Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Wild Card Wednesday!
Welcome to the second ever Wild Card Wednesday! Every Wednesday I'll be posting a prompt that requires bloggers to use both their imaginations and what they read to answer it. Your answers can be in any form you like and they don't even have to make a whole lot of sense. The point is to have fun!
If you'd like to participate, just add a link to your Wild Card Wednesday post in the linking tool below.
This week's prompt is: Choose one of your favorite characters and one of your least favorite characters. Now pretend they're going on a road trip. What's the destination and how do they interact?
Favorite Character: DEATH (Discworld by Terry Pratchett)
Least Favorite Character: Mrs. Bennet (Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen)
Destination: Las Vegas
Mrs. Bennett's car had broken down an hour ago. She had never understood vehicles and had ignored the CHECK ENGINE light for weeks. Just her luck it had given out in the middle of nowhere. It wasn't proper for a lady to accept a ride with a man she didn't know, but no one else had come along and he had seemed so eager to help. She couldn't really describe what he looked like; in fact, at times it felt like her mind was trying to not see him. He had been riding a horse, however, and she figured that there wasn't much mischief that could be accomplished on horseback. Her arms were wrapped around his unusually thin frame, gripping onto the front of his hooded black robe.
"Where did you say you were from again?" she asked, staring out over his shoulder at the endless desert in front of them.
I DIDN'T, he replied.
"Ah, well, I'm much obliged to you all the same," she said. "Lydia will be so glad to hear that I've gotten to Las Vegas with hardly any trouble."
His voice was strange. It was like he was speaking in her head instead of like a normal person. Come to think of it, nothing about him seemed "normal." But, beggars can't be choosers and her nerves had just about frayed before he had come along. She had felt one of her spells coming on and had had to take deep, heaving breaths to make sure she didn't hyperventilate.
"I was ever so surprised when she sent me that letter," Mrs. Bennett said to no one in particular. "After that row with her father last Christmas, I was sure she wasn't going to ever speak to us again." When the stranger said nothing, she continued, "He still won't forgive her after all this time. I keep telling him that she's still his daughter, but he's always been partial to our Lizzy, you know."
"It's true. She was always his favorite. Although, for the life of me, I can't imagine why."
They rode in silence for a while, mostly because Mrs. Bennett couldn't think of anything to say. This was strange, to say the least, because usually no one could get her to shut up. The curt answers of her riding partner had somehow rendered her speechless. She figured it must be because she was so used to having a conversation partner who knew when to nod appreciatively or scoff derisively in all the right places. She wondered for a moment if this man was a simpleton.
The dull brown scenery passed around them, never ceasing to bore her. Occasionally a car would come down the road but other than that there was no one else on that desert highway. Mrs. Bennett pulled a fan from her bag and started to wave it in front of her face. It wasn't proper for a woman to sweat, especially in the company of someone she didn't know.
"You don't say much do you?" she asked finally.
WHEN I HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY.
That decided it. This man was clearly an idiot. She felt sorry for him and, because of his kindness, resolved to donate to whatever charity would most benefit people like him.
"My, but it's hot out here," she said. "Don't you think it's hot?"
This was going absolutely nowhere. Mrs. Bennett had never felt more out of sorts in her life. She regretted accepting his offer of a ride. She regretted agreeing to come out to Las Vegas even though her husband had flatly refused to go. Her poor nerves, she thought. No one seemed to care about them. If Lydia had really wanted to see her, she could have come out to New York instead.
She said as much aloud. "Of course, her father would never let her into the house, but she could always stay in a nice hotel. There are so many of them in New York. It would do her good to get out of Vegas once in a while. I've heard stories about that place that you wouldn't believe. Or, well, maybe you would believe them, but I certainly couldn't. Why, it's a place of sin and depravity; it's no place for a woman to make her home."
The stranger raised his shoulders and let them drop. It was a non-committal shrug and it made Mrs. Bennett furious.
"You, sir, are the most unpleasant travelling partner I have ever had!" she exclaimed.
He pulled on the reins and his horse came to a stop.
I AM SORRY YOU FEEL THAT WAY. PERHAPS YOU WOULD PREFER TO WALK TO NEVADA?
"I most certainly would not! I'm a lady; I'm delicate."
The man in black turned a little in his saddle and said, MADAM, IF YOU WERE AS DELICATE AS YOU SAY YOU ARE, YOU WOULD BE MUCH QUIETER.
She sputtered in rage. "Oh! the impertinence! How dare you speak to me that way?"
Another shrug. He didn't move to goad the horse into trotting off again. Instead, he sat in the saddle silently, pensively. It seemed as if he wanted to say something but was trying to figure out a way to say it.
Then, MRS. BENNETT, YOU DO KNOW WE AREN'T GOING TO LAS VEGAS, DON'T YOU?
Her lips drew into a tight line. She wanted to scream at him, but couldn't think of anything to scream. He sensed her agitation and pointed a long, thin finger behind them. It looked almost skeletal. She turned around to see what he was pointing at and realized that, even though it felt like they had been travelling for hours, they had barely gone ten feet. She saw her car, the hood popped up, fire and smoke pouring from the engine. She didn't remember leaving it that way. And she definitely didn't remember it being wrapped around a telephone pole. Dangling out of the driver's side window was a pale, limp hand. She could guess whose arm it was attached to.
Shaking slightly, she looked down at herself and realized that she was fading slowly but surely, a faint memory of the body that was lying lifeless in the wrecked car. She nodded, finally seeing the figure in front of her for the first time.
"Well," she finally said, her voice resigned, "at least there's one good thing to come out of this."
AND WHAT IS THAT, MRS. BENNETT?
"I don't have to spend the week with that scoundrel, Wickham."
DEATH nodded. YOU KNOW WHAT THEY SAY, MADAM. ALWAYS LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE OF DEATH.