Self-publishing Short Stories Writing

Character Sheet: Elmer Spooner

Hi there,

Here is a sneak peek into my next book. This is a character sheet of Elmer Spooner. I enjoyed writing his background story and who he is. I can’t wait to get my fourth book published. It is back at Necropolis, the land of the living and the dead. There is more political tension as Otis is back at home with the machine of all machines, and all the major political players want him and the machine. Not Petula Upwood, though. She sees it as highly dangerous yet, intriguing. She thinks a device of such caliber cannot be owned or mastered. But here is Elmer Spooner:

Role in Story: A supporting character, who is there to show how the Council’s system works, and what happens to whistle-blowers in corrupted governance.

Occupation: A bureaucrat at the Council’s complaints department of fair treatment for internal and external complaints.

Physical Description: Elmer Spooner is a small man with a balding head and hair on both sides. He looks uncomfortable constantly, as if he isn’t used to interacting with people. He isn’t. He is more used to dealing with papers. They make more sense than real people do. Real people being undead or living variety are messy.

Personality: He is timid, introverted, pedantic, obsessive, highly conscious, and neurotic. Elmer has strong feelings about right and wrong. He sees that the right thing is to follow the rules or else systems will break. If systems break, then the chaos will come, and who knows, maybe an apocalypse will follow.

Habits/Mannerisms: Remembers everything he has read and seen. Has a visual memory. He occasionally stammers as he tries to form his thoughts. Stares too long people into their eyes or doesn’t stare enough. Struggles with social protocols, meaning he follows the rules he has been taught but isn’t flexible in social situations and comes off as odd.

Background:

Elmer Spooner grew up in an orphanage. His parents are a mystery. He was always the kid no one adopted. And he was the only one who was there until he turned eighteen. He learned to play the system by its rules to survive the orphanage. He never did anything wrong, as even then, he had a strict moral code, but he also knew that rules were there to help him stay alive.

After the orphanage, he went to study accounting but found it ill-suited for him as numbers kept spinning in the city, never being what they should be. So he changed his subject to the law at the university. After graduation, he drifted into the ethics department of the organizations he worked for, investigating if the rules were followed. He worked first at an embalming factory but was driven out of there for making it impossible to do business. Then he moved on to working at the Council. He found it immensely satisfying at first. The Council seemed to follow its set rules to the letter, and the complaints he got were minor and easily amendable. Elmer has worked for the Council for twenty-one years. His crowning achievements are making sure the office rules are updated and precise. Also, he has made sure the conduct code with outside operatives is taught and monitored by the department educating the handlers.

Elmer likes his life. He wakes up every morning at the same time, backs his lunch and snacks, and goes to work. He is never late. He always leaves on time as he sees overtime as unproductive and harmful to morale. Elmer has a tight schedule and does more work than anyone else in the office, dismissing or handling ten to twenty complaints daily. On a slow day, he goes over the organization’s roosters and guidelines to see if there is anywhere he can be in service.

Internal Conflicts: The complaints against the Council have increased in recent years, and they have gotten more outlandish. Elmer is concerned that the Council has ordered the operatives and other employees to bend the rules as they see fit to complete their assignments. He has asked from his supervisors if there is a new rule in place, but they shrug it off. All of this causes Elmer to be unable to fall asleep, and if he does, he has nightmares or wakes up in the middle of the night sweaty.

External Conflicts: Otis launched a complaint against the Council, and it landed on Elmer’s desk. He is ordered to ignore it and told that Otis is lying, but pieces of evidence are piling against the Council. Elmer will be CENSORED.

