Saturday, September 3, 2011

Hollow World Book 2 Chapter 15


Clink. Clink. Clink.

The Pennyman stood silently in a dark corner of the church as Graham lit the woman on fire and sent her thrashing into the building. When the firelight illuminated him, he caught the gaze of Graham and smiled.

Yes, the war was here, the Pennyman thought to himself. He took three steps, entering the flames, and found himself outside the temple of one of the new Gods and watched from the tree-line as the building burned, the soles of his shoes smoking. Once the structure collapsed, The Pennyman walked the short distance to the fallen soldier from Graham’s army and placed an Obol in its mouth, and then found three of the churches defenders whose bodies had not succumbed to the flames and did the same for them.

“Old man, our paths cross again,” Graham said as he approached the Pennyman, who stood watching the still burning timber of the church.

Barely perceptible, the Pennyman nodded.

“Man, do I know how to start a war,” said Graham excitedly.

Again a nod. The Pennyman stooped to pick up his bag, the coins within rattling against each other as its weight shifted. He turned to go, but was stopped by Graham.

“You can’t need to go yet, there aren’t enough humans left for them to be dying that quickly. Come on, stay and chat.”

The Pennyman turned and looked at Graham, but put down his burden at the insistence of the other man’s manic grin.

“Good,” Graham continued. “Did you know that the Solstice is almost upon us. There should be much drinking, but I doubt we will find the wine to be as plentiful as it once was.” The smile darkened momentarily. “Ah, but that is what this is about, the wine will flow free again. They celebrate these new Gods, but where are they? Why have they not stepped in to help them out. By the time we get to Boulder City, we will be thousands strong. We will overrun them, much as we did here!” Laughing, Graham pulled a branch from a fallen tree, and approached the burning building, sticking the woods end into the flames. Branch alight, he went to the his fallen soldier, and set the corpse on fire. “I commend thee for your service, but next time, don’t die.” He intoned.

"I’ve been thinking, when winter is over, I’m going to go hunting Peter. Not the whole group, just Peter. What do you say to that?” Graham asked, his back to the Pennyman still.

A cold wind picked up, and the flames danced closer to Graham, threatening to leap to his clothing. Backing away, he turned, looking to where the Pennyman stood, and shuddered, for in the dark eyes of the Pennyman, he did not see the world on fire as he saw in all of his soldiers, but he saw himself set ablaze.

Clink. Clink. Clink.


1 comment:

archnemesis_goldenhair said...

Thus far I'd had the notion that the Pennyman was neutral. I'd thought that he wasn't a god like Graham, merely a servant, bound to a task. But that last paragraph...
Well done, phenomenal finish.

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