Inquisition

D&December, 2017

His wrist is tilted, swirl smooth, as he stirs the contents of a scarlet-encrusted wine glass. You think perhaps that has been years since his smile reached his eyes, years since it was more than a practice of propriety, a polite facde that did not delve too deeply beneath the skin. He is calm, collected and the crimson wine does not splash nor spill upon his snow white gloves.

His mustache twitches with the sort of tired amusement that one employs when addressing what was once promised to be an exotic animal, yet has become frightfully mundane. The priest in scarlet silk moves to speak, to explain your presence (pitiful and plain though you are).

"Confession?"

The word rings against the mottled marble and smooth stone that forms those private chambers. It hangs in the fragile folds of delicately draped velvet and rustles through the pages of seldom-touched tomes. Worst of all, it wriggles from his throat to your ears, writhes its way beneath your skin and into your veins, where it fizzles and flares and fights its way into the tight ball of ice in your chest. Fear sputters to life there, eats its way through you like a hot ember in the ashes and suddenly all you taste is smoke.

He can smell you smoldering.

"No confession," he says smugly, between sips that stain the corners of his smile blood red. A gentle motion to your captor. "Go and fetch it, then."

He bares his bloodstained teeth and his laugh peals and pounds in your chest like church bells.

"And make him mean it."

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