Notes:

Elmer paced around his small office. He had to step around the chairs and all the other pieces of furniture not to bump into them. It was just that his thoughts weren’t making any sense. He was thinking of breaking into the Council’s archives, where they kept all the papers. All this because he was trying to find out if Otis was indeed rightfully arrested and imprisoned or not. Then there was the fact that the man insisted on being tortured. That caused Elmer’s heart to beat irregularly. There was nothing against using torture under the bylaws. On the contrary, there was a precedent, which meant the Council had the right to use torture to secure information that might harm it in performing the duties trusted upon them. So he shouldn’t be feeling this way. But here he was, pacing around his office, knowing he would soon walk out of the door and sneak into the archives. Without the relevant papers, he wouldn’t be able to make the right decision.

In his next turn, Elmer lowered his hand on the door’s handle and pushed the door open. He had an out-of-body experience as his body marched through the corridors to the archives as if it wasn’t he doing the walking. He went there often enough not to arouse suspicion. He waved at the usual archivist at his desk, greeting anyone who came in. The man gave his drowsy nod, barely registering Elmer coming in. Still, Elmer’s chest felt tight, and he was sure the man followed his every move.

He made a quick disappearance behind the next row of shelves and sighed. There on, he headed down along another corridor between the towering bookcases with rows upon rows of ledgers, books, and folders. Usually, Elmer liked this place. It gave him a sense of order in the chaotic Necropolis. Now he felt as if the bookcases and ceiling would collapse over him. They turned inward, making Elmer take drunken steps forward. The room kept spinning until he reached the end of the first chamber, where the public records were kept. As soon as he arrived at the heavy door with carving: authorized access only, everything came into focus.

There was only one objective, and that was the truth. Nothing else mattered. He just had to get past the door, most likely guarded by hexes against any illegal entries. Unlike most people in the Council, he wasn’t anything special. He was just a plain old human being without a single ounce of eerie talent. Yet, he wasn’t ineffective. One picked up things while living in Necropolis, and he had made sure to have an extensive knowledge against necromancy and witchery. There were charms and ready-made scriptures one could buy and use. But more than that, he remembered all the studies about the weaknesses of hexes. Curses or hexes, however one wanted to call them, were an assertion of reality, and if someone altered that reality, they would tricker the hex. Or in other cases, the hexes altered the known reality according to the caster’s wishes. But here, it was more about the assertion of how things ought to be. And how things ought to be was Elmer should be able to enter. Yet, the somewhat sentient hex didn’t know that. It was programmed with no entry in mind, but not him especially. Just all those who would try to enter without the appropriate key.

Elmer coughed. “Excuse me,” he started. But, of course, there was no reply. Curses weren’t that sentient.

“You are to open the door for me,” Elmer said with all the authority he could muster. Nothing moved. It had been a long shot, but it was worth the try. But he wasn’t finished. “You are mistaken that I’m here.” He reached for the door handle and made it turn. “Everything is as it should be. It is the slight tremor of earth that you are feeling.” He opened the door. “Causing the door open.” He stepped in, holding his breath and waiting to be turned into a frog or some other despicable creature. Nothing of such sort happened. He didn’t dare to close the door to push his luck. There was always a chance an alarm had been made, and he had to move quickly. He had been here before with the archivist, and he had made a note of the general filing system then. There was a section where prisoners’ information was kept. He headed straight there, looking for the letter T as Thurston. It was easy to find Otis’s file. He opened it and glanced through every document there. Most of them were redacted, but he memorized all the words and blank spots. It would be a puzzle he could later solve. Whatever was written them was highly flammable if the Council didn’t let even the future board members see them.

When he was done, he stepped backward, following the steps he had taken. “I’m not here. You are witnessing a gush of air,” he repeated as he walked out of the door and closed it behind him. Then, he turned left and headed to where the personal files were. He took one at random and went to the archivist.

“Will you log this for me?” Elmer asked.

The man took the file and penned it into his roster.

After that, Elmer fled to his office, only able to let out a long sigh as he collapsed behind his desk. But his work wasn’t over. He took a paper and began making identical copies of what he had seen.

Thank you for reading! Have a wonderful day ❤

© K.A. Ashcomb

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