Today I want to talk about something that can happen at the end of a story. Well, it mostly happens at the end of video game stories. It might have happened to you: the final stage has been conquered! The antagonist that you’ve been chasing for days has been defeated! But zounds–what’s this!? A new foe has appeared! Some giant creature that no one ever expected! Some horror that wasn’t even hinted at before or ever explained!
Over at TV Tropes it’s called “Diabolus ex Nihilo.” Or “Giant Space Flea from Nowhere” if you’re talking about a video game.
So let me give you an example from a video game. Of course. Like I’d read a book. Here come spoilers for Final Fantasy IX. (Now out on Steam. Dang, I should have put it on my birthday list.)
Here we go: Final Fantasy IX. In this game Kuja is the main villain. He wears fabulous clothes and an even more fabulous mane of white hair. You encounter him throughout the story: manipulating kingdoms, waxing poetic, and blackmailing your party into stealing rocks. So what happens when you finally clobber him at the end of the final dungeon? A 30 minute ending highlighting each of your lovable characters? Of course not. Instead, this guy shows up:
His name is “Necron.” He just appears and starts talking about death and hatred and whatever the hell. Then the whole party floats into the sky to fight him. He was not mentioned at any point in the story before this moment and yet he is the FINAL obstacle. There isn’t even much of an explanation after he’s killed: he just says he’ll always exist wherever life and death are.
Now, the fight is exciting. Necron is an intimidating and powerful boss. And the music is amazing; It’s a cool fight. It just doesn’t fit into the story! Why should I care that I’m battling against some mysterious figure, now that I’ve beaten the game’s prime villain!? Necron just doesn’t fit anywhere and this “not fitting in” part is what I want to avoid in MY story.
So let’s get back to Abandonment Party 3. In the previous chapter something similar to Necron happened: Shirka, the main antagonist for this book, had been defeated. But instead of transitioning to the resolution, a hideous creature appeared beneath the glass of Arsiling. There was no indication that a living creature was down there; none of the siblings spoke of it and its body had been obscured by thick smoke the entire time.
I’m not saying that a sudden beast from nowhere is a bad thing. I like having this fantastic surprise at the end, but I’m not going to go back and outright tell the reader she’s asleep down there. So what keeps this from feeling like a massive Necron scam?
I did throw in a little flashback but that’s not enough. Two mysteries are being solved here: The first is the veiled girl, Calm. She appears throughout the book, and I try to give the impression that she isn’t seen by the other siblings as a peer; she’s always regarded as a nuisance or being taken advantage of. Calm also has a bizarre personality that hints at a psychological disorder. When the true Calm is revealed it should make you stand up and shout “ZOUNDS! So that’s why she acts like that!”
But JUST in case you didn’t have that reaction I present solved mystery number two: the avatars. As explained in the flashback from the previous chapter, Calm’s monstrous body projects the avatars that the siblings use to appear on other planets. This is how Shirka appeared as Hellzoo in chapter three of the very first book. And every time after that! How’s that for a revelation!?
So please, if you’re making a story and you want to have a humongous creature appear out of nowhere, have a good reason for it. Don’t make a Necron.
28 – Severed Pane
Beebee ran along the glass plane, ignoring the voice that echoed beneath her. Mackaba had fallen from the heights of the chandelier, splashing down in a large cube of odd water.
“Alvy!” she cried. “It’s me, Beebee. We need to get out of here with the others!”
Mean and the siblings stared down from the lifeboats: The creature kept speaking, inhaling the clouds with one mouth while spewing out the red fumes from the other.
“THERE ARE MORE OF YOU NOW,” the true Calm said. “TIME HAS PASSED.”
“Dark,” Mean said, struggling to speak. Darrow nearly backed into her as she picked herself up.
“What’s going on back there guys?” Blann asked. His eyes were fixed on the zeppelin ahead. “I’ve got the Principality ship off our bow; is something after us?”
