Placeholder (NaNoWriMo Day 8)

The last place Simon expected to wake up was on an alien spaceship, but there are worse ways to start a NaNo novel…

This is the daily posting of my 2016 NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) attempt at a novel. It’s a brand new world and new fictives and although I gave a shot at planning things (see: Chasing Falling Stars), it’s another pantsing effort. So MuseFics away! 🙂

Read at your own risk/amusement: There will most likely be spelling and grammatical errors afoot as well as flat out bad writing, info dumps, plot holes, contradictions/retcons, uneven characterization and pacing.

Daily Wordcount: 1,027
Total Wordcount: 9,271 (includes Title, Chapter Headers, etc.)

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A Walk in the Darkness

“Hey,” the Writer stuck her head into the pseudo-living room and motioned to Cat. “Come walk with me, would you? I need to work some of your backstory out.”

Cat gave Simon a look, but the human shrugged so the cat got up off the sofa with a sigh.

“Look, right now your character is nothing but a homicidal fluffball, I want to change that so come on.” Came the voice from deeper into the mist.

With a grumble Cat dropped to all fours and loped off into the story fog.


“So tell me your life story.” Said the Writer as they ambled down a summer forest path that faded into existence as they walked. She’d summoned a walking stick from the nothingness and was absently poking at the countryside as they went.

“No,” Cat was still on all fours, refusing to put the effort into walking upright.

The Writer glared at him grumpily for a moment. “Why not?”

“Because I have no idea what the answers are either.” Cat snapped. “I only have a rough idea of my species and homeworld, much less what my specific story is. That is only something that’s going to come out as the story moves forward. There isn’t enough of me yet to build the kind of backstory you’re expecting from me.”

“Oh.” The Writer poked at the scenery again and it had finally had enough because something grabbed her stick and whisked it off into the mist.

“Look, we’re assuming I come from a relatively high tech world because adapting to Ship would have been too much of a culture shock otherwise. We’ve got television broadcasts, of a sort, although there are more senses involved which means better tech was required. We’re most likely pride hunters of some sort, since solitary cats wouldn’t even band together in large enough numbers to support a society otherwise.”

“I don’t want to go with the knee-jerk ‘cat aliens are violent’,” the Writer interjected. “I want you to be peaceful, but cranky because of the ship.”

“Cranky is an understatement,” muttered Cat.

There was a sudden movement in the mist and they both jerked to a stop.

“I’m going to take back that ‘not violent’ bit, if you don’t mind.” The Writer said as another shadow dashed through the mist to their right, sending the story fog churning and roiling in it’s wake.

“I didn’t say I was helpless,” Cat noted, flexing his claws and glaring. “That said, maybe it’s time we went back. We’ve gotten a long way from the bits of the story we had hammered out.”

They turned around and walked back in silence for a moment, trying to ignore the shadows that had begun to stalk them along the path. There was a low rumbling noise from behind them and the Writer frowned as she started to conjure up armor and weaponry for both of them.

“No, no,” Cat shivered back out of the futuristic bodysuit as soon as it appeared, weaving layers to his fur instead so when it fluffed from black to white it thickened adding layers of protection. “Let me do this.” A thicker ruff of fur rose up along his back and he slipped on thin leather fingerless gloves with a plastisteel mesh in the palms. “What are they?”

“I’m not sure yet,” the Writer said, not pausing in her own suit-up. She was going for a very post-apocalyptic theme, only with lots of high tech protective layers. “I’m guessing they are the bad guys.” She put on a half-helmet with a kickass heads up display… that didn’t help any.

“I thought the bad guys were just a stupid AI,” Cat objected, snarling at one of the shadows as it dashed by on the left. “These are fast and most definitely not spaceships.”

“Look, we don’t know what either side looked like,” the Writer pointed out. “These could be Ship’s people too. But these things don’t look that intelligent, maybe this is a side-plot somehow?”

“Either way I’m not liking the look of this.” Cat swiped at another shadow, only this time he connected and there was a bit of a grunt as the things stumbled sideways and kept going. “Do we stand and fight or make a run for it?”

“I’m not running.” Growled the Writer, who was holding a rather wicked looking sword that enveloped in blue flames when she snapped her wrist. “This is my proto-world and I’m not leaving it.”

Cat blinked, but nodded taking up a defensive position at her back. Together they watched as the shadows started to swarm around them. The shadows were on all fours, whatever they were, and getting faster. Cat tried to catch a scent, but in the mists there just wasn’t enough reality tied to it yet.

“Can’t you just decide they’ve gone away?” He asked as the shadows pushed closer, dragging the mists with them.

“Would have done it already.”


There was a sudden surge of the mists and the Writer and Cat were enveloped as the shadows and the fog swallowed up what was left of the path.

In the chaos that followed neither the Writer nor Cat got a good look at the animals, or aliens, or whatever they were going to be, but they laid in with sword and claw until the mists fells back again. They were worn out from the fight, but other than a few bruises from what had felt like hooves or very blunt horns, they were unwounded.

There was a bellowing cry from the fog, taken up and echoed by a dozen different voices that abruptly cut off as it reached its peak. In the same second all of the shadows vanished and the path reappeared.

“What the hell.”

The Writer and Cat looked around, waiting for something to happen.

When nothing did, the Writer took off her helmet and doused the flaming sword.

“So, what say we get back to the couch, have a stiff drink and try this again tomorrow.” The Writer looked over at Cat who nodded, and the two of them headed home.


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Martha Bechtel

My name is Martha Bechtel and I write fantasy and science fiction stories, paint small model horses silly colors, cast resin and plaster magnets, code random code (and Wordpress plugins)... Come on in and join in the fun!