NaNoWriMo Day 11: Arrow to the Knee

So sorry for the delay on this post, folks! My computer took an arrow to the knee and died last night before I could upload my weblog, shown below.

Now, because of how long it’s taken me to post this, I decided to add something kind of interesting to today’s post. It’s the layout I use for my desktop when I’m NaNoing, complete with Phipps to keep me company!

And, finally, here is the snippet I have been attempting to finish and post for you for days now. I’ve made it extra long to reward your patience with me over a busy weekend.

My smirk grows, and I lurch towards the steps of Ginger’s. My movements are jerky as he tries to make me turn around, but I force us up the steps and nearly throw the door open in my urgency to keep control. I stumble inside, and slam to a halt just short of running into a customer on their way out.

“Terribly sorry ma –” My apology cuts off when I look up into her eyes… those hauntingly beautiful eyes. I shake my head, staring at her stupidly without a word. She looks at me, eyes throwing sparks, until the recognition dawns. They widen, just slightly, and she shoves past me, sprinting out the door. I turn, the door held open, Ginger beckoning me in with her warm smile, and watch the braid bounce away.

Jude… I sigh. This is a horrible idea…

He lets me take control, and I sprint after her, leaving the door to slam shut on its own. The long black braid is hardly visible through the curtain of rain, but I dig into the slop and follow it, desperate to catch up.

“Colleen! Wait!” The words have left my mouth before her name has fully registered in my mind, and I speed after her. The mud weighs down my boots, slowing me down with every stride, but I can’t let her get away. It’s been years… I thought I’d never see her again!

She cuts around the corner ahead, and I quickly adjust course, flying through a hidden alley to the next street. I hear her bare feet squelching in the mud, and stop, facing her and standing in her way. For once, all those years undercover, thinking like a rebel, actually paid off. She breaks through the rain, fear written throughout her features. She catches sight of me, and her eyes widen. She slams on the brakes, turning to the side and trying to make a break down the alley, but her feet slide in the ankle-deep mud. Her momentum carries her sideways into me, and I can hardly keep my feet under me. I grab her, trying to steady both of us as my feet slide backward.

I begin to relax as we slow, preparing to prove I don’t intend on hurting her, when my boot hits a rock. My balance is thrown off, and while I desperately try to save us, it’s too late. We land in a bundle, the mud clinging to us like a friend offering a warm embrace. More like a cold shoulder, if you ask me. Mud coats both of us in a thick layer of brown muck, and by the time we’ve clambered to our feet, it would be impossible for anyone to identify us. Well, me at least. With her eyes, there would be no mistaking her. Talk to her, you idiot! Before she takes off again! I clear my throat, shaking my head to clear it, uncertain how to begin.

“Colleen…” Her eyes flash up, looking straight into mine. Her gaze is deadly. Captivatingly beautiful, unbreakable, and so firm and judgmental you’d think she was staring into your very soul. She tenses and twitches, like a rabbit unsure if it should run or play dead. My voice catches, the words stuck in a lump behind my lips. I can feel her unease, and I know she’s going to run.

“Colleen, wait! Please, don’t run away. Please! I’m not going to hurt you. I’m not going to turn you in. I just want to talk.” I fix her with what I hope is a sincere, open, desperate gaze, and one of her eyebrows quirks up. She remains tensed, like a wound spring ready to pounce, but a small smirk plays across her lips in a bemused manner. I let go of her wrist slowly, ready to snatch it again if she’s attempting to lure me into a false sense of security.

“Alright then, Jude. Why exactly are you so intent on catching me then?” She spits, contempt clear in her voice. But rather than maintain her piercing eye contact, he pupils dart around in a crazed manner, as though anything around us could suddenly attack. The movement distracts me, but it doesn’t matter. Why am I so set on talking to her?

“Why are you so set on running away?” I fire back sarcastically, unable to come up with a better response. She gives me a dead look, halting the shifting for a moment of emphasis before continuing. Her constant vigilance has me on edge, as though subconsciously telling me something is about to go wrong. Suddenly, without warning, she jumps towards me, grabbing the collar of my shirt and glaring into my eyes, flames seeming to fly from her sparkling ones.