Mean touched Dark’s arm before heading over to the driver’s seat. “Keep going,” she instructed, holding her palm over her heart. Blann tried to peer sideways; the hood of his hazmat suit blocked his vision.
“There’s something weird on the ground, too,” Blann said. Mean peeked over the side. The glass surrounding the factory was a solid, pale, color.
“WHAT DID YOU PUT ON TOP OF ME!?” the voice cried out. The blob beneath the factory fell. As it vanished and the clouds rushed in behind it Mean was able to distinguish the shape of four sprawling fingers and a twisted thumb.
“Stop!” Mean shouted. She grabbed the boat; halting it; sending Blann’s face into the steering wheel and the others toppling into Vornis’ body.
“Are you nuts!?” Blann sputtered out. The lifeboat rocked backward. Below, the clouds spread apart as the hand of Calm rushed up to the glass again. It struck the underside of the factory, shattering the building and sending it skyward in a spray of brick, steel, and concrete. A delayed boom shook the boat as the zeppelin off the bow was buffeted with a geyser of debris and swallowed in dust.
“What was that!?” Blann yelped. Mean kept the boat moving away; the smaller bits of the building began to tinkle against the boat from above. Vornis reached across the seats and nabbed her, pulling her to his chest along with Darrow and Trisk. He turned his plated back to the sky as larger bricks and chunks of machinery rained upon them. Blann covered his head with his arms as objects zipped across his suit. A cylindrical piece of glowing smokestack missed the boat and twirled to the ground.
“YOU COVERED ME WITH—!”
The mouth that was speaking ceased. It widened and years’ worth of caked grime crumbled from its mouth as the skin between the jaws stretched. Part of the lower lip was marred by a gash, and the exposed teeth whined as it drew in the clouds. Yellowish vapor was expelled from the opposite mouth as it spoke.
“TARGET IDENTIFIED AS MAGICAL CONSTRUCT.”
“Dark—where’s Dark?” Mean called out.
“I’m fine, Mean,” Dark said, keeping his arms beneath the poncho and his helmeted head pointed up at the rain of dust. “I think most of the big stuff is past us.”
The zeppelin veered out of the pillar of dust: The gondola was battered and long strips of material flapped loose along the keel. A droning buzz sounded from the loudspeakers. It was nearing one of the long chains that still supported the chandelier. Blann pressed on his hazmat suit, feeling for holes. He snatched a radio that was tethered to the steering controls with a wire.
“Pladomir? Pladomir you had better start talking because your whole blasted factory just got smacked into the sky by some giant hand and now I have no way back and—“ He huffed against the visor of his suit, the circular pattern on his bald spot flaring pink.
“Guys, what do we do?” Darrow asked, edging out from beneath Vornis’ large frame.
“I don’t know,” Mean said. She wiped at the sweat and dust on her face. “I’ll keep this thing flying. I don’t know what else to do though.” She jumped as Elder Sain’s voice sounded through the radio in Blann’s grip.
“Get away from it! Hurry!” he screamed. Dark held up a hand and leaned over the side: the other lifeboat was swerving away from the spires of the chandelier. The monstrous faces of Calm had positioned below the tower. Something was coming out from the spot where the two heads were merged. The central eyelids spread, and a glistening, forked proboscis squirmed out.
“REMOVING,” the true Calm uttered. A whine came from the slimy proboscis and the entire chandelier was repelled upward. The four support chains that were still fastened were yanked with it; one swished past both lifeboats and jiggled as it was pulled taut. It held for a moment before snapping: along with the other one that crossed above Templetine’s shrine. There was a roar as the chandelier rose from the plain, the outer ring and the tower rushing through the atmosphere of Arsiling’s skies. Mean kept her eyes on the chain near the boat as it whipped past them; it followed the building as it continued to rise. Pieces of the ornate structure sheared off: breaking, yet rising along with the rest. The two remaining chains that anchored the tower lead it through the sky in an arc. The weeping sun shimmered through the gaps in the chain.
“I sure hope Mackaba wasn’t still up there,” Dark said.
The cliff cracked in two where the chains were affixed. A landslide of rock spilled down upon Clance’s casino as the chandelier broke free and continued its ascent. The roaring faded as it rose higher, leaving Arsiling and growing smaller against the stars.
“Oh, I don’t like this place,” Blann wept. “I don’t like being able to see all of this.”
The eyes at each of Calm’s faces searched the glass above her. The rockslide poured onto the casino. The tanks near the arena were in the process of turning back. The fallen Nameless lay near Beebee’s castle.
“SUFFICIANT AREA TO ESCAPE,” Calm stated.
“Gotta be kidding me,” Vornis said. “That thing can get out!?”
The proboscis slithered back into its socket. The mouth that had been speaking inhaled with one continuous breath along with the other. The colored gas rushed in from both sides now.
Mean grabbed Blann’s radio. “Hey! Guys!” she shouted. “What’s it doing?” No reply came. She handed the radio back; Blann was unresponsive. “We need to find their boat and ask them.”
As she looked over the side of the vessel Darrow tapped her armored shoulder.
“Does it really matter, though?” he asked. “We can just leave with Trisk’s ring, right?”
Mean steered the boat downward. “What, and leave them all here?” she said.
“It doesn’t matter,” came Elder Sain’s voice on the speaker. “There is nowhere you can go to escape. Her avatars can manifest on any world; without Zonzabee or Cougo there is nothing to stop her.”
The boat bumped into the one that held the siblings. Mean shouted over at Sain, who was holding the microphone with a blank stare.
“But you guys can control the avatars, right?” Mean said. She pointed at Clance. “Like that guy’s pin did?”
Slaberdashia shifted the unconscious Calm in her arms, and the boat rocked. “Pladomir, you used to keep her pacified, right?”
“And that just worked out so well, didn’t it?” Pladomir murmured. A snap came from below as both of the true Calm’s mouths shut.
“ZONZABEE REALLY IS GONE THEN?” the mouth with the gash sniggered. Its side of the face was tilted away from the glass and the deep chuckling was lost to the layers of multicolored smoke. The other face was now directed straight up, its eye glazed over by a translucent membrane. The mouth opened.
“Get us away from it, Alvy!” Beebee warned. Mackaba took the pool of odd water he had used for his landing and shaped it into a tube. It caught them up in a current and sped them off across the plain. A roar followed them, along with the flare of the clouds igniting: beginning at the throat of the creature and blooming outward in a radiant blast. Beebee squeezed her eyes shut, holding her hat fast to her head.
Mean watched as the fire spread beneath the glass plain: streaming out from Calm’s mouth without end. The tanks from Cougo’s world made a hurried attempt to maneuver away: the surface beneath their treads glowing hot. Several rolled to a halt as their wheels fused from the heat.
“She’s going to kill them!” Mean shouted. She reached out her hand and one of the tanks was lifted from the glowing glass: the top hatch opening and a uniformed woman crawling out. “Magic,” Mean shouted over to Clance. “I need more energy—you can put it into other people, right?”
Clance pointed at her without a word. More of the stuck tanks were lifted and carried forward, away from the expanding glow of the blast.
“Hey,” Trisk said, shielding her eyes from the light below. “Can’t you just steal all of that thing’s power?”
“I can’t,” Clance said. “She has too much—I’d need somewhere to put it.”
“These are just her natural biological processes anyway,” Slaberdashia added. “Even I couldn’t stop them.”
“They’re all doomed!” Darrow shrieked. “That fire isn’t stopping; she’s going to melt the floor!”
“No,” Elder Sain said. “It won’t be long, though.”
With a high whine the fire receded. The true Calm’s mouth snapped shut. The grime on her face was glowing white-hot. A glimpse of her torso could be seen as the cloud layers swept in to veil her body. The head tipped away as she pivoted; bringing her arm from the deep shadow again to touch the glass with her palm.
The glowing spot at her hand dulled in color; the gas swirled, mixing with a cloud of fresh steam. There was as snap—a fracture appeared beneath the arena. Then another near Calm’s massive fingers.
