Wow, I'm really, really sorry I worried you folks. I've been in Colorado and just got back last night. I returned to find emails and notes of being missed. I'll admit, it does make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside that people notice when I'm not visiting*stalking*their blogs or posting on mine. I've got A LOT of catching up to do on blogs.
I thought I'd be back sooner than I was so I had signed up for Roni's blogfest http://fictiongroupie.blogspot.com/2010/04/lets-talk-blogfest.html
It's a bit late, but here ya go. This is a scene before the one I posted for the Last Line Blogfest a couple of weeks ago. To set the scene a bit, Sam has been riding with a very religious truck driver and is at a truck stop in Limon, CO. He is back from the grave and in a radically different body with special powers he is still learning about and headed west because he has vague dreams that tell him to go where there's mountains. This is the scene where Sam and Scarlett meet. The reason they 'recognize' each other is because they are both unnaturally pale with long white hair and red eyes and their clothes are the same, except different colors (in case that part confuses anyone).
Rated PM for Potty Mouth:
The windows to my left piqued my curiosity once more, and I paused to browse pewter dragons and authentic Native American dream catchers made in China. Beyond the shelves I could see customers, and when my eyes fell on one in particular, my heart nearly leapt from my chest like an alien spawn on crack.
She looked down at a display of scorpions under glass. Her pale hair was separated into two tightly done braids that rested on her chest. She wore an ensemble of red, and chose to roll up the sleeves of her red poncho to near her elbow. Her eye shadow and lipstick were bright red against her pale skin.
Like a trod upon mouse, my nose squeaked against the glass I'd pressed up against, and her head snapped up in surprise. When our eyes met, I saw her irises were as red as mine. Lined thickly in that black junk girls wore, her eyes went wide when they focused on me. I wasn't sure if it was alarm or joy as she gaped at me.
Granted, I was pressed against the glass as unapologetically as any kid at a shark aquarium. At least the kind of kid that likes sharks a lot. Ones scared of sharks wouldn't have looked as eager as I no doubt did.
The spell was broken when she turned away and ran towards the door. Not sure if she was running away from me or towards me, I stepped back from the glass to wait and see which direction she headed when she got into the long corridor. I was mildly relieved when she approached me. It would have been embarrassing to have to chase her down in the parking lot.
She spoke first. A lot.
"You're like me, right? You look it. Dead, too?" She leaned in close and sniffed. "You look it, and kind of smell like it, too. What are you driving? You're driving, yeah? Going where I am, I bet. You have the dreams? Of course you do, or you wouldn't be here. Brown, huh? I got red, obviously. Thank God. I'd look horrid in brown. Not that you do. Well, you don't look fabulous or anything, but not bad."
"Did you actually…I dunno… want me to give answers here?"
"Huh? Oh, um, sure. I guess. I mean, I already figured it out for myself, except what you're driving."
"I'm not." I was curious how she was able to drive, but she already annoyed me and I wasn't sure I wanted to talk to her anymore. The only thing that kept my feet planted was the fact we were obviously connected somehow, and it was more linear than the Kevin Bacon Factor.
"You're what, then? Hitchhiking? That's dangerous, you know."
"Yeah, well lately I sort of feel invulnerable."
She smiled in a way that made me very uncomfortable. In a flash, she twirled a butterfly knife in her hand then stabbed me in the chest.
"Ow!" I hissed, turning towards the wall to yank it out before someone came along and saw. "You trying to kill… okay. I'll stop there, but OW! What the hell did you do that for? You tore my clothes."
She rolled her eyes, her hand open and expectant of her knife's return. "If you're going to be such an infant, you can stab me back if you like."
I was tempted. Won't lie.
I slapped the open blade into her palm and said, "I'm not being an infant. I just think your flare for the dramatic is out of place in broad daylight where anyone can see us."
"No, Scarlett's my name, dipshit."
"You're being pretty antagonistic to someone you just met, don't you think?"
"No different than I treat anyone. You're not so special I'll change my ways."
"I don't think you're… stable. Have a nice death." I walked away from her. Actually, I think I scurried like a rat away from her, but I don't want to split hairs.
To be honest, I was incredibly disappointed. She was the first person I'd met that was like me, and she was a lunatic. Normal people didn't go around stabbing others for fun. Seriously, it was random and illogical. Not to mention the fact it hurt like hell.
I really didn't want to, but I stopped.
"I'm… I'll try to be less… whatever," she said to my back.
"Whatever?" I said, turning around to face her. "Less stabby? Less insulting? I'd prefer both, to be honest. If it's too much to ask, piss off."
"Well, wherever we're going, I've got a car and you don't," she countered. "Want a lift?"
Decisions, decisions… ride with holy-roller, truck-driving stutterer from Deliverance, or with Tank Girl on amphetamines. It was an easier choice than I'd anticipated.
"I guess. Just don't stab me anymore. I don't have any other clothes."
"Cool, come on."
I looked around for Bill and wondered if I should tell him where I'd gone off to. I didn't want him to worry about me. I didn't see him, and I felt bad for disappearing on him, but I was sure the girl was a piece of the puzzle to my new life and didn't want her to leave without me.
Okay, I sort of did. I was conflicted. She was crazy.
Scarlett approached a car, and I prayed she was just pausing to mock it. Unfortunately, she unlocked it and got in. It was a white, two-door Pinto station wagon at least two decades older than I used to be. If that wasn't enough to rate a negative score on the Cool-O-Meter, it was also adorned in stickers from bumper to bumper along the bottom and sported purple flames on the hood.
"Whoever you stole this from probably thanks you," I said as I slid into the passenger's seat. The backseat was missing, leaving a large cargo area.
"Don't insult Martha. She's sensitive."
I snorted. "Martha? You're shitting me."
"My brother named her. She was his for years. Gave her to me when I got my license. Gave her back to me when I zombied. He's got Gerda now. She's a Gremlin, his favorite."
I made a mental note that Scarlett's entire family was unbalanced.
"I was lucky to get her," Scarlett said. "Hitchhiking is dangerous. You're brave for doing it. There's a lot of nuts out there."
She would know.
"No, bravery is travelling cross-country in this thing," I said. "Cross-street is even a risk."
"Get out and walk, if you like."
"Nah, I gotta be there when I'm right. I get the opportunity so rarely, you know."
"So, what's your name?"
"We're introduced now," she said as she held out her hand to shake.
I took it in mine politely, then the freakiest thing yet happened. I saw Scarlett for who she really was. Her hair was black and cut in a short bob, but other than that she was about the same, only shorter. Her complexion was pale, and her dark makeup was in place around her eyes, but her eye shadow was a rich purple. Her eyes went wide, and I knew she saw me, too.
"So, you're a short, dark dork and not really an ivory god, huh?" she said.
"I could say the same about you."
"If you wanted to walk."
"Which I don't."
"Then shut up."