Fugitive Pigment

It’s mirrored windows reflecting downtown [city name] City, the monastery rose skyward. An office building. Charming had expected to feel more comfortable inside than out, but the lobby ceiling lofted above her stretching everything in the space upward with it. Charming expected the furniture, the potted plants, and she would soon catch free of her mooring to the floor and tumble upward. She dropped Brother Gane’s hand once she realized she had it.

A floral but masculine scent she’d attributed to some cologne of Gane’s permeated the lobby. “Is that incense?”


“That smell. Like a spicy melon or a maybe some sort of tree I’ve not seen.”

Gane ducked his head into his badge’s strap and paused a moment to smile. He slicked a finger lightly along his rust-stained grey braids and tested the smell with his own nose before offering his finger tip to Charming. “This?”

Her face must have contorted with obvious reluctance, because Gane withdrew his offer and tested the smell again. “It’s not that strong.”

“Give it.” Charming reached out for his hand. “Ack. That’s it all right. Gah! I think I can taste it now.”

“Alizarin Crimson. You’ll get used to it. You’ll have to if you’re staying here.”

204 words on day 716

Left or Lived

“I didn’t do this.” Charming would have added ‘Deputy’, but the epithet no longer seemed to apply. Mondroon just stood in the boat staring under the gang and under Charming’s feet. He held himself steady on the easy shuffle of the Benhá by grasping a charred pile with the claw of his hammer. She repeated, “I didn’t do this.”

“You brought it.”

Charming thought about that for a moment. She had brought it. She’d brought Gane; she’d brought Roundmartin; and she’d brought the destruction of her only home. Though Mondroon didn’t know it, she’d probably brought the ruin of [cool named monastery] too—maybe her second home, maybe her last. “I didn’t do that either.”

“Well, it came.” Mondroon glanced up at Charming and then Outward. “And you left.”

“Left or lived?”

Even clinging to the pile, Mondroon’s shrug indicated there was no real difference. Charming hmm’d noncommittally. Another denial would be a waste.

Mondroon looked back to Charming and caught her eye. “Gonna stay? Gonna help?”

No and yes. “That’s not really an invitation is it?”

Mondroon smiled. Maybe the burning of Song had changed everyone Charming thought. Maybe it wasn’t just her. Maybe she could stay. “It isn’t much of one, but we need all kinds.”

The last three words echoed one of the last things Gane said to her before he died and they brought both a painful stone to her throat and a tidal swell of warmth to her chest. Charming stepped a quarter turn to face away from Mondroon and hide her tears, but a sob wracked her body anyway.

Charming put up her hand to ask for a moment. She drew a breath to clear the stone and then another to speak, but walked away instead. Walked Upward over fresh aluminum decking and through the rising skeleton of new construction to the Leaf and to the flit deck she’d just climbed down from.

317 words on day 712

Why Charming Venda Hates Me

As I was making breakfast and logging on this morning I was thinking I’d come back to the Green Man story I’d started last night. Now I’m not so sure.

Last night I thought some on the fact that I’ve not been able to pin down much of Charming Venda’s character or characteristics. During that thinking I dawned on me that Charming didn’t—wouldn’t if she were real—like me very much. I’m not yet sure what that means in terms of her characterization, but it gave me both a direction to pursue and a pause to pursuing it.

I don’t mean that she won’t like me much as an author after I’m done with her story, that she won’t be pleased with my slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. I mean that if she were a person she wouldn’t like me as a person. She’d be respectful and tolerant, but she wouldn’t seek out my company. She’d understand that others might befriend me, that others could love me, but she would never feel that way. Now I’ve got to figure out why she wouldn’t like me, and I’ve got to figure out who to put that into a character I would like.

A little crazy; never thought of a character in this way.

First, she’s the type of person who does what they say they’ll do, when they say they’ll do it or when they know others expect it done. She won’t appreciate my tolerance for excuses not to get things done or not to get them done in a timely manner. That would be her surface complaint.

Second, she’ll find my cussing inappropriate and excessive. She’s OK with cursing, though she doesn’t do it herself, but she’ll find my rationale for using impolite language suspect and nearly always flimsy.

My kind of anger won’t be her kind of anger. She will be righteously angry at injustice and mistreatment. She won’t understand anger which is nothing more than concentrated and vehement annoyance elevated beyond reason. Outbursts will not be her style; she’ll internalize anger and then affect changes outwardly. She’ll use her anger to fuel solutions.

OK, Doc. That’s all the shrinking I can handle for the day.

367 words on day 709