Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Chapter Four

In this chapter we get into some meat, but no writing yet. Ahhh the anticipation is killing me.

In this chapter, we go to the Beat Sheet and plan what goes where. The hard part is that only so much can go into these slots. We all know that movies cut away lots of a book; I knew this would happen, but I think it turned out okay. Of course, the more I cut as I went along, the harder it was to keep major elements in.

Let me take you through it:

The Blake Snyder Beat Sheet contains 15 slots. The numbers in parentheses is the page numbers where each event occurs, or the page range where details can be covered. My book is roughly 400 pages long and I have to cut it down to 110 pages. That's going to be painful. But one good thing, once on screen I'm hoping the most important thread makes it through.
  1. Opening Image (1)
  2. Theme Stated (5)
  3. Set-up (1-10)
  4. Catalyst (12)
  5. Debate (12-25)
  6. Break into Two (25)
  7. B Story (30)
  8. Fun and Games (30-55)
  9. Midpoint (55)
  10. Bad Guys Close In (55-75)
  11. All is Lost (75)
  12. Dark Night of the Soul (75-85)
  13. Break into Three (85)
  14. Finale (85-110)
  15. Final Image (110)
The opening image is the before picture of the book - what is 'normal' for the main character in the beginning. This was a simple image to come up with. Though it doesn't happen in the book, I can see Harris standing on the roof looking out over a virtually deserted courtyard and town beyond, trying to figure out what it means to be a king.

The theme stated is where the premise of the book is actually stated out loud. This was simple too. In the book, Harris asks his father outright, "What does it mean to be a king? What does a king do?" This happens on page 5.

The set-up all together gets the first 10 pages. Over these ten pages I need to show how Harris's world is going stagnant - dying. But of course it's all Harris has ever known so he sees nothing wrong with it.

The catalyst occurs on page 12. This is where the beginning of the end of 'normal' happens. In the book, this happened when Jonathan, the youngest son of King Carolinas came to play the part of an exchange student (after a fashion). Harris was to go south and take up Jonathan's duties, and in so doing learn how to be a king.

The debate is from page 12 to page 25 and here I figure is where Harris shows Jonathan around. Here also is where the two sixteen-year-olds compare their two very different worlds. This will be where Harris's first suspicions that things aren't quite right begin to tickle at the back of his mind.

Break into two happens on page 25. This is the beginning of the second act. This is where the main character must decide to head out boldly into his future. Well, in the book, that decision has never been offered to him. His father sends him so he goes, but he can decide how he will go. He can either go kicking and screaming every inch of the way, or he can do his level best to make his father proud of him, and try to represent him and his country honorably. I'm not sure if that's good enough, so we'll have to see.

The B story is where we introduce the rest of our characters, or some of them anyway. Here I figure we could introduce a little humor. Jonathan's family, unlike Harris's family, is quite large. At some point I'll try to work in somehow, Harris's father proposed a betrothal with King Carolinas' youngest daughter, Princess Kandace, but since she was only 12, this exchange of fosters was proposed instead. At this point, we watching the movie will meet the girl along with the rest of her family, and I figure she might find an opportunity to stick her tongue out at him when no one but he can see. This isn't in the book, but I think I'll put it in there. This happens on page 30.

Fun and games is given from page 30 to page 55. This is where Harris learns how true Jonathan's words are. Harris is sent around the country to visit all the different districts to learn something about what each one produces and how they are run. I'm thinking I can find scenes showing how grueling this task is. Things like being hardly able to walk after a three-day ride or falling asleep in the saddle, and I can't forget that here is where Harris is gifted a warhorse colt, though I might have to make it a grown horse. I'm sure I can think up some more things to fill these pages.

When I reach page 55, I have reached the midpoint. In writing fiction, this is the big climax, and my climax is the battle that nearly kills Harris. In the book there are two battles, but I am fairly certain I can combine them easily enough.

