A Master Class tale….
Dunkirk had been overrun in the night. The Marauders wore masks; some said it was to hide their lack of humanity, but he figured it was because the stench they left in their wake was so foul that even they at their animal best could not stand to marinate in it.
Jensen didn’t wear a mask. The others, huddled in the corner and scrunched into tiny balls of quivering skin and watering eyes, had wrapped whatever they could find around their noses, their mouths. He breathed in the death, the burning flesh and singed hair, opened his ears wide to the screams and the pleas, the grating laughter and raucous cat calls that erupted in the night around them.
You cannot overcome an enemy that you will not face. You cannot triumph over an evil that you refuse to comprehend.
He sighed, and locked away the corner of himself that wanted to weep for the rest of his days, the weak willed human side that wanted to quiver to jelly with the rest of them. He wasn’t even sure how he had ended up with this gaggle of geese traipsing after him; he certainly hadn’t intended to gather a flock as he had sped, hunched over and silent as a hunting cat, behind the Marauder’s line of fire and into the basement of a gutted house on the outskirts of town.
Yet here they were. Four men and three women, one holding an infant the size of a loaf of bread against her chest, muffling its whimpers as she soothed and murmured into its ear. He shrugged his broad shoulders, rolled them forward and back, trying to loosen the weight of them that dragged like a yoke around his neck. There was nothing for it. Desperation had given him authority.
He crouched down to eye level with the rest of them and pitched his voice so low they had to guess at some of the words.
“They’ve already been here, this is where they started. Chances are they’ll do another sweep through before they leave, but it’ll be cursory at best. They wanna get back home, start their feast.” The woman with the baby shuddered so violently that the child let out a wail, quickly stifled under Jensen’s calloused palm. He swore, quiet but vicious, and stared the woman in her fear-stupid eyes.
“Yeah, I get it. Their feast is our flesh. Maybe someone you love was taken, right in front of you. Maybe you lost one, but you saved another. Now you keep yourself still and you keep that baby quiet, or I will throw you both out that front door without a second thought. If you understand what I’m saying, shut the fuck up.”
She froze, all but the hand stroking the baby’s back. The kid’s solemn brown eyes studied Jensen’s pale green ones as he took his hand away from the red rosebud of a mouth. Please, peanut, Jensen silently prayed, just shut up shut up shut up…
There was a sound of breaking glass from the floor above them, muffled footsteps. A thin scream escaped the woman with the broken mind. Sensing its mothers distress, the infant’s lips quivered, its brow puckered. Before it could draw breath to squall, ever again, Jensen shut off his humanity for good and stretched his hand out towards that tiny face once again. Only desperation could bestow this kind of authority.
For this week’s Master Class, I disturbed myself…
Prof SAM (http://frommywriteside.wordpress.com) jumped back in the saddle and had last class’s star pupil Renee (http://elsetimeandotherwhen.blogspot.com) turn to page 152 of her chosen book and use the 2nd line of the last paragraph for our story prompt. She chose T.H.White’s The Once and Future King: Desperation had given him authority.