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Posts Tagged ‘Characters’

Playing around in different styles. Here’s one I rather enjoyed writing.

***

“So it was you who suggested that mayhem in -shire, was it not? It proved to be a sound investment.”

He said it in such a casual, offhand manor, so against his purposeful nature, that I knew it to be a trap. But there was no way to avoid such a direct question, so I ventured a guess, placing confidence and a bit of incredulity in my voice.

“No, it was not my suggestion. I believe it was Marces idea initially, though surely you remember!”

A knowing grin shadowed the corner of his lips and for a moment I feared I might have misjudged him. That forced nonchalance may not have been unconsciously done, but Marces piped up indignantly.

“Really Charles, if I’d known you’d have forgotten my part in it all I might as well not have come!”

His eyes moved to her with a flash of annoyance, as though just remembering she was there. Inside, I heaved a sigh of relief, blessing the knowledge Mr.Coroner had given me.

“Do forgive Charles, Marces,” said I reverently. “We all know, including he, how much work you put into the project.”

“Well I’m glad at least that you did not take my credit, as many others would have,” she assented with a sniff. “Charles seems so taken with you, he would believe anything you say!”

“Surely not,” I laughed. “I don’t think that Charles truly believes anything anyone says, until he has seen it for himself.”

“As should anyone.” He put in, no longer lounging. “Even the closest of confidences is inherently unreliable.”

“How can you say such a thing? Have I not your trust!” Marces appealed fervently.

“Not in the slightest.”

“Charles!”

“What is trust hmm? But a sure way to invite trouble! There are those whose opinions I value of course, whose suggestions and council I would seek above all others, but even they are not exempt from scrutiny. To trust any is mere folly. Everyone has their own agenda.”

“I would be surprised if Charles trusted even himself,” I said with a coy smile, and Merces peeled with laughter. His calculating gaze turned to me.

“We deceive everyone, dear lady, even ourselves.”

I forced myself to keep a steady tone. “Perhaps such deceit exists, but to live without trust is a lonely life indeed.”

“All life is lonely, there is no part of it that we do not tread by ourselves. Surrounding oneself with the dealings of others only gives the illusion of alliances.”

“Is there no one that you hope to give yourself to? Do you not cringe and wither away without friends to lift the burden of your anxieties?”

“It would only serve to deceive me further about the very nature of this world and from it would spawn only more sorrow. After all, in the end, there is no one who can share in our final repose.”

I had nothing to say to this, so I remained quiet, and inside I felt my heart sink into my stomach. There seemed no way to gain his confidence, no way to find out the secrets he held and, all it once, I truly felt that our lives were lost.

“Oh this is becoming so morbid!” exclaimed Marces. “Let us speak of other things!”

But Charles was not paying her any mind; he was staring at me quite solemnly. I hoped he thought my interest was of an amorous nature, as the truth would only strengthen his case.

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What if you were hunted by what you’d created? Because what you created wanted to be free…

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He hurried down the narrow pathway, turning back every few moments to see if it remained empty. The bundle of papers in his hand was hastily wrapped in twine, the pages torn and wrinkled from the rain despite his best efforts to keep them under his coat. His hair flew untamed in the wind as he dashed between alleys, his raincoat flapping in his wake. It didn’t matter to him that his clothes were soaked through, or that his bones rattled with every shallow breath he took. If someone were to catch a glimpse of him now, running through the muddy backwaters of London, they would not know him. They would see some vagrant in a tattered black trench, with eyes that gleamed white beneath a tuff of unkempt curls. Still there was lightness in his step; he flew down the street as though on wings. He felt free… or perhaps he just knew the world better now. He saw it for what it was; what he now knew it had always been. It was the kind of knowing that was both wonderful and terrifying at the same time, and it was the kind that would see him dead. Out of the corner of his eye he thought he saw someone, a girl with black hair and calm, welcoming eyes. He realized then how little time there was.

