First the assignment: NOVEL WRITING HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT 4: WRITE ANOTHER CHAPTER
1. This week’s assignment is to write another chapter from your novel. I recommend choosing the part of the story that interests you most (such as, a key chapter in which events are approaching the climax). Then print up some copies and bring them along to share aloud with the class.
And next, my key chapter (again, writing from an existing ‘NanNo novelette’ – but working on editing).
I’m so happy because today I found my friends – they’re in my head.
~Kurt Cobain 21st Century Musical Artist
Karmen, Ben, Brent, and Heidi were hiking through higher elevation areas today. They had ridden two ATVs thirty miles up into the hills to find new samples. Once they couldn’t drive any further due to the density of the brush, they hiked up even further.
The deciduous trees faded away and gave yield to the bigger coniferous trees. The animals were much smaller up in this region as well. They hadn’t met any really big dinosaurs since the big T-Rex a few nights back. Heidi for one was glad about that. That encounter was disturbing. She and Jeanie were both traumatized by the site of the carnivore devouring the gentle giant. Heidi hadn’t been having nightmares like Jeanie, but nonetheless, she was pleased her team was up in the higher elevations today. The bigger dinosaur fossils weren’t found in any of the higher mountainous regions back home. So far that had held true.
The terrain was pretty rough, the hikers were all connected with a daisy chain and using climbing axes over the rougher rockier terrain to stay steady. Karmen really wanted them to get to the plateau and kept promising it was just another few meters. Karmen lead with Heidi next, then Brent and Ben in the back of the daisy chain each person with about 6 meters of climbing rope separating them. Brent had recovered from his tango with the toxic plant, but even after three days was still covered in a lotion that Bones had made him put on. Ben and Karmen were the strongest of the bunch. Karmen was a fitness beast, and could probably bench press as much as Ben. Heidi, though her thighs were on fire, felt safe climbing between them.
“Only another couple of meters!” Karmen called to them.
Heidi sighed. She heard Brent groan behind her. He must not be feeling as well as he let on.
A low rumbling sound started, followed by a ripple in the ground beneath them. Rocks tumbled all around. “Hold on, it’s another quake,” Karmen said from the front of the line. She drove her hiking axe into the rock securing the team. More rocks tumbled and rolled around them as the ground continued to shake. Heidi watched as a bigger rock rolled and bounced towards them.
“Karmen look out!” Heidi cried at her friend.
The bigger rock bounced and hit Karmen in the head, knocking her down to the ground, loosening her grip on the climbing axe. The whole group lurched backwards. Ben and Brent tried to shore up the group as Karmen, who seemed to be unconscious started sliding past them. Heidi reached out to grab Karmen with one hand, while gripping her axe tighter with the other trying to prevent her friend from sliding down the steep hill they were climbing.
“She’s bleeding pretty badly!” Heidi called out, gagging a bit as Karmen’s blood smeared onto Heidi’s hand as she held on.
“Heidi, you need to hang on to your axe,” Ben said, watching as she slipped slightly off her grip. “Brent, try to get in front of Heidi to help shore up the group.” The ground had stopped shaking after a couple of minutes, but the rocks kept rolling past them. Ben and Brent tried to hold the group on the steep hill while dodging the rocks and other debris falling around them.
“I’m losing my grip!” Brent said, as he had moved to the front of the group to help secure Heidi and Karmen. Karmen and Heidi’s climbing axes were long gone now, having slid down the hill. Heidi dug her heels in as best she could, as she hung on to Karmen, trying to cradle her bleeding head in her lap.
“Hang on Brent! Heidi, try to shore up with your heels, hang on to Karmen, if we lose her we all go!” Ben cried eyeing their connected line.
Rocks still falling all around them, Brent and Ben were trying to duck as they came hurtling towards the group. Heidi tried to shelter her own head while keeping her back to the upper part of the hill. Falling debris hit her in the middle of the back knocking the wind out of her and causing her to lose her grip on Karmen. The unconscious leader slid down the hill pulling Heidi with her. Heidi went face first down the hill after Karmen, dirt filling her mouth and nose.
Brent tried securing his climbing axe in the hard rock surface with no success, and started to slip down after Heidi. He could hear their radios barking with Bones yelling at them to check in. Clearly their vital monitors were going off back at base camp. He felt a wave of nausea hit him at just the wrong moment, he quickly turned away from the group and lost his lunch on the rocks below him.
“God damn….” He muttered. He could hear Ben yelling orders to him, but it was all he could do to try and spear another section of dirt to stabilize the group, his muscles strained to their limit trying to hold both women from careening further down the hill.
Heidi grabbed at branches and small plants as she slid past them, but they were too weak to hold her and broke or ripped out of the ground. She passed by a tree and was able to shore up for a moment before her hands slid over the branches and she was once again falling. As she slipped further down the hill, her belt linking her to the daisy chain gripped her, and slowed Karmen’s fall as well. Part of a tree rolled past them a branch whipping Heidi in the face scratching her. Her mouth had a dirty iron taste.
As she started to fade out of consciousness herself, she heard a new voice shouting to Ben and Brent. It wasn’t tinny sounding from the radio, there was someone else with them. She tried to lift her head to see who had come to rescue them, but ended up falling backwards into oblivion.
Karmen woke up in a bed, at first she thought she was back in the RV. Her body ached as she tried to move, the earlier events coming back to her. She opened her eyes and saw a thatched roof above her head. She tried to lift up and Bones was suddenly at her side.
“Easy there, you have a concussion. I’ve had to put some stitches above your eyebrow. You had quite a gash,” the doctor said pushing her gently back to the bed. Next to her was a gentleman who looked familiar but who was not part of their group.
“Where are we?” Karmen croaked.
“Here, drink this water and get some more rest. We were worried about you not waking due to that bump on your head, but now that you have, I’d like to you get a bit more sleep. We’ll explain everything to you when you’re fully recovered. Don’t worry though, you’re safe.”
“Am I home? Are we home?” Karmen asked again drifting back into a sleep.
“You’re in our home,” the man said.
“Wait, I know you…” Karmen tried to stay awake to uncover the mystery of who their host was.
“Yes, you do, Karmen. We’ll catch up soon,” Chris said as he left the room.