Dusk (9)

04/15/2015 § Leave a comment

Chained up against a cold stone wall, naked and covered in his own filth from waist down, Shane Moss knows that his life is coming to an end.

The awareness is… surprisingly clear. Not a bitter thing at all, not something to rail against. It is only a fact, a knowing, familiar in the clarity of the moment. You lived your life one way, could hardly complain if and when it ended the same.

“The sergeant just got back.”

A voice, directly ahead, not far.

Moss lifts his chin, tries to look up. His vision is a slit, the eye of a needle, both his own swollen and bloodied shut.

At first there is only the orange glow of a torch, too bright for his battered eyes. Then, in a moment, a sudden shadowing: two human shapes, dark against the light. Two Watchers. One who does the beating, and one who watches, asks questions. There are always two of them.

“How pissed is he?”

Pissing, more like. The poor bastard’s got to report to Red Hall and explain his absence.”

“I would pay to see that.”

“Aye. Shorey says he found him in a poppy den. You believe that? The man wasn’t sober enough to mount a horse, or he could’ve gotten here in time.”

“Deserves whatever’s coming to him, if you ask me.”

“Shorey’s already got a pool going about that. My bet’s on two ranks and forty lashes.”


“You know he’s got ties to the Sirramarks. The only reason he made sergeant in the first place.”

“Fuck that.”

With that, their conversation ends. Something lurches in Moss’s stomach in the ensuing silence, but the beating doesn’t begin. Questions do not come. Moss can see the two of them standing directly ahead of him, within an arm’s reach. Can hear their breathing, mask-muffled, over and above his own.

They want me to wait for it. The understanding comes to him like a firebrand, bearing its own kind of light. It shows him… anger, defiance, deep within. Not against the certainty of a bad death, no, but against these Watchers, who would try and frighten him toward it.

He was very nearly one of them. Would have made a better Watcher, too, than both of these combined.

With that thought, Moss opens his mouth, summons his best smirk.

“Gentlemen… Here to… suck my cock?”


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