Thursday, March 17, 2011

"True Colors"

(A rough ball-point pen sketch of Abigail. I wish I'd done it in pencil...>_>)


Yikes. Three posts in one week. I'm setting myself up pretty badly here...possibly raising some expectations or something! *roll eyes* Oh, well.

Anyway, here is a short one-scene excerpt from A Name Worth Carrying.

I'm really not sure what to call it...I've got it labelled "True Colors" in my text document, because it's giving Abby pretty much her first glimpse of the next year or so of her life. I will give a little background for it, though. This scene is from chapter three, taking place the first night Abby is in her first foster home. Isabel is the foster mother (she's about 60 years old) who runs a kind of small group home for foster teens. Katey and Thomas are the first kids Abby met when she arrived. This is pretty much an introduction to her coming foster life and the people she is with for the next couple chapters (I think I already said that...). 

I would greatly appreciate any thoughts you might have to share on this. Basically, I'm wondering, what emotion does it create? Does it flow well? Can you sympathize with/feel  the characters?

* * *

I sink into my seat at the table, feeling like I'm shutting down. Several new faces stare at me and none of them, aside from Katey and Thomas's, look very welcoming. I swallow and push my tongue around and against my teeth, not quite chewing on it but almost. Isabel glides in from the kitchen again and sets a steaming, lumpy casserole-thing on the table.
"Okay, guys, dig in," she says. She slides into her own chair at the head of the table, dropping the oven mitts down by her plate. I pull in the corner of my lip and start to work on it, instead of my tongue. The other boy, who I assume to be Tyler, lurches forward and grabs the serving spoon stuck in the corner of the food. I watch as he pushes his plate a little closer and dumps two huge spoonfuls onto it, as if it's his last meal. He snatches two rolls and a scoop of cooked carrots in a fluid, lightning movement.
I stare for a moment. Maybe he does think it's his last meal. Huh...I wonder how long he's been here. Have to ask Katey later.
A low buzz of the starting conversation reaches my ear and brings me back to the table. Thomas, after he's poked through the casserole and picked out all the tomato chunks, shovels it in just about as savagely as Tyler does. But he's not really desperate, he's mimicing. The other girls, Haylie and Janelle, start giggling and Katey glares at Thomas. I glance at Tyler. 
In a moment, he's noticed Tommy and drops his fork, glaring at him. "What are you doing?" he growls. "Makin' fun of me?"
I turn my eyes to Isabel now, watching to see how she'll react. She cocks an eyebrow but says nothing and reaches for her glass.
"Yeah? So what if am?" Thomas smirks, but his eyes are dancing. Tyler clenches his jaw, still glaring. A muscule in his face twitches. His eyes are smoldering. Then, though it seems to take as much effort as if he was lifting a car, he forces his head back around and hunches, staring at his plate.
Out of the corner of my eye, I see one of the girls nod toward Tyler. Thomas seems to find some meaning in this and breaks into another wide grin. In a quick movement, he latches onto Tyler's remaining roll. Tyler releases like a spring and slaps Thomas's hand against the table, pinning it like a vice. With a sharp jab, he latches around the small of Tommy's wrist and twists it back and around until he's got him on the ground, nearly under the table. I faintly hear Janelle or Haylie shouting and know I show be reacting in some way as well, but all I can do is stare like a petrified idiot.
"Never again!" Tyler screeches. The outburst is followed by a sickening pop. Thomas gasps. "Never, never! Never touch my food!"
"Get off me you creep!" Thomas shouts. Katey pushes away, sending her chair clattering back, and launches herself around the table. She latches around Tyler's waist and tries to drag him off Thomas, but the kid is stuck to his tormenter like a cockleburr. He's screaming now. Loud and unitelligibly. That is, except for the cussing. That is made out easily and very, very much accentuated.
I bite my tongue and look to Isabel. She just sits in her chair, chewing thoughtfully while staring at the boys and Katey. Doing nothing. Nothing!
Now my own eyes are smoldering, I'm sure of it. This kid will not stop until Thomas relents, I have a feeling that won't be soon. In a sudden surge, I fling back my chair and slam my hands down on the table, making things jump and shake. "What do you think you're doing?!" I screech. "This is insane! You're gonna kill each other! Isabel, they're gonna kill each other!"
Tyler jerks his head toward me, suprised, but not quenched by my outburst. "Shut up, you--"
I don't wait for him to finish. I jump over and grab him, flinging him free of Thomas with the extra force of Katey's firm grip. She drops to Thomas's side and I turn away, glaring at Tyler. I need to say something. Something to make him think I'm to be respected. But what is there to respect? He wipes his mouth and his lips curl into a snarl. He lifts himself to his hands and knees and I just know he's about to launch. I have less than a second to--
The air is knocked out of me as Tyler barrels into my stomach, sending me flying to the ground. I barely see the outline of a fist, rising up, about to smash my face in. I squeeze my eyes shut and try to lift my arms, but they're pinned by Tyler's knees. His fist cocks back and springs forward.
"Tyler!" Katey shrieks. She tackles Tyler's arm and pulls him back, away from me. I roll over, panting and coughing.
"Ty, Ty. Tyler, please!" Katey begs. She is sitting on top of him, legs stradling each side of his torso, then hooked back across his legs to keep him from kicking. In one hand she holds both of his, in an iron grip that makes her forearm bulge. With the other hand she strokes his face and hair, still pleading with him to settle down. He gives one last cry of rage then sags, whimpering. Tears slick his flaming face.
Katey slowly releases his hands, then slips off of him, down to his side. Tyler sits up, now coughing, and Katey grabs him around the shoulders, pulling him close to her. He collapses, now shuddering with quiet sobs. I sit, still panting, as Katey helps him stand up.
"Do you want to finish eating, or go downstairs?" she asks him.
He doesn't say anything, but pulls away from her and stalks from the dining room.
With a tired sigh, Katey picks up her chair and sits back down. I do the same, noticing that Thomas isn't at the table anymore. I hope, for both of their sakes, that he isn't downstairs as well.
Thanks for reading! :)


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