This is part of my ongoing series where I’m documenting the development of my serial novel, Razor Mountain. Be forewarned, there are spoilers ahead! You can start from the beginning here.
I finished the chapter summaries for Act I and reviewed how the process is working. I tend to change my process for just about every project I work on, so I’m always reevaluating.
Some of the surprised exiles draw guns on Christopher as he enters their underground hideout. Amaranth interposes herself between them and Christopher. She has a furious sign-language argument with them that Christopher has difficulty following.
Ema, the leader of the exiles, is drawn out from an adjacent room by the commotion. Amaranth appeals to her, and she has one of the other exiles (Harold) keep watch over Christopher in a supply closet while she goes with Amaranth into the other room.
Christopher is still shocked, but he asks Harold what’s going on. He tries to explain that he’s been lost and is just trying to get back home, but Harold politely asks him to be quiet and wait for Ema. After a few minutes, she comes back, and has him brought into her “office,” another store room with an old table and cot.
She sits him down and makes the others leave. She explains that she’s in charge, and she’s going to ask him questions, and he’s going to answer. She doesn’t trust him, and her goodwill depends on how honest she thinks he is.
She asks him who he is, and he explains his job and where he’s from. She asks him why he’s here, and he explains everything from waking up on the flight to the point where Amaranth found him. She’s skeptical of his plane story and his surviving the jump. She’s worried that if he was shot at, the people at Razor Mountain might be aware of him now. Christopher tries to ask questions about Razor Mountain, but she cuts him off.
She begins to ask stranger and stranger questions, about the general state of America and the Soviet Union, and whether there have been any nuclear strikes. She asks him who he really works for. She threatens him and asks again why he’s here and how he plans to escape. He gives up trying to answer reasonably, and tells her there’s no point if she’s convinced he’s lying about everything. Again, he tries to ask her questions about what this place is. He tells her that her ideas about the outside world are very skewed.
Ema finally stops the questioning, seemingly defeated, and brings him out into the main room, where the others pretend that they weren’t listening in. She tells them to do what they want with him.
- What are they going to do with him?
- 17.1 – Why do these people seem to have strange ideas about the outside world?
- Christopher starts out in shock, and gets progressively more confused and disheartened.
Christopher is introduced to the other exiles, who seem like reasonable people, at least initially. They all have questions, mostly about his arrival and the outside world. Christopher feels intimidated by all these people focused on him. They have mixed reactions to his responses, and again he gets the sense that they have strange ideas about the outside world. They are clearly disappointed. He notices that Garrett is stand-offish, but constantly watching him. Amaranth hovers, almost protectively.
He keeps trying to ask what is going on at the mountain, but they avoid giving him straight answers. One or two of them respond, but they’re hushed by others before they can reveal much more than “Razor Mountain is a city,” and it has a military presence. He wonders if this is some kind of strange cult, or people who have lived out away from civilization for a long time. He wonders about the bunkers and the radio signals.
He thinks that he might have been better-off alone in the bunker. Eventually Amaranth leads him to another small room, completely bare, and brings in a cot for him. She asks him questions by writing on scraps of paper – is he telling the truth, and does he know of any way to get back to where he came from. He says yes and no. She apologizes and says it may have been a bad idea to bring him here.
Harold peeks in and tells Christopher that he’ll be standing guard, and if Christopher needs anything (like the bathroom) he just has to ask.
- 18.1 – What is Razor Mountain? Why do these people seem afraid of it.
- Christopher starts out confused, and starts to seriously worry that he’s gotten himself in an even worse situation with these people.
- I would like to work in a little more information about the exiles, without giving away all the mysteries of their origins and Razor Mountain.
Sadly, I only got through two chapter summaries this week, and I may still revise these further. Act II is often the roughest, and this was probably the least-defined section when I was originally thinking through the plot. I suspect it may be a slog.