Here’s the unedited version of the little writing exercise I was talking about. I love Rook’s dialog, but everything else is pretty choppy (especially all of Raven’s bits). It’s over a year old, and a pretty rushed draft, so read with caution.
I lay in the back of my truck for a little while afterwards. It had already gotten pretty dark, so I guess it was a good idea to have lined my trunk with the padded moving blankets, quilts and things. It made a good place to sleep, and now I wouldn’t have to blow my cash on inns where Dr. Farris could track us to.
Rook never slept. I guess he can’t. It kinda makes me sad, when I think about it, but a few characters in The Wizard of Oz didn’t sleep. They kept watch Dorothy while she slept, kept her safe. I fell asleep, using Sam’s jacket as a blanket. Happily thinking of how Rook was my Scarecrow. My first companion on my long journey to stop the wicked witch.
The morning sun was pale from the thick fog that surrounded the area. I was draped in a flannel blanket, which had kept me warm despite the dropping temperatures.
I heard the gentle clicking of Rook’s needles as he worked away on his green scarf. He must have returned shortly after I had fallen asleep, and given me the blanket.
I pulled myself up, holding onto the back of the seat.
“Good morning, Raven.” Rook said calmly. “I hope you slept well.”
I smiled into the rear view mirror. “I did in fact, thank you for asking.”
I climbed over the backseat, leaning over the shoulder of Rook’s. Watching him knit for a minute or two.
“So I guess we gotta wait for the fog to clear before we can skedaddle.” I said nonchalantly.
“Yes, alright.” Rook replied with a small sigh.
I glanced at him in slight concern, pursing my lips. “Is everything alright?”
“Why, yes. Why would you ask?” he turned in surprise, almost bumping me in the face with his big beak-face.
“Um, you sighed. I have never, ever heard you do that. Ever. And you are freaking out that I asked. These are tell-tale signs something’s wrong. Trust me, I’m an expert.”
He was quiet, turning back to his knitting. The fog was still thick, and I wasn’t going to let this go.
“Did you find something last night? Whatever you were looking for?” I asked, poking Rook’s face with one finger.
He didn’t answer.
“Okay, hot shot. Can I drive?” I almost hissed.
He put down the scarf between the driver and passenger seats, and climbed out of the car. I slid through the front seats, plopping down in the drivers. Rook climb back in on the other side.
“Alrighty, now… You’re going to tell me what’s up, or I’m gonna drive into the foggy badness. And I don’t think Jumpy would like that much, would he?” Making a mock-confident face.
Rook sighed again. “You are correct… But I doubt he would like me to speak either.”
“Would he kill us if you told me what’s wrong…?” I started to get a weird feeling in my stomach. “And is anyone actually on our side?”
“Well, he seems to care about what happens to you at least, and I don’t think he hurts people that often… We should be alright.”
“Then tell me!” I cried, tugging on his sleeve like a child.
“Alright, alright… When I was walking to your vehicle, I saw someone else near the car. I moved closer as quickly as I could, but he was gone. He left a note, it was the jumper. But something was missing. And I couldn’t figure out what he took.”
“Huh… Umm, we can look now that it’s bright. What do you think he took?”
“Well. I thought maybe he took your blanket while you slept. You were without on when I arrived, and it was the first obvious object.”
I was quite for a minute, my eyebrow knitting in confusion. “I didn’t have a blanket when I fell asleep… I had Sam’s… Sam’s jacket! He took it! Why would he do that?”
“Calm down Raven. It’s going to be fine… He had his reason to take it. Maybe he was taking it to your friend.”
I was starting to have a panic attack. I needed that jacket, it was all I had left of him.
“But… Sam’s dead, I need it back. It was…” I was on the brink of hyperventilating.
Rook moved to hold onto my forearm. Softly, he said “Raven, stay calm. It’s all going to be alright. You know what he does, he leaves you clues. Clues so you can find your friend. Solve the clue, he might be telling us something.”
I was still breathing in broken gasps, tears rolling down my face. “He, he… Took the jacket. Is he saying what Dr. Farris said is true?” I croaked.
“I don’t think so. He would have said in his note.”
“Does the jacket going missing mean, he’s alive? Okay. It’s waterproof, does that mean somewhere wet? Or maybe it’s somewhere cold? Both?” I paused, face falling flat. “What did the note say exactly?” I said, glaring into the portholes of Rook’s mask.
“I don’t remember all of it…” He said, pulling a small, yellowing piece of paper from the robe. He sat quiet reading it for a moment, till he finally saw me giving him the stink eye.
“Oh… My apologies. I was memorizing it so I could tell you what it said.” I still stared at him.
“Oh um… Would you, like to read it?” Rook asked
“Uh, yeah. Or you could read it out loud…” I said, exasperated.
Rook slowly handed me the note, and I snatched it from his hand. Still giving him a look.
“Okay… ‘Dear Mr. Rook, and Miss Bethleson.’ How formal of him… ‘I left this note to congratulate you on the job well done. The Foundation is no longer trailing you, you lost them completely. Job well done! I do have another point to this note mind you. I wanted to inform you that I have set up another set of clues, which only you two can solve. The better to keep our foes off our tails, eh? Follow the bread crumbs, my friends. From your ally, The Timeless.’ How long has he been leaving notes?”
Rook thought for a moment. “Since before we met. This is the first to be addressed to both of us, though.”
“Well, I get they were to you. But you could have at least told me you were in that close of contact with this guy, dude. Okay… He took the jacket. He left the note. Is there anything weird about the note?”
We both stared at the old yellowed paper for at least ten minutes. Flipping it over, taking a magnify glass to every word.
“Wait a moment, Raven. The ink is blue.” Rook said simply
“Yeah… But what does it mean, if it’s a clue at all…?” I asked, rubbing my eyes in frustration.
“Where are we?” He asked, perking up a bit.
“Just outta Spokane… Past Coeur d’Alene, near right next to the national forest.”
“Okay, what blue around here?”
I thought for a moment. Well there are creeks all over the frigging place… Let me look at a map.”
I yanked the giant road map open. Looking for anything blue near where we sat.
“Okay… We’re past Coeur d’Alene, past Curran Creek. Looks like the closest, and largest body of water is Rose Lake. But are we sure the ink means water?”
Rook pulled other old papers from his leather robe. “None of the others have blue ink. It’s either a clue, or out ally lost his black ballpoint.”