Meet the Characters: Kit and Dallas Speechly

It’s been a while since you’ve met more characters. I decided to post another one for you (Okay, its because Erin, who played Kit Speechly in the film clip, wanted to know her back story). The Speechly Twins grew up with Milo Katan’s family after tragedy befell them, so I thought I’d let Milo introduce them! (You can meet him next)

“The first thing you notice about the Speechly twins is their eyes. They’re an eerie pale green, but there’s something other than the colour that disarms you. I noticed that about them the day they were born. I was five, and smart enough to know that Kit and Dallas were already different.

Thats because the second thing you notice about those eyes is how they sometimes look at you and sometimes look through you. One minute you’re talking to them and they’re listening, then next minute they’ve been distracted by something. You just get the feeling they’re spying on your soul instead.

But Dallas and Kit are twins, so they get away with a lot. It’s all written off as just a ‘freaky twin thing.’ If it unsettles me, another Remnant legacy, then I can’t imagine how naked a stranger would feel given the same scenario.

Sometimes I watch them as they give food to the poor and tend to their illnesses. The homeless see a sort of iridescence about them, but that too is written off as a twin-related X factor.

It’s not. It’s God inside them, finding a way to reveal Himself to the world. They’re compassionate too, more compassionate than most – just like their parents. There have been so many times where they’ve come close to being found out, but they find a way out every time.

Thank God. I’d die for those two, but I don’t want another person they love to have to die.

We’ve been through a lot, the Speechly’s and I. We are all Remnant Legacies, children of founding members who used to gather in a lounge room to pray, read the Bible and learn the spiritual gifts. In the beginning, the government didn’t see us. But I think the spirit world did.

I think this because when Kit and Dallas were three they’d talk about the big light birds and the little dark ones. Sometimes, I’d hear them giggling and Kit would tell me they were playing with the big light bird-men that kept the scary ones away.

I look back now and I think they were angels, shielding them from evil.

One day, the twins and I were playing on the front step while the parents were having a meeting with some new converts. Dallas and Kit were having a competition to see who could jump off the highest step. I got up to stop them, realising they’d hurt their four-year-old legs if they jumped from the top one. I grabbed Kit in time, but Dallas took a dive and knocked his front teeth out.

The scream echoed right around the block. Special Forces came running to see if we were okay. They threw open the door to the lounge room to take the bloodied child in to his parents.

That’s when they spotted the meeting. Everything changed that day.

Rocco, Rose, Artimus, Ingrid, Martin, Lucy and my parents got away. The Speechly parents didn’t.

Have you ever seen an execution? They rally the citizens into a market square, blast images up onto massive screens, read the list of ‘crimes’ aloud and then make us all watch the guns rip through the victims while we chant the vow of allegiance to the Worldwide Coalition. After a while you don’t faint at the sight of blood, but you never get used to the sight of murder.

The ground under the flagpoles is still stained with the blood of those whose crimes did not equal their punishment.

Mara and Titus Speechly’s crime was evangelism, and belief in a deity. Rocco and Rose were named as wanted fugitives that the government pledged to find and kill. Martin, Lucy, Ingrid and Artimus got away.

That day, we had to watch. I thought the twins would cry, scream and give us all away. They didn’t. They were looking right at the guns when they discharged, but neither of them saw the execution. They were smiling and cooing at the big-white-birdmen.

The angels stopped them from witnessing their parents execution but they didn’t stop me from seeing it. Mara looked at Titus and smiled. She didn’t even wince.

They’d all been spared the pain of the execution, but the twins still felt the haunting loss . I’d see it in the way their eyes paled, like the foam on stormy seas.

Years later, I’d work with the executioner. He never got over that kill. Titus’s last words to him were, “I hope one day I see you in glory. We forgive you. We pray for you. Goodnight.” I don’t think he felt pain either.

That was the day the Remnant went underground. Rocco and Rose started training the new converts how to see and hear into the spirit, how to study the word of God. Martin and Lucy kept on with the school, keeping their eyes out for new people who were searching for truth. Ingrid and Artimus started heading up the chameleons, guiding people in how to maintain strategic jobs, how to garner influence and keep the Remnant safe.

Kit and Dallas moved underground, raised by my parents.

They’re 23 now. I laugh when Dallas walks into a room. He obviously leaves an impression. The 6″2 frame, the wise, sea-foam eyes and the muscular back is what does it, so I’m told. I’m also told he looks like a Swedish revolutionary. But really he’s just my quasi little brother: smart-mouthed, hyperactive and a mean rally driver. He’s a phys-ed teacher by day and a comms specialist by night.

