Ellen 1

Posted: August 24, 2008 in Three Days

Three Days Part 3

I step back onto the trash can lid and focus on the dirty metal, pushing with my mind. It shakes and glides upward, out above the alley and over the dark buildings. It’s cold up here, close to the stars and away from the baking asphalt. Away from Drake.
Nine years later and I still can’t understand Drake’s damned problem with me. I’ve always cared about him, and I can tell that he feels the same. So why is there so much that needs to be stripped away before he lets me get close?
Below me there are city blocks that bustle with lights and noise, and my eyes are drawn to a line of cars that stretches towards the city limits. People are leaving before the Three Days Massacre’s next anniversary. I wish them luck.
I’ve pursued Drake ever since the last Three Days Massacre, when he saved my life. It was my second time defending this city. I was stupid and overconfident, lacking real experience, and I tried to take that bastard Reeps down without backup or any plan at all. He overpowered me and trapped me in this disgusting web, like he was about to eat me. Who knows? Given his nature, he probably would have.
I skim low along a rooftop, slowing, and the lid sparks as it collides with the apartment building.
Reeps and I had been inside this abandoned tenement building in one of the older sections of town. I remember the sense of utter hopelessness welling up in me as Reeps crawled across this massive spiderweb to meet me. I remember the musty odor of rat shit and burnt wood that filled my nostrils I watched the death that was scurrying towards me. I remember the look on his face, like he was savoring the moment.
I lean the trash can lid against the wall and then focus on the pile of bricks near the door. A cluster of them float through the air and group around the lid, covering it from suspicious eyes. It’s been useful to get around town with.
Before Reeps could do anything, though, Drake crashed through the rotting wall with another man, completely by accident. This guy had a can of hairspray and a lighter that fell to the floor. Drake suddenly noticed Reeps and me, and after a moment he grabbed the can and lighter then set the massive web on fire. Reeps scuttled away when he saw the fire, escaping through the hole that Drake had come through. The other guy followed him quickly, like he was afraid.
The door opens, and I start to trudge down the stairs to my apartment.
Drake burned most of the web away, then pried the sticky stuff off of my body and carried me out of there. I remember how good he looked, brow furrowed with concern as he checked to see if any of my bones were broken. I remember the way that his hair kept slipping over his eyes. I remember that red dragon patch that adorned the back of his jacket as he walked away from me, certain that I was all right.
Apartment number 9F. I fumble through my jacket pockets, looking for my key, then open the door.
I sought Drake out after that, a few days after the end of the Three Days, looking to thank him for his help. I finally found him working in a restaurant downtown as a waiter, and we started talking. We became good friends, both of us different, both of us hidden away from normal society.
In the kitchen, I pour myself a glass of milk. Luckily, I smell the sour odor before the expired liquid reaches my mouth and into the sink it goes.
People like us, we don’t get out much; we don’t make many friends. I guess superhuman would be the best term for us, if we do need a label. Drake has always taken the ‘superhero’ thing really seriously, with the dragon logo on his jacket and his unbreakable moral compass. I guess I feel the same way, but I hate the term and the reputation that comes with being a hero. It just feels forced, like I’m pretending to be better than I actually am.
I glance out the window, but I can only see shadows. The streetlight’s not on.
So Drake and I became friends, but little did I know that that was it for him. I kept expecting him to make a move, to ask me out on a date or to do something more than bar conversation. But after nearly a year of waiting, I got tired of doing nothing but hanging out. I idolized him, and he was still too stupid to get that I wanted to be more than friends. More than a drinking partner.
I hear footsteps outside of my door, drunken laughter and wet, sloppy kissing noises. My walls have always been way too thin to live in close quarters with other people.
I figured that he was afraid, that he didn’t want to alienate me with an expression of feelings. So I made the first move, grabbed him in a hug that was obviously meant to be more than just friendly and kissed him. I remember his reaction, his eyes widening in true shock as he pushed me away. I remember feeling so hurt, so embarrassed as he stared at me. I remember how he turned away, head shaking. I still don’t know what he was feeling. Regret? Embarrassment? Fear?
I grab the remote from between the sofa cushions, then turn on the news. The Three Days are coming, and I need to know the situation.
I need to be prepared.

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Comments
  1. kayla sikes says:

    hayyyy
    sooo

    from the first few lines I like this character. I’m not a feminist by any means, but you get two kinds of chick characters, normally. they’re either a damsel in distress [and they’re really hot] or they’re SUPER TUFF [and they’re even hotter.] Ellen seems multilayered, gritty without being a ~femme fatale~, and just…it’s refreshing. so thank you for that.

    “baking asphalt.” — I love this description SO much.

    “Away from the man I love.
    Nine years later and I still can’t understand Drake’s damned problem with me. I’ve always felt strongly about him, and I can tell that he feels the same. So why is there so much shit that needs to be stripped away before he lets me get close?” — ok. this passage. the 2nd and 4th sentences are awesome and fit really well with her character. the first is never something I can imagine a girl like Ellen saying. she’s realistic, and she’s honest about things, but I can’t imagine her thinking of Drake as ‘the man she loves.’ they have such a comfortable, friendly relationship, and that phrase makes him seem almost idealized and distant in her head, which you showed before, he’s definitely not. plus it’s a bit cliche. when you’re writing romances, it’s unfortunately just overdone, so there are certain phrases you have to avoid and imho, that’s one of them. in the 3rd sentence, ‘felt strongly’ is awkward. maybe replace it with ‘cared about’, which once again is way more personal and not distant.

    “I wish them luck.” I like the contrast between Ellen and the other characters here. I’ll be honest and say [although I’m not like this] I think women really do tend to be more emotional, and not in a bad way- they have more empathy and probably tend to be more sympathetic to people than men. so it makes sense. and it’s a bit of a nice, softening touch to a woman who’s otherwise fairly badass.

    “and the lid sparks” — great image. the whole description of the building and Reeps approaching her is very vivid as well, I love it.

    “This guy had a can of hairspray and a lighter that fell to the floor.” — oh man, I hate to point this out, but. do you know what deux ex machina is? look it up if you don’t. it’s a latin term meaning, literally, ‘the god machine’– in fiction, it means some absurdly lucky thing happens and the day is improbably saved. if the man’s really going to have fire implements, have them be more common than those two, or at least explain WHY he had them. and the fact that it’s an accident makes it even more weird.

    “I remember how good he looked,” — omg, bby. the girl just got almost eaten/burned alive/killed and she’s noticing how good he looks? I think she’d be a lot more out of it than that, or at least she’d have different priorities in that moment.

    I love love love the part about the sour milk. but you should probably cut the ‘without checking how sour it is,’ because that gives away the surprise. once it comes, it’s a perfect and subtle way to show how this girl operates- she’s not your normal domestic woman with a stocked fridge and an organized life.

    oh man, her bit about how she feels, having her superpowers? really good. it reminds me of batman, but female, and less fierce. haha. but srsly, it’s such a good bit of characterization.

    “this man,”- ok, once again, too distant. I’d never think of anybody I was really close friends with in general terms like that.

    “My wall have…” should be ‘walls’, I think?

    ok, now this could be over-picky, but I feel like the ‘sudden kiss’ scene was a bit off emotion-wise. if I went on impulse and kissed a dude, then felt like he wasn’t into it and was shocked, I’d be more embarrassed than hurt. I’d run the hell out of there and later, in my room, all alone, thinking about it, THEN I’d feel hurt. but I’d just be mortified and a tad regretful at first.

    this is a great chapter. I love Ellen’s character and I feel like the story is improving a lot. great job luko!

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