Swamped Chapter 9 Page 9

“If we were anywhere else, the thing to do would be smoke them out,” you muse. “But fire and swamp gas don’t mix well. Maybe the gas hasn’t gotten this far down, but that’s a big risk to take.”

“Well, what else have we got? Poison? That’s just going to work its way back to us, one way or another. And any dose strong enough to take down that many greatrats is definitely going to give us trouble.”

You give a little smile.

“That’s true of most poisons, but now that you mention it, I can think of one that’s plentiful in the swamp, potent, and breaks down quickly when exposed to the elements.”

“What, really?”

“Fly blood toxin.”

“Oh, right! Yeah, the blood’s deadly, but after less than a day it’s safe enough to clean. Only trouble is, there may be a ton of fly eggs lying around out there in the muck, but it’s not as if we can gather them up quickly. Unless you’ve got a plan for that.”

Do you?

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Mayhaps I’ve been collecting them from the laundry…and I have a very dangerous cache in my collection.

there’s a location where there a lot of them out in the swamp, but it’s almost as dangerous as in here


you’re prepared!!!!! for anything.

you got 7 kilos of the stuff in your closet, right next to your death mold petri dishes and a pile of shed swamp adder skins

Well, fly eggs float, so if you have a fine net you can kind of skim some up…?

Author’s Note:

This is a good place to talk about how suggestions can impact my writing process, sometimes even when I don’t use them.

On the previous page, something called “stealth pikes” were suggested. I had two thoughts – first, they seemed a bit more technologically advanced than what I was willing to introduce as something available readily, and second, they seemed to solve the problem too easily. I realized that I wanted a complication in actually executing the solution, so that there could be a story in resolving it.

This is not to knock on the suggester. The whole point is that people throw ideas at me and I decide whether and how to use them. I just decided I didn’t want to use this particular one.

Instead, I focused on the suggestion to use poison, which had been noted as impractical in the suggestions for rather obvious reasons. This presented a natural complication, so it immediately made it more interesting for me.

However, rather than presenting the complication to the audience, I used a poison unique to the setting that had already been introduced. Since it was invented, I could give it properties that made it resolve the dilemma.

This took care of the complication presented by the choice to use poison, but it allowed me to introduce a new one – where can we get enough of it?

Given all this, you can probably make a good guess for which of the above suggestions I’m going to follow.