Have you ever been scared of a character?


I WAS A WRITER in search of a character.

He was as character in search of a novel.

I saw he was about the right age when he walked through the door, probably on the younger side of forty.

He was a good two inches over six feet.

His hair was dark but graying at the temples.

He would never pass for handsome.

But he had a winning smile.

His face looked as if it had lost a few barroom fights.

But that didn’t bother me.

My heroes are never handsome.

Their faces always look like two miles of bad road.

His may have gone the third mile.

“Name’s Richard,” he said.

He seemed pleasant enough.

“Where’s home?”

“The road.”

“You running from something?” I asked.

He shrugged.

“Aren’t we all?” he said.

I didn’t disagree.

“I’m writing a novel,” I said.

“That’s what I heard.”

“I’m looking for a hero.”

“That’s why I’m here.”

“Any experience?” I wanted to know.

He laughed.

It was a good, honest laugh.

“I was a detective once,” he said.

“A mystery?”

“A Murder.”

“Did you solve it?”

“Hell, no.”

“Why not?”

“I killed the man.”


“Bare hands.”

“A fight?”

“I broke his neck.”

“Did the man deserve it?”

“His wife said he did.”

“Did you get away with it?”

He laughed again.

“The wife did,” he said.

“And you?”

“I went to prison.”

He paused a moment and looked up into a dark, foreboding sky.

“The wife said she’d wait for me,” he said.

“Did she?”

“She waited ‘til Monday.”

I grinned.

“How well did the novel sell?” I asked.

He looked at me and frowned.

“What novel?”

“The one you were in,” I said. “The one you’re talking about.”

He shook his head.

“I’ve never been in a novel,” he said.

Richard looked bigger than he did before.

His face had become the bad side of ugly.

The scar below his right eye turned white.

He laughed.

There wasn’t an honest thing about it.

He walked toward the door.

“What happened to the wife?” I asked.

“Don’t know.”

“Why not?”

“They still haven’t found her.”

He walked out the door and let it shut on its own.

I was still a writer in search of a character.

He was still a character in search of a novel.

I wrote mine.

He lived his.

I didn’t like his ending.

The hero in my novel, Secrets of the Dead, isn’t handsome either. Death follows him. But he keeps it on the pages of the book.


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  • Your Hannibal Lecter?

    • Caleb Pirtle

      He wasn’t as outwardly menacing as Hannibal, but I certainly wouldn’t turn my back on him.

  • Darlene Jones

    I’ve been scared watching movies, but only one book scared me enough to make me turn on all the lights and wait up for my husband to get home with a baseball bat (for use on a possible intruder, not on my husband) and that was Stephen King’s Carrie. The fact that I had two little kids of my own in the house didn’t help.

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