From pages 55 to 75 I need to work my way up to the bad guys closing in again. Harris has twenty pages to cover until the bad guys regroup and attack him again, and they do in the book, but twenty pages isn't very long considering the what happens in the book between these two attacks. Here's where the chopping begins and where it starts to get difficult. In the book, there's a chapter or two covering his recovery, and another covering where he sends his beloved horse back home (to Princess Kandace) with a message - you see, everyone thinks he's dead. Jonathan has also returned home with another message from Harris's mother, only it ends up not being for Harris, but Jonathan didn't know that. These two messages are very important, so I'll need to get this in there somehow, but also during this time, Harris goes south, into the desert to try to figure out who is after him and manages to come back with an army, or at least part of one. Here is where we are let in on the greatest secret of the desert people - some of them are shape-shifters. Here also Kandace is sent east to try to find another secret society, rumored to only exist in fairytales. She returns with an entire race, or what's left of them. To complete the army Harris will return with, King Carolinas also calls for an assembly of troops. Once these three peoples are assembled, Harris can then head home. It is on this march, after he crosses into his home country, that he gets attacked again. The enemy has regrouped. This stretch is going to be a toughie.

From pages 75 to 85 is called the dark night of the soul for a reason. This is where the main character pretty much reaches the end of his rope, and he questions his purpose. Now, during this last attack, the mind-altering abilities of the peoples from the sea (those found by Kandace) are used against Harris. Because of those who'd assigned themselves to protect him from just this sort of attack, die protecting him, he does live, but he's in a coma of sorts. I figure I can use this state. He has another choice to make: fight to live, or die. But what does he have to live for? Here, I can lace his nightmares with visions of his people being beaten down, caged up, and turned into slaves.

Break into three, or the third act, occurs on page 85. This is the final straw - in this case, the vision that tells him what to do. This is not in the book, but I figure he could have a vision of Princess Kandace dancing around the May Pole. This vision gives him the realization that there is strength in unity, and he does have a unified army, intent on ridding his country of the evil that has touched them all.

That brings us to the finale starting on page 85 and covering the next 25 pages. Here, I figure we could have the final climax. This is where Harris and his army have to retake his home castle. Now in the book, another chunk of goings on has been skipped, but really, as far as the movie is concerned, it's just window dressing, and can be skipped and not be missed much. The trouble is, in the book, he has already been through here. That is when he learns of his father's death by his mother's hand, and he learns that she has gone quite off her rocker. He has also left behind the non-combatants for their safety. They do play a small part, but I think I can work around that and have this be the first homecoming. We'll see how it develops when I actually get into the writing. To finish this up, we of course need a formal coronation and wedding.

That brings us to the final image on page 110. For this final image in the book, I have Kandace and Harris standing in the entrance of the castle watching the wedding party depart. I figure the palace grounds could be teaming with busy servants, with maybe some kind of pan-out showing the town all busy too.

What do you think?

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Sunday, January 25, 2015

Chapter Three

This chapter is all about who. Who is your story going to be about? This information will affect my log line, which sits at "A crown does not make a king" at the moment.

Now this log line tells me anyway, that my story is about someone who maybe doesn't have a crown yet, but I already know the story, so that assumption might be too easy. At any rate, it's about someone who might find becoming a king a less than smooth road. 

The bulk of this chapter was a discussion of such an aspect from the movie maker's point of view. Blake Snyder went to great lengths to point out many actors fall happily into certain genre, but that to write your script with a particular actor in mind for the lead is the very worst thing you can do. I'm sure you all have certain actors who whenever you see them, you almost always go see the movie. Sandra Bullock has to be my favorite actress, and a Russel Crow among a handful of others are my favorite actors.

I must confess, most of my main characters are written with Karl Urban in my mind. However, I know full well that never in a million years would he be able to play in one of my movies. Most of my main characters start out in their teens - few of them extend far enough to where he might be able to step into the part. That said, he still gives me an imaginary figure. I can imagine him as a gangly teenager, his turmoil of emotions carefully hidden behind his dark eyes and his smooth face.

Once you've decided on who your story will be about, you need to then figure out why he has to do what you're planning on him doing. To keep things simple, primal is the name of the game. Keep it primal, meaning the most basic of emotions. Survival, hunger, sex, protection of loved ones, and fear of death, are the most basic emotion we can all identify with.

So let's apply this information to my book. Young Harris goes off to learn how to become a king - kind of a vague goal, but he fully intended to come home and apply what he learned. He wanted to follow in his father's footsteps; it was a matter of honor. As time went along, he began to realize how bad things were at home. Only then did he realize how important it was that he not only return home, but that he return with enough strength to set things right. Now, honor did not make Blake's list of primal emotions, but I still think we can identify with the desire to set things right, especially when this act alone will serve to protect his family as well as every other family in the country. 

Now I have a who and a why. Is it enough? We'll have to see. 

Now back to the log line. Blake insists on an adjective to describe the protagonist and an adjective to describe the antagonist. I was reluctant to do the antagonist because the man was very much an unseen entity until the latter half of the book, but I'll give it a shot.
A naive prince heads off to learn what it means to be a king, only to discover that he'd escaped the cage. Now he had to figure out who held the key.
I don't know - maybe. Time will tell. What do you think?


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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Chapter Two

Chapter two of Save the Cat! by Blake Snyder is about genre, and if you've ever looked up genre in Wikipedia in an effort to decide what category your latest work in progress falls into, you know that we book writers have what seems like a million to choose from and someone is always coming up with what they think is a new mix or a new evolution of the same thing. According to Blake Snyder, it all can be narrowed down to ten bulk categories. It all goes toward the effort of attracting the attention of an agent or producer in the shortest amount of time - i.e. at a glance.

I'll list and briefly explain the ten genres, and then I'll let you know what I picked. As I can see it so far, this all just might help the rewrite of the book. There's nothing like having a guide on what to focus on as you write your book.
  • Monster in the House - is exactly what it says. Someone or something is a monster in a confined area and it simply must be defeated.
  • Golden Fleece - is the hero taking to the road in search of whatever and finds himself instead.
  • Out of the Bottle - the bottle being something akin to a genie's bottle leading toward the granting of some sort of normally out-of-reach wish.
  • Dude with a Problem - is like it says. An ordinary dude who is suddenly face with an extraordinary problem.
  • Rite of Passage - is when life throws your average dude a brick, but that's life, now deal with it. How that is accomplished is the story.
  • Buddy Love - is two people who hate each other at first but end up loving each other in some way. Yeah, this is every love story in the works, but it's more than that.
  • Whydunit - This is more than just your average mystery. It's why. Why did they do what they did? But it's also the agony of putting all the pieces together.
  • The Fool Triumphant - is the underdog triumphing against the egotistical big guy.
  • Institutionalized - is very group-oriented type story.
  • Superhero - is far more than the comic book-type story that might first come to mind. It is also about the very rich or very smart needing to deal with the average people he needs to deal with.
 For my book, I chose Rite of Passage because my hopefully average teenage boy had to figure out what it meant to be a king, and as it turned out, that goal ended up being far more than he could have ever guessed at the beginning. I also think Monster in the House is involved. Harris's entire problem is because of an unseen monster (Kain). I also think Golden Fleece is mixed in. Though not something he initiated himself, Harris takes quite a journey, physically, as well as within himself, in order to become the king it was his blood-right to become.

At some point, I might narrow that down, but it is what it is so far. I'm learning.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Chapter One

Okay so I've been reading through my new book, Save the Cat! by Blake Snyder, and here is what I learned from Chapter One:

Using my first book, currently published under the title, King by Right of Blood and Might, as my guinea-pig, it has already gone through some evolving, and I haven't typed a word of it yet.

