I'm still trying to decide which one I should do. If I were ambitious, I'd probably attempt to work on them all a little during Camp NaNo, but I wonder if that would be cheating (much less overwhelming). Project #3 would technically be a rewrite of a novel I previously wrote, but I'm taking a different approach to it.
“Don’t lose your head,” they said. It’s just as much of a taunt as it is a warning, given who “they" are. I'm stuck in the suit of a beloved cartoon wombat that looks about as cute as it does menacing in patches of lamplights and darkness. It wouldn't normally look so scary with its wide doe eyes, button nose, two front teeth dipping low over a smile that's permanently fixed. Call it the smile of champions, something meant to put a similar expression on those who come across it. The chocolate brown wombat with the lighter hued, circular tummy - standing half naked with dark green shorts - had the same name as me: Kevin. The name and our frames of slightly over six feet were probably the only things we had in common.
He’d be the type of character that would run in the same circles as Mickey Mouse, the two of them meeting up with Kermit the Frog to have a guy's night out on the town. I don’t know how the punchline would end with a wombat, a mouse and a frog walking into an empty amusement park. Much less a bar in that amusement park.
But as I steadied the bat in my trembling hands, I knew that anyone that so much as looked at me would realize I'm not just some random entertainment for show. I'm fighting to keep my head, and not just the fake one that sits on my shoulders, bobbing slightly back and forth as I move through the park. If I take off this suit, and “they” see me for what I really am, they’ll kill me.
If choosing to keep this suit on, and if the right company comes along, then I might be killed for being something I'm not.
Either way, I’m in trouble, and this was way more than I signed up for.
This was some kind of freaky Mary Sue crap that decided to come up on its own, and I wasn't sure what to make of it.
I bent down in the kitchen, running my fingers along the smooth linoleum. People would probably think me crazy if they walked in, feeling down the floor that looked clean but I had no way of knowing if it was mopped or even swept recently. But I had to be sure it was really there. Felt real enough. So did the dark marble counters (the university could actually afford those in the dorms?) This was all a product of my vision for this place and here I was - a part of it all. Made my emotions flux somewhere along the wide scale of freaked out and elated, no medium between. This place was nicer than even the apartment I stayed at home.
Home. Was this my home now? For how long? Funny the place that I was calling my present home only previously existed in my head. I didn't know what kind of loopy logic I'd take on to explain that. Let alone try to explain who I was, where I came from, and how I got here. Not to mention that the woman downstairs who greeted me was also a product of my imagination, so was I essentially talking to myself?
God help me, if this means what I think it means, I want out. And I want out now.
"OW! Mimi, watch where you're poking!"
Mimi frowned as she set the bandages around Jun while sitting at the station. The nurse was out, so Mimi, having her T-medic license, volunteered to help bandage Jun up. He didn't want to go to the clinic, but Jun wondered if it was really a good idea to ask Mimi to help him.
They were in the testing lab, with Jun sitting on an empty stretch table while she applied healing patches to his upper left arm and various areas of his torso. They'd heal his injuries in less than 24 hours, and he'd be almost back to normal the following day. But Mimi wasn't gentle.
"No one said you had to go and get yourself hurt, Jun." Mimi said.
"I can't help it; it's my job."
"It's your job to have your body used as a punching bag? Think not."
"You know what I mean." He winced again as Mimi set another patch on his chest.
Mimi continued, raising a brow at him. "You're one lucky guy. You caught Mer the first time around without so much of a scratch, and you come out of an encounter with him without too many bruises - though it'll take 'em a while to lose the black and blue color. And the bruise from your badge won't heal quickly, but at least most of the pain'll be gone by tomorrow. Lucky break."
"I might be lucky, but he's still out there." Jun said, his voice low. Mimi looked up at him.
"You're way too hard on yourself. He might be out there now, but you'll catch up."
"With a time-traveling serial killer? Not likely. That's what concerns me. He's going after a kid now."
He saw Mimi's expression tighten as she halted to study him. He knew Mimi didn't have any kids of her own, but she was the kind of person who felt strongly about any kind of potential harm that could come to one. She resumed bandaging him. "There are some people in this world that are all kinds of evil."
"I have to keep searching."
"Maybe you do, but not tonight," she said.
"Yes, I do. It's..."
"It's not just your job if you're worried silly, now is it?" Mimi faced him with a fist clenched on her hip, speaking through her teeth. Jun's lips parted, but he couldn't say anything. He wasn't expecting that reaction from her.
"Don't lie to me, Jun. I know it as plain as the expression that's not on your face. You nearly died today. And you know that poor boy is Mer's next victim. It has you shaken not just because it could change the course of time, but because you were a kid just like him once. I saw the way you looked at his file, you know. Now I'm going to tell you once and not again - go home."
"You don't even know half of what..." Jun snapped, but Mimi held up a hand and continued, cutting him off abruptly.
"Call it my own instinct. I might be wrong, but Mer would be a fool if he thought of continuing on his merry way with a laser shot arm. And you'd be a fool like him if you didn't take some time to get your head right."
Jun shuddered while recovering his breath. The bruises still hurt more than he was willing to admit.
Mimi frowned. "You okay?"
He knew that Mimi had a point. He closed his eyes. "Yeah, fine. I'll go home."
"Good, I'm glad that's settled." She turned on her heel, started walking out of the room, but Jun called out to her.
"Just...wanted to say thanks."
She smiled. "Anytime."