“It’s just like last time,” Elder went on. “Heating and cooling the ceiling until it breaks.”
Darrow flinched as another crack split across the glass plain. “Thermal shock,” he uttered. “How long does it take her?”
“It only took two tries,” Clance spat out. “We couldn’t catch her in time! We’re all doomed!”
“What is going on!?” Mackaba demanded. He was floating in the odd water with Beebee, watching the new cracks in the glass.
“I’m going to have to do it,” Beebee said. She took off her hat and reached into the wet lining within. There was a tuning fork held there with three stitches. She ripped it loose. “I’m going to take control of her.”
The two lifeboats were swooping down toward the true Calm’s face: Mean poised, repelling the tanks as she went.
“Does taking us closer really seem like the most prudent idea?” Pladomir asked as he struggled to remain upright. The clouds beneath them were rushing into Calm’s mouth again.
“I need to get these guys out of the way!” Mean shot back, squinting down at the vehicles as they were pushed along.
Blann gave up on the controls, cowering at the helm. Pladomir pushed his way over to Clance. “Might we take back that energy you gave the flighty girl now!?”
Clance’s blond hair was whipping against his brow. “And leave us stuck out here? No way—“
The rush of breath beneath them cut off with a booming, wet gasp. The two conjoined faces twisted and coughed.
“Whoa, what’s happening?” Darrow asked. “Did she choke?”
Both faces slackened, the eyes drooping shut. The creature staggered. The face with the gash jerked, its eye popping open.
“It’s me,” it said. A tiny puff of red smoke spilled out. “It’s Beebee. I have her.”
“She swallowed Beebee?” Trisk wondered. Elder Sain leaned over the rail.
“Beebee! Where are you!?” he asked. He scanned the plains as the rock slide toppled one of the roller coasters to the west at Joy’s Focus. “Get out of her mind!”
“I didn’t want to,” Calm’s face admitted. “But I can’t let you hurt my brothers and sisters. I can’t let you hurt my friends.”
The other face, still glowing with soot and ash, hissed. The eye snapped open, rolling in its socket.
“INTRUSION,” the burnt mouth sputtered. The slimy proboscis squirmed out. “SEARCHING.”
The boats rocked to a halt; Mean toppled into Dark. He strained to hold her armored body. She grimaced as images flooded her mind in succession: learning to fly with Trisk in Tenny’s Tower; the battle with Hellzoo and the fight with Parlay.
“It’s doing something to me,” Mean gasped. “Memories.”
Elder Sain watched as Vornis, Trisk, Darrow, and Blann lost focus. He scrambled from his boat to theirs, hopping across the inflated gas bags. “She’s looking for something that will break Beebee’s control.” He lunged for Dark’s helmet; it snapped in two halves at his touch.
“Hey!” Dark exclaimed, still holding fast to Mean.
“I’ll need this,” Sain said. He twirled the two pieces around and fixed them to his head. “If she finds my memories she’ll get out for sure; I don’t think any of you have any knowledge that will help her.”
Beebee sat below, the tuning fork clutched between her fingers. Mackaba was kneading his temple: in his mind he was driving after Mean in a modified police vehicle; he was at Hilo Water Plaza making odd water flow; he was in the court of Ley Ledge attacking the Jesian leaders. It was here the memory froze.
“It reacts to hatred,” Mackaba said in his memory. The Lords Ley in the room stared back, suspended in blobs of odd water. “The more they hate me the more trapped they get.”
“SOLUTION HYPOTHESIZED,” the true Calm proclaimed. The two sides of the head struggled, pulling and tugging at odds with the other. The charred head continued speaking.
“ACCESSING DATABASE: ALVIN MACKABA. AQUIRING SPACIAL INFLUENCER. AQUIRING EMOTIONAL TRIGGER.”
“What is that thing squawking about?” Vornis groused.
“Database!?” Darrow said. “It has a database!?”
