Vicki being The Girl, solved!

This is a red letter day in the history of this novel. I cracked the last major creative challenge – everything from here is more or less mechanical.

As per the last entry, I almost completely reworked part 8, then found I had to rework it again. I had Vicki being the girl and her appearing to Dale in the dream and after it all worked out. Her appearance made sense in the larger plot, the only thing I had left to do was make it really frightening – it's the last major supernatural scare in the book because after that they go back in time to the bridge collapsing.

And I cracked it, going back to the motif of the clouds of dust thrown into the air by the collapse (I kept looking at pictures of Mt Pinatubo and the World Trade Centre for reference). Instead of her just being a gory zombie kind of monster (which there was no reason for), she appears at the edge of the dust cloud, appearing to Dale like she did in the dream, him believing she's trapped in the faraway and that the entity tortures and kills her there constantly.

He's just about to reach her when the huge jabiru headed dinosaur monster from the expedition bursts through it and bites her in half. Dale's failed and it seems she'll die repeatedly in the faraway and he won't be able to save her and himself.

Like the entity apparently told him through the chat client, he has to take her place. Tim's tried the frequency changing thing and it not only sent everything crazy, Dale got a glimpse of Vicki in the faraway waiting for him. So Dale already has plan B ready – shut down the brace with the killswitch code and throw himself off the bridge.

It's while he's running towards the edge path to do that that the wave comes and he and Tim are sent back in time. It all feels like it fits brilliantly, and for the first time in years, the causal structure and chain of events in Falling feels complete.