Friday, July 26, 2013

Hot Chips and Sand 216-220 Draft Comparison

Hot Chips and Sand
Copyright © 2013 Mary Hughes
All rights reserved

Chapter 14Fourteen


            The car pulled up a block away from the hotel, according to John’s plan[M1] .  The officer went into a nearby building to phone for reinforcements [M2] dropped Vickie, John and Tess around the corner from the hotel. They leaped out and while Cliff’s three friends used his last quarter hour to attempt a rescue. John took a quick survey of their surroundings[M3] , Vickie turbaned the black T‑shirt around her tell‑tale hair. John nodded and Vickie led the othersher friends to a building across the alley from the hotel, one with a fire escape. John leaped, caught the bottom of the escape, and scrambled up onto it. He lowered the ladder so Vickie and Tess could climb up.

“I wish we had one of Cliff’s ropes,” Vickie said when they got to[M4] .” On the roof, eyeingVickie eyed the distance between buildings. “Somehow it looks a lot farther away during the day.”

John simply grinned. “I think I can jump it. You two go back down. I’ll go over and subdue the nativesFahrrad’s goons, then let you guys in to disconnect the computer.”


            Vickie felt her “All alone?” Vickie’s spine stiffen. stiffened. “No. Cliff might need me. I’ll jump, too.”

“Well I’m not.”  jumping.” Tess spoke firmly. “John is in prime condition, and Vickie, he’s made you into another muscle maniac. But I can’t.”


            “It’s okay, Tess.  I understand.”  And she did.  There washear [M5] you. There’s no way she’dI’d attempt this jump if Cliff’s life weren’t in grave danger. ,” Vickie said. “Meet us at the front. You know the signal.”

“Good luck.” Tess ran back down the fire escape as John contemplatedeyed the distance. Then he backed up, ran a few steps and flew across the narrow alley, hitting the roof of the hotel.

Vickie compressed her fear down into her body, where \the roiling sensation gavemaking her the extra strength she needed. legs feel like springs. She didn’t pause, just ran, hit the edge and jumped.

Her legs were more powerful than she remembered. She sailed across the open space, not looking down, not thinking of anything but the man she hadn’t trusted enough.  Then she was landing on the other side and She hit the roof hard, pain jarring her bones and making her stumble.[M6] John grabbed her shoulders. “Good going! Let’s find Cliff.”

John grabbed her shoulders. “Good going! Let’s find Cliff.”

Vickie shook off her pain and followed.

They found the hatch to the fourth floor, removed it and dropped into the dimly‑lit corridor. Vickie had seen run terrified down these corridors over and over in her worst nightmares, but. But always at the end, strong arms had plucked her from them.

No strong arms but her own this time. She banishedpushed the thought. acid sting of fear away[M7] . Time enough for fearthat later.

John and Vickie ran, leapfrogging from door to door, listening.  As John expected, this floor was Empty. Empty. All empty.  John had explainedNot unexpected but not to their advantage. It meant that the whole hotel had probably been taken over by Fahrrad and his personal guard, which the ambassadors had John estimated to be a couple dozen strong.  In fact,It was possible this had probably been Fahrrad’s retreat all along, athe hotel just as a cover. Fahrrad would notmust be expecting anyone to crack his hide‑out, as pretty ballsy to use it again after Vickie’s escape, but he didmight not know about Cliff’s previous visit.

John checked his watch, held up both hands, then nodded toward the stairwell door. Ten minutes to go.

            They wentVickie followed John cautiously down the first flight of stairs. She realized this  Ten minutes to go.  This was the floor Cliff’s room had been on.  Stick to the  and nearly bolted out of the stairwell to check the room. But they had a plan, Vickie.  and she roped in her surge of adrenalin. They went down another two flights, to the ground floor, pausing at every turn of the stairs to listen for Fahrrad’s men. Nothing. Vickie felt her stomach sink.  What if she was wrong? the farther they went from Cliff’s old room.

What if it her gut feeling was right? What if she was doing the wrong thing, ignoring it? They had so little time. Once the explosion went off Fahrrad would have no reason to keep Cliff alive.

The stairway doorknob rattled. Vickie jumped. John yanked her under the stairs. The door slammed open, followed by a. A long, loud string of Arabic curses.  accompanied feet tramping up the stairs. Vickie and John pressed themselves into the shadow of the stairs.  shadows.

Then a voice spoke in English, one Vickie remembered well. “Once the palace is rubble, kill him.”

Vickie froze. It was Fahrrad, confirming her worst fears.


            One of Fahrrad’s men started up the stairs.  One The feet went up one flight, then another.  Then came the shuttered sound of a door opening and closing.  Five minutes to go.  Third floor—she had , while one set of tread went up another. Fahrrad and his guard going to their command center on the second floor no doubt, while Cliff’s guard—his executioner—went to the third. She’d been right.  Oh, whenWhen would she learn to trust her instincts? [M8] 


            The deposed colonel and his guard went upstairs,John held up one hand. Five minutes to the second floor.  go.

When would she learn to trust her instincts? Now.

