Thursday, November 12, 2009

Chapter Eleven from The Great Elation

Chapter Eleven

The Wolf: Cody

Cody followed Dex around for half an hour before the ship was ready to go. Cody loved Dex. Dex was good. Cody could just tell. He was nice, he petted him just right. Not demeaning, or afraid. Just like they were friends, and Cody liked that. As great as Milo was, there was a very subtle fear; mostly awkwardness, but it made Cody feel awkward too, which was why he didn't let Milo pet him very often.

He also found Dex's voice easy to understand. The shapes just made more sense in his voice. And, even if he didn't know what they meant, he could always get an idea what they meant, because the way Dex said them was different than Milo, more bold, more happy, but not too happy; Dex had a very subtle hint of sad in his voice. Cody didn't think anybody else could hear it but him.

And Dex's smell! He smelled good. Not just that it was a pleasant smell, but that he was a good person. The scent just radiated off of him, like how nice he was. Nobody Cody had ever met smelled like that. The residue of thousands of winds clung to him; winds made on his motorcycle - a peculiar word, Cody had a difficult time even thinking it, it was so complicated, but Dex made it easier to understand. Winds from New York City, in all sorts of places. Dirty streets filled with garbage and exhaust fumes, mingled with the raw scent of people. Some of the scents were more delicate. Children. There was a heavy smell from streets like that. And then there was lots of clean wind; clean and icy. A sweet wind. The kind that Cody liked best. It reminded him of the winds back home, and the wonderful scents it has always brung.

And then there was the smell on Dex like he had gotten very close to leaving Earth. To touching the stars, mingling with the universe. It reminded Cody distinctly of Milo's smell; except that Milo's smell reminded Cody of minor things. It was different with Dex, because Cody thought he could smell that Dex hadn't actually gotten to touch the stars. He had almost gotten to, and that made a lot of difference.

Cody kept away from the tall one with dark hair...what shape had Milo used? Marty.

There was a lot of sad smell coming off of Marty, and even more sad sound in his voice. More than Cody had ever heard in anybody before. He felt as if Dex's sadness was hidden extremely well...Marty's, not so much. And the way he looked at Cody was nervous. Maybe even afraid. Cody watched him intently as they were getting ready to load up into the ship; occasionally Marty would throw a glance Cody's way, but he never tried to get close, but he didn't go out of his way to stay away either. Cody continued to watch everyone as he stayed close to Dex, who was wandering around and around the ship, whistling to himself, extremely impressed with it. The tall female with curly hair made Cody sneeze, because she had so much artificial smell on her. It smelled good, but Cody just couldn't get a good whiff without sneezing. She respectfully gave Cody his space and didn't attempt to touch him or talk to him, which Cody appreciated. Some people just didn't know how to talk to him, and this lady wouldn't have if she tried, he didn't much think.

The other girl...Cody thought of her as girl because she seemed younger than the other lady...was nice, and he liked her, almost as much as Dex. A few times he stopped by her and would watch her as she watched everyone else. The second time he sat down next to her, she lowered herself to the floor and talked to him. Her voice was about like Milo's...some of it was easy to make out, some of it he didn't understand, and some of it he just couldn't catch at all. Not as easy to listen to as Dex, but she had a pleasant voice, like she really did care about what she was saying, and like she really did care who she was talking to.

"You're a good boy, Cody," she said quietly. All of those were words Cody knew and liked. Dogs seemed to appreciate words like that more than he did; he didn't know why. He did like to hear them, though. They gave him a good feeling inside.

"I see that you like Dex pretty well," she went on. She smiled and started to reach her hand out to Cody, but then changed her mind. Cody pushed his nose under her...hand....odd names, the humans had for their paws. She was gentle when she touched him, and it felt good. She felt more comfortable touching him than even Milo did.

Cody whined too quietly for any of the humans to hear. He knew Milo wasn't a dog person. That's what the shapes sounded like that described someone that liked creatures like Cody. Her jacket was smooth and cool on the outside, like Dex's. It smelled of some creature Cody had never seen, but he liked the way it smelled. It made him want to chew on it, but he knew that might not be polite, so he didn't do it.

