Happy Wednesday! Today I’m participating in a delightful linkup hosted by Rachel Heffington at her just as delightful blog The Inkpen Authoress. Do go check it out. She just released her first book, Fly Away Home, and it looks absolutely scrumptious. I’m dying to get my hands on it.
Anywho, this linkup is called Chatterbox in which each month she gives a topic for you to create a conversation between your characters revolving around said topic. (Or at least I think this is how this thing works, I’m new to it, so hopefully I’m doing it right.) This month’s topic is: Criticism. Because every character could use a good dose of criticism. *nods* If you’d like to join and linkup to this event you can go HERE. Because we’ve still got a couple of days left of February, right?
Being as how I’m obsessively working on the first draft of my dystopian novel, Fallen Matter, I’ve chosen to write a random scene between two characters from that novel. Instead of my two main characters though, I’ve taken two others who I’d like to explore more, and who may or may not already be my favorite characters. Lykan and Cyrus. Cyrus is the younger brother of one of my MCs and has yet to actually appear in the novel yet, but he should be appearing in the next chapter so this is a good practice to get to know the fellow. And Lykan, well, let’s just say when he randomly appeared on the pages I almost scrapped the whole novel and started it over with him as the main character. Some charries just take the show, don’t they?
Anyway! Enough of my chattering, I’ll let my characters take over.
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Lykan prodded the mush on his plate with his fork.
Canned food. What a surprise.
It was almost worth fighting those oversized buckets of rust just with the knowledge that if they were destroyed the war would be over. And then he could start eating actual food.
Reaching for his cup, he took a swig of the tepid, perhaps even slightly muddy, water. Clean water would be a plus, too.
Peering over the brim of his cup, he watched the twelve or thirteen year old appropriate the seat across from him. Eyebrow raised, he carefully set the cup back down. "Yeah. You're Bat Boy's little brother. Cyril or something?"
"Right." With a quick examination of the underground cafeteria, Lykan saw at least half of the seats vacant. "There are lots of other places to sit, you know." This kid didn't even have a tray of food with him. Instead, he pulled up his port and set the rectangular, electronic device in front of him.
"I see why you're sitting alone."
Lykan snorted. "I could get any one of these people to sit with me if I wanted some company."
"Mhm." The boy pulled out the stylus from the side of his port and began tapping the device with the tiny pen. His free arm lied out on the table in front of it, blocking Lykan's view of the screen. After a moment, he looked back up at Lykan, a glint in his eyes. "But that doesn't mean they want to sit with you."
"Is that so? Got some chips on you kid? Or are you even old enough to bet?" He eyed the boy up and down. He resembled Bat Boy well enough just...smaller. And the lack of wings made a difference.
The boy appeared almost amused. "You want to bet me that someone wants to sit with you?"
Lykan scanned the crowd. There was already a blonde eyeing him. He gave her a wink. Giggling, she brought those blue eyes back down to her food, her cheeks crimson. Turning back to Cyrus, he took a bite of his own food, smiling past his mouthful. The kid wasn't even looking at him though, he was again occupied with his port.
"You know, one day you could be fat and bald."
Lykan nearly choked at the sudden statement. "Excuse me?"
There was no doubting the amusement this time. He pointed his stylus at Lykan, gesturing towards his hair. "It's true. Ten years from now, all that hair could be completely gone."
"Bald? At thirty? Really?"
He shrugged. "It happens. So you probably should start working on your personality and stop relying so much on your looks." He tilted his head, eyes squinted. "Although I'm not so sure what girls see in you that's so appealing."
Try as he might, Lykan couldn't hold back his laughter. "I think that's the first time anyone's ever implied that I'm unattractive."
"I was thinking ugly, really, but whatever word makes you feel more comfortable." He continued waving the stylus at Lykan's face. "Your eyebrows are too bushy and your face is all...pointy." Looking as if he was holding back a smile, he returned his attention to his port, vigorously running the pen across the screen.
Shaking his head with a chuckle, Lykan leaned back in his seat. "I've still got my irresistible charm going."
"You mean your manipulative one?" The jesting tone was gone.
Lykan straightened, stabbing his fork into the pile of mush on his plate. "I've been...persuasive long before those gens turned me into one of their lab rats."
Cyrus didn't even react, his hand flowing endlessly across the port screen. What was he even doing? Drawing? Elan had said something about his little brother being used as an artist for war diagrams or something or another. Finally, he paused and looked up. "Exactly. You've been manipulating people for so long, I bet you don't even know how to just act normally."
