Happy November! And happy NaNoWriMo!
Whether that last mentioned subject is truly happy or simply the result of insanity remains to be discovered, but nevertheless...
It's time again for Character Encounters with the lovely Kendra of Knitted By God's Plan! And this time, we meet our character in...
So... it has come to this.
The infernal ringing in my ear has driven me to the point of distraction. This cold has lasted longer than I would ever have wished, and I'm quite ready for it to be over. Completing NaNo hasn't been easy with ear pain and coughs, but after the two thousand words I put in this morning, I consider it a good start.
But two thousand words is all I can take today. The pain in my ear won't let me focus any longer.
"I'm done." I tell Beth Grace. "No more writing tonight." I shut my laptop and slide it beneath the bed. And then burrowing under the blankets, I prepare for a good night's sleep. I hope.
And then the tapping on my shoulder starts. "Are you sleeping?"
I know it's my brother, Doofus. It has become his habit to ask this question 24/7 after viewing a certain picture on Pinterest, so I kindly respond with the correct answer. "No, I'm scuba diving."
The tapping ceases. "What?"
The voice isn't Doofus's voice. I roll over and squint in the light of Beth's lamp shining in the room. The light is only supposed to lighten her bed enough for her to read, but the rays come across the room to my bed. But black against the light, resting quite close to mine, is a head. And it's not the head of my brother.
"What's scuba diving?"
I yelp and, in my haste to retreat, smash my head against the headboard. "Ow!" That's going to really help my ear ache.
"Kiri, are you hurt?"
I hold up a hand. "I'll be okay." I open my eyes and try to get a better look at the person addressing me. It's a boy, probably my age, with a mop of wild, sandy hair and expectant, brown eyes. His leather tunic looks weather beaten, and dirt is smudged freely across his face as if he's been outside, spending time out in the open fields and valleys. He looks vaguely familiar, but blurred as my eyes are after staring at a computer screen and whacking my head, I can't place him.
"Who are you?"
He grins. "Don't you recognize me? I'm your favorite!"
I'd know that cocky tone anywhere. "Brice?"
He nods, the grin on his face growing ever bigger.
I flip the blankets back over my head and burrow into my pillow. "You're not my favorite."
"Aw, come on, Kiri!"
I know that I shouldn't be too astonished to see him. I found Ahmis wandering around the library last month; I should have expected to see another character appear soon. I just didn't count on Brice trying to rob me of precious sleep. "What are you even doing here?"
Brice's face falls. "You can't leave us there, Kiri! What's going to happen?"
"What do you mean?"
The freckles on his face stand out all the more as he gets into his topic. "You left us standing on the edge of a gorge! I know you've got something up your sleeve! You wouldn't put a gorge in our path without reason, so what's going on?"
"Nothing?" He all but bellows. "You're planning something sinister. I just know it. So, who is it?"
My eyebrows knit together. "What?"
"Who is it?" Brice demands. "You've got to tell me."
"Tell you what?"
"You're planning on cutting someone off in this scene, aren't you?" He plants his elbows on my bed and plops his head down to rest on his fists. "Who is it? Grant?"
"Is it Davin?" He recoils in shock. "You wouldn't kill off your main character!"
"No," I try to start again, but Brice's moan cuts me short. He buries his face in his hands, and shakes his head violently as if trying to shake out a unpleasant thought.
"I knew it! It's me! This is the end! How could you be so cruel, Kiri? I'm in the prime of my life, I've got so much more to live for! I can't die yet!"
It takes me a few minutes to regain his attention. "Bricentus Holloman, listen to me. Don't worry about it."
"Don't worry about it?" He yelps. "How can I not worry? I'm going to die!"
"You're not going to die!" I've never seen Brice get this emotional before, and it's all I can do to hold myself back and refrain from shaking him uncontrollably. "I promise you, Brice, you will live through this scene!"
"Are you sure?"
"I've written later scenes with you in it." I glare at him. "I know you're going to live through this scene. Trust me. I know where I'm going with this."
I can tell that his fears will not be pushed aside. "Look, Brice, I can't tell you what's going to happen. You'll learn that as we go along. But I can promise you that no one will die in the gorge scene."
I level my gaze steadily at him. "No one." I repeat. "Now can I go to sleep, please?"
Beth Grace looks up from her journal. "You can go to sleep. I'm almost done, and I'll turn the light off in a minute."
Brice is gone. The space where his sandy head was is now empty. There is nothing there that said he had been here.
I sigh and tuck myself back into the blankets, with my blue comforter pulled neatly under my chin. "I'm going scuba diving. Good night!"