Every writer has seen it before. The ghostly flash of light, the magical momentary glimpse. They’ve felt it flow through their veins, heard it whisper softly in their ear, just a wisp, a breath. They’ve tasted the sweet words on their tongue, the kind that beg for more. The kind that, once they’ve latched on to you, will not relent their nagging until you’ve set everything aside to build their home upon a page. A secretive character – one you may have known was coming, but only for a minor role in a piece naught but brainstormed – that sneaks up on you, catches you by surprise. A spark of light amidst the normal daily grind.
These beautiful revelations are the lifeblood of a writer. They bring them hope, inspiration, and power. But secretive characters are very difficult to catch. Impossible, really. These characters must choose to reveal themselves to you, and more often than not they do so one frustratingly small piece at a time. An image here. A word trail there. But never the whole picture. These special characters, I’ve found, are almost always the deepest, most interesting and heartfelt an author could ask for. My precious Ben, Jesse, and Sasha were all like this, mysterious and reserved. Judas didn’t reveal himself to me until I’d already written the story, forcing me to rewrite much of what I’d penned… and I daresay I haven’t nearly reached the bottom of that dark abyss of a broken, wicked character yet!
Tonight, I had the privilege of being introduced to two of these special characters. They will be in a story I’ve been brainstorming up for quite a while now, but haven’t put down ink on yet. One of them I was aware of, but had thought would be just a small side-character used to help drive a point home. The other I’d never heard from before. But both of these characters charged past me tonight, kicking up the sod beneath their feet as though to taunt me, tempt me into writing. They struck me nearly simultaneously, and made it clear they were not to be separated. Their hasty talk in hushed tones filled my mind with beauty, and struck down my previous plans with a resounding thud. I would resent their bossing me into giving them larger roles, if it weren’t for the magnificence that came with them.
Characters will strike at any time. There’s no stopping them. The writer is defenseless against these dream-like wisps. But a writer that has been struck so brusquely by these inspirations is desperate to share them. In the story these new characters belong to, humanity has grown cold. People and animals that are born “different” are cast off or killed. The main character is a mute girl who, after years of her mother hiding her, is found and taken away. The story begins when she is left alone in the woods to fend for herself. But, fortunately for her, there are kind – though hurting – animals around to help her learn the ways of the wild. My goal with this story is to make a go at reviving the talking animals cliche, but make it fresh. New. Exciting and interesting. Do it in a way not seen before. But now, without further adieu, please allow me to introduce to you the latest additions to the ever-growing list of voices inside my head. I will do my best to describe them, however as I said, I know little about them at the moment. Most likely, I won’t fully discover these characters until the novel is done.
Wahchinksapa, or ‘Chink’, was the first grand appearance tonight. Chink is what’s known as a “Medicine Hat” paint horse. These horses were revered by Native Americans, particularly the Souix, and surrounded by legends. To be a medicine hat is to bear a certain pattern on your coat, which includes a colored patch over both ears, much like a hat or bonnet in appearance. They can have other markings as well, but the less color they have besides the “hat,” the more powerful they are thought to be. Blue eyes are also said to give greater power. Only chiefs, medicine men, and great warriors were allowed to own them, and they were the prized possession of any village. A horse with two clear blue eyes and no markings but the medicine hat is considered the most powerful of all. The Souix would often paint on these horses, which was thought to bring luck to them as well. As the legends go, anyone riding a medicine hat horse could not be injured or killed. To win the love of a medicine hat was to win protection.
Chink would be a cross between the older brother, father, and grandpa types. Very over protective, fun, and loves to teach. His name is a Souix name that means “wise.” He is wise beyond his years, with many hidden talents, along with many hidden pains. He is a quiet, gentle character that can in every sense be considered broken, but handles it by helping others. In this story, Chink is a talking horse (in a non-cliche way) that rescues a mute child alone in the woods. He takes her under his wing, caring for her and teaching her alongside our second character of the night.
Humayda, Maya for short, is a very young arabian. She lost her mother in a tragic incident, and was abandoned because of her strange marking. This marking is a reddish-brown streak that spills across both shoulders. It is called a “bloody shoulder,” and this one also has a myth behind it. Arabic legend speaks of an amazing white arabian mare. This mare, heavy with foal, went out one day with her owner. They were found by Bedouin robbers, and her rider pointed her towards home, begging her to run for all she had. Her rider knew she couldn’t possibly outrun them while so heavy with foal, but she ran on anyways as they were peppered with rifle fire. As she sped away, the Bedouins lost ground. But just before they were out of range, a final shot was fired off. The rider fell forward onto her neck, dead, where he remained all the way home. The mare never stopped, but ran her heart out the whole way back to get him home. Upon her arrival, the rider was removed, but not before a dark red stain had bled down her shoulder. Try as they might, the people could not remove it. The people worried about the mare and the foal, and cared for her like royalty until a few days later when she birthed a colt. He was considered the perfect example of the arabian breed, and bore a strange, reddish-brown marking across his shoulders… just like his mother. Ever since then, bloody shouldered horses have been considered blessed by God.
Maya, however, did not receive such wonderful treatment. By her time, the legends have been long forgotten, and the mark is looked upon as an ugly defect. At only 6 months old, after her mother’s death, she was left tied to a tree at the edge of the forest. Abandoned. This is where Chink found her, and took pity on the filly. He brought her back to health, and raises her as his own. She loves him as a father, and rarely leaves his side. Chink always says that she saved him as much as he saved her, because she gave him a purpose. But Maya sees it as a debt she’ll never be able to repay him.
Well, that’s all for today folks. But stay tuned! Flesh and Blood: Hijacked Part Three is coming soon!