#SaturdayScenes Oliver Black Runs Away

If you’re not familiar with #SaturdayScenes, it’s a thing started over on the Plus by a Mr. John Ward (he paid me to say that) to encourage writers to share scenes from something they’re writing so we can all spend our saturdays reading stuff instead of doing chores or shopping or boring stuff.

This week’s scene is the opening to this week’s episode of my Oliver Black e-mail serial. For context, at the end of last week’s episode, Oliver got the crap beaten out of him.

 

When he got to his feet, Oliver spat a wad of bloody spittle onto the cobblestones. He wiped the remnants from his chin with the back of his hand and looked around.

He saw a vaguely humanoid, mostly brownish shape heading in his direction. He turned and went the other way.

He heard footsteps following him. He walked faster.

“Wait,” a voice said.

He walked faster.

“I need to talk to you.”

He walked faster.

The footsteps came faster, and Oliver left the alley and turned to make his way back to the rooftops. He felt a hand on his shoulder and turned quickly, aiming a punch at the mostly brownish, vaguely humanoid head.

It didn’t step back so much as it leaned out of the way, letting Oliver’s punch whoosh past, hitting nothing.

“What?” Oliver spat when he’d regained control.

The mostly brownish, vaguely humanoid shape turned out to be a girl in brownish clothes with hair the color of mud.

“I need to talk to you,” she said.

“Go away.” Oliver said, and turned to leave.

“It’s important,” she said.

Oliver ignored her.

“I can help you keep safe.”

Oliver walked away.

“You won’t make it on your own.”

Oliver walked faster.

“You need my help.”

Oliver ran.

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#SaturdayScenes Oliver Black is Back and He’s Kinda Pissed

If you’re not familiar with #SaturdayScenes, it’s a thing started over on the Plus by a Mr. John Ward to encourage writers to share scenes from something they’re writing so we can all spend our saturdays reading stuff instead of doing chores or shopping or boring stuff.

 

That said, my scene this week is from the rebooted version of Oliver Black Season One, Episode One in which Oliver gets frisky but not in the Happy Days sense.

_____

Outdoor time the next day was as troublesome as ever. The other boys were just as aware of the special treatment Oliver received as Oliver was. Being removed from class to visit with church officials is not something that could be kept secret. Oliver saw the visits as a trial, but the other boys just saw someone being treated differently and took that as their cue to do the same.

“Who’s that you were meeting with, Oliver?” one shouted at him.

Oliver ignored him. He was too busy scanning the yard for escape opportunities. There were none. The fence was climbable, but not quickly. Any of the sisters could cross the yard and clamp their hand on him before he made it over. If the sisters were all inside, it would be easy but the boys were never let out without several of the sisters to monitor them. “Well that won’t work,” he muttered to himself.

“What’s that you say?” the same boy asked. It was Elphren and as Oliver’s attention returned to the here and now, he realized that Elphren wasn’t the only one looking at him.

“I asked you what you said,” Elphren said in one of those artificially calm voices that drip with barely restrained violence.

Oliver sighed. Elphren slept in the next bunk and sat next to Oliver at meals and in classes. He was always the first to notice when Oliver was doing something other than what the other boys did. Worse, he resented the difference.

Elphren didn’t see that the meetings with church officials were a nightmare. He didn’t see that whatever special treatment Oliver received came with heightened expectations. If Oliver was forgiven for breaking some of the lesser rules, he was also held to higher standards in class and out.

Oliver sighed and lifted his voice so it could be heard by all the boys, “I didn’t say anything. I asked if you’d managed to get through the night without wetting the bed again.”

Most of the boys laughed. Some pointed. Elphren and those few boys who had decided it was safer to be his friend than his enemy kept quiet. “What. Was. That?” Elphren muttered.

Oliver took it all in with one glance. The glint in his eye. The clenched fist. The hangers on closing in. A smile lept to his face as he made a decision. If a fight was inevitable, it would be better fought on his terms.

“I said you pissed the bed last night. And the night before. And the night before that. And the night before that.”

Elphren’s face reddened with every syllable and by the end, Elphren had crossed half the distance to Oliver. Oliver waited until just the right moment then, stepping forward to get all his strength behind him, he punched Elphren square in the nose.

Elphren fell, rolled over, and curled up into a ball, blood slipping through the hands covering his nose. Oliver turned and hailed one of the nuns. “Sister Alys, come quick, Elphren’s hurt himself!”

In short order, three of the sisters were on the scene. Sister Alys was tending to Elphren. Sister Maybelle was shooing away the onlookers, and Sister Gelia was questioning the witnesses.

“What happened?” she asked.

“It was an accident,” Oliver said, “he was running and tripped over something. He landed face first and when he rolled over he was bleeding badly. That’s when I called for Sister Alys.”

“That’s not—” Elphren began, but Sister Alys shushed him immediately.

“Did anyone else see what happened?”

Three of the boys spoke up, echoing what Oliver had said. Elphren, being the prickly sort, had few real friends.

Elphren was sitting up when they were done. He glanced at his cronies and shook his head slightly. He turned to Oliver and gave him a glower that returned all the ill-will Oliver had directed his way earlier.

Oliver allowed a half a grin to slip onto his face.


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