© 2016 by Jared Kane

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c. 1646

September 26, 2016

 

Presented in the light of day for the first--and possibly only--time is a short excerpt of a separate project I did some work on. It's unedited, untouched, and unlikely to appear anywhere else for any reason. Extra points if you know who the protagonist is based on the name/topic/date.

 

Devon had changed - but Matthew wasn’t sure at first how he knew.  The man looked the same.  He had the same sunken cheeks, wispy hair, unshaven face, lines on his neck, and he was wearing the same outfit in which Matthew had seen him on Sunday. But he was different, Matthew was sure of it. It was his eyes: there was no iris -- just large black circles, like holes that swallowed the light. 

            Matthew realized suddenly that he’d stopped speaking and had tilted his head, too obviously considering the strange difference in Devon’s eyes -- anger and hatred was flooding into them, pulling the man’s graying eyebrows down in the middle. Matthew was more sure than ever that there was something wrong with Devon.  Was this Devon at all?

            “What is it, Mr. Hopkins? It’s not becoming to stare.”

            “I’m aware.  It’s nothing, I just…” Matthew stopped -- he knew he couldn’t pretend this was nothing. He was the General for God’s sake. “What in God’s name happened to you, man?”

            Matthew had only a split second warning -- Devon’s eyes narrowed and the wide black pupils flashed. The man sprung onto the table towards him -- then halted with a jolt: his foot had caught underneath his chair, and a loud, wooden clatter echoed through the room as the chair slammed against the table. In one fluid motion, Matthew had pulled back and swung his book, the Malleus Maleficarum, as hard as he could against Devon’s twisted face. His father’s book, the Malleus Maleficarum was not a long treatise, but it was bound with thick leather and it was hard and heavy. Devon’s head snapped to the side and he tumbled over the side of the table to the floor. 

            Matthew jumped toward the man eagerly, exultant and vindicated -- and at the heel of his boot, he gave Devon his absolution. The older man had curled up, but Matthew stomped through his arms onto his head and chest, measuring each heavy blow for the most violent damage. Devon’s face was quickly a swollen mess of blood and bruises, and his mouth barely retained any teeth -- several more brutal minutes passed before Matthew realized Devon had, in fact, choked to death on the teeth that had been dislodged.

            Slowly Matthew backed away, his boots leaving red prints before him.  Righteous ecstasy, like a high, gradually slipped away and all that was left was his heavy breathing and the horror of justice in the corner of the room.

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