Sample Sunday, EEL’S REVERENCE

Here is another sample from EEL’S REVERENCE. If you’ve already read it, I apologize for not giving you something new, but feel free to comment on it, whether you’ve read the whole book or not. Put SPOILER ALERT at the beginning of your comment, if what you say might spoil a surprise.

This scene is between Aunt Libby, the octogenarian priest of Micah and Blennie, the mermayd assigned as her bodyguard by her patron/jailer.

~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~

I woke, dressed, and went into the temple proper to find Blennie standing by the water cask, drinking out of his cupped webbed hands.

“Oh, I’m so sorry, Auntie. This is probably holy water or something.”

“You know it is. How long have you been standing there, waiting for me to see you?”

“Well, properly speaking, Auntie, I don’t ‘stand’ at all—”

At a knock on the front door Blennie drew his dagger and slithered to the peephole.

“Who is it?”

“Iris. Theofric sent me.”

Blennie nodded to me. I pulled back the bolt and opened the door. Blennie’s dagger slid out and just pricked the neck of the woman standing outside.

She gasped and almost dropped the basket she carried.

“Open it,” Blennie said.

“Oh, for goodness sake.” She opened the basket. It was full of bottles and cartons. “Let me in before it gets cold and soggy.”

Blennie moved back and the woman came in. “Think you didn’t know me,” Iris said.

“I do know you, Iris, my little two-faced flower,” said Blennie, re-locking the door. “I hope someday to take you dancing, down where the little fishes play.”

“Fool,” Iris muttered, giving him her basket. She was a tall, spare woman, about forty-five, but wizened and colorless with ill-humor. Her sallow skin shaded into lips of a bloodless shade of pink. Her watery brown eyes and fuzzy pink-orange hair seemed more clenched than weak, as if she kept all her vibrancy inside, coiled. When she saw me, she gave a start.

“You know me, dear?” I said. “I’m afraid I don’t recall. I’ve known so many people in my life.”

She didn’t answer me, but began pulling bits out and folding bits down, turning the basket into a flimsy but adequate serving table. She had brought fresh milk and juice, eggs, slabs of ham, fruit, and mixed nuts and grains. And one place setting.

“Excuse me,” I said, “but who is this for?”

She looked at me as if I were stupid. “For you.”

“What about Blennie? Have arrangements been made for him?”

Iris shrugged. “I don’t know and I don’t care. Theofric can feed his pet fish when and what he wants to feed it. I feed the ‘guest’ he said was staying here. I see what he meant, now.” She took in the temple with a pale and unamiable glance. “He thinks he’s clever.”

I looked at Blennie. He gazed in amused awe at Iris, as if he simply couldn’t believe anyone could be so dreadful.

“Don’t worry about me, Auntie,” he said. “I’ll have the bread and cheese you didn’t eat in the night. Tashy or somebody’ll relieve me twice a day; Theofric keeps a mercenaries’ mess that shows this drab’s cooking for the slop it is.”

“Pretty talk, when she’s about to eat it,” snapped Iris, and it was all I could do not to laugh.

“Maybe you’d better taste it first, lovely one. I think Theofric would want you to.”

“Much I care what Theofric wants.” She gave me a sly look. “Just clean up after yourself. Someone’ll pick up the basket when they bring your lunch.”

She moved quickly, unbolting the door and leaving, not closing it, before I’d had a chance to thank her.

Blennie secured the door. “It could be worse,” he said. “She could be fertile.”

~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~

WRITING PROMPT: A character deliberately messes with something of spiritual significance to another character. Why, and to what effect?

MA

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About

I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “Sample Sunday, EEL’S REVERENCE

  1. Leslie R. Lee
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    January 9, 2011 at 2:06pm

    Great read. I recommend it!

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