East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Valerie – a character sketch

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I’m taking part in the latest Flash Fiction Challenge from Chuck Wendig.
The challenge: create a character in less than 250 words, and leave it open to use in the forthcoming Flash Fiction Challenge.

So, here goes… Valerie

She had the sort of face that some call elfin, and short dark hair, spiky, an anarchist crew-cut. She kept passing a hand through it, as she talked. She probably did not even notice. She would give a little shrug, her large earrings dangling, and then her fingers would brush her right temple, and then push on, over and back, until her right hand cupped her nape, as if to massage it. She dressed in black, a thick turtleneck sweater and an knee-length pencil skirt. White hands tipped with black polish, white-stockinged feet encased in black and white two-tone man’s shoes.
She smoked a lot, a black Russian cigarette between thumb and forefinger in her left hand, like Bogart. She wore a man’s watch on her wrist, the kind scuba divers are supposed to favor, and a single wrought silver ring on her thumb.
We talked books, movies. She loved Zelazny, had a crush on Ava Gardner.
As the discussion heated, her speech became faster, her words shorter. She leaned forward, her left elbow resting on the table, the hand waving, the silver ring catching the light, her cigarette tracing paths of smoke around her face. She had bright humorous eyes, and mobile eyebrows that matched an equally mobile, thin mouth. She wore no make-up, but I wondered if the mole at the corner of her left eye was real, or if it was artfully penciled there for effect.

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

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