They were so odd. Why would they wear things that were once meant for eating? He knew her jacket couldn't be eaten now, but it just smelled so delicious. It would taste good to chew on.

"It looks as if I'll be the quiet one, as usual. Just as well. It's comfortable to be ignored, to some extent." Lots of shapes in her voice that Cody didn't understand, but a few he recognized anyway.

"What about you, Cody? What role will you play in this story?"

Story? Cody pricked his ears. He had a very vague idea of what that word meant. It was an exciting word.

"I'm winging it with my book," she said. Cody couldn't quite place her tone...perhaps one of regret? Regret. He didn't recognize that word, exactly. Why had he thought it? Oh yes. It had something to do with being sorry. Sorry was a word he knew. Milo said it a lot.

"It'll be quite an adventure won't it? Only Milo knows what I'm really doing on this ship. The government is after me, you know. Some rubbish like that. Ugh. Too much Harry Potter, I think; I said rubbish." she giggled. Cody looked at her questioningly, tilting his head and turning his ears toward her. He wondered what she was laughing at.

"I think Dex will be the character everyone likes," she said. Cody completely understood and agreed with that sentence.

"Marlene will probably be comic relief." Hurley laughed. More laughter. It sounded nice. Milo didn't laugh very much. He smiled, often, but you couldn't hear a smile.

"Milo. Hmm. What about Milo? The driving force. The voice of wisdom. The reason we're all here. Something like that. Soothsayer! No, no, Milo doesn't seem like a soothsayer. Maybe he's just older than the rest of us. He did get all of us here; but we can't label him as anything, can we?"

She sighed.

"But I've just labeled everyone else," she muttered. She didn't seem to like whatever she was talking to herself about. "Put them in a box, of where I expect they'll go. Of course I'll be wrong. You can't box in a character, unless they're one-dimensional." She looked around and fixed her gaze on Marty.

"However," she continued, "as long as I'm doing it, I might as well make a character prediction for Marty, too. Silent hero, maybe? Doesn't say much. No, wait. Mmm. Hate to say it. He'll be the character that nobody likes and nobody understands. I like him well enough; but I'm the writer, I like every character."

Cody growled softly, cautiously. Humans didn't seem to understand that growls were used for more than bad things. He just wanted to ask her a question.

"Oh, a question," she said softly. She smiled and rubbed Cody's forehead gently. It felt nice. Cody wished more things felt like this. He felt...what was that shape? He couldn't think of it. He would have to listen hard for awhile so he could hear it. Once he heard it, he would know it.

"Me, I'll be the narrator. First person, because that's the most fun for a novel like this. I suppose it won't exactly be a novel. I'll make some things up, change the names a bit. Perhaps I'll be...Alyson. That's a pretty name. A little bit more sophisicated than Hurley. It'll be like Journey to the Centre of the Earth. It'll read like its true, but some of it I'll have to make up. I'm just going to draw heavily from everyday experience. And I don't know if my characters will be in a spaceship bound for a planet in danger."

A few seconds later she burst into laughter that Cody thought was quite unexplained, but he didn't really care. He liked how she laughed at unexplained things. "No pun intended," she gasped.

Oh well. He would probably never know exactly what she had found so funny. 'Pun' was a shape he didn't understand. She turned to look at Cody.

"What about you, Cody? Sweet boy. What part have you got in all of this? Will you bring us together? I mean - the characters? I think we're all broken, in some way, except you, maybe Marlene. I don't know. Are you the missing link?"

She rubbed the fur around his eyes thoughtfully and then scooted closer.

Cody liked that. It was so nice. Like she needed comfort too.

"I guess we'll see," she muttered. "After all, we're only beginning."


Mythopoeia said...

I loved this! Writing from an animal perspective is tricky, and I think you really nailed it. And clever choice of chapter to share, too--a listing of all the characters that doesn't read like a list. Great job!

Anna said...

Thank you, thank you. (bows)

Seriously, your comments are so encouraging! Are you going to be posting more or your book soon? I loved the excerpt from the other day. I'm eager for more. :)