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Greg’s Twitter Novel: Chapter Three (part two)

Call me crazy, but I’m writing a novel on Twitter. You can watch the magic in real time at twitter.com/gregsnovel. From time to time, I’ll post compiled chapters here, along with my notes for what’s working and what isn’t and what I might do in the next draft.
Click here to read Chapter One
Click here to read Chapter Two
Click here to read Chapter Three (part one)
Read on for the next chunk of Chapter Three, written last night, followed by some notes-to-self. WARNING: Some adult language!

CHAPTER THREE (continued)
When Rima awoke, night had fallen and the cat was sitting on her chest, purring and kneading with its eyes nearly shut and its fat cheeks pulled up into something as close to a smile as she’d ever seen on an actual flesh-and-blood feline.
Rima felt great. Rested and refreshed and utterly alert. She put her arms around the cat and sat up, stroking its chin as she looked around.


The young man with the open softcase cat carrier sat against a tree trunk a few yards away, gazing at her, smiling. The old woman lay a few feet from him, half covered with a few giant leaves from a hosta-like ground plant. Rima couldn’t help smiling. The old woman looked like a tiny, white-haired child nestled among the leaves. The man in the wheelchair was sitting at the edge of the woods, gazing up into the night sky, which was filled with a gorgeous, unending stream of thousands of shooting stars.
The man in the wheelchair turned to gaze at Rima. “Thank you,” he said.
“It’s all right,” said Rima. “I don’t think those birds would have done anything to you.”
“You didn’t know that then,” said the man. He extended a hand. “I’m Hector.”
She shifted the cat to her shoulder and took Hector’s hand. “Rima,” she said. The young man with the cat carrier waved, still smiling. “Omar.”
“The pollen’s starting to wear off,” said Hector. “And as soon as it does, we’re all probably going to freak the fuck out. So maybe we should use the time to talk this out. Try to figure out where we are, what’s going on, what we should do next.”
“Good,” said Rima. “You were talking about the stars. You know the constellations?”
“Hobby of mine as a kid,” said Hector. “I don’t recognize anything up there. And all those shooting stars — those are meteoroids entering the atmosphere. I’ve never heard of any meteor shower that constant and broad… on Earth.”
The young man laughed. A mellow chuckle. Rima found herself smiling in response.
“So the big fucking metal bird took us to another planet,” said Omar. Then burst into laughter. Then stopped laughing and gazed at them with a surprised look so serious Rima grinned. “Where the hell did that metal bird go, anyway?” Omar asked.
“Hey,” said Rima, “where’s your bandage?” Omar held out the hand Rima had treated in the subway car. His cut was healed — just a thin, pale scar remained on his palm. Rima knelt down by the old woman and gently pulled back the bandages on her head. Her would had healed as well.
The old woman blinked and smiled as her eyes focused on Rima’s face. “Hello, Rima,” she said. Rima blinked back at her, surprised.
“I didn’t… tell you my name,” Rima said.
“Really?” said the old woman, sitting up and fixing the bobby pins in her hair. “That’s a funny thing.” She laughed, a high, tinkling laugh, like a small child. “I always said I could read minds. First time I actually have.”
Rima stood in the middle of the little clearing, looking around at the others. “Hector,” she said slowly. “Can you stand up for me, please?”
Hector stared at her. Then stood. He beamed at her. Then pitched forward. Rima lunged towards him, catching him before he hit the ground.
They flomped into the leaf litter, holding each other tight and laughing as if they had known each other for a hundred years. And then Hector was weeping.
“I can’t… I can’t feel my legs,” he said. “I saw what you were thinking. And god damn I wanted it. But…”
Hector went silent and limp. Rima helped him back into his wheelchair.
“Pollen’s wearing off,” he said, his face pale and grim.
“Spinal cord?” asked Rima. Hector nodded.
Rima touched his cheek, tilted his head so she could gaze into her eyes. She laughed at herself — she never touched anyone’s cheek, never tilted people’s chins to gaze into their eyes. She was, in fact, notorious at her hospital for her almost pathologically unhelpful beside manner. And yet here she was, intimate, warm, and full of truth and hope.
“You never should have been able to stand, Hector. Something’s happening here, to all of us.”
The cat, whom she’d dropped while catching Hector, returned to rub against her leg, purring madly.
“We’re being… fixed,” said Rima.
“By who?” said Omar.
“Whom,” said Hector.
“Hush,” said the old woman, turning to gaze into the deep forest. The cat at Rima’s feet stopped purring.
“They’re coming,” whispered the old woman. From the deep wood came faint crinkling sounds.
“Who?” asked Rima.
“You know,” said the old woman. “The Forgotten Gods.”
NOTES TO SELF
1. Realized I’ve been using a lot of sentence fragments. Twitter seems to encourage it. Kind of like it — it’s fast and efficient. But might need to clean all that up in the revisions.
2. Finally named the characters, so good for me. But any scene in which characters are introducing each other to each other always feels like a bit of wasted space. Working in the moment, I jumped over one of the intros by letting the old woman actually be psychic. Kind of fun stumbling across that moment. Helped to clarify what’s going on there, which I have Rima actually saying out loud. It can be a bit much for characters to verbally put a marker on plot points like that, but I think it works relatively all right in this case.
3. Boy, am I going to have to work on the dialogue in revisions (and everything else, natch). Need to better define different voices for the different characters. It’s partly there, but there’s so much more that could be done.

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