Character Sketches

Note: the characters described below are purely fictional; that is, completely from the imagination of the author and not based on real people, either people he knows or people he does not. Any resemblance to any person, living, dead, or somewhere in-between, is probably purely accidental, though there might be a subconscious factor, we really don’t know. Anyway, it is and was not the author’s intent to describe any real people, and should not be taken as such. J. Carlsee, editor.

I walked into the room. It was the usual dining-room: tables randomly placed in a specific geometric pattern, talking, laughing, a noise of voices like the sound of a waterfall, various chairs in various places, a spirit of boisterous friendliness that teetered on chaos, and an increase of at least ten degrees of warmth. A servant doffed my coat; I thanked him, gave him a tip, then walked to the nearest table to observe my surroundings. Four men were sitting there. The first that I noticed was an old, lithe, stick-figure of a man, wearing the absurdest clothes–ragged and patched, misshapen, with colors that clashed so loudly the eye was as startled as the ear is by the discordant harmony of unpitched percussion. He seemed to be wearing a kilt, and something like a cloak, but everything else he wore was indefinable–patches, scraps, bits of clothing he had found or borrowed. But his uncannily absurd costume was but a reflection of his uncannily absurd face. He wore a crooked smile that would have made the man with the crooked sixpence envious, and he had bright, cunning, inquisitive eyes that made me feel as though he only saw me, though his eyes darted everywhere else. But his beard! If he had entered a competition for craziest beard he would have won first place. It was wild and unbrushed, like an untended hedge. Anything that could get in it was in it: sticks, leaves, food, anything. His hair was in the same condition–wild, tangled, and long. He obviously never brushed it, and I wondered if he had ever taken a bath. I resolved to wash my hands after shaking his.

The second was a brooding man dressed in black. Not complete black, but dark colors, none of the colors of the rainbow. His face was made of granite, chipped to form a coarse visage and the stubble of an unformed beard. Grave he was, but he had an aura of danger, of sinistrality*. In his face was a sternness that concealed a savage anger, and in his steely eyes was a glint of fire. He was not a man to make an enemy of**. But what was most disconcerting was his scar–a large slash across his face***, the claws of some vicious animal ripping his flesh, now dried and hardened into his visage. It startled me when I first saw it, and its effect on me has never quite faded. His presence itself was perturbing, and the whole room seemed to whisper before him. His cold stare froze the words in a person’s mouth and made him shudder. Not wishing for his attention, I turned my gaze to the others. There were two of them: one, a candid, auburn-haired fellow with twinkling, mischievous eyes; the other, a pale, dark, taciturn young man who seemed to dislike sunlight as much as he did people. The former had a full mug of ale and was talking cheerily, though avoiding the man with the scarred face. He seemed to be the most cheerful and honest young man in the world, full of gaiety and unconcerned with whether he told his deepest secret to anyone, if anyone would listen. He was annoying, yet somehow impossible to hate. His clothes were fancy–he wore a fashionable hat, and his costume was brilliant blues and golds, radiating wealth and gaiety. The latter sipped his ale quietly, and seemed uncomfortable, as if he wanted to disappear into the shadows. He was a shadow himself, with dark eyes and a nose red from being rubbed. All light absorbed into him, all gaiety became moroseness. Both his hair and his clothes were black, and whereas the former’s clothes were fancy, the latter’s clothes were dull, the costume of a peasant. Yet the two complemented each other, as day and night, speaker and listener. I extended my hand to the first, and said “Greetings! It’s a pleasure to meet you, sirs!”



Notes:
*This is a real word. J. Carlsee, editor.
**Putting a preposition at the end of a sentence is grammatically legal, and anyway we didn’t want to write “He was not a man of which an enemy should be made”. J. Carlsee, editor.
***If you were wondering, yes, we do know what a semicolon is, and yes, we deliberately chose not to use it. J. Carlsee, editor.

4 thoughts on “Character Sketches

  1. What delightful writing! It reminds me of Dickens or Doyle. My favorite part is “He wore a crooked smile that would have made the man with the crooked sixpence envious.” If this is part of a longer work, I’d love to read more!

    P.S. “a spirit of boisterous friendliness that teetered on chaos” — this makes me think of Finn. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! We are delighted by your encouragement, and we also now want to read Doyle. Sadly, this is not part of a longer work, but possibly someday…

      (And yes it does seem to describe him well! Not sure that was the author’s intention, but it works!)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I was drawn into the details of each character and want to know more about their journey and how it will intertwined within each other.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We are glad, in fact very happy, to hear from you! (Well, we can’t hear you, but it’s an expression.) Your comment proves we have succeeded in our intent. I will try to pester your grandson into writing more for them, but he apparently has other plans and only intended it to be a portrait of fictional characters. Personally I think it ought to be part of a story; I’ll see what I can do about convincing him.

      Like

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