First, I have to take a moment to express my despair about the Connecticut elementary school shooting yesterday. After all the tragedies that have occurred through the year, this one feels the most terribly cruel. To everyone affected by this, I am so sorry.
Today, I'm matching up some of my main book characters in a scene for the pure awesome fun of it. Part of this is because today is my half-year blogiversary! Thanks for your support, everyone. For more bonus material, check out my connected Facebook page! You can keep up with this blog through that or through the e-mail subscription.
You helped select the following characters for this scene: Sage O'Riley and Quinn Miller of #ChosenFourStory, Kaela Timberly from #PsychicDystopiaStory, and Darren Beamer from #PsychicStory. So here we go! I hope you enjoy.
"Hey!" Sage shouted as she appeared in the middle of the half-lit, mostly bare room. She stumbled slightly and then adjusted by crushing a stack of what appeared to be homework papers sitting on the floor. Quinn and two other strangers were also standing in the room with her, having appeared out of nowhere. Quinn, to her frustration, had a calm expression on his face and his hands slipped into his jeans pockets. The two strangers, both around Sage's age, one a pretty, brown-haired girl in very plain clothes and the other a boy with light brown skin, looked considerably more confused.
Sage knew what was happening, though, and she had her suspicions about who these people were. This wasn't the first time this kind of thing had happened. Sage spun around and, sure enough, found herself facing another person she knew, a very white girl only slightly older than her, sitting on a bed with purple, black, and white sheets. It was the author. Kira.
"For real?" Sage demanded, putting her hands on her hips and sending her masterful glare in Kira's direction. "I thought we were on break for a while. Or did Julia finish the book edit finally?"
Kira shook her head, her grotesquely untamed golden curls bouncing with the movement. "No," she said. "I just wanted to see you guys again, talk or something. It's been a while."
Sage snorted. "What, three months?"
Kira frowned, one eyebrow jumping in thought. "More like four."
"Who are they, then?" Sage asked, pointing at the other two. The boy was gazing intensely at Kira with deep green eyes much like Sage's. It was obvious he was starting to work out what was happening. The other girl, who Sage decided must be very slow or very pathetic, still looked frightened. She wondered if the boy and girl were from the same book universe.
"Are you the author?" the boy asked then with his slightly awed eyes intent on Kira, taking the given opportunity Sage had presented.
"Yes," Kira said, with a gentle smile in the boy's direction. "I guess we've never formally met, outside of your world. My name's Kira." She held out a hand in the boy's direction. Sage rolled her eyes and shifted her weight between her feet. This was so time-consuming.
"Whoa," the boy breathed, still staring at Kira. He took her hand and pumped it once before letting go.
"To answer your question, Sage," Kira said, her blueish eyes shifting back. "This is Darren Beamer, and Kaela Timberly."
"Where are we?" the girl, Kaela, asked in a trembling voice, hugging herself tightly. "I don't understand." Sage noted that she appeared to be more afraid of the objects in the room, like the TV and the laptop, than of the other people.
"Kaela," Kira said, holding out a comforting hand in the girl's direction. "I've brought you out of your universe, your story. I'm the author of your book."
"The... creator?" Kaela asked carefully, the fear seeping slightly from her gaze as she took Kira in. Sage snorted again under her breath. In some ways, fear was more warranted than anything else when it came to the author. From Sage's experience, Kira seemed to take enjoyment from torturing her creations. "Your name is Kira."
"Yes," Kira answered with another small smile. "You're in my world, now. These others are people from different books. That one is Darren Beamer--" Kira pointed at Darren, who nodded at Kaela and raised a hand in greeting. The hand had a pink scar across the palm, Sage noticed. If she was familiar with anything at this point, it was scars. "--and the other two are Sage O'Riley and Quinn Miller. They come from the same story as each other."
"Goody," Sage replied under her breath, and Quinn shot her a half-amused sideways look she ignored. Instead, she asked, "What part of your world is this anyway? It looks like..."
"A college dorm," Kira finished for her with a nod. "Yes."
"Oh yeah," Quinn said, the undertones of his voice vibrating through the room. Sage hated that. She hated anything that reminded her of how stupidly attractive Quinn was nowadays. "You're in college now."
Kira nodded again.
"So what do you want?" Sage demanded, her hands back on her hips. "To say hello? Play board game? Sing Kumbaya? Or are you going to ask for a sandwich again? Because you forgot to bring Cassie, in that case."
"I just wanted to say hi," Kira answered patiently. "It's been a while. And be gentle, would you? Kaela's world is a lot different from ours'. She doesn't need you scaring her on top of all of this."
"I'm not scared," Kaela declared as she recognized herself in the conversation. She pulled herself up taller, looking suddenly regal, which just annoyed Sage more. "I can handle her."
