Salvage Scene 1: Original vs. Now

The first main scene of Salvage has been polished from the initial rough draft several times.  See what you think of the first few paragraphs.

The original:

She woke screaming.

Unfamiliar darkness eased into the familiar, and Kaylah’s screams faded.  Shuddering, she huddled in the narrow bunk and struggled to control her crying.  The bed light blinked on, and in the faint light she could see her father standing by the bunk.  He reached in with an awkward hand to pat her shoulder.

Vibrations shook the small bunk as someone stomped over in the dark, the metal floor thumping with each step.  Kaylah shrunk down to hide behind her father.  A moment later, when the stomping stopped, she cautiously peeked around her father’s arm.

Standing in front of them was the man with the pot-belly from two bunks over.  Even in the dimness she could see his eyes were bleary and red-shot.  He leaned in, and he hissed, spittle flying, barely missing her face, “Shut up!”

The latest:

Kaylah woke screaming.

Why? Her heart pounded. Why again?

Struggling to breathe as her screams faded to whimpers, she shook her head frantically in a vain attempt to erase the images burned into her brain.  It’s all – it’s horrible.  The drifting, frozen bodies around the broken black hulk of a spacecraft… Unable to stop shaking, she stared into the familiar darkness of the passenger cabin.

The bunk lamp turned on.  She blinked as its feeble light illuminated her father’s pale, bearded face. She hadn’t heard him climb down from the top bunk over her screams.  Without speaking he extended an awkward hand to pat her shoulder.

Angry stomping came their way, accompanied by vibrations that shook the bunk frames.  The thumps stopped, leaving only the sound of furious breathing.

Still struggling to catch her breath, she hesitantly peeked around her father.

The man with the pot-belly from two bunks over, Mr. Clarke, loomed beside her bunk.  Despite the dimness his bleary and red-shot eyes frosted  her with his glare.  He leaned in to hiss, the spittle flying and barely missing her face. “Shut up!”


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