Vickie wheeled out onto the stairs and started after them,up. John hissed and grabbed for her.

But her gut was screaming at her hand, to stop her.  Irrationally, she evaded him and so loudly it even drowned out her heart whooshing in her ears. She ignored John and ran lightly up the stairs. After hundreds of flights on the stair machine, it was easy.

She got to the second floor landing and sawas just the door just swinging swung shut.  Now John called softly after her, but she ran for all she was worth up the remaining Men tramped down the corridor, Fahrrad’s big hat prominent among them. The sight goosed her around the turn and into the next flight.  And after hundreds of flights on the stair machine, she was worth quite a bit.


            She When she reached the third floor before John even started, her heart pounding. pounded but with anticipation, not strain. She paused. Which room? She listened carefully, but could hear nothing.  no noises, shouts or even quiet swearing gave anything away.

How long now? Did she have time to try every yellowed knob down the ratty corridor?

Did she have a choice? She turned to the left, her hand pausing over the glass knob.  No.

Her gut wrenched her away. It had been right before. She followed it and swung to the right,room he’d occupied before. She grabbed the yellowed doorknob knob, twisted and slammed the old wood door open.  She heard a groan as she caught the guard on the arm.   in one motion.

Vickie rushed into the room and stopped abruptly.

The last time she had seen him here heCliff had commanded the room. Now he lay in the corner, blindfolded, gagged and trussed up tighter than Houdini.

The guard lay on the bed, smoking a cigarette and reading a magazine. He rolled to his feet the moment he saw her, flinging magazine and stub away.

Vickie’s horror causedfroze her to wait too long. The guard had recovered and was coming atreached for her. She stared at him, unable to move.


            Then her overwhelming anger came to her rescue.  Her powerful, wonderful man, the oneman she loved, lay helpless on the floor. How dare they?  She took one Fahrrad’s face floated over the guard’s and she took a swing at the bastard, seeing Fahrrad’s face, —and connected, and slammed him to the floor. The blow rang [M9] up her arm bones. She yelped. The guard wavered on his feet, eyes glazing.

John ran in just then, , wound up, and took the guy down with a quick look, and smiled, shaking hisroundhouse to the head.  “He’s out cold,” he whispered. He raised and eyebrow at Vickie. “Maybe you train faster than Cliff.”


            Vickie checked her watch.  “We have two She gave him a quick grin. “How long?”

“Two minutes, John.”


            “Right. . I’ll take care of Cliff, you try to find the console and stop the destruct sequence.”  He found. Wait.” John grabbed a pistol ongun off the terrorist’sguard’s body and was about to giveheld it out to her when she

She waved her hand no. “I’ve only used a rifle once, a handgun never. Look, there’s no time to be elegant about this.  GoI’ll take care of Cliff. You go find the console and smash it. Hopefully it will stop the explosion—but if not, the palace has been evacuated.  I’ll look after Cliff.”  John nodded and left..”

“Right.” John nodded and left.

Vickie walked overskidded [M10] to the prone man in the corner.  She tried to untie the blindfold, but her knees next to Cliff. She wrenched her fingers got caught inon the blindfold’s knot.  This was no good.  She searchedtossed a glance around the room quickly for abut no knife or scissors, but found nothing.  She even looked in Cliff’s  stood out. She turned back to Cliff and delicately searched his waistband, blushing.  Still nothing.  One her blush automatic. Time was ticking. There couldn’t be more than a minute to go.  She wondered how long it would take  and Fahrrad’s goons were on the floor below. Now would be a good time for the Mounties to show up, or whatever Kulinahr’s reinforcements to arrive.  Once the minute was up, Fahrrad would almost certainly come to see if Cliff’s sentence had been carried outwere called.


            “Cliff.  Then she realized Cliff hadn’t made a sound or movement beyond breathing. She might have a bigger problem.

 [M1]This is backwards. Cause (John's plan) should come before effect (parking a block from the hotel). I also had to change the rest of the paragraph so I cut it.
 [M2]Cell phones have significantly changed the way we do things.
 [M3]Very apparent in this chapter that I've changed as a writer. I've chopped swathes of description for short snappy action.
 [M4]It's very rare that both the "said" tag and the action tag aren't redundant.
 [M5]The only way this would make sense would be if Vickie were an unreliable narrator, which she's not. If she says it, she means it.
 [M6]Again, the difference between "telling" what's going on and showing it. Bonus, it reminded me that a jump that far will have an impact. Much more real.
 [M7]Told. Now shows.
 [M8]I've been editing this over the better part of a year and frankly, I don't remember if I set the character up with an inability to trust her instincts. But I like it :) So I expanded on it here and left myself a note to add it in the beginning if it doesn't exist (and if it works with the story overall).
 [M9]The impact here is Vickie's reaction to seeing Cliff trussed and helpless. That's romance. But the rest of the scene has a sort of haze over it. Where's the guard? Where is Cliff? Not every detail needs to be painted but the important ones definitely need to be clear.
 [M10]Huge example of how the right strong verb is so much better.

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