Sometimes a scene just won’t let go…

This scene came to me late last night after I got back from the hockey game (Red Wings topped the Canucks 2-0; we had seats behind the visitor’s goal at Joe Louis, so all in all, pretty awesome stuff), but I didn’t write it down until this morning.  I figured I’d post it, just in case it never actually develops into anything more (or much more), though I suspect it might.

She grabbed his sleeve, wouldn’t let him leave as her fingers tangled in the fabric.  She jerked him back, spinning him toward her chest.  “Just because I left doesn’t mean I didn’t care about him, because I did.”

He jerked his arm away and stepped back.  “You could have fooled the rest of us.  You abandoned us when we could have used your help, Beck, and you show up now?  It’s way past the eleventh hour.  It’s over—too damn late and too damn bad.”

He went to the window and stared out at the city across the water, the dim glow of faraway New York.  His fingers curled tightly around the sill, jaw set into a line.  He looked older now, but it had been almost fifteen years since she’d seen him last—of course he looked older.

More than that, though, he looked tired and broken, and that was enough to make her cold, still heart crack in half.


He shook his head, not looking at her.  “It’s too late, Beck.  He’s gone and I’m soon to follow and there is no one left to avenge him.”

“Wrong.”  She came up behind him, unbuttoning one sleeve at the wrist.

“What do you mean, wrong?”  Elijah turned, then, dark eyes angry and accusing as he met her gaze.

“Yes, he’s gone, but you don’t have to follow him to the grave,” she said softly.  She didn’t touch him, not yet, even though she wanted to.  “And there’s someone left who cares enough to avenge him.”

His angry stare hardened into a glare.  “I can’t avenge him, Beck.  They’d destroy me inside of fifteen seconds.”

“They won’t destroy me,” she said softly.  “They’ll never see me coming.”

He went rigid, staring at her as if he’d just seen her for the first time.

She smiled briefly and cupped his jaw with one hand before she brought her wrist to her mouth, biting down hard enough to expose the vein.  She offered it to him, nodding to the blood.  “Go on.  Once isn’t going to hurt and it’ll buy you another six months to decide what you want to do.”

Elijah just kept staring at her for a few long moments.  His jaw quivered and then he looked away.  When he took her arm and lifted her wrist to his mouth, he cradled it like something fragile, precious.

She’d been neither for twenty years.

Beckett smiled sadly and watched him, forcing her free hand to be still at her side.  She wanted to touch him again, to feel how soft his hair was, to know what the muscles of his back felt like under her hands.

He wasn’t ready for that, though, and she knew it.

It was a few minutes before he finished, fingers tightening on her hand briefly before he let go, straightening and turning away.  She swallowed and took an unnecessary breath, willing the healing to start.

“You can stay here as long as you’d like,” she said softly.

“Thank you,” he whispered, staring out the window.

She lifted her hand to touch his shoulder, thought better of it, and let her hand drop.  She left him standing there without another word, the click of a door closing marking the end to their conversation with too many things still left unsaid.

Copyright 2011, Erin M. Klitzke

In part, I can blame longtime friend and fellow gamer/GM Dave Kiser for this one.  One summer he ran this wonderful but short-lived Vampire: The Masquerade game because I asked him to teach me the system.  There were aspects of the story of Cassidy Beckett, the vampire I played, that never quite left me and have come up time and again (at ISRP and elsewhere).  Reading a little too much modern paranormal fiction and urban fantasy (The Cheshire Red Reports by Cherie Priest, Black London series by Caitlin Kittredge, The Graveyard Queen series by Amanda Stevens, and the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, among others) and getting back to doing some World of Darkness roleplaying online has put me in the mood to write the same, now that I’ve got a little bit of a break from the Epsilon universe.

So when this little scene struck me, I had to get it down on digital paper.  Which of course meant I was further compelled to share it.

Comments and thoughts are deeply and fully appreciated!

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Musings on YA fiction and projects left unfinished

I’ve been writing fiction since I was ten years old–for fun, serious writing, not because I had to for school or any other reason.  Most of it has been crap.  Some of it’s been okay.  I haven’t reached a point where I have a manuscript ready to send off to agents or publishers…but that will come sooner rather than later, I’d suspect.

Today, in the midst of cleaning the house and weeding out in the garden, I came across a few of my writing magazines that I hadn’t finished reading–this happens often enough, that I’ll get one of them and not finish reading them to my satisfaction and then they get shuffled someplace in an effort to get my mother to stop complaining about how everyone’s stuff is everywhere cluttering up her house (not going to offer commentary on that one).  So, at some point today I sat down on the couch and thumbed through an article from the May/June 2010 issue of Writer’s Digest that had YA agents and editors talking about the category — how to break into it, what they’re looking for, that kind of thing.

It got me to thinking a bit.  I’ve always written younger protagonists (there are a few notable exceptions, including several of the major supporting cast members in Epsilon and The Last Colony–heck, Adam Windsor is a PoV character in The Last Colony and he’s in his fifties–as well as characters in Fate and Second Chances and its untitled sequel…though I’m not entirely sure elves and dragons count as “older protagonists”), characters ranging from their late teens through their twenties.  In some ways, my characters have aged with me and in others, they certainly have not.

Paranormal and speculative fiction have become huge in young adult fiction, and that subsegement of the genre have yielded works that have transcended the age category (see: Harry Potter and as much as I hate to mention it, Twilight–Vampires do not sparkle thank you very much!).  To carry this even further and away from the article I read, manga, Japanese graphic novels, tend to have speculative, paranormal, and fantastic elements to them as a matter of course.  Manga is extremely popular in the United States–and growing in popularity all the time.

Which brings me to what really got me thinking–the untitled sequel to my D&D-inspired Fate and Second Chances already has two very strong teenage protagonists in it–Alysta Riverden and Kaelen Verrel–and could quite possibly be transformed into a YA novel.  It’s something I’ll have to think about, because the story as it stands right now (in its very early stages–there’s only about 23500 words of ramble to it) is planned to be about as much about Alysta’s father, Talasin, as it is about Lysta and Kael.

But it’s entirely possible, and could be fun.  I’ll just have to do some homework on it, and some thinking.  But maybe.  Just maybe…

…after all, high adventure does well, too.