Scene Reminder for Chapter 63

A/N: It's been SO LONG since we left Vincent, alone, in the Chamber of the Seven Pillars, on his way first to the laundry and then on to the faulty water trap. No one can possibly remember what he was doing, thinking, or what (or who) he heard. And #63 won't make much sense without that memory.

So here's a recap of his last pertinent scene in Chapter 59
In the House That I Built With My Heart


A black-feathered disquiet had fluttered up, settling it’s soft weight across the breadth of his shoulders like a timeworn cloak. His bootlace snapped. Even now he couldn’t swear which had happened first.

His bootlace snapped again. The abrupt give had been unexpected, the separation perplexing. The frazzled pieces in his hands seemed too complex a puzzle to solve. He pushed back his imagined hood. The rough mend he could make would hold ... or not. He had no choice but to make it. And trust it.

Just as now, he had no choice but to turn from her and disappear below.

The water trap. The complication was not a surprising one, rather a malfunction he’d seen – no,felt – coming. The plan worked on paper and in theory, but intuition had told him otherwise; he should have spoken out more concretely. Only yesterday he’d met with Stuart and Noah, Mouse and Kanin, voiced his concerns, even then downplaying the reservations he’d harbored. Surely, had a serious threat to safety arisen or had there been a report of injury, Liz would have come for him directly and sooner, yet in her skillful, casual command he’d sensed an urgency. Go, he’d heard. Go,without frightening Wren or Eimear or Catherine. They’ve enough on their minds.

He would be at Catherine’s side if he could, though at times, beyond the promise of home andalways, he had little to offer save his utter belief in her. The women had engaged, and their energy was ... intense. Looking on, he imagined Elizabeth’s capture of the moment, wondered how he might possibly describe it to the artist – the field of brightness, the drift of colors – sky blue and indigo, poppy and emerald, cornsilk and flax and cinnamon  – the tuneful wavelength of sound ... It was the spark of discovery, he believed, of a friendship neither frivolous nor supplementary, but essential and transformative, unique between women.  Each of them – Liz, Wren, Eimear, Catherine – gathered force, their own and from the other. Protective, perceptive, thoughtful, tenacious – their vulnerabilities were their great strengths. How beautiful was their courage. As the warrior-poets, their aura mysterious and ancient, they would balance the rude realities of the earth, take to their respective battles their inward light and resolve. In their accumulated presence, he’d found himself awed and a little breathless. His gifts for Wren, for Eimear, were but small affirmations of spirit and keenness already in their makeup. For Liz, he would do her bidding.


He strode the main boulevard and veered into a quarried side-street where the torchieres were more widely spaced. Pools of illumination stretched along the path, interrupted by darkness. Yesterday’s hangover had surrendered to the force of his meditative will, a therapeutic swim, and the draining – five times over – of his canteen, but the same cottony fog hovered at the ground, billowed up. He’d left Catherine in the blossom of a found blessing, indeed, her prosperity flowed into him, yet she was hardly out of sight before his charges and cares emerged from the shadowed recesses and fell into step. On his heels. At his elbow. Those he passed gave him hesitant berth, and he recognized he frowned and propelled himself through the passage with disconcerting speed and a glaring concentration. He tried to slow his pace, and taking cue from Liz, from her blithe industriousness, endeavored to buoy his expression. News of the water trap’s failure would have spread throughout the tunnel parish. His ... considerations ... were more than that, but he’d not frighten the community while he batted the clouds of his concerns.

The ten-o’clock spoke at the first roundabout junction, then the second stone spiral down. Nearly two decades had passed since he’d last carried his duffle of dirty clothes through these corridors to the laundry. But there was another way, a byway once discouraged, today just as likely deserted. Past the gleaming double doors of the Primary Schoolroom, he ducked a pendant formation of bedrock – The Shark’s Nose – and felt for the embedded latch. The camouflaged door into the lava tube opened. A clanging, whirring descent in the wood and metal cage. Through the Chamber of the Seven Pillars and the Barnacle Straights to the washroom. Hardly a longer route if he sprinted.

Mitch. He’d corralled his wild regrets and defaults, shepherded them to a barren pasture where they’d remain unfed for now. Later he’d dissect Mitch’s criminality from his own culpability; to do otherwise would be self-indulgent, wasteful of his energies and focus, unfair to others setting aside their personal worriments to work toward the common good. Priority of life, the code of it. He would adhereAnd Sam’s hurts were deeper.

Sam. His fatherly remorse was wrenching and isolating. Someone should go to Maryfields, draw Sam firmly within their family bond. And Father needed to hear the truth, where and how Mitch would ... end.

Father. Kanin. By now, Father knew what Kanin knew – of MD, her leadership of the loose congregation beyond the perimeter, the reduced but still relevant level of threat, their revised protective plans. Upon the return home, he’d have to go through it all again, minutely, for that was Father’s way. And proven a way as it was – had not Father’s leadership and decisions kept them safe? Allowed them to thrive? – he was grateful to be relieved of the initial telling, the interruptions and the going-back-overs often a ... vexation. He heaved a sigh. The questioning would at least allow Olivia time to pack a bag for the baby and herself, arrange an overnight with a playmate for Luke, choose more inconspicuous dress for the subway ride. Time to consider, to imagine change.

Olivia. He was not given to crossing his fingers, and while he believed all things were possible with love, he knew – knew – love could be too tested.

Like Catherine’s for Jenny; Jenny’s for Catherine. There were limits.
Vincent hears The Other's voice - or does he?

Limits to their skills and competencies, to their resources. Failures.

The water trap.

Are we back to that, hmmmm? Without facing the truth? Such a roundabout you take. She gives you a gift. Privacy. Will you twist it to a secret? Will you? Ready, you promised her. We shall see. The coarse-grained voice of The Other stunned him.  His boot heel skidded in gravel.

NOW! On to Chapter 63 ... HERE


Mamacrow said...

Okay, good. Okay fine. Chapter please! :)

I am always pleased to wait for all your shiny goodness, but it's STILL hard to wait...

Carole W said...

Ooops, I didn't know there'd be any feed of this recap from an earlier chapter. I thought I'd turned off the RSS! But still, I am directing folks from the new, about to be posted, chapter back to this excerpt, because it's been so terribly long since it was first published.

Poor Vincent - he's been languishing down there, just waiting his turn. He's had a lot of time to brood!

Thanks for reading. You made me grin.

Krista said...

LOL, this showed up on my RSS feed too---so good to know Vincent's about to be "rescued" from his brooding :)

I second Mamacrow's comment--and's hard to wait, but 'tis such a sweet pain. ;)

-Krista :)

Carole W said...

Thanks, Krista. Chapter 63 is up now, but it was when this comment came through. I hope Blogger hasn't 'disappeared' it!

Carole W said...

I republished, just in case!