Late InMon!

Stephanie, of BeKindRewrite assures me that even late InMon submissions are acceptable. I have, therefore, used last-week’s prompt: “Narrow Future.” Here is a grim, but determined submission from my only character, as of yet, who absolutely insists on a first-person perspective. If nothing else, it is good practice.

Though the hall was full of Death’s Clerics, it was nearly silent. My sharp hearing caught the sound of their breath, but no one shuffled or sniffed, there was neither whisper of cloth nor creak of sandal. Only staring eyes and pricked ears. They all waited to hear my answer.
     Where once I thought of my future as an open field, full of roads and possibilities, I now saw that each turn, each choice made, had narrowed it down to a single forked path. Each drop of blood, each dying breath had closed a gate, not only on those I killed, but on me. Rhos tried to tell me, she saw the walls closing in, but she was young, it was easy to dismiss her worries. At least, until Bre killed her. That was when I finally understood. It was the turn, the fork in the road that lead me here, to one final choice.
     Two paths left, and one would be very short. How I wanted that way. Execution, judgment, to be shut out of the world.
     The other path was a narrow hunter’s track; I could not see the end of it. I shuddered.
     There was work to be done and I was suited for it. I had suited myself for it, all unaware. The clerics had, in their mercy, given me a choice, but I knew I did not deserve it. I had forfeited any right to my own life, they had every reason to bind me to their purpose, yet they gave me a way out.
     But to ask for execution was the coward’s way. To choose death over work would be, as ever, to avoid responsibility.  I am a murderer and a kinslayer, but I was not then, and am not yet a coward.
     “I will hunt at your bidding until the task is done or I am killed.” I had not spoken loudly, but in that silence my words startled like shattered glass.
     The high priestess stamped to quiet the flood of whispers, then she spoke.
     “You will not hunt at our pleasure, but at Death’s. But first you must face the fire and be purified. Remember the suffering you have brought upon others, it will help you to bear your own.”
     I shivered and bowed my head.
    But I am not yet a coward.

About jubilare

Just another tree in the proverbial forest. Look! I have leaves! View all posts by jubilare

12 responses to “Late InMon!

  • Colleen

    When are we going to work together?

  • Avra

    Excellent piece! Grim but gorgeous. ;)

  • Stephanie Orges

    Darkly beautiful. I like the way he describes the consequences of his killings – gates closing for him – and how much it means to him to not be a coward, as if his courage is all he has left.

    I also loved the line “Remember the suffering you have brought upon others, it will help you to bear your own.” At first I thought – wouldn’t the guilt make it worse? But then I realized the pain would, then, seem purifying, because it would seem just.

    Fantastic work, as usual.

    • jubilare

      #^_^# I am glad you like it!

      I’m glad his desperate cling to courage comes across… and what the priestess meant by her words. That last part took me some thought before I could figure out how to say it. If one rejects the idea of guilt, which this character did, at one point, then it seems a monstrous statement, but when guilt and justice are taken seriously, then it starts to have meaning. When suffering is believed to have a purpose, rather than being arbitrary, it can sometimes strengthen the will. Still, it’s an aching idea, however true it might be.

      The flip-side to that, though, is that this character understands justice, but would vehemently deny the idea of forgiveness. Justice can strengthen him to carry the weight, but I think he would resist the idea of the weight, itself, being removed.

      I’m happy to say that this character’s future isn’t quite as grim as it looked to him at this point, though! I can’t imagine trying to tell his story if it were.

      I haven’t forgotten about e-mails! I am just trying to push through being swamped. I will try to get to them soon!

      • Stephanie Orges

        Ah, yes. Is it because he doesn’t believe he CAN be forgiven, or because he doesn’t want to owe anybody anything? I’m sensing the latter.

        Don’t worry about emails; I, too, am swamped. Many late nights. Also I’ve come to terms with the fact that I really do have to buy a lawn mower.

        • jubilare

          I can see how the latter would seem more likely, but the former fits the facts better. He considers evil, and murder/kinslaying in particular, as indelible. Saving a hundred lives cannot make up for a single murder because life cannot be returned to that one person (which, actually, I agree with, though he and I part company in other beliefs).

          On top of that, he believes, because of the religion in which he was raised, that all souls are judged, after death, by those they encountered during life, and he cannot imagine most of his victims or their kin forgiving him, much less his own kin.

          I’m pretty sure he made it through this period of his life through blind will, anger, and hatred. :P

          Many late nights here, too. Alas! May we find sleep soon, and good luck finding a mower…

      • stephencwinter

        That is a powerful contrast; one who believes in Justice but not in Forgiveness. It reminds me of Javert in Les Miserables in contrast to Jean Valjean, one of my favourite characters in all literature. Will I get the chance to see what happens next?

        • jubilare

          Oo, I’ve never thought of this character in those terms before, though the contrast of Valjean and Javert is one that fascinates me more than a little.

          This character is slightly more merciful than Javert, at least to people who are not like him, but he’s certainly the relentless type. I hope, one day, I’ll be able to write his whole story, long though it is. In the mean time, though, he is a secondary character, and an important one, in my WIP and he may show up, from time to time, in some of my random postings here.

          In fact, digging around, I found this, which, strange as it may seem, is also him, just much further down his chosen path:

          It makes for a strange contrast, I think. He’s… uh… complicated. ;P

  • technicolorlilypond

    Wow! Thank you for sharing this, Jubilare. The voice, the drama, the pain, your prose paints them all so well. Godspeed as you continue on your WIP, I know it is an uphill climb to find the time. You can do it! :-)

    • jubilare

      Thank you! I’m glad you like it! This is the character in bitter-mode. He’s much more fun when he’s in snark-mode, but this is the moment he gave me, and thus here it is!

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