Favorite Scene Saturdays: part two

Do you find yourself missing living in the story you once wrote? I spent seven years developing, tweaking, building, and creating TMC and its possible series (which I hope to revisit one day). And I find myself longing to be back in the keeper world. I miss Luke. Miss his sarcastic but loyal personality. Miss the magical elements a key can bring. Miss the massive libraries. It’s like having lived in a foreign country for seven years–then returning home. Sweet to be back. But aching to return. It makes sense to miss it. It’s a world where I discovered not only characters but myself in a way. Which makes having this blog and posting these scenes for you so enjoyable. So, thank you. I appreciate your visits, your likes, your thoughts. You.

I would still LOVE to post a favorite scene you’ve written or have read somewhere (with credit, of course) — please shoot me an email if you’d like to participate: robin.puelma@gmail.com.

Today’s favorite scene comes from TMC again — part of this scene you may have read. But I’m including the entire scene it belongs with, so please enjoy!

* * *

Luke spent most of his time downstairs exploring the bookstore. One day, by the time it was noon, he had wandered every aisle at least three times and was lounging by the fireplace, halfway through the brown book Cashal had left on his dresser.

On the cover in large ornate letters was written Crimoire: a Keeper’s Book of Magic. References to various magic filled the table of contents. Everything looked hand printed; black splotches even appeared on the page as if someone had spilled ink. Luke grinned. This was perfect. It was just what he needed to catch up.

Soon, however, Cashal found him.

“Up for running some errands with me?”

Luke hesitated. Outside, snow was whirling down in white flurries.

“Don’t worry. These kinds of errands don’t require going outside. Follow me.”

Minutes later, Luke found himself standing in a grand cave that seemed to stretch for miles. The sounds of a train station at rush hour roared in his ears. And shops, more shops than Luke could have imagined raced around the outer edges. If Luke thought Cashal’s bookstore was unique, it paled in comparison to this.

“The Atrium’s one large transportation hub all keepers use to get around from city to city and store to store,” explained Cashal, as he guided Luke through the bustling crowd. “It’s amazing, if you ask me, and quite efficient.”

Luke meant to say something, but his mouth wouldn’t let him. It was frozen ajar in utter amazement. He hadn’t expected the door beside the fireplace in Cashal’s bookstore to lead him here. He had foolishly thought it was a closet.

“Now,” said Cashal once they had reached the center and Cashal had began digging through his coat, “I’m going to let you loose here. I’ve got things…where’d I put it? Oh here it is.” He plucked out a small brown bag with a golden tassel on the top. Satisfied, he passed it to Luke. “A little birthday money to spend, hmm?”

Confused, Luke glanced inside the bag and saw a handful of glittering jewels. “What?”

“Just be sure to get a Finder, a journal, and some pens. The rest you can use on your own.”

“Cashal, I can’t—”

He squeezed Luke’s hand shut on the bag and furrowed his brows at him. “It’s yours. Have fun with it. I’ll meet you back at the bookstore. Head back through the door we came out of. And don’t forget to check out Finders Keepers on the second floor!” And with that, Cashal walked down a few stairs and stepped onto what looked like an escalator, leading him down until out of sight.

Luke didn’t know where to start. He’d never had this much money, or really any money to spend before. And here he was now, with a bag full of it. Somehow, though, he’d manage.

A couple hours and several stores later, he was equipped with a journal, bag, and several unusual pens called Enques; according to the frizzy haired clerk, the ink allowed its users to write messages to their friends without the fuss of passing notes.

But he still had to buy a Finder. So, deciding to head upstairs to the store Cashal had mentioned, he made his way to the second floor.

It was hard not to notice Finders Keepers. The front of the store was shaped like a giant sphere, and inside, mist encased the entire ceiling. It didn’t take long for Luke to pick his Finder—a clear orb reminiscent of Cashal’s with a golden band wrapped around it. He noticed several other kids inside with their parents and felt a pang of envy as a boy, clutching his newly bought Finder, beamed up at his mom.

He quickly paid the clerk for his Finder and a pretty leather strip he could hang his key on (no matter how far he needed to move his key, explained the clerk, the strip would easily stretch the length of his arm) and then left. Downstairs, Luke made his way back to the center, a large open-faced living room, where squishy armchairs, mahogany desks and warmly lit lamps were scattered around a large circular banister. He dumped his stuff on one of the loveseats and flopped down. This, he could get used to. New stuff. Free time. And a little extra spending money. He’d give it back to Cashal, of course. For now, however, it was nice thinking it was his.  Kicking his feet up on the ottoman, he shut his eyes.

He was finally starting to feel like a keeper—his key now hung on the leather strip tied around his neck. He had the hang of the money system (blue, green, red, purple, and clear jewels were used like cash here). And his very own Finder was tucked away in a beautiful brown messenger bag he had found at Bag It Up.

