Oh, The Daily Post just posted a character building challenge! One of the more interesting challenges to be sure, but I can’t guarantee that this will turn out great for me (after all, I still feel like I screwed up the “place” post; why should this be any different?). Doesn’t mean that I won’t try, though.
Going for fiction again this time (because I’m a hermit and I don’t meet too many new people that I feel comfortable writing about). Hope you enjoy it!
She found herself watching his hands, which were wrinkled at the back like old, well-read newspapers; they made her wonder how many times he would fold and unfold them in a day in an act of study. He was folding and unfolding them now, fingers flicking at the sides of a deck of cards as he moves to misdirect her gaze so he can palm the one she chose. His palms, she notes, are rough – but not by any means aged; they were hands that belonged to craft – the devotion carved out in webbed lines stretching and widening with every gesture.
He makes a joke, a very old joke that her grandfather once made, and she looks away from his hands to his face. She couldn’t quite believe that it came from that face – slightly round and porcelain-smooth, lips formed in a perpetual smirk, dark eyes full of wonder and secrets, dimples folding inward like the hidden pockets his vest most definitely has. He wiggles his dark eyebrows at her, and they bobbed up into his forehead like dramatic puffs of stage magic smoke. The one on the right has a piercing she never noticed before, hanging like a silver crescent moon.
“And now you are not paying attention,” he points out in his strange, Eastern-European accent. It had a hint of either impatience or amusement, which she never could tell apart where he was concerned. He takes her hand firmly, as if she were one of the many tools of his trade, and presses the cards onto her palm.
Without his prompting, she begins to shuffle the cards. She watches him as he watches her, his eyes darkened with focus and the pulse on his neck steady. When her fingers slip and a card flips, she watches the pulse stutter and his eyes flicker.
“Again,” he says, this time standing and turning away to pace in front of her, his shoes silent even on the marble floor. His back is straight, but his gait is not – it has an unbalanced grace to it that she did not expect. She feels him keeping an eye on her as she goes through her false shuffles and passes, and sees him nod as she lays out four cards on the ground in front of her. He approaches them, turns them over, and barks out a laugh at the four Queens.
“Finally, someone with potential!” He snaps his fingers, brings his hands together in a prayer position, and opens them like a book. On his palms lay a new, unopened, deck of cards. Heart beating, she takes it with the reverence she felt it was due.
“I would be honored to teach you, little girl,” he says. “Come back tomorrow, and we will see what else you can become.”
Clutching the deck, she smiles and runs out of the theater – glad that she had followed the man from the bay.