In this chapter Mean and Dark meet Mackaba. He’s an enraged police officer that has something in common with my friend Kim: They both start off calm, but if something sets them off–watch out!
Ha,ha, I may joke around about Kim’s harshness, but let it be known that I’m the one that invited it upon myself. It’s just like those anime shows where the friendly rivals duel. They’re always saying “I won’t accept anything less than your best!” And I know that in order for my writing to improve it must be forged in the flame of a thousand blazing Ka-me-ha-me-has!
Now, Kimberly! Come at me with your FULL POWER!
Kim starts off with an easy catch, but First Book Brad let it slip by.
- A maelstrom of smoke swirled on the lot, and the armored man stood: his suit writhing with the orange reflections of flame.
- Kim – Not quite the right word. Dancing? Might want to switch it up: Orange reflections of flame dancing on his suit. His suit isn’t actually writhing/dancing.
The subject of the writhing is in confusion here. I am not going to have it ‘dance’ though. The ballroom scene isn’t until book two.
- “Are you sure?” Mean pleaded as she extended a thin arm.
- Kim – Sometimes it feels like you really, really don’t like to use said/asked. She’s not really pleading/begging here. She’s just asking if he’s okay.
Oh, like how you’re PLEADING for me to change every word in the entire book to ‘said?’ In some cases you are right, however. Mean really is just asking here.
But man, every time I use something other than ‘said’ you’ve got it crossed out!
- The armored man took it, and she lifted him up, bracing her body against the convertible’s door.
- Kim – Why aren’t you using his name anymore?
In every draft of this story Darklord’s name is mentioned before this. The only reason I can think of is that since Mean rejected that name I’m also unwilling to mention it in the narrative. That might not be the correct thing to do. But annoying you might be worth it.
- After he settled into the back and she hopped into the front, Mean turned the convertible away from the wreckage and rolled down the road.
- Kim – There aren’t two front seats?
I discussed this part with Kim in person: She wondered why Dark would sit in the back if there was a passenger seat in the front of Mean’s car. I told her that Darklord doesn’t trust Mean yet. Kim then countered that Mean wouldn’t let a stranger ride behind her. But then I counter-countered that since Mean believes Darklord is Tecker, she WOULD let him do that since she’s obsessed with him.
Kim took the full force of my attack and was blasted into a mountain.
- The area ahead was lit, along with a large, geometrical shape.
- Kim – What kind of shape? A hexagon? A square? A pyramid?
This is the first magical engine that’s encountered in the book. I don’t use the word dodecahedron, which is a solid figure having twelve faces. I didn’t want to come off as a smarty pants; after all, I only knew of that word from the book The Phantom Tollbooth. But with all the hexagons and pyramids showing up in these stories, I think a little clarity is justified.
- Banners hung near the roof, fluttering a barbed fishhook as an insignia.
- Kim – Fluttering banners with a barbed fishhook as an insignia hung near the roof.
Or how about a barbed fishhook insignia near the roof fluttered on banners?
- “This isn’t right,” he croaked, drawing his hand to his mouth, pupils darting. “It’s all black….
- Kim – How are there even still cameras there if the building was destroyed?
In this scene Mackaba is using cameras to check on Kates’ house and the Peer Fuel station. Earlier he mentions that the cameras were mounted on buildings. I meant the buildings in the city but they would have to have jumbo telescopic lenses to see all the way down the road. I’ll just put the cameras on the various streetlights on the Nine-Mile Road instead.
- “I was helping you find your friend,” Mackaba stated with a tug on his tan uniform. “And you take advantage of me.”
- Kim – This line of dialogue makes no sense. How are they taking advantage of him?
Immediately after this Darklord gets worried. He can tell something isn’t right BECAUSE Mackaba isn’t making sense. If he had said something reasonable then they’d have no reason to be alarmed!
- Darklord joined Mean at the edge of the desk. “You can’t do that;” he said, “the Jesian government has no jurisdiction over the people that stayed.”
- Kim – Not really clear on why the police stayed if they couldn’t do anything.
The police were only there to watch over the property and buildings in the city. Protecting the people was just a personal request from Lord Ley Tecker. I thought I explained it somewhere but maybe I could add a few more words here to clarify.