“It found Mackaba,” Mean said. She pointed down. A large bubble was forming around the conjoined faces. It was marked with a diamond pattern.
“ACCESSING: TRISK HENNING; MEAN LAVIR. SPACIAL DISPLACEMENT TIED TO EMOTION POSSIBLE.” The face hacked out a cough, twitching. Sain touched Mean on the shoulder.
“I need to know what she found in you,” he said. Mean knocked his arm away. He held up his palms. “Look, she can copy your powers and use your experiences to formulate new ones. Emotional displacement. What is that?”
“I have no idea!” Mean said. Trisk stepped over. She pulled at the shoulder of her robe where it had started to droop.
“I just had a memory of the tower,” she said. “Remember? It moved us between the floors whenever we experienced certain states of mind.”
“What could she be hoping to do with that?” Elder Sain asked. Vornis threw out his arms.
“How can we even stop her from doing it is the question, don’t you think!?” he said.
Mackaba tapped Beebee’s leg. She sat still, holding the tuning fork in her hand.
“Hey, what’s it doing?” he asked. “Are you okay? Beebee!?”
She gave no response.
“You said you were my friend,” the true Calm whispered in Beebee’s mind. “I will purge you from my mind, along with those glad feelings you lied to me with.”
The two faces trembled. “I just want you to be safe, Calm!” the face with the damaged mouth said. “I’m sorry! Zonzabee made us knock you out!” The other face hacked out more smoke.
“FORMULATION COMPLETE. GUILT: REPELLED. JOY: REPELLED. HOPE: REPELLED.”
The other face slackened and sagged. Beebee’s body seized up; Mackaba caught her before she hit the floor.
“She pushed me out,” Beebee told him. She wiped some saliva that was dribbling from her lips. “I don’t know what to do.”
The face with the gash gasped awake once more. The eye roved and the lips twitched.
“I SAW IN YOUR HEADS!” she bellowed. “I SAW WHAT YOU’VE BEEN DOING! YOU ALL USED MY MINDS WHILE I WAS SLEEPING! APPEARED ON THE PLANETS THAT WERE SUPPOSED TO BE MINE!” The teeth below the glass grit together, creating a sickening grind. “THEY WERE MINE! I’LL KILL ALL OF YOU!”
Both mouths stretched open again; the colored mists funneled to them with a roar.
“I’m sorry, Alvy,” Beebee said with a sob. “I’m not a good person. I made her like this.” She took her hat and covered her face with it. “Use your water. Get out of here.”
Mackaba watched blue clouds whirl beneath him, flowing to the mouth and vanishing between the teeth of the monster. He turned and snatched the pronged fork from Beebee’s fingers.
“Alvy, don’t!” Beebee sputtered. She got to her feet; Mackaba encased her in a blob of odd water. “You can’t control her!”
“Yes, I heard,” Mackaba stated. “Love, happiness, rainbows: all rejected.” He motioned with his hand and Beebee slid away in the bubble across the plain. “It’s a good thing I’m not quite as charming as you think I am.”
“Alright, I’ll get both these boats away from it,” Mean said. “Trisk, keep that ring ready.”
She urged the lifeboats forward. The twin jaws beneath the glass snapped shut again. The blackened face was directed upward: the translucent lid sheathing the eye. The mouth opened; the gasses swirled about as a light flared in the cavernous maw.
“YOU’D BETTER NOT BREAK THAT!” a voice demanded. The head whipped to the side and a long jet of flame fired into the thick smoke, lighting everything from the arena onward for a brief moment. The fire died with a choking noise. The eye on the other side was wide open; the gashed mouth speaking.
“SOMEONE WORKED HARD TO BUILD THIS,” it said. “YOU VANDAL.”
“Mackaba?” Mean uttered. She halted the boats and peered over the edge. “That was Mackaba. What is he doing in there!?”
“Mean, honey,” Dark said. He put his hands atop her armored shoulders. “I don’t really think this is the best place to stop.”
