Friday, August 9, 2013

Hot Chips and Sand 226-230 Draft Comparison

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

He came back down at a dead run, feet thundering on the stairs behind him, JohnJohn dangling limply in his arms. Feet thundered on the stairs behind him. “Come on!” He somehow freed up one hand which he used to grabherded her with, dragging her along byout the wrist. door.[M1] 


            Bullets sangFresh air hit her face—and bullets started flying past her head immediately upon hitting the fresh air. . Cliff reactedshoved her to the ground and covered her and John with his big body.

“Stop! They’re on our side.”

Tess, Vickie realized about the same time she realized she couldn’t breathe, her breath knocked out of her. She gasped ineffectively like lightning, throwing her and John to the pavement and covering them both with his huge body.  “Stop,” she heard a voice scream.  “They’re on our side!”  Tess, she realized.  The breath had been knocked out of her a fish.

Cliff made a shocked noise and his hands were under her arms and she was being hauled up and trying to gasp at the same time.  Thento her feet. She’d just sucked in her first breath when she was thrown to the side as Fahrrad’s men ran out of the building, into the street.  .

Only Cliff’s sure arms kept her from falling. They wrapped around her as if they would never let go.


            Fahrrad’s men in the meantime were cornered[M2] . “Stop! Throw down your weapons.” Kulinahr’s forces filled the street, bristling rifles.

The first men stopped, confused. More were still pouring out, so they could notcouldn’t retreat.  But in front of them were a hundred of Kulinahr’s best, rifles trained on them.  The firstOne of Fahrrad’s men stopped, smiled weakly, threw down his gun, and raised his arms in surrender.  Soon. One by one, the rest had followed suit.

Tess ran to John, dropped to her knees and cradled him against her chest. Her cheeks ran with tears.

“I’m fine,” John croaked. “Or I will be. Field tourniquet?”

Cliff let Vickie go to grab the nearest goon, yank his belt off and cinch it around John’s arm.

John’s eyes wandered. “Where’s Fahrrad?”   Tess looked up from nursing John, who had regained consciousness.

Cliff spun on his knees.. No more men were coming out of the hotel.


            Cliff was still holding Vickie.  He spoke He said grimly. , “He must still be inside.”  She felt

Vickie saw his muscles tighten. intent in his blazing blue eyes. “No!” she cried. “! You can’t go back in there.”

“One person stands a better chance. John. Give me the gun[M3] , John.”.”

“It’s out of bullets. Take one of Kulinahr’s men’s rifles.”

“Good idea.” Cliff stood and reached out. Three rifles were thrust into his hand. He took one, slung it over his shoulder, and turned toward the alleyway.

“No.” Vickie intercepted him and grabbed onto his wrist with both hands.  It was the only part of him not too thick to hold on to.  “No.  biceps. “I don’t care about your damned sense of responsibility. You’re not going in there alone to get yourself killed. I didn’t risk my neck just to lose you again!”

That stopped him. He looked deeply into her eyes, then smiled for the first time in weeks.  “Why Vickie, you’ve been working out!”  He shook the wrist she held just a little.  “Hmmm.  You’ve slowly. “You worked your tail off for me, and risked your neck for me. Any other body parts you care to contribute?”


            She had far tooToo little sleep and far too much excitement.  She said what was on her mind, straight and true. adrenalin shot out her mouth as the truth. “Yes, you big musclemuscled mass.  without the m. I’ve lost my heart to you too.” And apparently my mind, she thought to herself.

His smile broadened. “I love you too, Victoria Lynn Johnston. Do you want to get married, or live together in sin?”

She swatted his sassy backside, blinkingblinked back tears, and was about to retort when John interrupted.  “Fahrrad’s onsaid, “Fahrrad. On the roof.”

Cliff sprang into action. Vickie, however, hadwith a death‑grip on his wrist, and hebiceps, was pulled her unintentionally along.  “Vickie,” he beganHe stopped.


            “Take me along, Cliff.  Before he could say anything she blurted, “Don’t leave me again. I couldn’t bear the guiltit if something happened to you.”

