Interrogating Daniel

I finally got an hour of writing yesterday. Not a good hour — I really need to get a feel for my characters again, because it’s been so long since I visited Whose Hearts are Mountains, given my editing forays …

I sit in the cafe with its bright light, tables and chairs from some old diner, and shelves of board games against the wall. Inspiration fails me; I stare at the letters I typed into my story. I’m bored with the story, bored with the process of writing.

A tall, lightly muscled man with black braided hair and dark skin strolls into the cafe. He is not like anyone else in the cafe; his presence washes the atmosphere with a certain surreality. I watch him order coffee, trade banter with the owner, and amble toward me.

“I’m Daniel,” he says in a resonant baritone. “You must be Lauren.” He reaches his hand out to shake mine. His grip is firm, his hand dwarfs mine.

“I am,” I respond, “but how did you know that?”

His speech is easy, slow like honey. “Because you’re my writer. You wanted to get to know me.” He leans back in his chair as if settling back to tell a story.

“Tell me a little about yourself.”

He chuckles. “You sound like my mother, the anthropologist. She can always get a story out of someone that way.” He pauses, large hand wrapped around the coffee cup. Black coffee, of course. “I’m an Archetype, an immortal, but unauthorized. Earthbound, we call it.” He takes a long sip of coffee. “My mother is the Kiowa Archetype, my father Valor Burris, the Archetype engendered to hold the cultural DNA of the African diaspora. I was born as an experiment, I guess, to create an Archetype Earthside, as it were. We didn’t know about Lilith at the time. She’s been around far longer than I have.”

“An experiment?” I ask. “I thought Archetypes weren’t good at creating new things.”

“Those of us who are Earthbound, whether unauthorized or drawn Earthside like my mother, have spent a lot of time around humans. We’ve picked up a lot of things from them including, I have to admit, coffee and cozy spaces.” He studied the coffee mug, then raised his eyes to mine. “We are babes in the wood compared to humans, who have shorter lives but more extensive folklore, more skills handed down from generation to generation, more identity as part of a whole. Except for the Earthbound, our generations do not interact, and each of us have to earn our limited experience anew. Thus we do not create — but we among the Earthbound are developing abilities to synthesize information, to create. This is frightening to other Archetypes, which is why we’re prohibited from entering InterSpace, the Archetypes’ dwelling place.”

“You’re not allowed in InterSpace?”

“No,” Daniel sighed. “We are Prometheus. We carry fire to our people, and we are punished for it.”

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