ORIGINAL WRITING EXERCISE #1
Here is the original writing exercise by Charles D. Lincoln, that eventually became 21st Century Demon Hunter. It was October 13th, 2012 and being bored, I decided to just write whatever came to my head. Here it is in its entirety.
The first thing Kelly noticed about it was the smell of its breath. It was a rank, bloody smell, made ever the worse by how hot the air was coming out of what looked like a mouth.
The thing that should have stayed within an H. R. Giger painting turned to her, as she pressed against the wall, paralyzed by a primal feeling that was way beyond something as small as fear. It was the size of a Siberian Husky, but completely without fur of any sort. In its place were black scales and what looked like jagged pieces of bone randomly ripping out of its hide.
It didn’t so much crawl as shuffle itself on its uneven number of limbs towards her, its mouth filled with row upon row of crooked, teeth. Teeth that resembled a human’s more than any animal she had seen before. Teeth that were frighteningly white. Its yellow, bloodshot eyes, which she couldn’t count the number of, were focused on her as it shuffled ever closer across the living room at her, the lower half of its body dragging behind the front part..
Her body trembled with terror, her fingernails breaking the skin of her palms, her face moist with sweat, her bladder ready to give out at any moment.
This thing was making its way towards her, crossing the living room like something out of a nightmare. This is it, she thought and screamed.
“JULIE!!! OH MY GOD! JULIE!! WAKE UP!! WAKE UP!! WAKE THE FUCK UP!!!”
The door on the other side of the living room opened up and her roommate, Julie emerged, her makeup thick and smudged, her dyed black hair uncombed, her black wife beater exposing both her sleeves of tattoos. She picked at her black boyshorts and looked around the living room with half-closed eyes.
”Wha? What are you yelling for? I’m really hung over. Can you…”
”Julie! Don’t you see there’s a fucking monster in the…”
”Oh, don’t worry about that. It’s just…curious. It’s from Hell. It’s called a…uh…uh…I don’t really remember, but I’ve never seen one of these rape or eat anyone, so it’s relatively harmless. Just give it a Triscuit or something.”
”Give it a fucking Triscuit?!?”
”Yeah, they love them.”
“I don’t care what it loves! Get it the fuck out! Get it the fuck out!”
”Fine, you big baby. Here, boy!”
The thing turned and looked at Julie and then lumbered towards her. She sighed heavily, and pet the thing on what was probably its head…or a hump…or something. It seemed to like that.
”Sorry, boy, but my roommate says I can’t keep you. And the landlord will probably bitch too, now that I think about it. So…”
She walked over to the front door of the apartment and lead the thing outside, yelling, “You’re free now! Go! Go, be with the wind!”
Kelly shook her head in disbelief, when Julie walked back into the living room, saying, “Okay, I took care of it.”
”Julie! You just let that thing stalk the streets?!?”
”Don’t be so melodramatic. It’s not stalking anything. This is Manhattan. Someone’ll just think it’s a dog or a really big rat or something and probably take it in.”
”I don’t fucking think so! That thing was a fucking nightmare!”
”Oh, now, you’re just exaggerating.”
”If people see that thing, they’re going to shoot it!”
”Well, that’d be a very bad idea for them. When those things get pissed off...Christ,” Julie played with her hair a little bit and then walked into the bathroom, leaving the door open as she peed, continuing the conversation, “Besides, I’m sure if there are any problems, animal control will just take it to a shelter and then some child will adopt it and be the coolest kid on his block.”
”And then it’ll eat his family.”
”I just told you, they don’t eat people…At least, I don’t think they do.”
“Whatever. Are we finished here? I’ve got work tomorrow…I think.”
She wiped, flushed the toilet, and ran her hands under the water in the sink for a little bit, as Kelly moved into the center of the living room, not wanting to put her feet where the creature had been, all too aware of the heat the floor was radiating.
“And what’s this, ‘It’s from hell. Feed it a Triscuit’ bullshit? I know you told me you don’t have much experience with normal people when I first moved here, but in no way is that an acceptable thing to say to someone!”
”Well, if that's what Cosmopolitan says, who am I to disagree?” Julie said opening her door, the smell of incense wafting from the room, strongly.
“And do you mean work work or your other work?”
“Work work. The other thing I don’t have any sort of schedule for. They’re usually just like, ‘Hey Julie, there’s a rift between worlds. We need you to close it’ or ‘Hey Julie, something with tentacles just came out of my toilet and raped my mom, can you take care of it?’ It’s usually an on-call type thing.”
“Is that how that thing ended up here?”
”Kinda. There was a whole thing and then this other thing happened and I was kinda drunk and…”
”You know what? I don’t want to hear it. I just don’t want to see anything like that here ever again! I swear I’ll move! I can’t take that sort of thing again!”
”Alright. Anything else?”
”No. Go back to bed.”
”You know…I’m sorry…This is all just so weird for…I…I never even believed in god until I moved in here.”
”Why do you suddenly believe in god?”
”Because of your job.”
“Why would me being a bike messenger make you believe in god?”
”No, the other job.”
“What does that have to do with anything?”
”Well, if hell exists, then heaven must too, right?”
”Oh. Well, that’s an awfully optimistic way of looking at it. But you’re assuming by ‘Hell,’ I mean a Judeo-Christian fire and brimstone type place of punishment and not a completely different dimension filled with things closer to Lovecraft than Dante. It’s not actually called ‘Hell.’ I just call it that to make the concept easier. That and I can’t really pronounce what it’s really called. Something with an M, I think.”
”Two different concepts. One’s rooted in the belief in good and evil and the other’s rooted in reality. But if it helps you sleep better at night, it totally means god's real. Santa too, if you want.”
”Anyway, good night. Do me a favor, and if you see the landlord, tell her that I’m still visiting my sister in Chicago. Long story.”
Julie walked back into her room and shut the door, the smell of incense lingering in the room. Kelly let out a deep breath and then realized she had initially come out here to go pee. She started towards the bathroom, stopping to sigh and shake her head once she noticed the burn marks the thing had left on the carpet.
The only thought that filled her head was, Fuck. I’m really not going to get my security deposit back, am I?
ORIGINAL WRITING EXERCISE #2
This is the second writing exercise Charles came up with that later formed the foundation for Julie, as a character. Both of these scenes appear in a slightly altered form in the upcoming novel. Also written October 13th, 2012.
Struggling to carry the two Whole Foods grocery bags as she ascended the stairs, Kelly fumbled for the keys to the apartment for a good minute before finally being able to balance everything long enough to unlock the three locks and open the door.
She entered the living room, only to find Julie laying stomach down on the couch, playing something on her little portable Playstation. Her hair was messed up and wet, her body covered in a layer of sweat that gave a sheen to her tattoo-covered back and arms. She was also naked.
“Hey,” Julie said, not looking up from her game, “Did you buy toilet paper? We’re out.”
”Why are you naked?!?”
”Why are you naked and sweaty on the couch?”
”Yeah, you know, saving the world from the forces of chaos and stuff. Very, very important. Didn’t, uh, have time to get dressed. Fate of all life as we know it and all.”
Kelly sighed and shook her head before walking over to the kitchen area, to put down her groceries on the counter, suddenly noticing that the shower in the bathroom was running.
“Wait,” Kelly started, “is someone in the shower?”
”Oh…that. Uh, yeah.”
”Oh my god, were you fucking on the couch?”
“Holy shit, Julie! That’s so gross! I sit on that!”
“Well, you know how these things go. You have a few drinks, you meet a guy…”
”Why…why are there two pairs of panties on the floor?”
”…a guy and his girlfriend…”
"Why did you lie and say that it was a ritual?"
"That's a ritual...in some cultures..."
”Why didn’t you go into your room and do this?”
”You’ve never fucked on a couch before? Jesus, you’re repressed. Next thing you’ll tell me you’ve never fucked on the counter either.”
Kelly looked at the counter she had just put her food on and made a disgusted face.
From the floor, Julie’s cellphone went off. Her ringtone was a song about waffles, something about them being invented by Ghandi, so you should keep some handy.
Julie, without even stopping her game, extended her leg over the couch, opening her legs in front of Kelly, reached down with her foot, and grabbed her phone with her toes.
”Jesus Christ, I could have gone without seeing that,” Kelly said.
“So repressed…didn’t you have sisters?” Julie said bringing her leg back up on the couch and bending it backwards to bring the phone within reaching distance of her hands.
“No, I grew up with all brothers.”
Julie, rested the phone on her shoulders, continuing to play.
”Hey, Daddy! How are you? …No, that’s tomorrow, silly…True. I have trouble remembering the time zones too…But thank you very much. It means a lot that you called…Awww…I love you too, daddy…Yeah, Sammy’s coming by tomorrow. She said she’s going to take me out for dinner…I promise…No, I haven’t heard from Perci in…Oh god, Daddy…Fine…I haven’t heard from Persphone in a while. I think she’s angry at me…She got all haughty taughty after she got that job with the Royal Family…I’ll try, Daddy. I love you too, Daddy…Goodbye.”
Julie smiled and let the phone drop from her shoulder on to the floor.
”That was your dad?”
”Yeah, he was calling to wish me a happy birthday.”
”That’s really nice of him.”
”Yeah, he always makes such a big deal of my birthday. It’s kinda goofy, but you know how dads get.”
