Sample: Matty and Iris (January Black)

You’ve caught me in a weird moment. I have two stinking days left to post and I’ve got nothing much to say. This month has been a great exercise…but, much to my doctor’s annoyance, I’m not a real fan of exercise. So, because nothing else interesting is happening in my sorry excuse for a brain at the moment, I am going to give you scene from January Black. It’s relevant to the whole, but doesn’t give away anything. Enjoy. 🙂

“Ooh…someone was thoughtful.”  The lilt in her voice said that she forgave him for being late.

Matty peeked around a foot wide disc of dyed hard candy and held it out to her by its wood stick. Taking the lollipop, she looked down just slightly so that her eyes flirted while the candy hid her smile.  Even after weeks, she could make his stomach roll over with a glance.

Iris’s side of the room was in shades of purple, with lavender walls and violet linens.  Her roommate, Julia, preferred brighter colors.  Her walls were buttery shade of yellow.  The linens on her bed were yellow-green and bright pink.  All put together, he thought it might be impossible to be unhappy in their room.

He sat down on Iris’s bed and leaned back on his hands.  Iris returned to her sink to finish getting ready for her party.  She placed the lollipop through one of the slots in the toothbrush holder and pushed her hair back from her face with a cloth band.  “You see the irony, right?”

She looked at him, clearly confused.  Following the point of his finger back toward the lollipop, she studied it before she spun back around.  She said with a wink, “I meant to do that.”

He snickered and lay back on her bed.  He tried not to think about the hundreds of revelers in the courtyard downstairs.  Looking for any distraction at all to still his nerves, his eyes settled on the book he bought her on their first date.  He picked it up and found signs of bent corners throughout the book until coming to her current place.

“You can leave thirty pages of a book?”

“I can when Julia comes in at midnight and finds it on my face,” she said lightly.  “She’s surprising.”


“Alice Glass.”  She stepped back from her mirror.  “It’s not her real name, by the way.”  She turned around and he saw that she was sharpening her eyeliner pencil.  “I’m surprised it’s in print.”


She blew on the fresh point of her pencil and turned around to draw a brown shadow under her eye.  “Do you know why your father was asking me those questions at dinner?  Did he explain?”

He sat up far enough to rest on his elbows.  “He hasn’t said a word about it.”

“He wasn’t asking questions.  He was testing my honesty.”

“You think he had you checked out?”  He found the thought far-fetched, even for the commandant.

“You are so cute, Matty,” she gushed as she stood back from the mirror.  After a moment, she leaned forward to do the other eye.  “Of course your father’s done background on me.  Conrad too, I’d bet…” she paused for a moment before continuing, half singing, “…weeks ago.”

“Are you sure you didn’t inherit your father’s paranoia,” he asked her, meaning it as a tease.

Her reply was quiet and dark.  “Not funny, Matty.”

“I’m sorry,” he said.  “What does this have to do with Black Sheep?”

“You don’t watch the news, do you?  Read it either?”

“I try hard to avoid it.”

When she turned around, her cheeks glowed; her lips glistened, and her eyes outlined in brown appeared brighter than before.  She sat down on the bed next to him.  “Black Sheep is an allegory.  It suggests the answer to society’s problems is an overthrow of the government.”

Black Sheep was a fast tale of a world gone crazy, but it was just a story.  She must have read his disbelief.  “Watch the news, Matty,” she instructed. “Some night, tomorrow, the next day…go home.  Watch the news.”

After he promised her that he would, she stood up and executed a graceful pirouette on one foot.  All the seriousness evaporated from her in the space of the turn, leaving behind the spritely young woman with whom he was now desperately in love.  “Let’s go.”

“Do we have to?” he whined like a child.

“Brat.”  She grabbed his hand, leaned backward and pulled him up off the bed.  He followed her laughing out of the door.


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