But considering the nature of these novels, no discussion about them would be complete without comparing the strong thematic elements in My Fugitive with those in its companion book.
Those who read the first book in the series will remember the running metaphor of the beachwalker who threw the stranded starfish into the sea, symbolizing a person who walked along the beach of life, rescuing whatever human ‘starfish’ she found in need of her. But that was the Beachwalker’s view of life, not the Fugitive’s. So when writing from his perspective, I had to determine whether to pick a running theme at all, and if so, what?
For him to share her specific metaphor wouldn’t have been plausible. I also wanted to find something harsher, more suited to his violent military past.
I thought about using an hourglass theme, representing the slow, silent inevitability of the fate that hung over his head. Instead of beachwalkers, starfish and the sea, the theme would have been hourglasses, time, and unstoppable people and events.
I wasn’t quite satisfied with that, though. Some remnants of the hourglass theme have lingered, but it just wasn’t enough. I needed a persona, something that would consume his identity the way the tale of the Beachwalker had consumed his rescuer’s.
Enter the Angel of Death.
The Beachwalker had the sea; the Angel had the sky. The Beachwalker was independent to the point of self-destruction; the Angel’s wings were clipped, leaving him helpless as never before.
The Beachwalker rescued a Sea Monster; the Angel of Death met an Angel of Life, one whose methods differed from his, but whose pride, self-sacrifice, and isolation were achingly similar.
The Beachwalker spent her book using her identity as a shield against the things she was learning about herself, while the Angel was stripped of his persona, forced to truly get to know the person beneath it for the first time.
Dissimilar though their lives have been, those two are truly different sides of the same coin. It’s enough to make me wonder what it would have been like if they’d met under different circumstances, with the Beachwalker injured and the Fugitive rescuing her. Pity it would contradict so much of the existing plot.
But then, isn’t that just the kind of cannon-incompatible potential that fanfiction is made of? If you see any, let me know. :)