Ah, Scout. You were the first character I created for this world. Jean Elizabeth “Scout” Wren gets her name directly from Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. She has one older brother, Jeremy “Jem” Scott, and a younger sister, Louise “Dill.” She is very unlike me. She loves extreme sports, getting into dangerous situations, talks a lot, and can’t sit still long enough to read a chapter, let alone an entire book. She hails from the humble state of Montana where she used to go snowboarding daily with her brother. She also participated in baseball, gymnastics, and teasing her sister. And she’s slightly obsessed with Marvel Comics.
Scout is special in that she has a complete novel about her titled Born to Fly. It’s boosted her ego a little bit, too. But then Scout is never satisfied taking a back seat, so leaving her as more a secondary character in Into the Flames has been hard on her. Born to Fly chronicles Scout’s life as she discovers her special abilities, transfers to Grover Cleveland, and forges a strong friendship with the school freak, Kenneth Hawkins. Below is the scene where she first meets Hawkins. Note that Grover Cleveland is in a different state than it is now and that Hawkins’s hair color is wrong. Also please keep in mind that I was only fifteen and was lacking in much writing experience.
I recognized it as the library door, though I had never been inside. I had never been a big reader, mind you, but I stepped inside now, just to see what it was like.
The first thing I saw was rows upon rows of shelves, filled floor to ceiling with books. Old musty books, new lemon-smelling books, fat and short books, tall and skinny books, encyclopediae, adventure stories, essays by Thoreau and Emerson. I didn’t notice the librarian sitting behind her small desk, or give heed to the stained glass windows displaying their magnificent colors on the carpet; I just wandered through the books, marveling that there could be so many of of such different variety in one place.
Then I came across two shelves that were placed against the wall in such a way that they cut off a small corner of the library. Why would somebody do that? I wondered. Didn’t they want to make the best use of their space?
There was a small crack where the two bookshelves met, and I, being a skinny person, squeezed through.
I jumped, for there was somebody back there! He was sitting on the floor, a thick book propped up on his knees. He looked at me accusingly.
“I’m Jean Wren,” I replied. “I didn’t mean to disturb you.”
“Why back here?” he asked.
“Because I was curious,” I said truthfully. “What are you doing back here?”
“Reading,” he said, “duh.”
“Yeah, I see that,” I said. “But why aren’t you reading somewhere else?”
“Quiet,” he said. I could tell he was thinking, So leave me alone.
Fine, I will, I thought back, not like I have anything to do by myself though. I can’t go fly loop-the-loops off in the ravine with Jem, because this is stinking New York and Jem is in Vermont.
The boy stared at me in astonishment, his shaggy dark blond hair falling across his black eyes. For a minute I was afraid I had said it out loud. But then he shook himself, as if he realized he was staring. He stood up, and I saw that he was almost six feet tall. “Leave now,” he said abruptly. And he did.
How strange, I thought. I shrugged and went down to the cafeteria to watch John play ping-pong.