I’m really enjoying going through my old word documents and trying to figure out where I was going with these never-finished stories. I have a lot of old outlines saved, which are typically around 5k words long and describe every major plot beat in a novel I never wrote. But some of these old files exist without an outline, totally context-free, and it’s fun trying to remember where the ideas came from, and where they were going.
This beginning, “Olivie at Home,” is very short, and I’m not even sure it was supposed to be the beginning of anything; sometimes I just write little character vignettes to get a handle on a protagonist. It apparently takes place in the world of my YA sci-fi book (which may never be published but so it goes), but I have no idea I was aiming for beyond that. A spin-off? A prequel? A totally separate adventure? I guess we’ll never know.
Olivie at Home
I knew he was an embarrassment waiting to happen the moment he stepped through the door. That’s a lie, he didn’t step through the door — he swept.
Like a lost piece of space flotsam, he’d washed ashore at the roughest, smelliest bar on this curve of the asteroid belt. The best-dressed piece of space junk I’d ever seen, though, to be fair. His coat was pale orchid-blue and lavender and indigo, his slim black pants tucked neatly into polished black boots. I thought I could see a floral embroidered shirt somewhere under there, winking golden threads in the dim lamplight. And he towered. I’m not what you’d call a statuesque human specimen myself, practically anyone has altitude on me, but he was actually the length of a small floating city.
He stopped just inside the door, the rickety piece of wood slowly creaking shut behind him, and acted like he wandered into taverns full of glaring criminals on a daily basis. He narrowed in on the bar and cocked a regal eyebrow, not so much as glancing at anyone, coat floating out behind him like a petal.
I didn’t make a face and snort into my drink, like I reallywanted to. People might see, and in the Spinning Meteor I’m supposed to be some kind of emotionless death dealer. I can’t quite figure how that became my thing here; a patron must have seen me conducting a bloody piece of business nearby and word spread. It’s not like I have an assumed persona for every bar in this section of the Cluster, but I guess it can be useful. At home, I’m just Olivie. But here, I’m Dead-Inside Murder Olivie.
Just now, unfortunately, DIMO wasn’t serving me. Watching the tall man breeze his way to the bar and perching on a sticky-wet stool (I had seen someone spill an entire beer there less than an hour earlier), I felt the overwhelming urge to go and pull his coat up over his head and send him sprawling, or walk past and “accidentally” jostle him and spill my drink all down his lovely shirt.
He annoyed me. I couldn’t pinpoint why, other than the fact that he was probably about to get shanked or mugged or both, and he’d deserve it. He could at least have some modicum of self respect.