I don’t laugh when Kit walks into a room. She’s a beauty, this I know. I see the looks she gets from guys, but they look away when they see me watching her back. To them, she looks sweet and innocent but I know the steely, non-conformist spine built into her. They see naivety, but I know she’s philosophical: a seer, a brilliant hacker with shoulders that carry the world upon them.

Dallas and I both sort-of orbit around her. I don’t think Dee ever got over the guilt of triggering the arrest. I don’t think it was his fault though. It was mine for trying to save Kit first. She’d have hesitated, I’m sure. So our penance is making sure harm never comes to her.

For years after we went underground, a strange sort of barrenness settled over the Remnant. New converts were few, but perhaps that was because we were scared of reaching out. But no new babies were born either. It was the Speechly’s, me and a bunch of oldies. We were a stagnant and dying breed.

Then one day when I was twelve, Hunter arrived. There was something about that kid and his freaky eyes. The day that odd-eyed newborn arrived its like a clock started counting down.

In the moments when God speaks to me, I hear him counting too. We are getting close to zero. I don’t know what happens when we do.”

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I’m a Writer. I Build Worlds.

World-building. It’s the less-famous aspect of writing. Character-building we know all about. Creating beautiful sentences is another thing we know and expect from writers. The art of insight and the craft of wordsmithing combines to present beautiful sentences to house our sentiments.

Then of course there is editing, proof-reading and graphic design that also feature into the famous aspects of writing.

But I’m not going to talk about them today. I’m going to talk about a less famous aspect of writing. I’m a supernatural fiction author. Currently, my work verges on the dystopian with a distinctly supernatural element. I’m not writing about a world I can see with my two natural eyes. Nor am I writing about a natural world that looks like the one I live in today. I have to explain to my reader what may be intangible, and what certainly is invisible.

So I build worlds.

I spend hours on it. Days. Months. Heck, if I don’t get a move along, this book will even stretch into years. (I’ll get a move-along. Promise).

I’ve studied how other people build worlds and I’ve got some thoughts for you. There’s no research into this other than my own. Excuse the fact that there is no peer review here!

Thought #1: Don’t overdo it. If you spend too much time building the world and not enough time building the characters and the storyline, you’ll sink. The reader won’t be able to chug through the first chapter and you’re done. The human brain is a tricky thing. It fills in the blanks with its own kind of details. So I figure if I don’t go to great lengths to explain a house (for example), the readers brain will fill in the blanks with their own. If I overdo it, they’ll be so focused on details that they’ll lose the momentum of the plot.

Thought #2: Don’t underdo it. There are pitfalls on the other end of the spectrum too. If you underdo the explanations, the readers is going to be thinking “What? I’m lost.”

Thought #3: Order matters. This is a little truth that hit home the first time I got my manuscript back from my editor. I’d mentioned a character (using first name only) three times before I actually introduced him. By that stage the reader had already formed an opinion of him and then I’d gone and changed it all up for them. Not the best idea really! It’s not always possible to introduce something or someone upon first sight, especially if you meet a whole lot of people/things at once, but do it as close to the first impression as possible.

Thought #4: Anything goes when building worlds, but make it believable. It amazes me how many blockbusters incorporate totally unbelievable scenarios but someone the viewer goes “Yeah okay cool.” They buy it. Why? The writers have gone to great lengths to make it believable. Consistency is key. You will have readers who pick up on contradictions you write in your story. This subtracts from believability. If I’ve invented something, then I sticky-note it and put it up on my wall so I remember.

Thought #5: Human nature still needs to resonate. Have you ever noticed that, no matter how far fetched the storyline or the world-building aspects of the story, human nature shines through. Human complexity can engage the reader or viewer no matter how different the landscape. Sometimes, the newly invented landscape/world written by the author actually has the power to make the lesson in the story shine even more. Take the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S.Lewis for example. Powerful stuff.

Anyway! These are just a few thoughts – because I’m stuck in a funeral carpark with an overheated radiator! Haven’t blogged in a bit so thought I’d make the best of my time!

Over and out for now

Cheers

C

P.S. The photos are from the set of the film trailer! Not CGI’d or anything but still all part of the fun of world building.

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The Remnant (1 of 1)

Hunter Rhodes