Saturday, May 11, 2013

Excerpt 2 from Beyond the Reach of Judgement

“People who cease to believe in God or goodness altogether still believe in the devil. I don't know why. No, I do indeed know why. Evil is always possible. And goodness is eternally difficult.”
- Anne Rice, Interview With a Vampire

Julien was alone in the stone cell. He paced its perimeter repeatedly until finally positioning himself seated against the unforgiving wall opposite the cell door. He stared straight ahead and tried not to think of her. Focusing on the cracks in the stone and the number of blocks stacked to form his enclosure, he memorized the angles and the dimensions. He struggled to think of anything he could to keep the despair from creeping in, anything to keep the memories of their final moments together out of his thoughts, anything but of her.

His concentration wavered as something was slipped through the bars of the cell door. It was immediately recognizable to him, even in the dim lighting, as a medical grade pint of red blood cells. Although his hunger was freshly sated by the girl’s last remaining ounce of life, it called to him. The more he tried to ignore its presence, the louder its call became. Thankfully, it remained unopened because he doubted he was strong enough to resist the scent of what was within.

His jaw clenched, and his fists tightened as a pain started to build in the back of his throat. For distraction, he imagined himself back in France in the Church of Saint-Pierre de Montemartre. Staring up at the ceiling, he closed his eyes and began to chant.

AVE MARIA, gratia plena, Dominus tecum. Benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Iesus. Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc, et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen.”

Over and over, he chanted the words, repeating them until they became senseless in his mind. He could not allow himself to look in the direction of the blood bag. He place his head between his knees and squeezed his eyes tighter. When his mind started to wander, wondering what blood type was written across the bag in bold letters or to how fresh it may be, he changed prayers. When he started to reminisce about the sensation of his lips on warm flesh or the sound of a pulse echoing in his ears, he changed prayers. When he thought about her scent in his nostrils and her flavor in his mouth, he changed prayers.

When Agent Wolfe appeared at the cell door, he did not look up. He recognized her footsteps and her  smell. After a long silence, she finally spoke. “Mr. Durant, tell me, why should I spare you?”

“You should not.” He replied.

“And why is that?”

“I am a monster. I deserve to be ended. I wish to be ended.”

“And why should I give you what you desire?” Her voice hinted at genuine curiosity.

“You should not.”

She said nothing else as her footsteps disappeared down the long corridor. It was silent once again. He was alone; alone with the blood.

He imagined himself back in the Spiritual Exercises. He had conquered the evil and disorder within him once so many years ago. It could be done again. Ruth taught him that. It took losing her to prove to him that he had the choice, he simply needed to take it.

But now she was dead.

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(Note, this is not the finished novel but a "pre-final-edit version". Complete novel, post editing and formatting will be available this summer!)

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