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Noteworthy

27 March 2011

A New Clash Begins--Character Description of Antagonist

Today's host:Amanda Flower

For the next two weeks we will feature great antagonists and villains. Which of the excerpts do you think best describes the bad guy in the story? Vote for your favorite!

After you vote, don’t forget to enter the drawing for a FREE BOOK before you leave the voting box!

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Excerpt A

Antun watched Kate leave the office. She did not see him, back within the shadow of the doorway. He contemplated her movements as she left the school for the waiting car. Arrogant, she was, like so many English speaking expatriates—Nigel, Ellen, Ralph. He corrected himself. Not Ralph.

Ralph lacked the arrogance, had an air of innocent mischief. He was not really like Antun’s younger brother, Bashir. Ralph was American, but he was the only teacher who treated Antun as a person, as other than dirty scum. Ralph’s swagger and that chipped tooth were what reminded him of Bashir.

Sometimes Bashir’s face still haunted Antun…and the way they had found him stuffed in the trunk of his fancy sports car. He had been tortured and put in the trunk, probably not quite dead when placed there. His father had wept in impotent rage. Antun shook his head to clear the memories.

His family had sought power, as so many did in Lebanon, fighting other families like the Mafia, settling old scores, further complicating the bloody civil war. One ate or one was eaten. His brother had been eaten. Antun’s father sent Antun away so he could return with money and revenge the family against those rivals who had done this to Bashir. Next time, Antun’s family would do the eating, his father promised.

Antun’s job with Hanford provided a respectable facade for his activities. He had accumulated a sizeable amount of money during his time in Saudi Arabia, which he would take when he left for Lebanon in a few days. Much of it came from selling contraband, including the liquor that Ralph consumed. Antun hardened himself against wishing that he were not doing that to Ralph. People ate or were eaten.

The war was over in Lebanon, for the time being at least. A good time to return to his country. Before he left, he would take care of one little piece of business. A bit of personal revenge. The confusion in the wake of Nigel’s leaving provided the opportunity.

Miss High and Mighty Kate. He had already prepared the apartment.


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Excerpt B
Angela unlatched the gate and walked the cobblestone path bordered by dripping pansies.

Taking a deep breath, she rang the doorbell. The door opened, and Angela looked up at a tall woman wearing a colorful printed caftan covering her immense size.

“I’ve been expecting you. You’re the young girl Cora found, aren’t you?” Her voice was throaty and rich. Angela felt calmer.

“How did you know?”

She opened the door wider, ignoring her question. “I’m Philomena. Come on in, we’ll get some dry clothes, put a hot cup of tea in you, and talk some.”

Angela stepped inside. She didn’t know what to expect, except maybe something like a doctor’s office with people waiting to see the psychic. Scented candles cast their glow on polished chairs and a large table. Eventually she heard music—a type she had never heard before—some stringed instrument, soft and slow. She couldn’t identify why, but all agitation disappeared and she felt enormously relaxed.

Later, showered and refreshed, she sipped something from a steaming cup that warmed her chilled bones. She felt fuzzy and sleepy, especially as she watched the candlelight gleam on Philomena’s golden hoop earrings and listened to her soothing voice. Soon, she fell asleep.

While Angela slept, the big woman reached for the medallion hung around her neck and murmured a low chant. Filmy darkness settled around the sleeping girl, who shivered and tugged the thick robe tighter, but didn’t awaken. A smile tipped Philomena’s full lips as she switched off the light and walked the narrow hall to her room.

Philomena entered, interrupting Angela’s thoughts. This morning she wore a matching turban with her yellow, flowered caftan, adding greater height to her colossal body.
“Well, Missy, about time you joined us living folks.”

“Oh, I’m sorry. I know I’ve overstayed my welcome. I’ll be packing my stuff and moving on.”

“Well now, Miss—Angela, is it—you’ll be doing no such thing. Pour yourself another cup of tea from the kettle and sit. We need to talk.”

Curious, Angela sat.

Philomena pinned her with a hypnotic stare and muttered, “I’ve been waiting for you. The spirits in the cards foretold of your coming. You have been chosen—"

“—Chosen?”

Philomena ignored her question and continued, “—chosen for passing my knowledge of the healing arts to you, the choice according to the casting of the bones. There is no mistake.”
“W-what are you talking about?” She felt a chill.

Philomena’s face flashed impatience, but she explained, “In Jamaica I was taught as a child—much younger than you—the mystical healing arts by my village shaman. The spirits told him at my birth I was a chosen one. Later, my shaman taught me obeah and myal, which, in my country, are the ancient mystical practices of communing with spirits, casting spells, and calling on magic, spelled m-a-g-i-c-k, which is real—not the tricks of stage magicians. I am now a priestess of those arts.”

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Item Reviewed: A New Clash Begins--Character Description of Antagonist Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Amanda Flower
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