A Tale of Two Ditties (Say that carefully!)

Ok, what I am posting are not ditties, but I just loved the play on words. I have begun rewriting last November’s NaNoWriMo novel in earnest. After playing at editing and losing my place, I am working on it paragraph by paragraph now. I am posting two versions of the same part of the story. I would love some feedback: Which version is better…or how would you combine the two. I will put my original first page up first, and then the rewrite. Did I improve it? Did I not change it enough? Too much? I am open to criticism, so please don’t try to be kind. (You are welcome to be kind if the writing warrants it though. Please give me some feedback!

Seppe looked with disgust at the body lying in the dark alley. He couldn’t remember ever seeing anyone looking that bad. The stiff’s acquaintances, if he had known them, would have told Seppe that no one was surprised that he had been killed and that no one really cared; even after seeing the gruesome pictures of the remains. Seppe looked at his partner, Aiden, and shook his head. Aiden was a twenty-five cycle veteran of the Wesdanian Police Force and was looking at retirement before the disbanding process had started. Aiden, veteran that he was, was still almost sick to his stomach. Seppe wasn’t doing much better himself.

The stiff’s head had been severed from the body and had been thrown under the fire escape on the west side of the alley. The main body of the stiff was splayed against the trash cans belonging to the Kroll Rader Bar and Grill. Both legs were cut off at the knees: one foot was about thirty five feet south of the body; the other foot was next to the head as if it had just kicked the head. The left arm was partly severed and the body lay on top of it. His right arm was extended as if he had seen the attack coming at the last minute and had been surprised by his attacker. Blood was spattered everywhere.

Seppe sniffed the air surreptitiously making sure that Aiden hadn’t seen him. They’d been partners for about five cycles, but Seppe still wasn’t ready to tell Aiden his secret. His tendrils quivered at the scent. He inhaled a little more deeply and shook his head. The scent was familiar but he couldn’t quite place it. He knew Aiden wouldn’t be able to smell it at all, so he’d have to keep that to himself. He wasn’t ready to tell Aiden just yet.

“Something smells real bad about this,” Aiden growled. Seppe jumped a little inside. Had Aiden seen him?

Seppe laughed nervously, “You got a dismembered man here, of course it smells bad.”

Aiden rolled his eyes, “You always do take me too literally, don’t you Seppe.” He laughed in friendly mockery. “I just meant that as bad as things look, there’s more going on here than meets the eye.”

Seppe laughed back, “Brilliant deduction, Aiden. We have a dead guy in pieces scattered across the alley and you figured out that something was wrong. I thought you were getting ready to retire and now you look like you’re bucking for chief.”

Aiden snarled, “Very funny bright boy. Let me just ask you one question. Who did it?”

Seppe shook his head in amazement. “We just got on the case how would I know who did ….” His voice trailed off as suddenly the depth of that question hit him right in the gut. “That’s right. We don’t have anything to go on. We don’t have any snitches to work over.” He paused, and then continued, “Not unless you want to travel up there.” He jerked his thumb towards Dwarinda, the penal colony moon.

And now the rewrite to that same point…

Seppe’s nose wrinkled as he looked at the body lying in the dark alley. He couldn’t remember  seeing any other victim hacked up as bad as this one. It was gruesome and he recoiled a little in disgust. Seppe looked at his partner, Aiden, and shook his head. Aiden was a twenty-five cycle veteran of the Wesdanian Police Force and was looking at retirement before the disbanding process had started. Aiden, veteran that he was, was still very queasy. Seppe wasn’t doing much better himself and wondered how the crowd might react if he let his stomach take control. He silently fought back against the waves of nausea as they continued to survey the scene.

The stiff’s head had been severed from the body and had been thrown violently against the wall under the fire escape on the west side of the alley. The main part of the torso was splayed against the trash cans belonging to the Kroll Rader Bar and Grill. Both legs were cut off at the knees: one foot was about ten meters south of the body; the other foot was close to the fire escape as if it had been used to dropkick his own head. The left arm was partly severed and the body lay on top of it. His right arm was extended as if he had seen the attack coming at the last minute and had been surprised by his attacker. Blood was spattered everywhere.

Seppe sniffed the air surreptitiously making sure that Aiden hadn’t seen him. They’d been partners for about five cycles, but Seppe still wasn’t ready to tell Aiden his secret. His tendrils quivered at the scent. He inhaled a little more deeply and shook his head. The scent was familiar but he couldn’t quite place it. He knew Aiden wouldn’t be able to smell what he smelled, so subtle was the odor, so he’d have to keep that information to himself for now. Aiden might never have this information unless he was forced to reveal it.