He swore under his breath.

“For goodness sake, just take her Cliff,” John called. “It’s because of her you’re even alive.”


            “And I’m light.” She smiled at him.

He closed his eyes, then opened them and smiled back. “Well, start talking,” he said..”


            “Whatever for…?”  “Talk? Why should I…?”

He slung her across his broad back in mid‑sentence. She held ontoclung to his beloved shoulders as he raced around the corner, jumped for the fire escape and of the building across from the hotel, caught it easily, thenand raced up the stairs.  Fahrrad was raining bullets in front of the hotel from the roof.


            “He’sThe rat-a-tat of gunfire dug her fingers into his skin. But the cracks echoed. Fahrrad wasn’t shooting at them. He was raining bullets on Kulinahr’s men, from the front of the hotel.

Cliff set her down, lay the rifle on the edge of the building and took careful aim.

Just as he shot, Fahrrad moved. The shot missed. Cliff squeezed off another…and swore. “Empty.”

Fahrrad turned toward them just as Cliff yanked her down and ducked.

A battery of shot erupted. Vickie said, “Kulinahr’s troops?”

“Laying down cover fire.” Cliff edged his head over. “Fahrrad’s distracted,” Cliff noted thoughtfully..”

“You don’t have a gun,” she observed.any ammunition.”

He smiled secretively atgave her, reaching a small, secret smile and reached into his pants pocket. “They searched me fairly thoroughly. Of course, they didn’t find that little sharp‑edge. They found this, but they didn’t think it was important.”


            Amazingly, he He drew out a rubber band and what looked like a square of chewing gum.

She eyed it. “You’re going to take him with your sawed‑off rubber band?”


            “This,” heHe held up the chewing gum gingerly, “. “This is a highly unstable impactpowerful explosive. I brought it along on the off‑chance I might get to blow up the HCC300 or the console. I didn’t have much time to pack,” he said ruefully..”


            “I’m just grateful“Did you were ablehave time to leavepack a detonator?”

“Don’t need one. It’s extremely stable until I activate it with a twist. It’s my own design.”

“Lovely. Now how do you plan on getting it onto the clue on next roof over? Since that must be a good ten feet.”

“Ooh, I can’t wait to show you my three inches. That’s thirty feet, at least. And how?” He held up the chip prototyperubber band. “This.”

“What? Ten yards on a rubber band? Unless you designed that thing out of space age superball polymers, you’ll never make it.”

“Oh ye of little faith. I was rubber band shooting champion of my public school (*five*) years in a row.” He fitted the explosive to the rubber band, and drew it back. “If I can just get this to gostretch far enough…”

He released it with a twang. It shot it up into the air, at an incredibleexactly forty-five degrees, the best trajectory.  possible. It arched way, way up.

“It’ll never make it,” Vickie breathed.  “Oh ye of little faith

“Faith,” he retorted.

“Not even JuneBelva could [M4] make a shot that far,” she said.

He smiled. “Who do you think taught JuneBelva to shoot rubber bands?”

Vickie blinked and lost sight of the rubber band and its little payload on the way down. . She waited. Nothing. “Cliff, are you sureI don’t think that was explos…”explosiv—”

The front side of the hotel burst into a cloud of dust.  Mo mentsMoments later the waves of heat impactedhit her. Cliff hugged her in his protective arms.

Cliff murmured into her hair, “You should really learn to trust me more,” he murmured.  .”

She merelyjust nodded.

 [M1]Or maybe he used the romance hero's "third hand".
 [M2]This statement makes a conclusion. While it works, it's one step removed. Showing the bad guys boxed in has a better impact.
 [M3]A few paragraphs later she says "You don't have a gun." And to use the upcoming explosive, he had to not have a gun. I had to play a round of solitaire to figure out how to work it.
 [M4]I replaced the name so it didn't get confused with the calendar month.
 [M5]So I realized it might have seemed like Cliff blew up the bad guy. I try not to do that in romantic comedies any more.

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