Character Sketch Contest Honorable Mention

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Walker | Age: 17 | Nebraska
Character: Will Ashton
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Will found that as usual, several hours had passed without notice, slipping away into the blur of the day, before they could be more than glanced at. The library was empty, the red light of the setting sun glowed on lines of books, all seeming to whisper: come read us, come discover our secrets. Will shook his head to dispel the murmurs of distant lands and stretched. The book that had been lying open in his lap fell to the floor and he gently picked it up, brushed it off, and set it back on the shelf. The chair beneath him was sagging and the soft blue velvet was worn in spots. He didn't notice, any more than he had noticed yesterday, or the day before. The chair was simply there, never changing, like the library itself. Will stood and blinked as the sun slipped easily under the horizon, like an egg slipping from its broken shell. The coming night crept into the library, gently laying dark fingers over the books. Will turned and found Ja'far lying on the rug. The wolf was snoring slightly, his huge pale paws twitching with the excitement of a dream-chase. Will dug his toe lightly into the wolf's ribs, through the luxuriant gray fur. Ja'far rolled onto his belly and yawned, revealing wicked teeth and a ridiculously long tongue. Will moved past the shelves to the door, where Marti, the Librarian, nodded to him as he passed her desk. Will nodded back to the slim grey-haired lady, though she was already bent back over her pile of books and papers, her lips pursed in concentration. Ja'far padded behind him, claws clicking on the hardwood floor, well marked from generations of previous claws. Once out in the refreshing night air, Will turned to Ja'far. "Race you." Without waiting for an answer he was off, running across the grass, feeling the wind in his hair, clearing his mind. He lifted his face and closed his eyes, spreading his arms to the rush of air. It would be so easy to fly, he thought. He could just pick up his feet and soar away. He tripped on a stone and tumbled back down to earth with a bruising thud. Winded, he lay on his back, spread-eagled in the grass, and Ja'far trotted up and stood beside him, his long tongue dripping warm drool into Will's face. Finally Will sat up and reached into his pocket, drawing out his panpipes. He placed them against his lips and softly played a simple lullaby, then changed to a love song. When the song was done he simply played whatever came to him, mimicking a birdsong, then the sound of the rain on the library roof, then the whisper of the pages in a brand new book. Ja'far joined in, howling up at the moon. Then they fell silent, just sitting together in the night. It was a perfect ending to a perfect day, Will thought, as his eyes slipped closed.