“Something smells real bad about this,” Aiden growled. Seppe jumped a little inside. Had Aiden seen him reacting to the odor in the air?

Seppe laughed nervously, “You got a dismembered man here, of course it smells bad.”

Aiden rolled his eyes, “You always do take me too literally, don’t you Seppe. Why is that?” He laughed in friendly mockery. “I just meant that as bad as things look, there’s more going on here than meets the eye.”

Seppe laughed back, “Brilliant deduction, Aiden. We have a dead guy in pieces scattered across the alley and you figured out that something was wrong. I thought you were getting ready to retire and now you look like you’re bucking for chief.” Sometimes he took Aiden too literally because he was afraid that Aiden would find out his background.

Aiden snarled, “Very funny bright boy. Let me just ask you one question. Who did it?”

Seppe shook his head in amazement. “We just got on the case how would I know who did ….” His voice trailed off as suddenly the depth of that question hit him right in the gut. “That’s right. We don’t have anything to go on. We don’t have any snitches to work over.” He paused, and then continued, “Not unless you want to travel up there.” He jerked his thumb towards Dwarinda, the penal colony moon. Both men looked slowly into the night sky that was only partially lit up by Dwarinda. Then they shook their heads almost in unison as they realized that they needed to focus on the task at hand.

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Inward Journey – an excerpt

An excerpt from this year’s NanoWriMo story….a serial killer is on the loose!

Acting Detective Re’Lears gathered the files of unsolved murders and started sorting them according to date and probability based on what she saw in the pictures. She picked some interesting cases to show to Aiden and Seppe and lined up the files; arranging them on the table in their investigation room. She had heard that Aiden and Sebbe were on their way back to the station and she wanted everything to be ready for them.

Captain Tengler entered without knocking to check in with Re’Lears. He also wanted to see what she had found, if anything. “Did you find anything that might fit the pattern you were looking for?” he asked looking at the case files spread out on the table; scattering them as he looked.

Re’Lears looked up when she heard his voice, “Oh, sir! I wasn’t expecting you.” She moved quickly to the left side of the table and opened up a case file, “This is one of the choices for number two.” She opened up another case file right next to the first one and said, “This is another one of the options.”

The captain looked with a slight frown. “These murders are nothing like the other two. Why are these two your candidates?”

“That’s a great question, sir,” she said brightly. “We didn’t expect the murders to be too similar. If they had been, everyone would have been talking about how they were alike. We think the killer is smart enough to vary his methods.”

Captain Tengler nodded his head, “Good thinking. We only caught on to the idea that we had a serial killer because you pegged the method for both number one and number five if the theory is correct.” He looked at her conspiratorially and asked, “When do you expect Detectives Seppe and Aiden to show up? I need to be out of here by then. They don’t like me messing with their cases.”

Acting Detective Re’Lears looked at the captain, “With all due respect then, you had better leave. They should be here shortly.” She thought a second and then added, “but you’re the boss! How can they get away with that kind of an attitude?”

“Got it,” Captain Tengler replied. “They can get away with that because they are that good. If the powers that be told me tomorrow that I could only keep one of those two, I would still keep both of them. But don’t tell them that!” He smiled, “You’re learning from the best.” He started to head out and then stuck his head back in. He winked at Re’Lears and then snarled at her, “…and when I tell you I want information on your case, I want information on your case. Don’t you dare hold anything back from me, do you hear me?” He winked again.

“Captain, captain, captain,” Seppe sighed in exasperation as he walked in. “How many times do I have to tell you not to jump in on our cases? We’ll give you the information you need when it’s ready. But give us some space to get things done first!” He looked at Acting Detective Re’Lears, “And you had better be nice to our partner here!”

Captain Tengler looked first at Seppe, then at Aiden and then back at Seppe again, “By the time you two are finished with her, she’s going to be just as bad as you are. You act like you don’t need a captain…well, you do! You do need a captain!” He stormed out as if upset, but pleased that he had protected Re’Lears.

“So how much did you show the captain?” Aiden asked. “What did he think?”

Re’Lears began to object, but Seppe just laughed. “You’re not experienced enough to stand up to the captain. We expected him to pump you for information. He always tries to protect the people we work with and thinks we don’t know what he does. The question is, what did he see and what did he think about it?”

