Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Excerpt from Signet

He didn't have to go to the Church, however, but to the neighboring Court. It was a long, rectangular black building with a graceless, blocky entrance, also watched by two guards. These doors would always open, day and night.
"Because vengeance cannot sleep until justice is done," he whispered, paraphrasing from poetry.
The guards straightened up and looked wary as he came up the narrow stairway. Without question, they opened the doors. Interesting. He didn't have to declare his business, and they didn't escort him either.
He didn't need an escort. He knew the way.
There, in the cold, plain hallway, the bench where he'd sat and waited his turn at regular intervals from age eleven to age nineteen. At the moment an old woman sat there, nodding beside a middle-aged man who had a sleeping baby in his arms. The man hugged the child closer when he noticed Lark. The shifting drew the old woman's attention. She looked Lark's way and stared boldly, sizing him up as if death held no fear for her anymore. Then she looked back down and clasped her hands tight over her belly.
The door opened and a girl of about twelve years in a dirty skirt and dirtier blouse came out. A cold voice followed her. "Next."
Oh, that voice, so familiar. The old woman and the middle-aged man didn't move. Lark nodded thanks to them and walked in.
Icy blue eyes gazed up and froze. The dark-haired priest stared, the pen in his hand still after a long stretch of scribbling across a ledger. His mouth tightened and he closed the ledger book.
Lark set the bottle of brandy on the desk. Anger bubbled up from nowhere and everywhere, a hatred for this priest that ran so deep it was a part of his spine. The priest hadn't done anything to the boy Lark had been. He'd only been a stone in a cell wall, and as free of personality as rock, but still Lark felt a powerful urge to destroy him. "Remember me?" Lark asked.
The priest turned around to place the ledger among many others in the bookcase on the wall. Then he turned back, folded his hands together on the table, and looked a long time at Lark's face. Defensiveness and loathing gave way to realization in the priest's expression. "Yes."
Lark sat down. "I'm here to pay off my indenture."
The priest continued to stare a moment before he pursed his lips. "Clever."

1 comment:

Ris said...


Woo hoo! Can't wait to read the rest of the 'new' Masks. And then Signet. And then whatever book three will be about. And book four . . .