“You idiot! You’re going to blow my cover!” She growls in a deep, soft, hardly audible tone. My eyes widen, and my body stiffens. Cover? She couldn’t possibly…

“Now, you can follow me at a distance and I’ll take you somewhere safe, or you can disappear. Honestly, I could care less what you do.”  With that, she releases me, huffs out a gust of breath, and walks away. I stand for a moment, stunned and confused, before walking off slowly after her. I keep her in sight, ready to take off after her if she decides to lose me. We wind through twisted streets, and I keep my face hidden behind the collar of my jacket. Where is she taking us?

It could be a trap, you know.

But I don’t think she would –

And what exactly do you know about her? Besides the fact that her eyes shimmer?

Shut up Jude. She was walking out of Ginger’s, wasn’t she?

What does that have to do with anything? You know as well as I do that she’s just as willing to take in rebels as she is soldiers.

She’s just… she’s not like that Jude. She just isn’t. I know she isn’t. Our eyes roll at his command, and I shake my head.

As we walk, the alleys grow smaller, darker. The buildings turn into broken down, crumbling walls with caved in roofs. I look around carefully, hoping to go unnoticed. Where on earth are we going?

She turns quickly to the right up ahead, between two of the worst looking buildings, and stops so suddenly that I nearly run into her again. She gives me another shriveling glare that makes my chest tighten, and swoops into what appears to be a lean-to built between the crumbling walls of the houses on either side. A musty curtain acts as the door, and I push it aside to reveal a small room. The floor is damp, but not as muddy as outside. There are what appear to be two beds, side by side, each made of nothing but a thin slat of wood and a blanket filled with holes. Off to the side are two crates turned upside down, which I assume to be chairs. She stands in the middle of it all, arms crossed, with a chilling expression on her face. What is this place?

I stand awkwardly, unsure how to act around her, and nervous about who the second bed may belong to. I remove my hat, thumbing the brim absent-mindedly. The toe of my boot draws circles in the dirt floor, and I continue studying the little enclosed space from the corners of my eyes, refusing to meet her face again. She actually… lives here? I knew she wasn’t well off, but this… It’s got to be a mistake. I’m assuming. This is probably just some kind of safe hold, in case she gets chased or something. I blush at the thought. After a few moments of awkward silence, I chance looking up at her again. She spreads her arms, the palms of her hands facing upward.

“What do you want? Why did you follow me?” She needles in exasperation. Her eyes still bear a trace of venom, but it’s not quite as potent this time. Now, there’s a sparkle of curiosity that she tries to hide. Why… why did I come here?

“I… I don’t know. I had to. I… wanted to. I don’t know. It was foolish of me. I should… I should go.” I begin to turn, my limbs suddenly feeling heavy. You’re a fool, Judas Thernardier. A downright fool. Letting yourself get so caught up in emotions like that… emotions you shouldn’t even have.

“Stop.” Her voice halts my thoughts and motion, all at once. My heart flutters strangely in my chest, and I will it to stop pounding so that I can hear. She steps closer, and our eyes collide against my will. Her face has softened slightly. The curiosity is clearer now, and a pinch of fear has managed to alight upon those beautiful irises again. What is she so scared of?

Really Judas? What is she scared of? You’ve got to be kidding.

Silence, Jude! I shout at him inside my head.

“You came here for a reason. You didn’t follow me without one. And you didn’t let me go that day without a cause. Why?” She whispers. I wet my lips thoughtfully, not daring to break eye contact.

“For the same reason you knew I wouldn’t hurt you that day.” I reply, the words flowing from my mouth before I’ve even thought of a response.

“And how is that?” She asks, dropping her attempt to cover the curiosity all together.

“You’re… different.” I rack my brain for something else to add, but nothing comes to me. A heavy silence falls between us again, a silence tense with words unsaid and feelings unexpressed. She brushes a loose strand of her hair back behind her ear, and breaks our gaze, dropping her eyes to the ground.

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2 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo Day 11: Arrow to the Knee

  1. Love it!!!! I love Jude. 😉

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