And ‘he said’ is crossed out here!? Kim, I thought you wanted me to use it more often! Sheesh, what will please you!? Dialog, alone, in quotations marks!? And don’t tell me ‘A person performed an action so that means they’re the one speaking next.’ Both Darklord and Mean are there so either one could have done it.
- The monstrosity took up both lanes of the street as it followed, and a mechanical crane unfolded up from the roof. It hoisted a spotlight, directing the wide beam straight ahead.
- Kim – Condense. A mechanical crane unfolded from the roof, hoisting a spotlight directed straight ahead.
You sure you want to cross out that ‘up?’ You won’t get all confused and think it’s unfolding down, or sideways or something? 😉
Although you can only ‘hoist’ upward so I suppose that’s enough.
- “You traitor!” Mackaba hissed over the speakers. “You will not betray our people like this!“
- He seems to be having a severe over-reaction. It would almost make more sense if they got there and the apron-wearing guy (really wish he had a name, even if it was just the mechanic), had beaten them there and filled Mackaba’s head with lies.
Well, Mackaba is not rational. I did have a talk with Kim about this, though. And maybe it would be better to have a different character show up first. If not Greasemonkey then maybe Parlay. I mean, he and Tyle use the Dhaston building across town. Shoot–it wouldn’t even have to be a real person; Hellzoo can make illusions and she loves making people feel guilty anyway. Something to consider.
Now for the car chase.
- She popped open a small passenger-side compartment and directed Darklord to it.
- Kim – There’s a passenger side? I thought the car only had two seats: one in the front and one in the back?
Yes! This orb vehicle has four seats! Also a trunk and a CD player! How am I supposed to tell you all this though without making it sound like a frickin’ car commercial!? If only I had a product endorsement deal going. Then I could have Mean’s father gift her a Volkswagon with a heartfelt request to explore the one road on the other world while making full use of the optional extras.
- “This it?” he asked, gripping the front seat, standing, and reaching for a rectangular object. He handed it to Mean.
- Kim – How is he able to reach it easier than she is if he has to stand in a moving car?
They are in a high-speed car chase with a modified fruit harvester! You want Mean to take her eyes off the road and hands off the steering levers to reach for the glove box? That would be dangerous!
- “Dark, give me the remote,” the petite girl asked, braking the car.
- Kim – Mean tapped on the brakes. Assuming they’re not coming to a complete stop? Although I think it would be far more impressive if she stepped out of the car to take on the harvester alone.
What! You want Mean to GET OUT of the car while they’re being chased!? That’s even more reckless!
Wait. What am I saying? Of course it is! I can picture it: Her tiny figure caught in the headlights, standing defiant against the mad officer. Oh, how thrilling! Now you’re getting the hang of this, Kim.
- She pushed her hand upward this time, sending the stone table toward the glowing spotlight on top. One of the four ornate legs hooked the crane’s arm as it passed, yanking it back with a creak. The forward momentum of the harvester ceased as it was hooked, and the table wobbled as it fought to get to the city. It pulled at the harvester, levering the front wheels from the ground: The tire’s treads whirled above the hood of Mean’s car as the engine whined.
- Kim – Could this be a direct hit? Not sure why her magic wouldn’t let her aim properly. This is confusing. Why didn’t the table in the grill stop it then? And why does the table want to go back to the city?
I thought it was a direct hit, but maybe I made it sound like Mean was aiming for the spotlight instead. The table hitting the front of the harvester is just physics: a counter-force directly against it wasn’t enough to stop it. So Mean used the crane as a lever to pull the vehicle off its front wheels. I’ll give it some more work.
Also, an object that Mean affects continues to fly in that direction unless it runs out of power or she alters it again. Don’t worry, though! The master of exposition, Tome, is just one chapter away!
- “Well,” Darklord uttered, watching black smoke stream from the tires, “Where to now?”
- Kim – Said.
No. Dang it. It’s specifically the type of ‘well’ you utter after an exciting car chase and explosion of furniture.
- “I think I need to see Trisk,” she chuckled. “She’ll want to hear about this.”
- Kim – Is this really funny to her?
Fine. She said. SHE SAID. Let it be known that Mean will stand there and say something with no tone or inflection of ANY KIND.