Another Story IX

IX.

Blood geysered out of the priest.

It sprayed across Jonas and pooled at his feet. It spread quickly underneath the pews. The blood continued to gush, more than the squire would’ve thought possible. _Will it fill the whole church? _He was caught by an image of himself treading in blood, pressed like a drowning rat against the stone ceiling of the sanctuary.

Luthen smiled happily.

“Thank you — thank you so much. Now it falls to you to treat with him.”

The priest coughed. Blood continued to seep down the front of his tunic. He ran a hand over his face, smearing red across his eyeless face.

“I know something, something he didn’t want me to know — God told me the devil’s name — whispered it to me, ever so delicately…his name is fair…Fair…”

The priest fell silent and spoke no more.

Jonas pulled his sword free and numbly wiped off the blood. He felt cold. Luthen was a demon — wasn’t he? If not — I just killed my first man. An unarmed blind man, sitting in a church.

The squire would have vomited, had there been anything in his stomach. He fled.

His sword was heavy as he ran, finding stairs leading upward by pure chance. He pounded through empty rooms and hallways, seeking a way out — a way up. He battered through the last door, and fell to his knees in the rain. A small balcony near the roof, open to the heavens. The dark stone of the church was mute behind him, Jonas blinked into the rain and tried to regain composure. He had an unbroken view of all of Gilead. The streets were black, scatters of movement caught his eye but not his interest.

Jonas had come home.

On the edge of the city the lord’s keep stood. Green light flickered from the windows, seeming to beckon him. No…no….I…don’t want to see any more..

The squire looked down at his feet, and saw his sword. The rain beaded on the good steel.

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