Hi everyone! Recently, I posted the opening scene of 'Intervasion', and received some really decent feedback on it. I wanted to post a random scene from Chapter 18 of the book. This is simply because, though it's a small scene, I really enjoyed writing it and wanted to share. The Scene revolves around the characters, The Host and Waiter One, and I wanted to create the feeling that you're not quite understanding of the context of their conversation, but you have a feeling it's important - that it's vague, but not so vague that it doesn't peak your interest and make you wonder. I just wanted some feedback on whether the scene is interesting enough, and the characters interactions are interesting enough. I understand you won't understand some of the 'environmental issues' within this piece, but hopefully it'll not be too distracting!
The Host entered the front veranda. The brassy sky glowed hot and the landscape was silent, save his creaking steps. To the west of the house, and registering just below the enamel white edges of the limestone cliffs, the thinly drawn horizon was turning from midnight blue to black. Though the sky often changed, the light, and its loyalty to dusk, didn’t. It remained the same.
‘Any sign of our returning guests?’ he asked.
The red haired waiter straightened. He’d been leaning against the veranda’s rail with his elbows, chin cradled in his palms, tranquil gaze tracing the edges of the woodland.
‘No,’ he answered softly. ‘But surely you don’t expect them to come back?’
The Host smiled.
The red haired waiter hesitated. ‘Then – then you do? But…they’re hiding?’
The Host finally joined him at the rail, looking out.
‘The ramifications of such things are uncertain, Waiter One,’ he said. ‘Though I’m confident that they’ll grow restless, for where they are at the moment is alien to them.’ He turned to the waiter. He appeared anxious under The Host’s strictest attention. ‘Waiter, you’re very pre-occupied. And I believe I know why…’
The waiter looked at him and held his gaze.
‘The boys,’ he went on, ‘are a concern –’
‘Missing – two out of the three...’
The Host gave a short nod. ‘Yet, it’s the one boy in particular that you’re most bonded with?’
The waiter looked away.
The Host said, ‘You believe the boy to be your son, waiter?’
‘You think the guests will come back…after what you told them –?’
‘ – about unknown assailants attempting to regain their items? Hmm, I think they will.’
‘We shall see.’
‘You said –’
‘And I intend to respect that agreement,’ said The Host.
‘How will you deal with –?’
‘That’ll be private. Ah, waiter, I believe your prayers have been answered…’
The Host pointed out to him the two small specks in the distance. The invisible lawnmower was cutting a trail through the long grass. The two boys were approaching, conversing happily with one another.
The Host turned to him.
‘I’m quite relieved,’ he said. ‘The last time they perfected their little escape you were so frantic that both my other waiters had to physically restrain you.’
The waiter shifted a moist gaze on him, but soon returned his look to the two boys.
‘You recall your little –?’
‘Yes, I remember. I apologised.’
‘And I told you before that it wasn’t necessary to apologise.’
‘I smashed things…I threatened…threatened –’
‘My waitress.’ The Host nodded sympathetically and dropped a hand onto his shoulder. ‘She was undoubtedly shocked by your sudden and quite unpredictable flair for violence, but she was quite forgiving as I recall? Hmm. Quite correct – in fact, my waitress is a little different to you, because she doesn’t have a child wandering out into the woodland, does she not? No. Yet…that red haired boy hasn’t been confirmed as your child, and yet he remains incredibly important to you.’
As though on cue, the elderly waitress tottered out onto the veranda, carrying a silver tray holding four cups and saucers and a silver serpent teapot. She set the tray down silently on a small table sat in the corner of the veranda, and then gave a small nod to The Host, before returning swiftly inside.
‘A pot of hot chocolate,’ announced The Host with a smile. ‘Mint.’
The waiter started for the tray, but The Host held out an arm.
‘It’s fine, Waiter One. I can manage,’ he added, striding over to the tray and pouring them each a cup. ‘You stay quite where you are…and make sure that the two boys don’t make a sudden detour. Which,’ he added quickly, because an uncertain look had rolled over the waiter’s face, ‘will not happen. They could probably smell the chocolate. I’ll pour them each a cup too.’
‘Why do you think the children keep going against your wishes?’
‘Children are wilful, Waiter One. I’m quite sure you can recall yourself?’ said The Host, bringing the teapot level and wiping a droplet of chocolate from the silver spout with a serviette. ‘It’s child’s play. I have faith that they have realised that their “escapes” are fairly pointless. I’m quite sure; in fact, that they do it merely for entertainment purposes only, and of course that old devil curiosity. Curiosity,’ he handed the waiter his cup and saucer, ‘can lead a person to interesting places. To a child, it can only lead to somewhere nice. For us, well,’ he shrugged, sampling his drink and smacking his lips in satisfaction, ‘its destination isn’t as determined as theirs.’
The children were close, but they still hadn’t noticed The Host and the waiter, standing and watching from the veranda. The brassy sky had begun to ripple like a golden lake. The dark horizon shone, polished for the occasion. Chatting and pushing one another jovially, the invisible lawnmower continued to guide the two boys toward the house.
‘Why does the other boy never go with them?’ asked the waiter, continuing to watch their progress.
The Host smiled. ‘Child’s play,’ he reasoned. ‘Children can be cruel.’
The waiter said, ‘They don’t like him?’
‘Or the boy just prefers to remain here.’ The Host motioned at the two boys, laughing and bouncing along. ‘Their relationship is an interesting one, wouldn’t you agree?’
He looked back at The Host, but failed to answer.
The Host went on, ‘They can go from being almost like brothers to being sworn and bitter enemies. It can change in a flicker, like they suddenly…suspect one another?’
‘I haven’t noticed,’ replied the waiter, looking down at his cup.
‘I have,’ said The Host.
‘If – if you’re expecting the guests to return, Host, would you like myself and the others to prepare the plateau for their arrivals?’
‘That’ll not be necessary, waiter. The plateau has served its purpose.’
‘The house,’ replied The Host, studying the waiter’s stunned expression. ‘The room downstairs.’
‘Where the children –?’
‘No. The other room.’
The waiter stared at him, his mouth opening and closing but nothing came.
‘There’ll be no need for preparations, Waiter One,’ said The Host, ‘arrangements have already been made. But I do appreciate your offer to prepare the plateau. I would, however, along with the rest of the waiters and waitress, wish for you all to join our guests down in the bottom room when the time arrives.’
The waiter nodded. Then something occurred to him.
‘Host, what if – what if he comes?’
The Host smiled, and returned to his drinking chocolate.
‘Then,’ he said after a moment, ‘I have faith in you, waiter. You’ve come this far.’