About the first thing I learned when I got internet and started looking into all the writing blogs I found, was that the title was too long. I also learned from more than one conversation about the book, that the cover was all wrong. There was also one review, from a writer who knows more than I do about writing a book, which said that the writing was amateurish and rough. So republishing it has always been in the plans.

According to Blake Snyder, before you write your very first word of your script, you have to answer one very important question.
"What is it?"
And of course, you have to consider that the title of your script will be in a pile of probably hundreds, so it has to grab the guy by the tie and make his eyes bug out with excitement. It needs to blast into his brain the entire movie, or at least plausible parts of it.

So, what is King by Right of Blood and Might? Does that title do anything at all for you? It's very lyrical, but that's about all it has going for it. Quest to Become King, its original title while I was writing it, is no better, at least not in answering that question. I've been hashing over titles for forever, something short and to the point, and most recently I'd chosen The Riddle of Steel. You guessed it - that doesn't answer that question either; it just reminds me of that Arnold Schwarzenegger movie, Conan, where the boy Conan's father tried to explain it to him. I didn't understand that explanation, but I did like that title so I did a little research about it so I could apply some of that concept to my book. That concept will stay, but once again, the title had to change. Currently I have Crown of Steel.

I came to that decision because irony is the best gripper (according to Blake anyway). I chose that because it wasn't gold that gained these kings their lands, it was the strength of their steel and the skill in their arms. I don't know, as I read on, the title might evolve farther. We'll see.

Another thing covered in this chapter, equally as important as the title, is the log-line. The log-line is the one liner that also has to answer the 'what is it?' question. I came up with two - one longer than the other, which also might be used on the book's blurb (maybe)
If he was to believe his father, the crown would be his - no question, but what he didn't tell him was that he'd have to retake the country in order to be king.
The actual log-line (so far) evolved to this:
A crown does not make a king.
That leaves the cover, or the movie poster as the case may be. I'm toying with a sword leaning up against an oak tree with a heavy crown hanging on it. I'd thought of the sword poked into the ground, but that reminded me of rifles poked into the ground with helmets hanging on them - a grave. I also thought about the teepee thing where soldiers would lean their rifles against each other while camp was set up, or whatever the task was, but that was more an army scene and though Harris does return with an army, it is a loaner.

I don't know. That's only Chapter One. Things may still evolve. What do you think?

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Saturday, January 17, 2015

Writing a Movie Script

The mail came today - Yay!!! That meant the book I ordered has finally arrived. Here where I live, mail arriving at the post office and mail actually reaching me are many times two very drastically different things. Things I order or things sent to me reach the post office in good time, but even though the post office is only around 25 miles up river from me, there are times when I don't get my mail for the entire winter. There are a couple great guys here on the river who go up there frequently, and they have taken up the task of bringing me my mail. However, that doesn't mean I get my mail much faster, only that I will get mail at some point during the winter. This morning was that time.

You might remember from some of my Facebook postings, a while ago I ordered a book on Script writing. I am not getting any younger, and though at one time, my greatest ambition was to get all the books I'd written published before I kicked the bucket (which is still the case), now I would also like to see at least one of them as a movie. I'm not getting any younger.

Now I know getting my book in front of some director by accident is like a billion to one chances, so I thought I might try my hand at writing up a script. I'd like to do my trilogy, I happen to think it is my best book, but it might be to big a project for a first shot. Maybe I'll do my first book; I'm going to republish it anyway, and to do that it will get a rewrite. Sounds like a package deal to me - maybe.

Anyway, I did a little research and came across a book called Save the Cat! by Blake Snyder. Upon a simple flip-through, it wasn't what I wanted, however, judging by that flip-though, it is likely what I need. What I wanted was something to tell me the mechanics of how to write a script. You know, something to tell me the formatting issues - font size, margins, indents, etc. Seriously, I know nothing about what a script should look like - I've never seen one. So, a little more research is in order for me. I'll get to it one of these days. First, I have a book to read. This book - Save the Cat! - looks to be filled to the brim with all the little tricks of the trade I'll be needing to make my script the best it can be, even for a first shot.

