This is a snippet of character work from RD, my work in progress. Fair warning: it's not one of my lighter pieces.
~~ Drowning of Her ~~
It was the sound of rain that roused him. Not the darkness that had fallen, nor the cold that crept into the room in defiance of the fire. Water overcame the gutters all at once, round funnels dropping like the rails of a gate to obscure the view of fir trees and low skies.
Victor closed the book that lay open on the desk, not bothering to mark the page. He hadn’t had much hope when he opened it. Another dead end in a lifetime of dead ends. He rose, abruptly restless. What he sought wouldn’t be found in a book, or any written record. It was the sort of thing – a legend cobbled together from half-truths and wishful thinking – that gushed up from deathbeds or was torn from men desperate to believe that these slivered rumors would buy them more time.
The fire spit sparks onto the hearth as he passed. He would not know comfort again, not until he had the answer – not until he had her back.
He clasped his hands and gazed into the stone yard behind the house. Elizabeth hated it. She’d been raised in wild gardens. The trellis was bare, stripped of the climbing, flowering vines she’d carefully cultivated.
Victor turned at the sharp rap on the door. “Come.”
“Sir.” Davis filled the doorway. “They've given up nothing.”
She’d been delighted with her first sprouted seedlings, vibrant green leaves and weak wobbling stems overflowing her collection of mismatched jars.
“Hang them up.” Victor jerked his chin toward the trellis. “Together if it can stand the weight.”
Davis retreated and, as he descended the stairs, other heavy footsteps joined his. The old house muffled the inevitable shouting, absorbed the impact of disagreement. The back door opened and Victor’s people dragged two men out, one kicking against his bonds, the other quiet.
The captives and the captors both bowed their heads to the icy rain. Blood diluted and dissipated in the water running rivers through the stone. One less thing to clean up. Davis raised his head, shielding his face with one hand. In the other, he held a length of chain.
Victor nodded. He would have his answer, if he had to tear through every last man to get it. He would have his Elizabeth back.
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