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Character Development Challenge

Wren Ridere, Age 14

Prompt: Day of favorites!! What is your character’s favorite color? Ice cream flavor? Flower?

___________

“What the hell is this?” The wild array of color looked completely out of place on her tattered sleeping mat. Reds, yellows, and whites with splashes of purple and orange against the dark gray of her blanket and the faded white of the actual mat. It was so bright that it may have well been the center of the room.

“Flowers, Wren. They’re flowers.” Her fingers twitched with the urge to smack Javier in the back of the head.  She could tell they were flowers, they were carnations in fact, but what she couldn’t understand is how flowers ended up on her mat. There wasn’t any way to get these inside of the camp and she was positive that she hadn’t done anything worth getting such an elaborate display ordered from outside.

And she knew that no one was so stupid as to act on a crush like this.

As more people filed in after dinner to get ready for bed, the flowers were bringing far too much attention to her little area. She survived this place by blending in, by only standing out in training and doing so in ways that didn’t anger all of the others, and these stupid flowers were going to start gossip up again.

It had to be a mistake. These couldn’t have been for her. Picking up the offending set of flowers, she looked around. The fact that they were her favorites had to be some weird fluke. She never shared that information with anyone. It was as pointless as sharing that her favorite ice cream flavor was rocky road or that lavender was her favorite color.

Javier’s muffled laughter grated her nerves. His blanket wasn’t enough to hide his amusement and since her hands were full with the bouquet, she kicked him. It was enough to silence the laughter and she felt a little better when he started cursing under his breath at her. He wasn’t the best guy in the world but she could trust him not to steal her things when she wasn’t there.

It was that trust that led her to leave her mat and slip out one of the doors. A few more curious stares were worth getting the flowers out of there. She had to dispose of them first and then figure out who left them for her.

The building that her division slept in wasn’t too far from the burners where they disposed of all the trash that they could do so safely. They didn’t want to poison their trainees with toxic fumes so they didn’t burn anything that would be considered dangerous. Flowers wouldn’t hurt anyone.

Unfortunately, the burners were far enough way that their building didn’t benefit from the warmth of the constantly burning fires but it gave her enough time to think of all the people that could have possibly been stupid enough to send her flowers. She wasn’t particularly close to anyone; a few ‘friends’ that were likely to throw her under the bus if it meant furthering themselves.

No one in her family would send any sort of flashy present. Her brother was beginning the final stage of his training so he wasn’t going to be sending her flashy gifts.

All the possibilities kept running through her mind, even as she dropped the bouquet into one of the holes. With one last look towards the bright colors, she almost wished that she had a place she could hide them. Brushing her fingers of the petals, her brows furrowed when something sharp poked at her fingertips.

They furrowed further when she realized that it was a card. It was a stupid mistake not to look for one. As she pulled it out, her eyes narrowed and she felt a great amount of annoyance well up within her.

Songbird,

Noticed you kept looking at the carnations on the last assignment so I figured it’d be nice to send you the next update with your own. Meet with Alpha and team at daybreak. Do not let anyone see you. Phase 2 is to begin.

Kevin

The note crumpled into her fist. Obviously, the beating she gave Kevin just after Phase One wasn’t enough to get him to leave her alone. It had become his favorite past time to tease her about just about anything. He was just lucky that no one found the message before she did. And she nearly didn’t.

Throwing the note in with the flowers, she shut the cage and took great pleasure in hearing the trap open up and the flowers drop into the flames. Since she was going to have to deal with Kevin and the team again already, she couldn’t do much right now.

But once the second phase was done, she was going to break his nose.

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