SCREAMERS - CHARACTER INTRO #3
The doppelganger thing – it hits a little too hard, a little too close to home.
Cherry was used to missing Lindy. Used to the swooping, lung-seizing doubletakes when she unexpectedly caught sight of her own reflection in a store window, in a dressing room mirror, in a fucking filthy, leaf-crowded puddle of rainwater; two years wasn’t a long time, not really, but it was long enough that the wound wasn’t so fresh anymore. It had scabbed over. Stopped bleeding, stopped burning.
Lindy being gone – vanishing, just like that, with no tearstained note or cryptic text or grainy roadside phone call to explain away her absence, for Cherry to cling to when it felt like half of who she was had been cut out of her with a pair of those blunt plastic preschool scissors, painful and painstaking – it was in the past. It was yesterday’s problem. Cherry had already wasted months and months and months she would never get back, would never get a do-over on, worrying about Lindy.
About why she’d left.
About where she’d gone.
Which was Vermont, apparently.
Rural, backwater, upstart ski town Vermont – two main roads, a couple of quaint-adjacent coffee shops, and a big-ass old-money private school perched on the side of the mountain, hidden so deep in the woods it was like whoever built it didn’t want anybody to find it. That’s all that was there. Until the fucking zombies and the fucking tampons and the fucking doppelgangers, and weren’t they a gut punch?
They were twins.
Evil twins or clones or genetic experiments or discarded IVF babies – they were twins, though, they were physically identical but summarily different, separate people, and Cherry couldn’t help but view the whole mess as – not funny, no. Nothing about any of this shit was funny. It was depressing and it was terrifying and it was confusing; but it wasn’t funny. It would never be funny. Blondie’s southern-belle damsel-in-distress act was funny. Vecchione’s Napoleon complex was funny. Gallagher’s big tragic overwhelmingly obvious heart-eyes when he looked at Vecchione – those, too, were funny.
But the doppelganger thing, the constant reminder of Lindy, the onslaught of memories and theories and suspicions and stitched-up still-bruising agony –
It’s not funny.
Cherry isn’t fucking laughing.
SCREAMERS is a Young Adult horror/fantasy novel that I'll be finishing a first draft of for NaNoWriMo this year. It features a motley crew of irreverent teenagers, several reminders that the concept of "survival" is always relative, and a century-old murder mystery that ultimately matters a lot more to the story than the zombies do. I will be posting six character intros prior to November 1st, as well as a weekly excerpt/progress update once NaNoWriMo begins. Thanks for reading!