Cabin fever dream

I’m off tomorrow. Yay! It’s for a pair of doctor appointments, though. Less yay.

Today, I did the Sunday crossword, though I’m already on record as having not enjoyed it much. I read some more Kaleidotrope submissions, again out on the back deck. (It was hot enough we took the covers off the air conditioners today, though not quite hot enough to switch the units on.) I watched an episode of Fringe from two weeks ago. And I went to see The Cabin in the Woods, which I thought was great…but really difficult to talk about without spoilers. (Honestly, even saying it’s meta-horror feels like I’m maybe saying too much.)

And beyond that, my weekly writing group started up again. I wrote this:

“Cyanide is an unholy weapon,” said Father Franklin, eying the boy who had been brought before him. “Only a coward resorts to the ungodliness of poisons, Horace.”

“I just thought — ”

“Clearly you did not. Or your intended would be dead by now, don’t you think? You bring shame upon yourself with such an attack, young man. Even if you had succeeded, there would be no honor in your actions.”

“But cyanide isn’t on the codex of forbidden — ”

“And what would a young initiate like yourself be doing reading the forbidden codex? Didn’t your teacher — remind me, boy, who is your weaponmaster?”

“Brother Andrews,” the young Horace said.

“Did Brother Andrews not train you in the art of the weapons that God expects you to use? Were you not given a holy blade upon elevation from first year?”

“I was, Father. But — ”

“And yet you choose not to use this weapon, which God Himself has put in your hand. You sully yourself — your teachings and this entire school — by taking such a cowardly route. And worse, you failed.”

“But I — ”

“‘A blade may find its mark a thousandfold, while but a drop of water may dilute the most venomous bite.’ Do I need to quote scripture to you?”

“No, sir.”

“Then explain it to me, Horace. Explain why I have been disturbed from evening prayers to learn that not only have you failed in your weaponmaster’s assignment, but you have failed because you tried to poison the man you were assigned to kill.”

“But he wasn’t a man, Father. Not really. It — it wasn’t fair. Brother Andres couldn’t have expected me — ”

“Robert Andrews is a proven member of his guild and has served this school well for twenty years. He would not send a second-year initiate after someone he felt you could not — ”

“But this man, Father. The target. He was an initiate. I mean…or he had been. That’s why he was on the list. But I…I don’t know, Father. I think maybe Brother Andrews wanted me to fail.”

“He — ? Are you accusing the Brother of some kind of wrongdoing, Horace?”

“I…no, Father. It’s just… ‘Know your intended,’ right? Know the man you would kill like you know your own shadow, like you know your own life. That’s in the later gospels, isn’t it?”

“A rough and butchered translation of St. Marcellus, but yes.”

“Well, I studied, Father. I researched, and I followed, and I learned all I could. And the thing is, Father, I think the target knew I was doing this. Like I said, I think he was an initiate. An assassin. It was hard to find, but in the archives — ”

Father Franklin held up a hand.

“Enough. You know as well as any student here that the archives are restricted. Whatever you think you might have discovered there…”

“The target’s name, Father. That’s what I discovered.”

“And what name could have forced your hand in such a disgraceful act? What name sent you looking for poisons in the locked armory? What name made you break your covenant with God?”

“Robert Andrews,” said Horace. “The man I was sent to kill. His real name, Father…his real name was Robert Andrews.”

I’m not really sure where it was going, since I was figuring that out as I went along, but I had some fun with it.

And with Sunday overall.