"Oh, sure you can handle me," Sage retorted, and Kaela turned sharp eyes on her. "What kind of story do you come from anyway?" Sage demanded. "Is Kira losing her touch on the character-torture? Because you sure seem soft to me."
"That's just who she is," Kira interceded as Darren stepped forward, almost in front of Kaela, saying to Sage, "Hey, watch it. She's just a girl."
Sage sized Darren up quickly and then shook her head again, turning away. Darren and Kaela weren't worth her time. Quinn wasn't even worth her time, and he came from the same book universe as her. Of course, Quinn was just stupid.
"Kaela has her own plot to deal with, trust me," Kira continued as all the characters gazed at her again. "Where you and Quinn, Sage, might have a powerful organization out to get you and talents which can be detrimental to your health, Kaela has witch-style burnings, a regressed society, and severe prejudices. So cool it."
Sage rolled her eyes, though she was impressed. She thrust her thumb in the other boy's direction. "What about Mr. Tall-Dark-and-Handsome, over there?"
Darren folded his arms, looking unsure if he should feel complimented or insulted. Sage had almost meant it as a compliment though. Darren looked intense and threatening on top of good-looking, and she respected that. Quinn was just a stupid pretty-boy.
"Darren," Kira pronounced, with an amused sternness in her face, "comes from a place where he's dealt with severe loss and war. Don't underestimate anyone's past, Sage, especially coming from me."
"Fair enough,'" Sage grumbled, crossing her arms across her chest. "So how long is this going to take?"
Kira cocked her head, examining first Sage with a depth that disturbed the girl, and then moving around through the other characters. Only Darren matched Kira's stare dead-on, creating an uncomfortable moment for the rest of them.
"Not too long," Kira said at last, dragging her gaze back to Sage. "I really just wanted to see how you all were holding up. I miss my characters, sometimes, when I'm not in their universe for a while."
"Oh, but you've been in another universe recently for sure," Sage replied with her eyebrows furrowed. "I know you. You're never not working on something. Reality's never been your thing."
"Reality's subjective," Kira retorted, folding her hands in her lap. "But yes, I finished writing another novel less than a month ago. Nothing important to any of you, of course, completely different universe. Since then I've mostly been stuck in this world."
"Oh the humanity," Sage grumbled sarcastically, fluttering a hand to her forehead. Kira shot her a look that reminded her of Cassie--all adult disappointment and pursed lips, no real fury.
"I'm starting to remember why I keep you separate from everyone else," Kira stated.
"Good," Sage answered, crossing her arms again.
Kira sighed heavily. "You know what? How about I just let you all go now. Sage doesn't seem to want to cooperate anyway, and I should be back to one of your universes soon, probably hers and Quinn's. Editing does has to happen eventually."
"I was taking a nice nap before you got me here," Sage grumbled in reply.
"I'm sure you were," Kira answered, not even looking at Sage this time. Instead she stood from the bed and moved towards Kaela, who watched her approach with wide eyes.
"I'll let you go back home now," Kira told the girl, holding out her arms. Kaela accepted the hug shakily, and then stepped back again. "Thanks for coming. If I ever need you again, I'll call you back. Maybe I could explain more then."
Kaela nodded, looking more certain of herself. Kira nodded at her and then turned away, to Quinn, leaving Kaela to fade back into her universe. Quinn dipped his head at Kira, though his expression turned distinctly uncomfortable. Kira gazed at him for a moment, a funny half-smile on her face that Sage didn't think she liked, and then moved forward for a quick embrace. When Kira moved back again, Quinn raised one shoulder awkwardly and glanced over at Sage, who just glared at him.
"See you, Quinn," Kira said.
"Bye," he answered, and, as he began fading, waved once. Then he was gone, and Kira moved over to Darren. The two of them gazed at each other with that strange, pensive intensity all over again, and then Kira just patted him on the arm.
"Live well," she said, and with a nod, he replied, "Same to you."
Then he faded out, and Sage alone stood in the college room with Kira, who was now shaking her head at Sage tiredly.
"Do you always have to do that?" Kira asked her, stepping forward. "It makes things so difficult."
"You tell me," Sage muttered in her surly way. "You're the one who made me like this."
Kira laughed then. "Oh honey," she said, "you really think I'm in control?" As she reached out to bring a startled Sage into her arms against her will, she continued, "No, Sage. I'm only part of the equation of your world. The rest of it comes from you and the others, and whatever force out there drives the stories I tell."
As Sage blinked in confusion, Kira drew back, gave her a quick smile and a nod, and said, "I'll be seeing you. Get back to that nap."
"Eh," Sage answered, and then the room around her faded away. The last thing she saw was Kira's blue eyes, piercing into her even through the divide between the worlds. Then Sage was lying on her own bed in her room, gazing up at the ceiling. She sighed with some relief, and then curled up on her side.
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