I stared at Calla’s door for a moment, committing every detail of our first date to memory. I turned and walked down the street, whistling to myself and strolling at a leisurely pace. All was right with the world, for the moment.
I passed a few houses, and saw someone duck into the alley. They failed to do so gracefully, and knocked over a garbage can with a resounding clatter. I glanced down the darkened gap between houses, and was astonished to see Calla, wearing jeans and a shirt.
Having met Calla Wiley twice, once as a passionate supposed "time-traveller," and once as a promising young graduate student, Diggory Franklin finds himself smitten with both her incarnations. However, her strange story and presence in his life has proved distracting.
In the midst of this minor upheaval in his personal life, Diggory has had to deal with a possible terrorist explosion at work, the disappearance of his father, and his mother's increasing alcoholism. It doesn't help that his friend Matt the Pimp has been playing pranks and trying to get him to become more social.
In the first volume of "The Surprising Life and Death of Diggory Franklin," our protagonist meets the mysterious Calla Wiley, who predicts his death and romances our hero. And that's just the start of his adventure...
Calla and I snuck out of my mother’s penthouse like giggling teenagers, whispering a little too loudly. We rode down in the elevator, giddy with freedom: neither one of us seemed well suited for the rarefied air on the top floor. I’d never felt at home amongst my mother’s peers, that’s for sure.
The lovely Ms. Wiley leaned against my arm, and I looked down into those magnificent grey eyes. We rode down in a wonderfully intimate silence. I felt more comfortable there than I had any other time in my life.
They rode all night long. Alexander led the way, making sure the path was safe. Zoë came next, fearing the uncertainty of their future. Genevieve and Gwen rode on the same horse, as the young girl was too tired after weeks on the road to even sit upright. Her elder sister held her close to keep her from falling out of the saddle while she slept. Alex directed their steeds down the darkened streets of the city, and out into the countryside.
Zoë awoke in the middle of the night with a sense of foreboding. She was certain she had heard something, and had the horrifying sense that she was not alone in the dark. She held her breath, listening for some sign, and could only hear her heart pounding in her chest. She strained to pick up any sound, her fingers clenching on her blankets as fear coursed through her body.
Zoë hugged the tiny child and handed him a loaf of bread. She gave him a wave and a smile as he rushed off towards home, able to help feed his family for another day. Zoë continued down the muddy alleys between houses in the slums of the city, occasionally stopping at doorways to drop off food from her basket. She went to needy mothers, to the sick, finding the homes where elder brothers had to provide for siblings because the parents were dead, the places where hope was needed most.
Our little financial conversation was interrupted a moment later as a waiter announced dinner. We joined the rest of the guests in a short walk to the dining room, with the decorative chandelier. The long table was adorned with centrepieces, orchids floating in water. Though, can you say “centrepiece” when there are a half dozen and they’re not in the centre of the table?
My mother sat at the head of the table, and placed me on her right, with Calla facing me on her left. The servers brought out soup and wine, the first course.
The ability to reference current events. I like that you worked AIG and the current financial crisis into the story. Makes it seem all the more real.
Calla smiled at me, and there was a playful spark in her eyes.
“Why did I come? I could say it’s because you saved my best friend’s life. I could say it’s because you’re so persistent, I didn’t see a point to saying no. I could say it’s because I wanted to see how the other half lives, where the grass is greener. But what matters is that I wanted to be around you, too, and this was a convenient excuse.”
I laughed at her mimicry of my silly little speech, and nodded. “I’m thankful you came.”