I made radical changes to Shafter when seeking a traditional publication path because of length issues. One of the biggest changes was eliminating Katie’s POV (Trina’s twin sister). If you’ve read Shafter, you have read the reworked version of this scene, since some parts had to be kept regardless, but here is the original, which looks a bit into Katie’s personality. At some point, this cutting room floor piece might find a new life when I start writing Katie’s half of the story, but I’m not currently intending to start so far back in the past, so it may have to remain nothing more than an excerpt of what once had been.
I hope you enjoy this glimpse into Katie’s life:
Katie watched her sister dig through the pile of clothing scavenged from polit discards. Each piece showed enough wear that no polit would be seen in it, but servants often wore the castoffs. Trina flinched as she pulled her normal shirt over her head, a much-patched piece of linen Katie had stitched together.“Do you have to go?” The soft question hung in the air, and Katie thought her twin might not answer it.“Do you like it here?”Katie jerked in surprise at the unexpected response. She thought before replying. “Our needs are met. It’s not a bad place. So yes, I guess I do like it here. It’s not as if we have any choice.”Trina sat down on the rag-stuffed mattress they shared, clutching the shirt to her bare chest. “And is that enough if we had a choice? Is survival enough? Don’t you ever long to see the sun again; live up there?” She glanced to the ceiling.Shaking her head, Katie sat down as well, folding her feet under her on the tiled floor. A chill crept into her legs, but she ignored it. “I’ve learned to be happy. If you don’t ask for much, you don’t spend your life wanting it. Accept what you’re given and happiness follows.”“True happiness? Or just enough so you don’t bash your head in like Tinker did?” Trina stared at her intently, as if expecting something Katie couldn’t give.“Why ask? You come back from your time on the streets looking like someone beat you with a hard stick, tell me some story about falling down a shaft, and want me to long for the surface?” Katie found herself back on her feet, towering over her sister. “I don’t want you to be up there. I don’t want to worry every minute whether you’ve been caught, whether that polit found you.”She stopped speaking when Trina flinched and knelt down next to her sister. She lightly touched the dark blue-purple bruise marking half Trina’s face from her hairline down to frame one eye. “Did he do this to you?”Trina jerked away from the touch. “No! He didn’t touch me.” She grabbed a maroon tunic from the pile and jammed it over her head, a gasp escaping when the cloth scraped her face.“I told you what happened.” The words came muffled from inside the tunic that hid her expression.Katie sat back on her heels. “And you expect me to believe that? You, who can dance her way through any barrier, slipped and tumbled down a shaft?”“I was running…”“The only way you fell—if you did—is if someone pushed you. The question is: was it a shafter or polit?”Trina leaned back and shimmied out of her leggings before dragging on a pair of cotton pants. “I fell. That’s all there is to it.”“And why are you in such a rush to go back? It’s only been two days. You still look like a victim. How can you hope to blend in? You think they won’t mark you? If you saw someone torn up the way you are, you’d ask questions even down here. The face would hang around in the back of your mind for days. It’s too risky.” Katie practically pleaded but Trina still went about dressing for another surface run.Grabbing her sister’s arm, Katie dragged her over to the metal wall backing their room. “Do you really think they won’t notice?”Together, they stared at the reflections distorted by the gray material. Even through the imperfect image, the bruise on Trina’s face stood out.Trina pulled away, grabbing her purse and scarf. “I’ve got to go.” She shoved them down the neck of the tunic, then jammed her feet into her cloth slippers.“Why?” Katie’s question fell on deaf ears as only the walls remained. Her sister had already left their apartment. The soft thump of their main door provided the only answer.
Today’s post was inspired by the topic “From the cutting room floor (Sometimes good pieces just don’t fit. Share something you had to remove but regret doing so for aesthetic reasons.)” — November’s topic in Forward Motion’s Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour.