This week has seen a bit of a crisis in my NaNoWriMo 2012 adventure. It's not the word count, that's fine. It's not finding writing time, I'm squeezing that in.
It's Minor Character Takeover.
This is a
nightmare phenomenon I've experience before. That insidious feeling that a secondary character is more intriguing, more exciting and generally has more about them than the main character.
But regardless, I soldier.
Anyway, seeing as how I'm somewhat fascinated by her, I thought you might want to meet her too. So here's this week's NaNoWriMo extract... introducing Rat.
An alley cut between two pubs, choked with bins and refuse. Glancing around her, she turned down, picking her way gracefully through upturned boxes and beer crates. It stank down here, a medley of rank beer and rotting food. She didn’t mind. Smells masked a person as much as darkness and in the stark light of morning she’d take that. It was darker down here anyway, the light blocked by the Victorian frontages. A cat yowled ahead of her, skittering up to perch on the drainpipe where it paused to like its paw in a pretence of unconcern. That made her laugh. The cat would show no fear any more than she would. In old times people would’ve thought it was a familiar, a devil incarnate. They were sisters, she and the cat. People thought she was a devil too.
She wasn’t. She just worked for him.
Softly, she scratched at a cellar door, a hatch at the base of the wall built to roll beer barrels into the cellars. She heard a bolt being scraped back and the trapdoor pushed open just wide enough to allow a girl inside - or a cat. She dropped inside, soft footed but panic flared in her blood when it shut. She didn’t know her escape route. You should always know how to get out.
The room had no windows, only a narrow strip of thick opaque glass at pavement, so grimy it did no more than emit the faintest drizzle of light. You’d need a torch down here, or better still a light switch. The girl had neither. She stood feeling the darkness lap round her, making herself stay calm. Nothing killed you faster than panic.
“It’s done,” she said.