“INTRUSION,” the charred lips coughed.
“YEAH, I’VE HAD ABOUT ENOUGH OF THAT MYSELF,” Mackaba said. “A GUY CAN’T EVEN ENJOY BEING JAILED ANYMORE.”
“SELFLESSNESS: REPELLED,” the true Calm uttered. Mean leapt from the boat.
“Mackaba, can you hear me?” Mean shouted. The wind tossed her hair as she dropped in a free-fall with her arms spread. The bulging eyes swiveled and focused on her.
The slashed face through with Mackaba was speaking sagged. “I SEE YOU. THROUGH THE GLASS, AGAIN.”
“Well I have something to tell you,” Mean said. She slowed and hovered, the clear plain beneath her. “You’re with Beebee, right? You saw that bruise she has on her cheek?”
“I gave that to her,” Mean said.
“You what?” came the reply. The lips of the creature twitched.
“She found me when I first got here,” Mean said. “She offered me some cinnamon rolls. So I took one. And then”—she brushed her hair away from her face—“I took the tray they were on and smacked her in the face with it!”
“YOU WHAT!?” Mackaba roared.
“I bashed her in the face and I flew out the window!” Mean screamed. Mackaba’s side of the head pressed to the glass, shoving the other aside.
“YOU’RE THE ONE THAT DID THAT!?”
“Yes!” Mean replied. “I did it! And unless you want me to do it again you’d better catch me!”
She swished to the side and rocketed off, skimming over the plain. The true Calm pulled back, tilting its conjoined faces to follow her.
“What is this!?” Calm hissed in Mackaba’s head. “Obsession? Rage?”
“What’s wrong?” Mackaba mocked, his eyes closed as he clutched the fork. “Don’t want to purge those? Don’t want to get rid of the only things driving you?”
The thump of a massive footfall sounded from far below Arsiling; the true Calm was after Mean, the clouds parting around the vile faces.
“She’s out of her mind!” Dark said, watching Mean fly as a speck toward the empty space between Templetine’s shrine and the metallic chain that had fallen.
“She’s keeping it from killing us,” Trisk said. “You.” She pointed at Sain. “That magic you used to slice up the pyramid. You can use it to stop that thing down there, right?”
“I have no idea,” he gasped. “And if it did it would sever the ceiling holding the gas in as well!”
“It will all break if we don’t do something!” Clance pleaded.
“But I can’t do it from here!” Sain argued. “I have to be closer! I have to connect my plane with Calm’s mind and one other!”
“We’ll never catch up to them in this tub,” Vornis said. Slaberdashia set Calm’s small body down on one of the seats.
“They’re still down there,” she said. “I don’t know if they’ll listen to me anymore, but they’re fast enough.” Another heavy footfall rang out though the glass.
“YOU WON’T BLOW UP ANOTHER GAS STATION AGAIN,” the creature called after Mean.
Mackaba heard Calm in his mind once more. “Stop this foolishness!” she begged. “Your vendetta is petty! I was chained! Imprisoned! My vengeance is justified!”
“I don’t know about that,” Mackaba told her. Sweat was rolling past his eyes. His breath was staggered. “It all sounds the same right now.” He saw Mean soaring his way in the distance: the monstrous Calm in pursuit. Further back still the lifeboats were hovering. Three figures dropped from them: Dark, Sain, and Trisk. The latter two held tight to the poncho as Dark soared to meet two other approaching figures. They raced from the arena, darting around the tanks and debris: the enpo Malice and Chinpo Tabogganous.
“They actually came,” Elder Sain said. Dark aimed for Chinpo, landing on his back as he passed beneath them. The aged beast buckled, his paws slipping; Malice nudged him straight again, taking Trisk onto her own back. She grasped for a hold on the short fur, soon finding a firm grip on the large tire iron fused with Malice’s neck. Sain settled in on Chinpo’s thick fur as Dark flew behind them.
“Slab said this would end your reign over our worlds,” Chinpo said as they ran.
