Week 5 Prompt: Write a story about your favourite fictional character.
“Ms Baudelaire, your brother rang, they’re about ten minutes away,” her assistant said, poking her head through the library door.
“Thank you, Esme.” The name still made Violet shudder despite hiring her over two months ago. However, a name, no matter how repugnant its associations were, was not an adequate reason to refuse an extremely competent assistant from being hired. Even if the woman who shared her name tried to kill Violet once. Esme smiled, but Violet continued to peer into her microscope, seeming to be unaware of her assistant’s presence.
After fumbling with the door, Esme coughed then added, “Is there anything else you need?”
“Yes, there is actually, could you pass me the Psychic Wrench?”
“Oh yes absolutely, not a problem, I’m on it,” Esme stumbled into the room and began to inspect the miscellaneous tools scattered across the Persian rug. She placed a manicured finger to her lip as her eyes furiously ransacked the equipment. “Erm, I’m so sorry but would you mind telling me what it looks like please, Ms Baudelaire?”
“That would be quite a challenge because there is such thing as a Psychic Wrench.” This prompted Esme to look up at her employer, whose eyes were still fixated on the microscope lens. After a couple of seconds, Esme put her hands to her cheeks and made a shrill giggling noise.
“Oh you were joking! Oh that’s funny! Psychic wrench, I’m such an idiot!” Violet looked up.
“Wrong. You were merely following my instructions and I took advantage of you. Do not assume you are an idiot or naïve. You are neither. You are a highly competent and trusting woman, I admire that. I sincerely apologise for my conduct.” Silence. The two women blinked at each other whilst a Bunsen burner roared in the far corner of the library.
“Erm… okay. Sorry?” Esme was now bright red and fidgeting. She began to turn away.
“Esme, would you care to stay for dinner?” Violet had turned back to the microscope. Her assistant smiled and exhaled.
“Thank you for the offer, but I’m meeting my boyfriend actually, sorry Ms Baudelaire. Maybe next time?” Violet made no response, so Esme walked away. As if forgetting something, she turned around and said, “Oh, but say hello to your brother and sister from me, and can you thank Klaus for the book he lent me?” Esme disappeared. Violet walked over to the Bunsen burner and killed the gas.
As she did so, she heard the tinkling noise of the doorbell as the faces of her siblings and their children appeared in grayscale on the TV screen above her, standing outside her door. They hadn’t brought their spouses, just the kids. Violet walked over to her intercom and enunciated “APPROVE” into the microphone. She held on to the bookcase pillar to steady herself as the front door creaked open and the scuttle of footsteps approached down the hall.
“Auntie Violet!” three children burst through the library door and huddled around her legs. They were followed by two smiling teenagers, and finally, Klaus and Sunny. Violet noticed Klaus wasn’t wearing his glasses again. She didn’t like it. After the formal pleasantries, the group huddled around Violet’s workstation as she emphatically explained her newest invention:
“Right then, who has ever bought an ice-cream and been woefully disappointed at the rapidity in which it begins to melt?”
“Oh me, I have, all the time!” Kit, Sunny’s eldest daughter, squealed.
“Well I present to you the Portable Ice-Cream Temperature Regulator!” in a flamboyant, wholly uncharacteristic gesture, she revealed the device and demonstrated it to her audience, “These pincers hold on to the cone, whilst these splints are actually tiny freezers triggered by motion sensors. Observe.” She gestured for Kit to give her hand, Violet then carefully led her little niece’s finger in-between the splints, which began to glow and hum.
“Oh it’s working, my finger is cold!”
“I don’t see a power socket, how does it get power Auntie Vi?” Klaus’ youngest, Monty, said in a soft grunt, indicative of his voice beginning to break.
