Friday, January 18, 2013

The Killer Within

The world of The Seven Habits can best be summed up in a line from the song Electric City by Firewater: “You don’t have to be a soldier to fight, but you better have a killer in ya.”   This is best exemplified by Ocean’s post-apocalyptic world.  No one who survives in these wastelands is weak; they can’t afford to be.  Life has been reduced to a bleak struggle for survival where you look out for yourself first, the people you care for second, and everyone else only as the situation dictates.  This hierarchy comes into play when Ocean kills her mother in a struggle over a dead rat.  In that situation, if Ocean had thought of her mother first, the young girl would have died then and there.  Her mother would have carried on with her life as if nothing happened.  Is it any wonder that Ocean’s father is dead?  He loved her very dearly and put her best interests before his own.  That’s not how you survive in that world.  But Ocean had what her father lacked, that killer within.  It possessed her just when she needed it most, enabling her to rip out her mother’s throat with her teeth and ensure her own continued survival.  Since she’s struggling to transition between childhood and what her world thinks of as  adulthood, she’s still conflicted at times.  This is why I’ve said Ocean will have to get progressively more calloused as the series progresses.  At heart, I think, she’ll remain a good person.  But there are a lot of hard choices in store for that young girl.

Much as Ocean is going through a rite of passage, so is Bosley.  His world is also in transition, but it’s at a stage where very few people have realized that there’s something intrinsically wrong happening.  Bosley knows, of course, because he’s been up and down this timeline so many times he’s got a birds-eye view.  He knows what’s going down.  But there are a handful of people out there who’ve noticed how a lot of their friends are changing, how it almost seems as if they’re slowly losing their minds, until one day they just erupt in a geyser of violence.  The virus is just now beginning to break the news and there are ripples of unrest among those connecting the dots.  The living dead, however, are not yet among those dots.  They're right around the corner, but at this point none one could have guessed what was to come.  Which is why the vast majority of them will not survive.  They’ll flinch when they should have struck without hesitation.  They’ll break down into extended states of shock, their brains overloaded by atrocities continually witnessed and too many surges of raw emotion.  They’ll allow old prejudices and preconceptions to dictate their paths toward death. Or any one of a thousand other reasons. This is the moment of change;  when each and every person has to reach deep down inside and find the killer lurking there or be devoured by the new reality. 

As a slight teaser, I’m attaching a link to the first chapter of book 2, The Dead Trap.  I think this may very well be one of the darkest scenes I’ve ever written, but keep in mind that this is extremely rough draft material.  It hasn’t been edited or polished in any way and needs refinement.  But it really sets the tone for book two and overall I’m happy with it.

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