Another thing that will put this project off is that I've been promised an editing job to start most any day now. As I wait for that, I'm working on the rewrite of my next book, The Trials of the Youngest Princess. I'll be looking for critical readers for it when I'm done, so if you think you'll be interested, send me a note. I look forward to hearing from someone. A fresh pair of eyes is priceless, you know.

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Saturday, January 10, 2015

Trust is a Fragile Thing

It surly is. I mean, if you were to ask your neighbor if they trust you, they might say yes thinking you probably weren't going to kill them in the near future - that's if you were already on talking terms with them. If you moved into your neighborhood yesterday and then asked your neighbor that question, the answer would be far more tentative, though what would come out might be the same word, meaning something far closer to, 'I trust you as far as I can see you.'

Think for a moment - what does it take to build good, average trust, enough trust to believe what a man says on face value? Heck, it might take half a lifetime of honest dealings to build such a foundation of trust. Between neighbors, I'd say a handful of years of familiar association to build that kind of trust.

Why do I bring this up? I read a book - A boy, early teens, was living and working with his teacher for an indeterminate number of years. The boy being young did his chores and he did his lessons. but he was also off doing his own thing, which the teacher of course didn't approve of much. Sounds pretty normal, doesn't it. So as the story progresses, the teacher has to blast off on some errand, and it's apparently time to send the boy to another teacher for further training - off they go.

This boy, being raised in a tiny, back-water community, is the epitome of naive, so it's not too surprising that the first person he runs into on his journey tries to rip him off. His sole source of currency is a pearl, and the innkeeper is willing to trade that for one night's stay and a meal. Thank goodness he's rescued by a traveling trader, who will pay him a life's wages for the pearl if he will just come with them to their home on the coast.

Trust - go? don't go? Who do you trust?

To sweeten the deal, the trader will pay his way and feed him as long as he travels with them to that end. Yeah, I think I'd take that deal too, but trust is still an issue. Just how much can you trust this merchant or his beautiful daughter, who is of course batting her eyes, haha.

So trust figured in quite strongly throughout this story, and most of the time it was handled well enough, but when you never question strangers, trust is being taken advantage of.

Because of an altercation a couple days later, the traders went through the boy's belongings and read a letter of introduction written from his old teacher to his new teacher. It had been sealed and the boy of course trusted his teacher and had never read it. The letter ended up being a death sentence to be carried out by the new teacher. Suddenly the boy was out for revenge. He would go to this teacher, but instead of going there to learn, he'd go there to be the one to kill first. There was absolutely no question that this letter might have been forged and the agenda sculpted to fit an agenda of his companions of whom he knew very little really. That was not the case, but still there was no question.

Okay so this is a YA book and such complications might be a little too much for young readers, but I think even young readers could have grasped this doubt. Who do you trust here? The teacher you'd known for some years, or traveling companions you've known for only about three days?

Later, much farther along the trail, there is a much more blatant mishandling of trust. They meet a man, another boy of like age, on the trail who then leads them to their destination. Upon a very first meeting, the new teacher, who thanks to a forged letter of introduction that said something quite different, wanted our trusting hero to kill the boy who'd led him here. There was no explanation of why he wanted this done, so maybe once again it was a means of establishing a form of trust. Our hero immediately goes to this boy and, after asking him if he trusted him (again why should he), he tells him what his teacher of however long wanted him to do. Of course he immediately believed him and they were allies in seeing to the demise of this teacher.

Trust - how do you manage it in your manuscript? Treat it as if it was a fine sample of blown glass, because it is. It is really quite fragile.

