• T. Mark Mangum

NaNoWriMo Week 3 Finished; a novel excerpt

Monday, 23 November 2020 marks the beginning of the final 9 Days of the November 2020, National Novel Writing Month. I am making progress. I intend however to keep up my schedule through December as My goal, and my intent is to have a completed 1st Draft by the end of 2020.

I feel like I want to show folks some of what I have accomplished so far. Almost to 40,000 words, the story is asking me for more detail in some areas and a revision of that paragraph over there. All in due time the goal, for now, is 50,000 words by 30 November 2020.

Below is a small excerpt from the book.


Andrew and the Cave

Running as fast as he could Andrew took a slight left off the well-worn trail onto a less used path. He had spotted the trail the last time they were here doing battle but had not used it. It appeared a little more worn this time around. Then he saw it! He couldn’t help himself, He came to a dead stop almost falling over himself. On the cliff face there appeared from an overhang fifteen or so feet above a veil of vines that grew thick and hung to the ground. He slowly walked to the closest edge and observed, reaching out, he touched them as he walks in front of them up to the other side. Some were 2 inches in diameter others, not even a quarter inch. This was new, something he had never encountered before in any of the many hiking areas he used along the Wasatch Front.

He stuck his hand through the veil thinking he would touch the cliff face behind, but his hand made no contact. The sound of his pursuers snapped him back to the present. He withdrew his arm and turned to look down the trail, just as Jimmy came around the bend at full speed. His momentum carried him on a few steps even though they made eye contact.

Andrew smiled and was about to tell Jim about what he had found when Jim Stopped, turned, and started across the growth between the trails, aiming his gun and shooting. Instinct took over and he raised his gun fired back then moved through the veil not really considering what he was doing. Past the veil, there was a dark cave, only slightly lit by the light that filtered through the heavy living veil. The cave felt big, he reached for his flashlight, as he did, he heard Jim outside. “Ha got you now!”

Andrew pulled his flashlight from a pocket on his backpack and turned it on, the cave was big, He knew that this cave should not be here but there it was. Then the sounds of his pursuers came again and he stepped further into the cave turning to face the vines thinking maybe he could use them as cover while he took potshots at Ryan and Jim.

Ryan had said something he didn’t catch but he heard Jim’s reply.

“I have no flipping clue Ryan and why Andrew would go into something like that is beyond me. It is like a curtain of vines covering an alcove or cave, I assume because Andrew went through them.

He heard a noise and turned back around looking into the cave. He noticed the smooth walls, ceiling, and floor. Nothing to hide behind; well he thought, let’s give them the fight to remember. Jimmy and Ryan had made it to the veil of vines, astonished at this very uncharacteristic feature hanging from the cliff walls. Ryan yelled, “Andrew come on out of there.” Andrew snickered at the intensity in Ryan’s voice, ah Ryan always the cautious one. Andrew took a couple of deep breaths, turned to face the veil, and lifted his weapon stopping as a blast of wind hit him from behind, the hair on the nape of his neck, and arms stood tall. He slowly turned and there behind him was a man, well not quite a man, more like a creature man, Andrew felt the pinpricks of goosebumps under his clothing. The man was a few inches taller than himself, had a pale complexion though it was difficult to make out in the dim light, black hair with an abundance of gray dispersed throughout. The man was dressed all in black the coat he wore was fur, pure black fur, short and bristly, an animal Andrew did not recognize. He both wanted and didn’t want to touch the fur. The creature’s lips were a pale blue the bottom lips pushed back at either side by two long fangs.

“Wholly crap,” Andrew said.

The creature appeared as surprised as he was, but then smiled revealing teeth, not just Canine like fangs but frontal incisors, pointed like those of a dog as well. Andrews's subconscious was screaming “Run!” while he pondered “those are the teeth of a carnivore.” The being’s eyes were black as night surrounded by pink.

They stood starring at each other for what seemed minutes. The pink seemed to swirl as if pools of bloody water, being pulled into the blackness in the center. Then it reached out and grabbed the barrel of Andrew’s gun and pushed it to the side his other hand came to Andrew’s shoulder and squeezed. Ryan’s voice came loud again.

“Andrew, come on man you shouldn’t have gone in there in the first place.” The sound of Ryan’s voice startled Andrews’s assailant and caused Andrew to snap back to reality. “Uhh, dang. no no!”

He yanked on the gun pulling the trigger, a paintball flew hitting the back of the cave leaving a florescent pink splotch that glowed in the dark of the cave. Distracting the creature for an instant. Then the creature pulled.

“Ah Hell! Help!”


This week flowed a little better for me than last, but I see we have Thanks Giving coming up in the final week, so I have to plan ahead for the time family will demand from me. So I can finish this, the next, bestseller.

Continuing to make progress, however, is a good thing.

I hope if you are doing NaNoWriMo, you are making good progress as well.

Thank you and take care. T. Mark Mangum


This article is published in the online publication, Friends of National Novel Writing Month, on Medium. Please consider becoming a paid subscriber to Medium. When paid subscribers read my stories and articles, I get paid.


Copyright: T. Mark Mangum, 2020. All rights reserved. No part of my story may be copied, reprinted, or published without my written consent.

T. Mark Mangum, is the product of the 60s and 70s, his imagination, wonder, thoughts, and ponderings, emboldened by Star Trek, Star Wars, Conan the Barbarian, and The Hobbit. He loves a good story and hopes you will love reading his stories. Veteran, Father, TTRPG, and Board Game Junkie. He spent 20 years in the United States Army, another 10 working for the government, before realizing he should write.

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