The lightning crashed above him and rent the sky in a flash of light that sought to reveal every shadow. Soon there would be nowhere left to hide. He took a sharp left, weaving between overturned trash bins. The lighting struck the rooftop above him, dropping shingles and broken brick. He leapt out onto the sidewalk, nearly crashing into an old woman holding a white umbrella, the print of a map faded from years of use.

“So sorry,” he panted without stopping.

“You can’t outrun them,” she called after him. He knew that. He had no intention of outrunning anyone. Not anymore.

He pulled the bundle from beneath his coat. The address on the top was barely legible, the ink spreading on the wet paper. He raced up to the post box, stuffing the bundle in as he past. Somewhere down the street a car swerved onto the road, blasting “Stone Cold Crazy” so loud he would have laughed if he weren’t out of breath and numb with fear. He dashed back into the alley just in time to avoid being dragged under the front end of the Bentley.

He continued to run, suddenly forgetting all he’d known about the city, forgetting the names of buildings and streets. He ran until all he could hear was the sound of his own breath, and then he stopped. He doubled over, exhausted. It felt as though his lungs might explode. He had never been the most athletic person, and, after a time, no one had seemed to mind. He nearly wished he had decided to be a gym teacher or a pharmacist… nearly. When he straightened, the girl with dark hair stood silently in front of him, her beautiful face puckered as though she were wrestling with a thought.

“Somehow, I knew you’d come,” he said with a weary smile.

“In the end, I always do,” was all she said.

He heard it then, the purposeful click of fine dress shoes on stone. Even though the rain fell heavily, he could hear them; two sets of footsteps. He looked down the alley. It was empty. When he turned back, the girl was gone, but he knew she wasn’t really. He waited there for what seemed like an eternity, as sheets of rain pelted the rooftops of London and slid down its gritty brick walls, drowning the city… or perhaps only him. He wondered if an unseen city stretched below, if fishponds spanned as far as oceans, if gods walked among men.

He saw them approach, two mismatched figures strolling calmly down the alley, unconcerned by the rain that would surely ruin their crisp black suits. Suddenly he felt the urge to run, to call out to someone for help, but instead he stood, wordlessly, his trench coat wrapped around him like a protective cloak. As the two men stood before him he realized that he knew them, he’d known them nearly all his life and, for a moment, he felt regret.

“Dreadful night, isn’t it?” said one with a crooked smile.

“Quite right you are, Mr. Vandemar,” replied the other. “Dreadful indeed.”

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Ask a general question. Each response, or lack there of, will affect the next line of text. Don’t really think too long about what to say, let the responses be spontaneous. Typically this kind of free writing exercise is used to get you to write your own thoughts on the page without relying on things like story outlines or character summaries, but more on the immediate thought process. Mine usually end up in a long character monologue or an overly contemplative passage on life, but at least it gets me writing, and sometimes really interesting thoughts occur naturally.

It’s funny; I had envisioned the characters from a particular television series while writing this. I left out their names or any description of tonality, movement, or appearance to see if the inflections were inherent enough to paint a picture in the reader’s mind. It would be a peculiar conversation for them to have though…

Who do you think they are? Feel free to leave your answers/guesses in the comments!

***

What are you doing?

Reorganizing my books.

Why?

Not sure. Something different I suppose.

So what? Now it’s going alphabetically, or by how many syllables are in the title or something?

No. Just whatever size provides a suitable structure for stacking.

Oh, so you’re just doing this for no apparent reason then?

Well, as I stare at these quite often while I’m thinking, sometimes it’s nice to see something different, but, at the same time, the same.

Ah. And why do you stare at them?

I stare at them because it’s like having a window to the people who created them. You recall what you felt while reading them, or remember interesting facets of their stories. All of this you glean in an instant. It’s like looking at a reflection of yourself. You see, behind every faded book, the threads of your life. How this book came to you, how it changed you. You think of how each one just simply couldn’t be replaced. There’s always a reason why people keep a certain book, and suddenly, you can see who they really are.

So all this? All this is who you are?

Only to those who can see it.

Chaos

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