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Saturday, January 3, 2015

A Druid's Justice

Most hunters would take time to assess the target, scoping out a location or watching prey to assess weaknesses. It’s what Derrick would have done, but inexperienced hunters, glutted with past successes hadn’t learned that lesson. Their strike came so soon, it almost took Derrick by surprise. He had anticipated several failures before being successful in actually being their target. He could only blame the new guy, anxious to get the hunt over with and prove himself worthy of his friends.

There was a whisper of movement behind Derrick’s right shoulder and the over-sensitive nerves of the hunted caused him to dodge to the side just as a fist flashed past his face.

Having actually hit nothing with all of his might, the man was over balanced, and then he was taken completely by surprise when Derrick grabbed his wrist and jerked him forward. With his next step, Derrick was behind his attacker, and with a vicious twist, bones broke and the man now identified as the newbie, screamed.

The other four, for some unidentifiable reason, closed in for their own attack. Experienced predators would have held off; dangerous prey earned caution, but these men obviously felt safety in numbers. Normally, this might have been true, but the average human prey wasn’t elf trained and hardened by the life of a druid as Derrick defined it. The odds were still in Derrick’s favor.

Of the first two to close, one carried a knife – a small folding toy with no more than a three-inch blade. Their clash was brief and suddenly they were down, one curled up, trying to convince his chest to flex some air into his lungs, the other quite still. The third attacker was right on their heels. His attack held some finesse as he whirled into action, but his exotic spin merely caused him to meet the street from a higher altitude as Derrick caught his jumping spin kick and carried his foot far higher than he ever planned. The fourth man didn’t bother to close the distance; he took careful aim and fired, but Derrick was still in motion.

Though the bullet tore through his thigh, Derrick landed like a cat and like a cat, or perhaps a wolf, he launched himself at his last and deadliest attacker in a long dive. His right hand reached for a throat hold, and even as another round was fired with not enough accuracy, Derrick’s left hand grabbed the wrist, seeking control of the weapon. When they hit the ground, the shooter remained completely still. Derrick retained his grip for a few moments, but as soon as he determined that there was no pulse under his hand, he stood. First thing he did was look around in an effort to see if the wayward bullet had hit anyone, but if it hit anything at all, it was stone.

This was a civilized city, there was an assortment of shops along this street, and many of them were lit up. A dozen people altogether were gathered in front of half of those, but as soon as he looked their direction, they melted away.

He healed his leg and then touched his medallion. “Enders. I’m in front of a place called Lloyd’s Cleaners. I’m afraid I’ve made something of a mess. I don’t know the street.”

“There can’t be too many Lloyd’s Cleaners in this city. I’ll find you. Wait there.”

Derrick waited. He went around to check the others. As he approached the initial attacker, the man cowered away from him. “The police will be here soon.” He waved his hand in front of the man’s face, making no effort to obscure the move necessary to cast his command. “You will tell them the truth.”

The man gulped and nodded.

Derrick paced the center of his battlefield until Enders showed up nearly an hour later. By the time he drove up, another of the men had wakened, but Derrick refused to allow any of them to do more than sit up. When one attempted to stand, Derrick was immediately over him offering to contest the issue. The man thought better of his desire.

When Enders arrived, he didn’t bother to park. He stopped and stood at the open door of his car. He took one look at Derrick and his battlefield, and then reached back in for the radio and called for an ambulance, a wagon, and some backup.

Derrick noticed that he wore a dark blue jacket now, one with a badge on the chest. “I only killed one. I didn’t have much choice.”

Enders glanced down at the bloodstain down the side of Derrick’s leg. “You need to see a doctor? That looks pretty bad.”

Derrick looked down too. “No, I’m fine. I can’t say the same for the others, though I did try not to kill any of them.” He noticed the light colored jacket Enders had lent him; it was now a little worse for the abuse. “I’ll get you a new jacket as soon as I can. Sorry.”

Enders shrugged off the comment. “You’re going to have to press charges.”