“He just saw a few pictures and files that I thought were our best candidates for victim number two,” Re’Lears said reluctantly. “He appreciated the fact that we had realized that if this were a serial killer, he had to be varying his methods.”

“Well, that’s good to hear,” Seppe said. “He may be learning how to be a police officer!”

Aiden nodded, “That would be a good thing.” He turned to Re’Lears, “You have a couple of candidates for us to look at for victim number two?”

Re’Lears nodded, “I actually have good candidates for victims two, three and four. Which do you want to see first?”

“None,” Aiden and Seppe responded together.

Re’Lears laughed, “You two HAVE been together for too long! So all my work was for nothing?”

“Nope,” Seppe explained. “We just wanted to hear the story of our first victim before going on to any of the other victims. That’s the story you know best.”

 

Acting Detective Re’Lears gathered the files of unsolved murders and started sorting them according to date and probability based on what she saw in the pictures. She picked some interesting cases to show to Aiden and Seppe and She lined up the files; and arranginged them on the table in their investigation room. She had heard that Aiden and Sebbe were on their way back to the station and she wanted everything to be ready for them.

Captain Tengler entered without knocking to check in with Re’Lears. He also wanted to see what she had found, if anything. “Did you find anything that might fit the pattern you were looking for?” he asked looking at the case files spread out on the table; scattering them as he looked.

Re’Lears looked up when she heard his voice, “Oh, sir! I wasn’t expecting you.” She moved quickly to the left side of the table and opened up a case file, “This is one of the choices for number two.” She opened up another case file right next to the first one and said, “This is another one of the options.”

The captain looked with a slight frown. “These murders are nothing like the other two. Why are these two your candidates?”

“That’s a great question, sir,” she said brightly. “We didn’t expect the murders to be too similar. If they had been, everyone would have been talking about themhow they were alike. We think the killer is smart enough to vary his methods.”

Captain Tengler nodded his head, “Good thinking. We only caught on to the idea that we had a serial killer because you pegged the method for both number one and number five if the theory is correct.” He looked at her conspiratorially and asked, “When do you expect Detectives Seppe and Aiden to show up? I need to be out of here by then. They don’t like me messing with their cases.”

Acting Detective Re’Lears looked at the captain, “With all due respect then, you had better leave. They should be here shortly.” She thought a second and then added, “but you’re the boss! How can they get away with that kind of an attitude?”

“Got it,” Captain Tengler replied. “They can get away with that because they are so that good. If the powers that bey told me tomorrow that I could only keep one of those twodetective, I would still keep both of them. But don’t tell them that!” He smiled, “You’re learning from the best.” He started to head out and then came stuck his head back in. He winked at Re’Lears and then snarled at her, “…and when I tell you I want information on your case, I want information on your case. You don’t hold anything back from me, do you hear me?” He winked again.

“Captain, captain, captain,” Seppe sighed in exasperation as he walked in. “How many times do I have to tell you not to jump in on our cases? We’ll give you what you need when it’s ready. But give us some space to get things done first!” He looked at Acting Detective Re’Lears, “And you had better be nice to our partner here!”

Captain Tengler looked first at Seppe, then at Aiden and then back at Seppe again, “You two are making her just like yourselfBy the time you two are finished with her, she’s going to be just as bad as you are. You act like you don’t need a captain…well, you do! You do need a captain!” He stormed out as if upset, but pleased that he had protected Re’Lears.

“So how much did you show the captain?” Aiden asked. “What did he think?”

Re’Lears began to object, but Seppe just laughed. “You’re not experienced enough to stand up to the captain. We expected him to pump you for information. He always tries to protect the people we work with and thinks we don’t know what he does. The question is, what did he see and how what did he like think about it?”

“He just saw a few pictures and files that I thought were our best candidates for victim number two,” Re’Lears said reluctantly. “He liked appreciated the fact that we had realized that if this were a serial killer, he was had to be varying his methods.”

“Well, that’s good to hear,” Seppe said. “He may be learning how to be a police officer!”

Aiden nodded, “That would be a good thing.” He turned to Re’Lears, “You have a couple of candidates for us to look at for victim number two?”

Re’Lears nodded, “I actually have good candidates for victims two, three and four. Which do you want to see first?”

“None,” Aiden and Seppe responded together.

Re’Lears laughed, “You two HAVE been together for too long! So all my work was for nothing?”

“Nope,” Seppe explained. “We just wanted to hear the story of our first victim before going on to any of the other victims. That’s the story you know best.”

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