“Wait!” I scream it, my words slicing through the thick air with little effect, like a dull knife.
The street lamps above my head are flickering, and frantically, plunging forward as though I am caught in a kaleidoscope of incomplete dreams, I dash after them.
“Wait! Don’t go!”
I run and run, until I am out of breath, and my side is cramping. I cannot catch up with them. I stumble, unable to keep moving. I have to face the truth.
I can no longer see them. The lights go out, and I am hurled into a dismal abyss. What am I to do now?
I stifle a scream when I feel the hand on my shoulder.
“We’re still here,” she says calmly. I hear a grunt of disapproval from her left.
I grasp her fingers blindly. “You came back!”
“Yes,” she responds. “I want to give you another chance. You deserve another chance. He has agreed.”
“She doesn’t deserve it—she’s being honored with it.”
I nearly sob with relief. “Thank you! I promise this time—”
“No,” she cuts me off. “What you must understand is that things are different. Nothing can be the same. A lot of time has passed.”
“I understand...” But really, I don’t.
“We won’t wait around again,” he adds, his tone hollow. “We can’t do it again.”
“Take your time,” she adds, her own voice gentler, “but don’t leave. Don’t give up on us. You need to believe. Promise me.”
“I promise,” I swear fervently, desperately. I need them. They need me.
“Then open your eyes and begin again,” the lights are flickering once more.
“What’s happening?” I feel like I’m yelling, but the words are barely a whisper.
They are circling me, closing in and pushing through the brick wall that surrounds me, interjecting themselves into my mind, leaving their imprint.
I exhale and slowly open my eyes, finally able to see…
And on that note - my characters and I are back on agreed terms - I can't say good, because I'm not sure they are as yet. It's almost as if I need to reestablish their trust. They will let me write about them, but I need to commit to it and to them, something I have resolved to do. On the other hand, I do feel like I've awoken from a bad dream.
This was an interesting exercise - I've never done something quite like this, but I found it was very useful.
What about you? Have you ever tried such a writing exercise? What sort of things do you do when your characters start acting up?