“Press charges? What does that mean?”

“He just attacked us,” said one of the men sitting on the street, holding his head. “We was just walking along and he came out of nowhere and attacked us.”

Derrick was about to call out the lie when his first assailant beat him to it. “No he didn’t. He was supposed to be my target. He was gonna be my first. I never got the chance to tag him. I ain’t never seen anyone move as fast as he did. I think he took a bullet though. Greg fired a couple shots at him and I saw blood.”

“Shut the fuck up, Timmy,” said the first speaker. “Quit being a gasbag.”

“Don’t call me that,” said the one labeled Timmy.

“Be quiet, both of you. You’ll both get a chance to speak your peace,” said Enders. He pulled Derrick over to the sidewalk and spoke quietly. “You have to sign a statement telling what happened here, that these guys attacked you, and you have to be willing to go to court and tell a judge as much too. If you don’t, we can’t do anything to them.”

“These are the men who attacked Gage. They needed to be punished.”

“I believe you, but we have no proof, and your word on that just isn’t good enough; you weren’t there either.”

“But Gage…”

“Doesn’t remember; he doesn’t even remember going to the store. If you don’t do anything, if you walk away here, all we’ll have is their word, and you’ve already heard what that will be. In no time at all, they’ll be innocent people just heading to the pool hall over there when this guy came out of nowhere and…” he nodded toward the people-littered street. “And with a body, you would be on our most wanted list in no time. They could even give descriptions, and I would likely be jobless, if not in jail, for letting you go ‘cause I sure as hell ain’t gonna try to keep you here.”

Derrick looked at Enders hard, and then he growled and paced away. He hated being forced to take an action. Three steps later, he turned. “I should have just killed them all and vanished. Justice served. They would have paid for their crime, and the crime against them could have just gone unsolved. You know I’m right. I know even better that I’m right, and they know they deserve it, if not for the attack against Gage, then against someone else.”

The three men sitting in the street waiting to be arrested and carted off to the hospital, looked at Derrick in horror.

“This is not your mountains,” said Enders.

“No, this is your city, and I hate getting mixed up in it worse every time. You tie your own hands with things like this.” Derrick whirled to face the man with the broken arm. “Tell him what you did three nights ago.”

“Three nights ago?” His voice shook, and even though Derrick stood more than twenty feet away, he cowered away at being singled out. “Three nights ago, Sanders popped this old guy. He wanted to show me how it was done. I never seen a guy drop so fast. He had a hard jaw though. Sanders’ knuckles are still bruised; I seen them this morning.”

Derrick turned back to Enders. “Do you need more proof?”

“Maybe not. I still want you to come down to the station and sign a statement.”

Derrick’s growl was audible. “Fine.”

As they waited for the emergency vehicles to make it through traffic to their location, Derrick paced like a caged lion, stopping occasionally to check on the one man who had yet to wake.

Enders moved his car over to the curb to make room for the vehicles when they came, then he joined Derrick as he bent over the unconscious man.

“Well, how is he?” asked Enders.

“Bad, like Gage was. Maybe not as bad, but bad enough.” He looked up at Enders. “Your call. Do I waste the energy on him and help him, or do we allow him to die or become a zombie, if he’s so lucky. Either way, he will likely be of no value to you and your case. I don’t expect him to be able to remember any better than Gage can, though it’s possible.”

“You’re giving me this choice?”

“I have no sympathy for him, and this is your city.”

“Do what you can for him. I’d rather he not die on my watch.”

“You have too much sympathy for these people,” said Derrick, but he rested a hand on the man’s forehead and whispered his spell.

“What did you just do? You did that to Gage too, didn’t you? And the food? What all can you do?” asked Enders, surprised at the seemingly too simple solution to the problem.

“If you have not put enough of the clues together yourself, I will not enlighten you. The less you know, the better. Suffice it to say, he will recover in a few hours or less, I should think.”

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