While still plodding along with finishing up part two of Shards, AKA The War of the Ravels Or Whatever I’m Going To Call It, I’m still managing to get in a little bit of reading done, mostly on free books I’ve accumulated from BookBub. This week I’m reading one called Where the Dead Talk, by Ken Davis, a horror novel set at the beginning of the American Revolution, in which an attempt to resurrect a young man recently killed in an accident by dumping him into a cursed lake goes badly, badly wrong. Call it Pet Sematary meets Last of the Mohicans meets … A Flock of Crows is Called a Murder.
Hawkes lifted his head, and looked terrible. His eyes were black, his skin pale. A wet, rattling cough shook him, and a jet of black liquid spilled from his mouth onto the floor.
So in this one, the infection or undeath or whatever you would like to call it is spread by black goo. In Crows? Snot, basically. Which is worse? Hmm. Probably best to avoid either one.
He plowed into her, bore her backwards onto the bed. He was trying to kiss her; his lips, dry and cold and leathery, brushed hers, then mashed against them. She squirmed beneath him, trying to break the contact, but his hands shot up and gripped her head like the edges of a vise.
His mouth opened, forcing hers to open, too. She felt the first clammy, sticky bubbles of slime coming out of his throat, dribbling into hers. Salty mucous, gunk. She couldn’t breathe; he had gummed up her nose with snot, her mouth was full of it.
He wanted her to swallow, that was it; swallow, and breathe, and be like him
That, of course, is the rather infamous original inside-cover quote of Crows. In the current edition, figuring maybe readers didn’t so much want to go right to the snot, I used a different, though still pivotal, scene instead.
Nick Garson had watched, with a sort of detached interest, as his hands had reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out his gun and started shooting at the man in the bulldozer. It wasn’t until the bulldozer crashed into the pit that Nick began to think that maybe this was something he could get in trouble for; so he tucked the gun back into his jacket and went back to his car, thinking that he would just be moving along back to Buffalo, leaving no one the wiser that he had ever been here.
There were still a lot of loose bullets on the driver’s seat. He scooped them up before he sat down, and then watched his hands reload the gun. He wondered why they were doing that; maybe they were expecting to be called on to shoot someone else.
His two little friends were just sliding the clip back into place when he heard the sirens approaching. Somebody must have heard the shots and called the police. Bad hands, Nick thought. Bad, bad, bad! Loading the gun when they should have been helping him drive away!
The cop car came tearing in from the north, braked rapidly and stopped at an angle at the side of the road. Two policemen got out, looking around cautiously. They had their own guns out; he could see the weapons in their hands.
One cop reached into the cruiser and pulled out the radio mouthpiece and started talking into it, while the other kept his gaze flicking around the scene. They seemed quite wary. Reasonable, Nick thought, considering that there had been gunfire. Funny; he felt more like a witness than a perpetrator, as if he should run over to them with his palms in the air and say I saw who did it, officers, it was these hands here!
Of course, he wasn’t about to do something crazy like that.
But enough quotes from old horror novels! Here’s one from the conclusion of Shards, still in progress, that does not involve guns, slime, snot, or black goo. Just some green water. What could be bad about that?
“You know, I own a fishing boat, but I never go down to the harbor,” Aldric said. “It’s in such an inconvenient location.”
Cynidece snorted. “Such foolishness, putting the harbor at sea level.”
Bernard said, “Why do you have a fishing boat if you don’t fish?”
“I hire sailors to take it out and catch fish for the inn.” He gave Bernard a look of immense seriousness over his shoulder, then turned back to the water and declared, “If we survive this, I am going to go out on the boat once.”
“Um, okay,” Bernard said.
“Why would you want to do that?” Cynidece said. “Do you enjoy being seasick? Do you like the smell of fish?”
“Just so I can say I’ve done it.”
She laughed and said: “You are a maudlin drunk, aren’t you?”
For a moment, Aldric was silent.
Then he said: “Is it my imagination, or is the water turning green?”