(TCWT) Character Therapy…But For Whom?

The Teens Can Write, Too! blog-chain prompt this month of July was *clears throat*:

Take any character from one of your books and put them in a therapy session.”

For this, something I never know how to approach (I saw a similar prompt some time ago, but I passed on it at that point, not knowing much about the TCW,T! site), I’ve chosen one of my favourite characters: Agnetha King*, heroine of the Agnetha King Mysteries Trilogy**, eponymously.

*Note to self: learn middle name.

**(and possibly future DI King episodic novels, if I actually decide I can’t leave her)

Anyway, here we go. Oh, how authors hate therapy with their characters…

AlexB5AgnethaVisual2The door flies open, not from gusto, but from sheer energy of the woman behind it. I don’t think Agnetha can do quiet, even if she would want to. I look at my watch: five minutes late. I can’t blame her. I used to be five minutes late for everything…but at least I had a reason. I raise an eyebrow and gesture that she sit in the chair opposite.

Thankfully, she does.

In fact, an apology tumbles from her mouth first. It’s rushed, but Agnetha’s eyes avoid mine: she means genuine.

“That’s quite all right,” I say. I lift a blue-backed clipboard and scan down the scribbles of notes made from a previous eye. Maybe, if she ever grows up and gets a promotion, I should have a genuine therapist on hand. Living murder is a terrible business.

I look up at the sound of rustling. Agnetha’s expression is paper-blank. She swings her feet onto the table between us, and her eyes watch mine from under the clump of hair she calls a fringe. A dare.

I clear my throat. “Feet off the table, please, Agnetha.”

Her chin juts forward. “You do it –”

“I know I do, but –”

And her penchant for interruption is something my tongue cannot hold back on, either. She is my daughter, after all. Even though she is older than me. Possibly. I tap my pen on the clipboard. The problem with writing a trilogy over six years is that one tends to forget –

“Can we start?” Agnetha clicks her fingers. Since she became a prefect this year, she’s learnt to enunciate her words and snatch the attention. Not necessarily a good thing.

But she damn well better! I didn’t involve her in the city of Oxford for nought! 

I resist the urge to sigh. Better her than me, I suppose. And then she’s finding her way into London as soon as I can clear my charts of Aidelle’s book. No, I shouldn’t think of that cast, nor that of Alé. Only when it’s over…

I’m daydreaming. I blink. Hard. When my sight focuses on the guest in this borrowed office, Agnetha has removed her feet and shoes from the table-top. Instead, she is conducting to herself with grey-blue eyes nearly hidden under hooded eyelids. One hand moves away, and fingers run up and down the cross pendant around her neck. I like her more now than any other time, but that doesn’t mean that Agnetha is not a vicious soul at times. I know. Cross her, and she will criss-cross you with sharp manipulation any day.

Yet…she’s still mine.

“I admire your enthusiasm. And I do mean that. Let us start: certainly.”

At least it gives me a chance to spread Psychology over-and-beyond my real life. Open questions; closed questions unconsciously manipulate the participant’s answers.

I announce, “Good afternoon, Agnetha. How are you feeling today? How does being here make you feel?”

“Like a prop.” She extends a cuticle into her mouth and nibbles at it.

Whoops: Agnetha has the same A Level extent of the Psychological games as I. It’s her integral need to imitate me. I tap the pen on my clipboard faster, from crochets to quavers: one-and-two-and-three-and-four-and, one-and-two-and-three –

“And why am I in therapy again? I hope this isn’t going to be your counselling incident.” We both know the exact incident she means, but she’s devising a lie from my played life. Simply because I’d once walked out of counselling doesn’t mean she is going to walk out of therapy. Different things.

Automatically, I look down at the clipboard. It makes my shaking hands a little more stable. “You know exactly why, Agnetha. Roll up your sleeves.”

Her eyes flash. “No.”

“Maybe we should talk about that, then.”

“Oh, yes, my ‘authoritarian complex’.”

I toss the clipboard onto the table as gently as I can. Even so, its click fills the room, leaving us with nothing but silence. Agnetha eyes me. She knows everything about me; I know nothing about her. I mean, I do. But Aggie’s the type who’d rather lash at me with her whip of words than send me any of her broken heart.

“You can’t talk to me as if you’re my superior. You don’t even know which of us is older. I might well be.”

Yup. I wondered when she was going to infiltrate my mind. She might as well be another of my split-personalities. Well, I’m a May birthday. It’s quite likely. I have a habit of not giving characters birthdays after August.

I clear my throat. “What do you want to talk about, Aggie?”

“Could be anything,” she replies. “Shall we venture into the territory of first book blues? Of aching fourteen-year-olds? Or maybe how you skipped out on one dead master for another living one.”

I spread my hands wide. “It’s a natural thing to do. The dead –”

“You know what I mean!” she cries.

And I stop. For the intonation of the exclamation is so recognisable that it almost brings tears from the corners of my eyes.

“I do.” It’s been five years since I killed Josh Craig and a year since he killed me. Nothing’s going to change.

“You’ll get him one day, Pop.”

Oh, please just leave my mind.

On that depressing note, be sure to visit the other participating blogs! (Even though I am the last, due to Uganda. I almost didn’t make it.)


5th – http://novelexemplar.wordpress.com

6th – http://veewhoa.wordpress.com

7th – http://bloodoverithaca.wordpress.com

8th – http://www.brookeharrison.com

9th – http://themagicviolinist.blogspot.com

10th – http://fida-islaih.blogspot.com

11th – http://musingsfromnevillesnavel.wordpress.com

12th – http://maralaurey.wordpress.com

13th – http://miriamjoywrites.wordpress.com

14th – http://insideliamsbrain.wordpress.com

15th – http://charleyrobson.blogspot.com

16th – http://www.oyeahwrite.wordpress.com

17th – http://insatiablebeforedeath.wordpress.com

18th – http://www.indianawriterblog.wordpress.com

19th – http://akwardlywriting.blogspot.com

20th – http://alifeonmission.wordpress.com

21st – http://whimsicallyours.com

22nd – http://theteenagewriter.wordpress.com

23rd – http://dreamerheadquarters.wordpress.com

24th – http://weirdalocity.wordpress.com

25th – https://alexandrinabrant.wordpress.com <You are here>

26th – http://teenscanwritetoo.wordpress.com  (We’ll be announcing the topic for next month’s chain.) <<<Note Bene: John has recently announced that there will be no blog-chain for August.

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