But just as he was about to dose off, a burst of laughter rang in his ears.

“Get off my back, Dromore!”

In the distance, a small group of kids huddled around one of the couches. A boy in a dark blue baseball cap was on his feet, his face screwed up in anger.

“Or what Woodbird?” asked a black-haired kid with a slouchy stance. His sleeves were rolled up, his hands in his pocket. And whatever he was saying, those around him were snickering. Just then, the laughter got louder.

“Just let it go!”

But as he elbowed the black-haired boy out of the way, a burly kid stepped forward and stopped him like a solid wall.

Before he knew what he was doing, Luke had bounded over to help.  “Why don’t you give the guy some room?” Burly-kid didn’t move. No one did. Instead, everyone stared at him like he was some kind of fungus. One keeper in particular.

“Excuse me. Do I know you?” It was the black-haired kid.

Luke loved a good condescending voice. It reminded him of Stanley. “Doubt it.  I’m new here.”

More silence. More staring. Finally, someone spoke. It was the kid in the baseball cap. “Hi.  I’m Wood,” he said, holding out his hand.

Luke shook it. “I’m Luke.”

“How old are you?” asked the first boy. He was pale, with clear green eyes, and a chiseled face that appeared as cold and vacant as a statue. Everything, from his layered hair to his sharply pressed collard shirt, however, was impeccable. This kid definitely had money.

“Thirteen.”

“You didn’t just get your key did you?”

“Maybe,” said Luke, not sure what he meant by that.

“My gosh, I thought father was lying when he said keepers didn’t all get their keys at twelve.”

Luke felt heat prickle his ears. “Peachy.”

“So where do you live? You don’t live below the lake do you?”

“What is this, twenty questions?”

The boy ignored him. “Because if I had to attend one of those schools…” He shuttered, glancing behind him at his group who laughed with him.

“Knock it off, Gravis,” said Wood.

“I’m just trying to find out a little more about our new friend here. We all go to Phoenix,” he said nodding to those behind him. “Woodbird included.”

“I’m sorry, I thought he said his name was Wood.”

Gravis slung his arm around Wood and smiled. “Yes, but Woodbird and I have the kind of relationship that allows for nicknames. Just like our fathers, wouldn’t you say?”

Wood squeezed out of Gravis’ hold, rearranging his cap. “Yeah, whatever,” he muttered. A reddish tinge crept up his neck.

Suddenly, Gravis’ eyes widened. “I see you have a silver key.”

“Uh—”

“You don’t see many of those anymore,” he continued. “Shame, really, what with all the bronzes coming into place. Like Woodbird’s, here. Or the silver ones that aren’t truly silver. Dad thinks that if you look close enough, you can tell who’s really got a silver key and who’s got a mix.  Yours isn’t a mix, is it?”

“Gravis,” said Wood, rolling his eyes.

Luke had no idea what he was talking about, but answered none-the-less with, “No. Yours isn’t is it?”

Gravis snaked his hand around his key, hanging on a long black leather strip. He narrowed his eyes at Luke like he had offended him, which made no sense at all. He was the one who had brought it up.

“Of course it isn’t. Doesn’t Dromore mean anything to you? Anyway, you should hang out with us sometime. Not with him,” he said, pointing at Wood, “but with some of my other friends.”

Luke was shocked. And confused. Like Mrs. Hall had just invited him for tea.

“Did you want me to show you around?” asked Wood suddenly. “Because I can if you want.”

And before Luke could answer, Wood was dragging him over to where his bags were. He dropped onto the couch, threw his hands over his face, and moaned. “Sorry, but I can’t stand him.”

“Hard to imagine why. What was all that talk about keys anyway?”

“Oh, nothing. Well, some keepers think the color of your key means something. Not that silver isn’t nice,” Wood said quickly, “but Gravis thinks it’s more powerful or something.” He looked at his own key before letting it fall back against his shirt. “Still, it bugs me so much that sometimes, I wish I had one. Just to shut him up.” His eyes were stormy under his cap. “Stupid, huh?”

“No,” said Luke. He knew what it was like to want something someone else had.

“So, where’d you say you were from?”

“Uh, around.”

They spent the rest of the afternoon fiddling with Luke’s Finder. Wood was a blast. He, like Mark, laughed at everything. Even his blonde hair reminded him of his friend; curls peaked out from under his cap, and Luke liked to think he had the same surfer mop Mark had had.

“I can’t believe him,” mumbled Wood for what seemed like the umpteenth time. He kept shooting glances towards Gravis and his friends. Luke was about to ask why, when Wood was suddenly on his feet.

“Hey, I gotta go,” he said, tossing Luke his Finder. He took a few steps towards the main grounds, and with a quick wave, hurried away.

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