Didn’t get as much done today as I’d hoped. Stress has a way of making me feel even further out of tune with people and making it harder to access the part of my brain that relates to them in a way that lets me write. I got a few paragraphs, though, and although I write by process of discovery, I have a better idea of where this is going and how it’ll end.
Katherine is an unusual character in that while this anthology will revolve around her, the stories might never actually show her perspective, instead focusing on the perspective of characters affected by her presence. As you’ll see, she seems to have written herself as having an ability that is rather meaningful to someone like me.
As usual, comments and criticism are welcome and feedback may be implemented in the paper copy.
Good News by Samael is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
There was a pause as we collectively realized that Katherine had fully intended this response to be read into as significant. I think it dawned on me that she already had someone in mind at the same time the guards realized who she was. Everyone, myself included, tried to talk all at once and the resulting clamor cowed me to silence, a fact that did nothing to diminish the accusations and demands being hurled in Katherine’s direction. You have to understand, none of us knew anything about her other than the rumors, and the rumors said a lot of nasty things, like that she had orchestrated the destruction of at least one village and stolen away the children from many more, that she was worshiped as a goddess by a fanatic cult following, that she wanted to destroy our very way of life, that she was actually a demon who only looked human and she had magic like nothing anyone had ever seen, that she was the cause of all the chaos a couple of decades ago. We’d imagined some sort of brigand leader, not this short, soft-spoken, smiling young woman who even now weathered the invectives spat in her direction.
I had never considered the people of Crossville to be so fearful of outsiders until that moment. Standing there, half-wishing I could apologize and half-wishing I could just scurry away, I was suddenly embarrassed for my people. At the time, I didn’t even understand why they were reacting to her like this. Even supposing she was everything we’d heard, she had delivered herself into our hands and we could easily hold her while the Council other towns and villages to verify her guilt. There were ways we could stop even demons from escaping or using their magic, and she didn’t look like a demon to me. What harm could she do?
Eventually the others must have reached the same conclusion, which was good, because the shouting had drawn a lot of attention and we had ourselves a good-sized crowd watching now, including several guards who were thinking God-knows-what about two guards yelling at a stranger who was doing nothing in her own defense. Maybe they pieced it together on their own, but it wasn’t long before Katherine was being escorted to the Council’s chambers. Barely more than a bystander now, the flow of pedestrians squeezed me into their wake and I found myself following the procession. I reckoned I wouldn’t get very far, but if I could, I wanted to see how this all played out. I thought briefly of the gates, but it looked like Frederick and Andrea were returning to their stations and I wanted nothing to do with them.
Now, I don’t know how it’s done in other towns and villages, but our Council chambers are right smack in the middle of town, and that means it didn’t take long before news swept the town that the mysterious woman had been “captured” and everyone had dropped whatever they were doing to come and see her being led to her fate. I followed behind the woman and her four armed escorts, feeling out of place and increasingly surprised that no one had yet seemed to notice me. I didn’t feel inconspicuous. In fact, I felt like I was still being watched in a way I’d never been before, as if there were now some huge, invisible audience to my every action, and it made me nervous and self-conscious. This probably sounds like the ravings of someone deeply disturbed, I imagine. Reader, I tell you, I had never felt more clear-headed in my life. I didn’t know what she had done to me, but I hadn’t broken from reality. If anything, I think I was more aware of reality than ever before and the reverse felt true as well.