Wednesday September 19th, 2012

The exercise:

Our challenge today is: getting reacquainted.

You can do what you like with that prompt, but I'm choosing to revisit a couple of characters that I have not written for much, much too long. Though Greg might suggest that it has been about the usual amount of time for me.

Sorry about that.

Final prenatal class went tonight. Really glad we took it, as I'm feeling much more prepared now. Still plenty of questions remaining, obviously, but at least I know which ones I need to ask.


"Well Red," Ben said as he pulled the train's fourth and final cargo door shut, "I'd say we truly earned this one."

"Indeed we did, my friend."

That was putting it mildly, really. The job had begun long before we'd stepped foot on that train.

Once we'd determined the exact location we'd bring the cash on rails to a halt, we tied up our horses, left them with enough feed to keep them alive for a week, and made the two day hike back to the station. We carried only food and water, not bothering with niceties like extra clothes and soap.

We'd both been pretty relieved to see that outdoor shower at the hotel next to our destination.

Ideally we would have just blocked the tracks and jumped aboard when the train screeched to a halt. But there was hardly a curve to be found in that stretch of dirt and the driver was a paranoid fellow who was well known for his use of a spyglass to avoid ambushes.

Alternatively we could have split up, but the man left waiting in the wilderness would have worried a hole through his gut wondering how the man on the train was doing. Not that either of us would have ever admitted to that.

"Maybe next time we can pick an easier target," Ben said over his shoulder as we moved through the trees on our way back to the horses.

"Maybe." Easy wasn't really our style, but there was guaranteed to be a next time. Even with the haul we were dragging through the woods, neither of us would ever consider hanging 'em up.

"Uh, Red?" Ben had stopped a few steps in front of me, blocking my view of what lay ahead. I came up beside him and quickly saw the problem: no sight of our mounts, other than two broken ropes drooping from the pine trees we'd left them hitched to.

"Looks like something spooked the poor fellas," I said with a sigh. "Nothing for it but to track them down."

"It's days like this," Ben muttered as he reached for a fresh cigar, "that makes me think we could really use a third man."


morganna said...

Perfect prompt for Emily, Marc! Thanks!
Emily searched the Dublin docks for a familiar face. Her contact, well really an old friend, was supposed to meet her here -- she had sent a coded telegram under her old alias from the ferry office in England. She shifted her weight from foot to foot, praying he had been home and the telegram had not gone astray.

Finally she heard a welcome "Jane!" and Jim came charging out from the crowd and swooped up in a big bear hug. She staggered slightly. She had forgotten how exuberant Jim could be.

"What have you been doing to yourself, girl? There's more of you than there used to be!" He tucked her hand in the crook of his arm and strolled back the way he had come. Then he stopped. "Wait. Do you have any luggage we should be worrying about?"

She laid her head on his familiar shoulder and snuggled in. "No, I didn't have time to bring any. It's just me and the baby," she said sleepily. It was so good to be back with Jim again. What had she been thinking, storming off during a flaming row and going to England?

Jim had stopped walking in the middle of the pavement. Dubliners flowed around them. "What do you mean, baby?!" he demanded angrily.

"Oh, Jim, I'm too tired to explain now. Let's go back to the flat and I'll explain it all to you there."

Jim shifted uncomfortably. "Um, about the flat. There's something you should know."

Greg said...

As you can probably tell from the time of the comment I'm in a bit of a rush this morning! Lovely piece, Morganna; the ease with which your characters take these revelations was surprising!
@Marc: It's always nice to see Ben and Red back in action – is it just on this blog?

Getting reacquainted
Charles Asciugimento, Head of Building Security, stepped off the side of the building.
He fell maybe three feet, then a polished glass floor caught him, his knees flexing slightly, and he was apparantly standing on thin air four hundred feet above street level. It was a true leap of faith, made all the more exciting by his certain knowledge that the glass floor had holes in it too.
He walked swifly along the floor, his eyes closed to help him remember the way, and thirty seconds later he was at a concealed door into the building. He opened it with a key-card, and stepped inside.
Lights came on as he walked into a laboratory-sterile room, and he could hear the soft hum of powerful machinery and the gurgle of fluids in pipes. In tanks, floating at peace and in sleep, were his three predecessors as Heads of Building Security. He checked his watch one last time, confirming that the date was correct, and pushed the blue button beneath the first tank without any pomp or circumstance. As fluid started to drain from the tank, he looked at the name on a brass plate beneath it.
"Well Henry," he said to himself, "It's time to get reacquainted."

Marc said...

Morganna - always happy to provide useful prompts :D

Ah, another wrinkle in the ongoing saga. Really enjoying all the twists and turns you're bringing to this.

Greg - just on the blog for now. I wanted to get some practice in with these two in preparation for writing another chapter in the actual story. Decided to go with some background work with them :)

Great description of the secret entrance and how it must be accessed! Fascinating world Mr. Asciugimento inhabits :D