“Yes,” Sain admitted. “It’s all over.” He pointed ahead, where Mean was leading Calm. “Put us out there—then run far away. You’ll never hear from us again.”
The enpo ran past the top of Calm’s conjoined faces. Malice dropped Trisk off first, bolting away. Chinpo ran ahead and flung Sain off his back. He slid across the glass in his armor, tossing off the two halves of his helmet as he came to rest.
“Let’s go meet our maker,” Sain said. He let his head droop; the green, dividing plane spread out from him, touching Trisk and slicing below the glass to meet Calm. The wall sprawled up to the starry sky and ahead where Mean was flying. She spied Macakba’s seated form through the green on her left.
“He’s going to kill us,” Calm said in his mind. Mackaba ignored her, squinting through the green film at where Mean was watching him.
“You can stop running now,” he laughed. The floor of Arsiling split with a crack along the green plane. The true Calm shrieked from both mouths; both sides of her face dropped away from each other; the streams of gas rushed into the divide at her head. As she fell the clouds billowed up past her: working through the gash in the ceiling and spraying upward in a long, thin plume.
“Mackaba!” Mean cried out. It was lost to the roaring hiss. She covered her eyes and drifted backwards. On the other side of the geyser Mackaba gasped and dropped to the floor. The tuning fork fractured in his hand.
Beebee saw the smoke blast out from the floor, spraying straight up into space. The prison of odd water holding her lost cohesion and she fell in a soggy heap.
“Alvy,” she said, scrambling forward and slipping. A crash came from far below, echoed along with other sharp thuds.
She shambled forward and the world became a blur of color: the gasses ahead of her jetting past. With slow, receding whine the plume lessened. It tapered down from the far ends of the crack, vanishing completely with a squeal. The gas rose into the sky, with a viscious liquid sealing the slash in the floor. Mackaba was still, his eyes fixed upward at the diminishing vapors.
Super-quick First Draft Notes –
The true Calm starts smashing everything –
Gasp and be amazed at this terrifying orgy of destruction! This chapter is pretty much my dream come true when it comes to detailed, wide-spread catastrophe. The unique situation with the monster below a glass plain makes it even more interesting to write, I think. I mean, I’ve never had a villain living inside a transparent case before. ::coughs::
It was also fun to come up with the true Calm’s appearance. I describe it as two faces conjoined. I was partially inspired by the condition that can happen when twins are born. If you have a queasy stomach, I don’t recommend you use Google to look that sort of thing up. Even if you do, please, PLEASE don’t go searching to see if anyone has ever had a proboscis growing out of their forehead before. I know my friend Matt has already clicked away to check–but don’t make his mistake! You will regret it.
Besides her appearance, the true Calm also demonstrates bizarre powers. I didn’t want to keep the reader in the dark about everything so I came up with the idea of having Calm speak from two different mouths. One utters pure emotion; the other states logic and purpose. Hopefully they talk just enough so that the reader can piece together what is happening. It’s either that or more flashbacks, people.
Mackaba goes back down the tower to meet Beebee –
This was part of my plan for Mackaba: he was always supposed to be with Beebee at this point. However, the meeting with Dark high atop the chandelier was something new. So he just kind of jumps down from there I guess? I might need to plot this out better in the next draft. This seems to work out better than my original idea of “He just hides somewhere for five chapters.”
Mean and Mackaba’s final confrontation –
I planned this out a long time ago. Mean would confront Mackaba as in the other books, only this time they’d both be using the emotion of the situation to bring down the true Calm. Mackaba is fighting to stay in control of Calm’s body, and Mean knows that the only way to get him focused is to initiate a good, old-fashioned chase. I made their dialog a bit silly because it’s practically parody at this point.
But what now? With their “rivalry” coming to an close along with the avatars and Shirka I suppose this ending has come full circle. What will the next book have in store? Is there anything left to explain?
Oh, right. There’s the mystery with Dark and Tecker that’s been dragging on forever. Hm, if only some giant monster from nowhere could explain that….