“Foes and Rivals” A look back

I’m still trying to think my way out of the box I’ve written myself into here with “Tillamook.” To tide things over, here’s a tactical glimpse of the backstory of how Gil Haven and Mackenzie d’Arcy ended up where they they are. From the last chapter of “Foes and Rivals.”

“Come on,” Nichole announced, turning west.  “We need to be out of the city and through the tunnels before complete darkness.”

Without further word, her friends followed.  Out of campus and along Montgomery Street, Gil only spoke when, just at the highway that plunged under the West Hills, Nichole abruptly turned left onto a residential street winding sharply up.

“There’s something I want to see.  You two can wait here if you don’t want to climb with me.”

Gil heard Mac’s little sigh and held out his hand to help her.  She took it.

Just above the tunnel’s mouth, Nichole stopped and looked north and east.  Besides the continuing small-arms fire, she heard the occasional crump of mortars.  Many buildings along the city’s northern edge were on fire.

“I am so sorry…” Gil just caught from her.

Leaping from rock to rock and bracing herself against trees when she had to, Nichole made the descent down the hillside to the road and tunnel look easier than it was.  Both Gil and Mac had several slips and scrapes before standing next to her.  There was still electric power, but only one light every hundred feet or so in the tunnel was on.

“S… spooky!” Mackenzie shuddered, still next to Gil after her last near-fall.

“You will be fine, dear friend!” Nichole could tell her eyes were back to normal, as there was no moisture on her face to match the raging sorrow in her processors.  “After all, you have him, now!  No!  Do not speak!”

She took two steps and touched their chests.  With her right hand she fingered the memory crystal in Gil’s pocket.

“I love you.  I might even be a soul.  But, I am not human.  You must find a mate of your own kind.”

She pressed a little more into Mackenzie, who could properly cry.

“Please take care of each other!”

“Ni…” Gil began.

“…chole!” Mac sputtered.

Her shadow vanished into the blackness as Nichole ran away west.

Where away?

For Act 2.5 of Defiant, I’ve dealt a little with Mackenzie and now with Teresa.  They both have more to say, and I was planning on wrapping everything up about (two, three?) months hence with Joe’s diagnosis, say, two months before Nichole & Gil play out Act 3.

But… it seems too episodic:  here’s side character #1, here’s side character #2….  That may work in a seasonal show, but not so much in a novel.

I need a theme for this arc, and I’ve got nothing. I thought it might be family & loss (suggestive of a book title) what with Mac’s dead brother and Teresa’s missing, presumed dead, mother (and I know some of Nichole’s siblings were ‘failures’).  I might even find out more about Gil and Joe.  I did have one of them say or think, “everyone has lost someone in the Breakup.”

Episodic’s fine for blog posts; not a coherent novel.  I guess this is one of those retro times when I wish I had a traditional editor to tell me to get my shit together!  I am not writing one more word until I understand what they want me to say.

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Suggestions welcome.

Dramatis Personae

I’ve “seen” the next episode – and even a little beyond it.  But I was also encountering… friction.  This story is unfolding so fast that I’m starting to lose track of everyone in my head.  So, it was time to start a ‘cast of characters’ page where I keep notes about appearances, behaviors, relations . . . really, anything that I might forget about a character.

As there are semi-spoilers in my notes to myself, I’m not posting it.  Yet.  Maybe around Ep 15 or 20 I’ll create a cleaned-up version suitable for public consumption.  As it is, “Defiant” has twenty three people wandering about it!  Once I know what few outfits Nichole brought with her to wear, then I’ll post Ep 11.  This is supposed to be a university!  Everyone finally heads off to class (more characters!  Ack!) and we finally get a good dose of Portland ‘liquid sunshine.’

Thanks for all that are following along.  If you’ve any questions or comments, please let me know; I enjoy feedback!