“Does he know what you do?”
”I don't think my sex life is much of his business.”
”No, your other job.”
“Oh, of course he does. It’s been the family thing for like forever. In fact, thinking of birthdays…”
It was a March, in the middle of the 90’s, in a suburban neighborhood like so many others in Middle America. The sounds of children’s laughter filled the backyard. It was Julie’s 8th birthday and her parents had gone all out for her. Her father, a tall man with wavy blond hair and a solid jaw stood on one side of the room, smiling at his daughter, who had the usual triangular birthday hat on, as her friends sang “Happy Birthday” to her.
He wore black leather pants, black leather boots, and a black buttoned down shirt open just enough to show his tattoo-covered chest.
The song ended and everybody clapped, little Julie blew out the candles and smiled at the adoration she was receiving.
He clapped for her and walked over, kissing her on the forehead, gently brushing her hair with his palm, revealing that his wrist was covered in tattoos, as well.
One of her friends, a girl named Suzy, looked at his wrist and asked, “Mr. Fairweather, are you a truck driver?”
”No, my dear, why would you think that?”
”Because you have pictures all over your arm and my mom said that only truck drivers and sailors have those.”
”Oh, Suzy, no no. These are…mementos.”
“What’s a memento,” asked another little girl.
“Well, Kathleen, it’s a trophy of sorts. It’s so I always remember my adventures. Whenever I’ve fought something and defeated it, I tattoo it onto my skin, so I always remember where I’ve been.”
“Daddy, can I have mementos, too?” Julie asked, smiling widely.
“Of course you can, Juliette. When you’re old enough, you can do whatever it is you want to do.”
”I’m already eight, Daddy! When will I be old enough?”
”Well, it’s funny you should ask that, because I have your present right here. Hold on, one second.”
He got a mischievous glint in his blue eyes as he theatrically tip-toed to the gate of the backyard’s fence. He said, “It’s time now,” to someone outside, and the gate opened up, slowly.
A clown emerged. He was wearing a big bright red afro wig, a red circular nose, and a big smile painted on his face. His jumpsuit was baggy and bright blue, with big yellow smiley-faces polka dotting it. His oversized shoes made squeaky noises. He was juggling four red balls and riding a unicycle.
Suzy shrieked, “I’m scared of clowns, Mr. Fairweather!”
”Oh, there’s nothing to be afraid of. This is a very special clown. Aren’t you, Mr. Poggles?”
Mr. Poggles rode his unicycle into the center of the backyard.
“Of course I am, Mr. Fairweather. I came here just to see a very special little girl. Which one of you is Juliette Fairweather?”
Julie raised her hand excitedly.
“Wonderful, Juliette,” Mr. Poggles said, in his whacky clown voice, “Now, I’m going to show all of you a trick. I need a volunteer to give…”
His voice seemed to grow deeper and his eyes bugged out.
His voice grew louder and his posture stiffened up as he threw his head back. There was a loud cracking noise as his jaw split in half vertically, turning into a pair of preying mantis-like mandibles, blood dripping from the worm-like row of teeth underneath.
From the red-nose up, he was still a clown. Under his mandibles, his arms broke to reveal row after row of centipede-like short legs, each one topped by a reptilian claw. His stomach ripped open to reveal another mouth, this one with a long, black tongue, dripping with steaming saliva, lolling back and forth like a tail. Two giant bat-like wings, affixed with multiple eyes on the rotted leathery membrane of their expanse, burst from his back, as he roared loudly.
The children, all except for Julie, cried and screamed and ran for the back door of the house, which they found locked. Some of them wet themselves. Some of them just kept repeating cries for their mothers as Mr. Fairweather walked over to Julie, who was looking with her eyes wide open in wonder at what was in front of her.
“Okay, Juliette, this is your chance to be a big girl! Go get ‘em. I can’t help you with this. You’ve got to do it all on your own.”
”How do I do it, Daddy?” she asked, as the thing that had been Mr. Poggles burned the ground around it, walking towards her with a murderous intent.
“That’s up to you. You’re a smart girl and I’m sure you’ll do fine. Oh…one other thing…You like it here, right?”
”Yes, I do, Daddy.”
”Okay, well, then just keep in mind if that thing eats any of the other children, we’ll probably have to move.”
”Yes, again. Don’t blame your sister for that, it was her first time too.”
“Stupid Sammy,” Julie said as the clown-thing roared and reared back to charge at her.
“Believe it or not, we ended up having to move anyway,” Julie said, looking at the small tattoo on her right forearm of a mandible-faced clown, “Some of those kids’ parents were really not very understanding. I mean, nobody died!”
Kelly just stood there, with her mouth open.
SAMPLES FROM 21st Century Demon Hunter: The Novel