Today’s blog post is brought to you by The Pocket Watch, a group of amazing writers who get together to make fictional trouble. I’m lucky enough to be a card carrying member, and to have been invited to participate in the….First Ever Pocket Watch Blog Hop Character Spotlight!
I’m really excited about this. My mission, as my Pocket Watch Peeps explained to me, was to share with you a character from my novel. This short vignette is a glimpse into the mind of Nate, one of the central characters in my novel Light in a Dark Sky. It’s not his best moment, but he was seventeen and desperate. I like to think there’s always been beauty in his artist’s soul, even in his darkest times.
Troy points out a car, running, lights illuminating a small section of the parking lot. We’re huddling at the edge, near a chain link fence.
“A friend,” he says, nodding at it. “I want you to show him a good time, okay, babe?”
I blink at him. He can’t mean what I think he means. “A good time?”
“Yeah.” His eyes are warm when they meet mine in the dim orange light from the streetlamp above us. “Do the things I showed you.”
I glance at the car and back at him.
“Yeah. It blows. But you gotta earn your keep. You know I love you, no matter what, right?” He leans forward and gives me a quick kiss. He holds up a little balloon of heroin, winks at me. “You take care of him, I take care of you, ‘kay?”
I’m not sure I can do this. I try not to show it, but I’m terrified, here in this dark parking lot. Sick and shaking because I already know I’m going to do it. But Troy smiles at me, and I think if I come back and he smiles at me like that again, tells me he loves me, lets me get high, that might be worth it.
“Always condoms, okay?” He slides a few into my hand. “No matter what he says.”
I do know that much. I walk over there and get into the passenger’s seat.
The guy turns and looks me over. “He wasn’t lying. You are pretty.”
I’m not sure what to say to that. I don’t think it’s a compliment, so I just nod. We don’t talk. He drives us to a spot that’s a little more secluded and then he gives me instructions and I follow them. Afterwards he drops me at the same parking lot. Troy comes up to the window, pockets the cash. I barely notice. I’m still tasting the pineapple flavored condom and trying to figure out what the fuck I’m doing.
I’ve never wanted to get high so desperately in my life, and Troy lets me, sitting by that chain link fence. I lean my head back against the metal webbing and float. Everything is so gentle, the glow of the street lamp where it falls on the fence, catching in little bits of light like droplets of water clinging to the metal. They’re so fucking beautiful and if I could just paint them, paint the world like it is right now, tender and perfect…
“Whaddya think, babe?” Troy’s voice is rich and thick, falling like frosting. Like frosting on a birthday cake. I haven’t had one of those since I was a kid, but they always were my favorite thing.
“I don’t know.”
“You gotta do something, and I don’t really know what else you could do.”
And he’s right, though it’s hard to care, right now, when I inhale and the clear night air, full of stars, fills my lungs.
I look at him and I think I love him. The emotion fills my chest like crystal, solid and perfect, angles and planes.
“It’s whatever you need.” I mean it. I’d do anything for him, for this, right here.
He smiles at me. “You’re incredible. I don’t know what I’d do without you.”
I smile back at him. Those are sweet things to hear, things I’ve always really wanted to hear. I’ve always really wanted to know that I mattered to someone. That someone loved me. I get out my sketchbook and I draw the light, for a while, and then Troy.
Thanks for reading about Nate! Here are a few more colorful characters you might find interesting, created by none other than the colorful characters that make up my writing group.
Jeanne Marcella introduces us to Pony, a plucky and fierce half-centaur, the central character in her novel Through Rain and Missing Mantaurs. She’s hammering out a second edition of this dark fantasy novel focused on centaurs. It’s quite the ride (pun intended!)
Kate Whitaker takes us to the dark side of Pittsburgh, to meet a werewolf named Matty. He’s sweet, sincere, and a total badass. She’ll also talk about the tropes that inspire her character development.
Amelia Bishop lets us get up close and personal with the smokin’ hot Theron, a creature of the night, and his lover Alex, the stars of her very sexy new novel Night Vision. (I read it. It was awesome.)
Hector Kopczynski talks about cultural perspectives, history, and the journey that inspired the main character of his novel The Piety of Others. Lord General, as he is known to his subordinates (aka everybody) is shrouded in mystery, so you can bet I won’t be missing this blog post and a chance to learn more about him.
Thanks for reading! Until next time, we’re…The Pocket Watch! 🙂