The minute I saw this week’s Trifecta prompt, I knew what story I wanted to bring you – a portion of a novel I’m working on that’s been playing through my mind and slowly forming itself for awhile now. I had to decide at which point I was going to begin and end this story segment for you in the dialogue between Cody and Jilli, my raging duo of Rolling River guides (to stay within the 333 word count). I hope I’ve included enough for you to get the idea of what these two have been up to…
(At the very least, I think you’ll get the idea that this is a significant turning point in their mentor-mentee relationship.)
“So you were going to be the hero?” She cocked her head and narrowed her eyes at me.
“The…what???!” I grabbed my IV pole and paced around it, my mind whirling to give her the explanation she demanded. “Listen, Jilli Awe-some,” I drew it out the same as when I was angry with her. “I was trying to keep you alive…hell, to bring you back to life, actually.” That’s not how I had wanted it to come out. I couldn’t express it the way it felt – like part of my life had been lost in those moments too.
“Why didn’t you let somebody else take over then? When you were worn out to the point of exhaustion?” There was something different than accusation in her voice, but I couldn’t define it; couldn’t understand it.
For lack of a better answer, I shrugged. “Who else was gonna’ let you throw up on ‘em today?” That did it. Any leftover smugness broke, as the look on her face turned to one of horror, just about the same color as when I’d dragged her body out of that river earlier. She tried to hide it though.
“You didn’t have enough sense to get me rolled away from you?” she challenged, crossing her arms; but her head dropped in shame.
“I didn’t have the sense to think about what I was even doing, Jilli,” I muttered, dropping my own gaze to the floor, realizing the way I said her name this time really did have a ring of awe to it. “Hell, I can’t even tell you how many times I pumped or blew. I just knew…” my voice trailed off.
“…that you weren’t going to call it,” she finished for me in a timid voice. “That’s why you’re in here now, Cody. You collapsed from exhaustion…because you wouldn’t let me go.” Our eyes met and froze there, hers with almost a question in them, but also a softness I’d longed to see before – but never had.
Here’s the prompt, exactly as given, so you, dear reader, can judge if I met my mark on the challenge:
1a : a phenomenon of light (as red, brown, pink, or gray) or visual perception that enables one to differentiate otherwise identical objects
b (1) : the aspect of the appearance of objects and light sources that may be described in terms of hue, lightness, and saturation for objects and hue, brightness, and saturation for light sources
2a : an outward often deceptive show : appearance <his story has the color of truth>
b : a legal claim to or appearance of a right, authority, or office
c : a pretense offered as justification : pretext <she could have drawn from the Versailles treaty the color of legality for any action she chose — Yale Review>
d : an appearance of authenticity : plausibility <lending colorto this notion>
3: complexion tint: