NaNoWriMo – Midway Point

Believe it or not, NaNoWriMo is half over. For me it’s been a long two weeks and a day, with some marathon writing sessions I never thought I’d accomplish. I’ve got to get back on some sort of normal schedule, though–I’m running out of clean clothes!

A nice, round number for today–4,440 words, and I even made a pot of homemade soup and a loaf of homemade bread. (Yes, just call me an over-achiever.) The total word count is an unbelievable 74,472, and I have about eighty percent of the manuscript done. I added a scene to Chapter 26 to complete it, and made a good start on Chapter 27, Dostun’s Prisoners. It’s a pretty harrowing chapter, based on a real event, as you’ll see from the excerpt below:

O’Keefe drove the borrowed Humvee, and Mai took shotgun. Two soldiers accompanied them; one manned the fifty cal machine gun, and the other sat with the rest of her team and exchanged war stories and jokes. He wasn’t happy when she asked him not to smoke.

The authorization Frank had procured got them past the airport checkpoint, and they prowled the far end of the runway, around the old Aeroflot hangars, slowly and mindful of land mines. The cargo containers were right where Salim’s brother-in-law indicated, and even before they exited the Humvee, she smelled what they would find. For a second, it took her back to the Balkans, back to mass graves she’d found and catalogued for later exploration.

She had heard the rumor. Dostun had marched into Kabul with hundreds of prisoners the Americans allowed him to ransom back to their families. By the next day, all the prisoners were gone, and many people didn’t think it was back to their families.

O’Keefe used a crow bar on the closest container then stepped back when the rusty door swung open.

Then, they looked into Hell.

Dozens of putrifying bodies, caught in their final throes before suffocation, hands formed into claws, mouths agape. They were piled on top of each other at the doors, fused together so they didn’t spill out onto the ground.

“Holy Christ!” one of the soldiers muttered. The other turned away and puked.

Mai saw Yuri cross himself, and Salim began a prayer.

“Open them all,” Mai said, “and take pictures.”

Mai turned her back on the scene, walked a few feet away, and took out her satellite phone. Frank picked up almost at once.

“Yeah, what did you find?” he said.

“We found Dostun’s prisoners,” Mai replied.

 (c)2013 by Phyllis Anne Duncan

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