|RIVER RUNS RED CHARACTERS|
|Selections from River Runs Red...|
His dark blond hair was matted, his normally clean-shaven cheeks and chin thick with whiskers. He itched all over, but when he scratched he worried that he was rubbing the stench of this place into his pores. His jeans and long-sleeved dress shirt were torn and filthy and they had taken his belt, his wallet, his ID, had thrown his cell phone out the car window as soon as they had shot his driver and squeezed inside around him. He was glad he’d left his iPod and his satellite phone and his video equipment in the hotel room, along with backup identification and most of his cash reserves. He just hoped it would all still be there whenever he was freed. The cave’s temperature was steady, humid and not too cold, and he had been taking off his shirt and wadding it up as a pillow when he slept.
Byrd looked awful.
He smiled when Wade entered the room, but his gums were pink and raw, his face gaunt, as if it had begun to collapse in on itself, the skin bruised and covered with sores. His formerly thick brown hair was gone, stolen away by chemotherapy. The scar across his left eyebrow stood out more than it used to, the damaged tissue there slick and white. He sat up in the bed, bracing himself on a right arm from which the muscle tone had gone, along with most of the fat, leaving behind loose, damaged skin.
“I look swell, huh?” he said as Wade regarded him. “You look good, though, under those bruises.” He stroked his chin. “Beard, too. I like.”
“Thanks. You’ve looked better, dude,” Wade admitted.
“I know. You want to see my peri-rectal abscess? I can’t get a good view of it, myself, but I’m told it’s a beaut.”
And Molly, who had been a lovely, grown-up college graduate the last time he had been to town, had matured even more in the intervening years. Her face had filled out a little, and a minute tracery of lines around her eyes and the corners of her mouth hinted at plenty of laughter, and maybe some worry--living, anyway--in that time. Her hair was almost black, lustrous even this late in the day.
|James Livingston Truly
At five ten and one eighty-five, Truly was in reasonable shape. He knew he didn’t look like much of a threat, with his neat brown hair and round-cheeked baby face and wide, liquid blue eyes. Especially dressed in green plaid cotton pajamas. At least it was winter, so he wasn’t wearing his summer-weight silk Bugs Bunny boxers. Bethany’s husband edged two fifteen and six four, with reach to match, and none of it appeared to be the kind of useless weight that Truly wished, especially at this moment, had been hidden in the photographs.
Brewer stopped in front of the mirror, ran water into his own hands and dashed some into his face, wiping it off the bridge of his flat, prominent nose, smoothing down the short, once-black hair (more gray in it every week, he mused) that he combed back off his forehead. He pretended to examine the bags that had formed under his eyes these last few years, the lines at the corners of those eyes, the creases around his mouth, while he watched the psychic wash up. At fifty-two he had a physique that men in their early thirties envied--a few pounds not precisely where he’d like them, maybe, but solid and muscular, flat-stomached, with broad, sloping shoulders and a thick neck and powerful arms that ended in hands that looked big enough to choke a lion.
“Getting old sucks,” he said after a few moments.
Ginny was accustomed to the stares and the comments. You didn’t grow up as the most noticeable person on your block without either developing a thick skin and a sense of humor or throwing yourself under a bus. The people in the café saw a tall, sturdy woman, a hair’s-breadth shy of six one, with a shock of frizzy red curls and fair skin on which her frequent exposure to the sun had raised vast fields of freckles. She was dressed in jeans and a hooded blue sweatshirt, with a red windbreaker pulled over that, and hiking boots with fluorescent pink laces.