“Excellent intuition Monty! The fun irony about this device is that it is solar powered – these tiny plates here at the solar panels. Imagine that – a mini freezer powered by the hottest object in the galaxy!” These gadget demonstrations continued throughout dinner as Violet showed her family the Robot Waiters (version 3.0 after some unpleasant instances with previous models), and afterwards she taught them how to make their own invisible ink maps for a treasure hunt around the mansion, whilst her, Klaus and Sunny retired to the library. She had not said much to her siblings all evening and knew the onslaught she was soon to receive once they were alone.
“The Ice-Cream Temperature Regulator was impressive,” Sunny commented, strolling around the library as she fiddled with a toothpick. “Tiny solar panels must have been expensive…”
“I had the funding for them.” Violet replied shortly. She began to fiddle with a loose strand of hair then instantly batted it away in frustration.
“We know Violet, we’re just…” Klaus began, having moved away from a pile of books he was inspecting, “we’re just worried about how you’re managing to keep financing these… erm… projects. Maintaining the mansion alone must cost a small fortune.”
“Not many fortunes lying around these days…” Violet smirked at her siblings which eased the tension. She suddenly turned away from them. Her voice turned grave and she said, “They aren’t just projects though. They’re investigations into the copycat fires and I’ve made progress.”
Klaus and Sunny looked at each other, concerned. Sunny bit her lip which caused it to bleed. Violet began sifting through paper lying on the desk. Around the room, hundreds of paper clippings, “clues”, were tacked to the wall. Some with black circles or arrows drawn on them, others connected by tacked, brightly coloured string.
“Violet… we’ve been over this…”
“I’m just continuing what our parents started. That’s what they prepared us for…” Violet continued to flick through the papers grasped in her hand.
“The police are investigating the fires…”
Violet spun round, her eyes wide. “The police won’t do anything! After everything, I would have thought you two, of all people, would understand that! I need to do this to save lives before others die in more fires. I can’t rely on the police, the fire brigade, anyone. They never listen, the adults never listen!” The papers in her hand were now crumpled, some lay on the floor slightly torn. Violet looked down at them and breathed heavily. The three stood in silence for a moment, the weight of their shared history enveloping them together in their childhood library.
Violet was surprised to suddenly feel both hands warm and enclosed. Klaus took her right hand, Sunny her left.
“We’re sorry. We know.” Sunny whispered, her voice cracking slightly
“Besides, we didn’t come here to fight, we actually have a present for you.” Klaus said, letting go of his sister’s hand and pulling a small box from his jacket pocket. He handed it to Violet, who slowly removed the lid. A smile simmered on her lips.
“We received it in the post, we don’t know who sent it, they provided lots of letters, photographs and witness accounts so we’re pretty sure it’s the real one. We think it was from the man who wrote that article about us years ago.”
“If you’re going to investigate, you will definitely need it.” Sunny smiled.
Violet pulled her lost ribbon from the box, placed the ends between her index fingers and thumbs, and slowly began to tie back her hair. The rusty cogs in her mind began to turn.
I am pretty sure this constitutes as fan fiction, and I loved writing it! The prompt this week wanted a story on your favourite fictional character, and for those who know me, know my obsession with Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. For those unfamiliar (if you are you have been living under a rock when there are books, a film and a cracking Netflix series), the story follows Violet, Klaus and Sunny, three extraordinary children who tragically lose their parents in a fire and navigate a world of villainous adults in search of peace and happiness. Violet is my favourite all-time character for many reasons. As a fellow eldest sibling, she was a role model to me, from her steam-punk attire, realised by the gothic illustrations of Brett Helquist, to her inventing skills, to her generally anti-female character traits. She wasn’t a damsel in distress, a bimbo, a bitch or boring. She was a teenage girl, who was highly intelligent, a natural leader and a skilled inventor.
I loved exploring what Violet might be like as an older woman – as the eldest, and probably the sibling who took on most of the suffering the three of them endured over the series, I couldn’t imagine her just adapting to normal life, where her younger siblings might. It was fun to bring her to life in this way, and I only hope I have done her character justice!