Character Windows: Short little pieces of flash fiction that have characters from your novel doing everyday things. I’ll be doing this for my free writing for the foreseeable future. The goal is to help create highly distinct characters for my current ongoing draft of Everlasting.
We’re starting a new window. Walking down Rodeo Drive! Except that we’re in Everlasting and Rodeo drive doesn’t exist. Instead we have Roal Street, which is the city of Qual’s equivalent. We’ve already seen the street in the prior windows, so this will be more or less a re-hash, except the characters will be focused more on the street itself rather than the theater that resides on it.
Today’s piece is Lee walking down Roal Street. To read Lee’s prior windows click here.
Everlasting Window – Walking down Roal Street – Leonard
By Nojh Livic
Lee kept to the sidewalk. Strangely enough it seemed that the was less likely to run into anybody, or anything on the sidewalk than if he walked in the street. He remembered Qual from his childhood but he did not remember it being this busy or this crowded. Horses, carriages, and even the occasional transport, which had slowed Lee’s progress down the still pedestrian heavy street as he stopped to examine each of them as they drove by.
It was early morning and Lee had awoken to a note saying Marla had opted for a day of shopping. The meeting with the count had gone well. He now had operating cache to continue his research, as well as buy food and supplies to take back to the house. He had expected that was what Marla meant when she left her note, however her instructions had said he could meet her at Rudy’s around second pop. He vaguely remembered where Rudy’s was and had to ask one of the hotel staff for directions. It had apparently moved to some place called Roal Street.
As Lee made his way on foot to this new location, he began to notice how the architecture changed as he neared the street. Simple shops changed into elaborate storefronts. Above them lofts began to show extra attention to decor and one almost never saw laundry hanging out the windows. Cart vendors slowly thinned, as did the street traffic, although not enough to let him use the street with ease. By the time Lee was on Roal Street proper he realized Marla’s intent was less practical and more commercial.
Roal Street, it turned out, was a place where most shoppers were just as concerned at being seen as doing the seeing. This made Lee uncomfortable and for a moment he considered circumnavigating the entire street and approaching Rudy’s from another direction. However a nearby pop candle’s quiet single pop told him he didn’t have the time to get himself lost in the city, which he would almost certainly do.
He was only uncomfortable for about ten steps before a style of transport huffed its way down the street and came to a rest only a few paces away from him. He was captivated almost immediately, halting in his tracks, much to the surprise of the shoppers behind him who bumped into him. He murmured a half-hearted apology as he watched a servant climb down from atop the transport, then help a lady out of it, then several children. The man waited by the transport as his former passengers wandered into a shop.
Lee wandered closer to the mobility machine. It was supported by wheels and obviously directed by controls from the top forward part of the machine, not unlike a four-wheeled stagecoach save there were no horses pulling it. The carriage sat behind and below the operator and was completely enclosed. He noted the back of the machine held shelving which already had several shopping bags and boxes strapped in it. The majority of the mechanics needed to propel the device appeared to be under the carriage. Lee could see signs of large steam chambers but he would need to crawl under the transport to get a good look at how the suspension and steering worked. He half considered asking the servant save that the man was already giving him odd glances. With a sigh Lee moved on.
The buildings were almost as extravagant as the transport. Window displays were common, showing the types of wares each shop offered. Most offered some style of clothing although there were others that offered more mundane items that appeared of either better quality or more audacious. He stopped in front of a window to a shop that apparent sold luggage of a type. His own luggage for the strip had to be more than ten cycles old and he vaguely considered going inside. The samples provided by the windows proved daunting however. Garish and somewhat offending colors and odd shapes covered shelves. Although they had a basic automata in the far window that was showing off how to open and close one of the more irregular shaped pieces of baggage, he still opted to keep moving.
Lee wondered if Marla would actually buy anything from any of the shops here. She had equal access to their funds, mostly because she handled more of the logistics of the laboratory than he did. He wouldn’t begrudge her if she did but he didn’t think anything here was really her style. Then again, he mused, she had pointed out more than once that he had no real sense of style, at least when it came to fashion.
Art, on the other hand, he could appreciate. There was a small art gallery tucked in between two rather large emporiums that Lee almost missed, save that man exited from it quickly and almost blindly walked into him. Quick apologies exchanged, Lee glanced around for a candle and discovered an actual clock hanging inside the doorway. He moved to examine it both to determine if he had some time to look around and to see how it worked.
Nearly a fourth of a pop later Lee exited carrying a small package and made his way quickly down the sidewalk in the direction of Rudy’s. The clock was no longer hanging on the wall of the art gallery and he now had no ground to stand upon if he wanted to chide Marla about buying out an entire dress shop.
Lee likes art! Kinda! I always knew I wanted Lee to be a little absent-minded. I made a conscious decision to have Lee pay less attention to the people of Roal Street than the buildings or the mechanical wonders that might have been on display there. I felt it fit in more with his character. Others will likely pay more attention to people in general, or certain types of people, or the types of goods in the stores. We’ll just have to see who!