AlvernoINK Spring / Fall 2017 - Page 55

The man stared at Kirwan, as if to say, you are staring. All the harsh and soft tracery that formed his countenance was unlike the provincial pale heads of his infantrymen, whose ancestries of conquest familiarized in their faces: the winding black chaos of curls, the lips, bruise-dark, the sharp, proud jaw and sharper cheeks, the eyes pitchy, until the light above fixated on them and then, as a drop of alcohol on ink, a fever of amber shone from behind the swallowing darkness of the pupil—all these features, when united, had every mark of a Rembrandt. One not unlike the portrait he saw in an old manor home in the Netherlands of a monk, bordered in giltwood, tucked in a room full of artillery.

At last, the envoy laughed, ‘I see…’ and gestured toward the entrance. ‘Then I will be your escort.’

‘I’m sorry but I haven’t yet found what I came here for.’

‘And what might that be?’

‘I’m certain that’s none of your business.’

‘Come.’ Instructed the envoy.

‘I—’

‘Colonel William, charmed, though I might be, I can promise you that others might see your complexion and think malicious thoughts, and with so much to consider of such a vulnerable, enticing subject as yourself, who here wouldn’t do you some great harm?’

Finally, his frustrations announced themselves in the raw.

‘And you’re the exception to this rule? I don’t even know who you are.’

The man smirked with a wolfish tenderness:

‘I’m your escort.’

Perhaps it was the anomalous energy that echoed between them, or his previous excursions with the idiotic that afternoon—bound for repetition—Kirwan felt it was negligible to do anything less than follow.

SEBASTIAN A. MELMOTH

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