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Charlie’s Puzzle

It’s been a long time since I talked about Charlie.  I originally started his story for a Christmas anthology call.  And while I did finish a “novella” at 34K in time for that deadline, I sat on it.  Because I wasn’t happy with it.  The story wasn’t right.  Something was missing.

Something wasn’t right with Charlie.

I should have known when the story started off so strongly in first person.  Why?  First person let’s the OTHER characters keep their secrets.  It becomes a gigantic mystery trying to ferret out those details, because I only hear what the main character hears.  Ranay’s voice I heard loud and clear.  I was in her head, living her thoughts and feelings on the page.  But Charlie was an enigma.

For awhile, I let him remain a mystery.  In fact, that’s what he wanted.  He played with Ranay–and me–by dropping bits and hints but never really telling me what I needed to know.  I wrote some powerful sex scenes and STILL didn’t really know what was up with him.  Every time I looked at him on the page, there was a flutter of something just out of sight, out of the corner of my eyes.  A bit of magic and shadow that taunted me.  Something told me not to look.  It was going to be ugly and probably bloody.

Did I dare investigate further?  Or would I keep it safe and gentle on the page?

Ha.  Well.  You guys know that I can’t resist a challenge.  Of course I had to go and investigate that shadow he was tempting me with.  I found more of Gregar in those shadows than I ever expected.

Charlie can be safe and gentle.  But he can also be as lethal as the Shadowed Blood.

Yes, Charlie’s a killer.  My sweet tousled curly hero with the gigantic well-trained dog.  Who’s patient enough to lure Ranay out of her shell over the course of a year.  He’s an unapologetic cold-blooded killer.

I got you now, Charlie.  Your puzzle is laid out in my head in perfect majesty.  I know what you fear.  I know what you want.  And I’m going to make it all happen in gory detail.  *rubs hands together with wicked glee*

Oh, and his name?  It really is Charlie, because he never lies, and he told Ranay that’s what his mom called him (although that’s not his real name, for reasons).  He wishes he could always be Charlie.  But he can’t be Charlie all the time.  Even for Ranay.

Sometimes he’s…

Ha.  You thought I’d tell all his secrets?  The truth will all be revealed in his story.