Thursday, March 15, 2012

Write On Edge: Antihero Challenge

I love a good antihero. Flawed, unscrupulous characters in it for their own glories add spice to just about any story. My favorite antihero? Han Solo (from Episode IV, back when he shot Greedo first).

This weeks Write on Edge Red Writing Hood  Challenge is a generous 500 words (Thank you Cameron) to show an antihero in a character sketch or scene. I thought about some characters I developed last year, and decided to throw the protagonist into a terrifying situation.


I offer the following in response: Trouble in Brasher

 
The wake of the showdown left the small town of Brasher dazed and disheveled. Patience became aware of a knot forming just above her hairline. “Ow.”

Nathaniel offered a hand up, “Are you injured?”

It hurt to smile, but she did anyway, for him. “I’ve a bit of a lump,” her words tumbled out. “Why are you in the store? Is there something wrong at the forge?”

He frowned, his forehead creasing deeply, “We’re in the smithy, Miss Patience. You and your sister were kind enough to bring me some lunch.”

She felt her checks warm with embarrassment. “Of course, Mr. Pritchard,” she said quickly. “I feel…Where’s Charity?”

He averted his gaze. “They took her.”

She didn’t hear him, not those words. She begged him, terrified. “Mr. Pritchard, please don’t tease. Did she return to the store?”

“Nate, my horse ready yet?” a grizzled voice interrupted them. She spun about, faster than her head wanted her to. He was tall, his features dark and plagued with shadows beneath his wide-brimmed hat.

Nathaniel, her shining knight, stepped up to the stranger and bristled. “In case you haven’t noticed, Jeb, the Lassiers just kidnapped a girl…”

She caught a glint in his eyes that turned her blood to ice. “Not my concern,” Jeb said coldly. “Is my horse shod or not?”

Nathaniel threw up his hands. “Yes, Jee-uh yes. It’s in the corral.”

With her parents off to the fort for supplies, Patience felt responsible. She couldn’t think straight. The decision to run was made before it even entered her thoughts. She bolted for the corral and vaulted over the fence. Grabbing the reins of a saddled horse, she threw herself upon its back.

“Whoa, you stealin’ my horse?” Jeb yelled, appearing out of nowhere.

She paid him no heed and dug her heals into the horse’s sides, pointing it towards the road out of town. Alarmed pedestrians barely got out the way as she galloped by. Panic gripped her throat and drove her blindly on, her helpless, sweetest sister her only thought. She didn’t notice when she first was lost and she didn’t notice Devil’s Ravine looming before her.

It was strong, duster-sleeved arms that tackled her from a horse inches before she galloped over the edge. “You’re crazy. I git that. Whydju steal my horse?”

She saw his face for the first time through a watery veil of tears. Throwing her arms around him, she sobbed into his shoulder. “They’ve got my baby sister!”

 “Now wait just a cotton-pickin’ minute,” Jeb barked, shoving her away. “Do you even know where you’re going? Lassiers ain’t for messin’ with. Go home girl.”

“No!” she pushed him back.

“Fine! Gitjur head blowed off.” His eyes went cold again. “You ain’t my concern.”

“I’ll pay you,” she uttered deperately.

“What?”

“Nathaniel said you were fearless, an Indian killer,” she begged him.

Derision lost to determination in his expression. “Five hundred dollars,” he said finally. “Now gimme back my horse.”

14 comments:

  1. A good, fully formed anti-hero of the historical kind. Well done.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!

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  2. This makes me think of True Grit a little, with the tough, stoic hero who's "only in it for the money."

    Great description, and any reference to duster-clad anything gets my heart rate up...

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    1. Yeah I had John Wayne and Clint Eastwood stuck in my head for a little while.

      I'm right there with you with duster-clad anything. There are few men that couldn't benefit from a duster...

      Thanks for stopping by and providing your feedback!

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  3. This is so well written. I love your dialogue, perfect for the scene.
    Don't tell anyone, but I do sometimes stay up late to watch old westerns...

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    1. Your secret's safe with me.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!

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  4. I like the "old" feel of this in that the language was familair, and the setting was perfect for the drama.

    You really set this up well. I can read this over and over.

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    1. Thanks! I'm a big history buff and I find myself leaning towards those settings when I write. I know that old language can be very archaic, so I try to hint at it to provide the flavor without dragging readers down into the gravy, so I'm glad that worked!

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!

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  5. Your writing always implants such vivid imagery. I, too, like the way you used language to set the scene and make it believable. Great piece!

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    1. Ooh yea! Again I try to add the spice without overwhelming. A mire of old language can really drag down the timing to a modern-written piece.

      Thanks for stopping by! I'm glad you enjoyed your stay!

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  6. I still miss the old Westerns sometimes. You captured the prompt perfectly here. I liked the dialogue a great deal; it seemed to move the action along while still providing information on the characters.

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    1. Thanks! I grew up with westerns, and some of my favorite movies have been set during the 1800s. Thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!

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  7. I really like the characters - so much potential in a guy who says it's none of his business.

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    1. Yeah and then it turns out that he makes it his business right? Love the dark ones myself.

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving your feedback! Happy St. Patrick's Day!

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