Squeezing the handle, Lykan twisted his fork around in the food, turning it into more goop. "You don't know anything, kid."
The boy merely shrugged. "Maybe. But I don't think it'd hurt anything for you to at least try making friends without turning on your charm. Like I said, you might not have it one day to use as a crutch."
Crutch? Lykan let his tense muscles relax. This kid was just trying to push his buttons. He took another bite, smiling after he swallowed. "This face is no crutch."
Cyrus glanced up from his port again, that mischievous glint back in his eyes. "I guess not entirely. It's so pointy, you could use it as a weapon."
Lykan flicked a scrap of his mushy lunch off his fork at the boy.
"Hey!" Cyrus wiped the gooey mess off from where it landed on his cheek, grimacing, though there was still a hint of amusement in his eyes.
Smiling in satisfaction, Lykan returned to eating.
"You sure do take some friendly advice the wrong way."
Lykan raised an eyebrow. "Friendly advice? Oh, you mean when you sat here uninvited to blatantly insult me, is that what you're referring to?"
"The first step to fixing your flaws is knowing what they are."
"Is that more friendly advice?"
The boy just grinned.
This was enough. "Look, kid, I'm trying to eat my..." Even after consuming nearly half of it, he still wasn't entirely sure what the substance on his plate actually was. "Lunch. So if you could just toddle off"—he waved his fork towards the exit—"and do whatever it is you do, I'd appreciate it."
"You got a port?"
Dropping his fork, Lykan looked up from his food to find Cyrus still utterly consumed on whatever he was doing with his device. His nonchalant expression looked as if he hadn't heard a word Lykan had said. Or chose to not hear. Lykan rubbed his eyes. This kid didn't know when to stop. "Yeah."
"What's your number?"
"First you insult me and now you want me to give you my port number?"
"I've got something to send you."
"No thanks." He resorted to just ignoring the boy and finishing his lunch, but he could feel those expectant eyes on him. Try as he might, he couldn't help glancing at Cyrus's own port, but his arm was still in the way. He knew the boy had been working on something this whole time. Unfortunately, curiosity won out. He heaved a sigh. "10-27-84-3."
"Got it." Cyrus tapped his stylus across the screen with finality and then slipped the port into his pocket. Standing, he flashed Lykan one last grin. "See you around."
"If you say so."
And just like that, he was gone.
A vibration and a muffled ping coming from Lykan's pocket brought his attention to his own port. Pulling it out, he saw a message flash in white letters across the screen. New Message from ID# 17-88-54-7. Tapping the accept button, he watched as an image covered the screen.
The boy had been busy.
Lykan stared at a cartoon of a guy, of himself. The digital art, though obviously hastily put together, was still very good.
"Kid's got talent."
He took a closer look at the cartoon. The portrait had him drawn from the chest up. At the sight of the drawing's tousled hair, he ran his fingers through his real hair. When he examined the face closely, he frowned. The eyebrows—over excessively bushy in his opinion—were drawn far over drooping eyes, giving his cartoon face a very sad appearance. A hand was held up to his face, appearing to be in the process of taking off a mask of...his face? The mask held out to the side of the drawing's face looked like his own face, but with a smug expression. Scrawled letters read out on the bottom of the drawing: It's okay to take off the mask sometimes.
Lykan's fingers immediately slammed the delete option on the top right hand side of the screen.
Confirm: Yes? No?
Movement in the corner of his eye brought his head up to the entrance where Breighly was just walking through, a tray of food in her grip. Her gaze took in the cafeteria until they settled on him. She looked hesitant as their eyes locked.
Something made her turn and then Lykan could see Elan coming up from behind her, his black wings spread out behind his back like some freakish bat. They said something to each other, and then each gave Lykan another glance before moving towards a table on the opposite side of the room.
Jaw tense, Lykan set his eyes on the drawing again. Was that a tear on his drawing's cheek?
He smashed the confirm option.
Watching the cartoon vanish from his screen, he then slid the port back into his pocket and resumed his lunch.
Stupid kid didn't know anything.
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I may have had FAR too much fun writing that and I would love to actually use it in the book somewhere. Unfortunately, it’s a first-person novel through Breighly’s point of view, so not sure how that would work. But maybe I can figure something out.
Hope you all have a wonderful day! And don’t forget, a little friendly criticism isn’t always a bad thing. ; )