touch her skin was the coping shrouds. The uncomfortably stiff paper shroud, which was dusted with powdered herbs on the inside, was believed to have good healing benefits. However, the only thing they did was enhance her discomfort. Mom and dad wrapped her up in a new dry, crinkly, gritty shroud, every time they put her back in bed. Between the coping shroud and the rest of her aches and pains, she couldn’t get comfortable. Sleep only came if she cried herself to exhaustion. Or when her energy became so drained from her vomiting and diarrhea, it made her desensitized to the pain.
The vomit and diarrhea erupted from her body, as though they had minds of their own. She couldn’t understand where it all came from, when her stomach could hardly hold anything down. It didn’t take much to make her queasy. The smells that she smelled every day, like the cool, earthy smell of her house’s stone interior, the aromatic wood and mylo mellow furniture, and the garden scented breezes that came in through the open windows, seemed noxiously overbearing. The poultry broth, nutritional teas, and porridges that her parents fed her tasted and smelled more like they were made from the contents of the garden feeder. Artheena couldn’t help gagging, as she obediently forced down the nourishment her parents carefully spooned into her mouth.
This living hell lasted for seven days. Through it all, the people around her did what they could to keep her distracted from her pain, and cheer her up. Friends, teachers, neighbors, and even some Guardians stopped by the house to deliver positive affirmation cards, and colorful bouquets of sensitive-stomach-friendly paper flowers. Mom read to her, dad entertained her with his stories about his intercontinental piloting great grandparents’ world traveling adventures, and both parents quizzed her on the lessons she was learning in school. When Mell May had fully recovered, she and their friends paid visits to Artheena, whenever they played outside. They talked to her through her open bedroom window. Or they’d sing to her, and tell jokes. A couple times, they made puppets out of their hands, and things they found around the yard, and performed a silly puppet show on Artheena’s outside windowsill. She appreciated everyone’s concern and attentiveness towards her, and did her best to act like she was getting enjoyment out of it. But Artheena was so miserably sick that she honestly wished to be dead.
On her eighth day of suffering, no more skeevids formed, and all the ones that were there had popped. When she awoken that morning, her fever cooled down and most of her pain had subsided, but her skin was hideously honey-combed with greasy gray holes that were ringed with scaly rashes. She was in hysterically panicked tears, fearing that she was going to be ugly for the rest of her life. This fear got worse every time her parents reapplied the dressing around her skin, and she saw that the disgusting holes hadn’t closed up yet.
While her skin was healing, she still was sick with a mild fever for another five days, and spent most of that time sleeping. Throughout those five days, mom and dad had to change her dressing, three or more times a day. She had to stand in the bathroom for a long many moments of time, while they carefully unraveled the tightly clinging fabric strips from her body. Then they tediously dug out the used plugging paste from each hole, with their fingernails, and plugged all the holes back up with fresh paste. She was then slathered head to toe with slimy lisp leaf gel, and re-wrapped in more fabric strips. Stay strips is what they are called, because they cling to the skin, and are better at securing medicine in open wounds than regular cloth bandages. When those five days were over, and Artheena was feeling better, she still had to undergo three days of full-body sackamuppo treatments until her skin was back to normal again.
This all happened ten years ago, but when poor Willberry got skeevids, the traumatic memories came back to Artheena as clearly as though they had happened last season.
That was only a section. There’s more dialogue and drama in the rest of the chapter, and more of how awful life gets for Artheena and her family. Thank you so much for reading. I’m aiming to get The Will of the Dark Creator ready for beta readers, before the end of summer.
Love you all! Second excerpt coming up tomorrow!…