A Finger’s Breadth of Blue (Extract from WiP)

Just a smidge from the new project, added on the 13th April 2012 after the first 30k had been converted to 1st person POV. (From the Chapter ‘A Finger’s Breadth of Blue’)

I emerged into the arena, the sky a bright circle far above, the trees an encompassing wall of shade standing discretely back. The shadow of the stake lay an accusing finger across the entrance steps, and I took the long way around, reluctant to cross its path. Armand was sitting on the farthest side, half way up the vine sprawled terraces, his arms spread on the seat behind him, his legs stretched out in ease. How comfortably his body fit those impossibly deep seats. My own legs would dangle there like a infant’s. Had I wanted to rest my back, I would have to scoot backwards until my feet stuck out ahead of me like a child’s. My boots crunched the whiteness of old gravel, patted ancient angry faces comprised of multitudes of tiny tiles. I realised I was not singing, but in that stillness could not bring myself to begin again. Armand watched without expression as I rounded the arena floor. The community voices drifted to us as ghosts from the farthest reaches, I could hear the river louder than I could their song.

‘It was you,’ he said. Not a question. Simply a resigned statement of fact. ‘You found it.’

I nodded, not able to comprehend the weariness in his tone. Perhaps he always greeted the Herald this way? Perhaps, for him, the discomfort of what was to come outweighed the joy? If so I had never heard tell of it. He pressed his hand across his eyes, then suddenly spread his arms to the sky in a gesture of uncontainable frustration. ‘What do you want of me?’ he asked the clouds. ‘What do you want?’

His voice echoed from the trees unanswered and he flopped back as if in defeat, his arms falling to drape the seat again. The glare he directed at me was so filled with unexpected resentment that it made me want to run. I was once again overcome with the desire to shout ‘I’m sorry’. To fall to my knees and beg forgiveness. But I had no idea why I should need to do that. Cappo had chosen me. I was the Herald. Should this fact not have been greeted with joy?

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