It was hard to discern the features upon the face of the hooded figure, hidden as he was by shadow as much as by his cloak. He gave off a strange and contradictory aura; one of defeat coupled with iron determination. It showed in the set of his shoulders, his ready stance. He held a knife to his own throat, his grip steady.
The man seated at the desk tried not to focus on the blade. That wicked edge seemed over bright, given the dimly lit space. It spoke of potential, of a promise that he would not like to see kept.
His hand trembling, the seated man did as he was bid; dipping his quill into a pot of dark ink the cloaked figure had set upon his desk. To his dismay, it showed red against the pale parchment; two tiny, bloody droplets tarnishing its innocence. He hesitated, his hand poised over the blankness.
The figure stepped close, to lean over the desk, a fresh drop of red merging with the others on the page as the knife began its work.
“It matters not,” the hooded man said, “write a line or a library, Reviewer. There is plenty more ink to be had.”
Alarmed, the seated man began to write, the quill scratching hurriedly across the parchment. He allowed his words to calm him, writing with passion and blistering honesty. Finished, he sat back, a self-satisfied grin upon his face. The stranger and the knife almost forgotten, his smile faded when he looked up again and remembered.
“Why do you look so hopeful, Reviewer?” The hooded figure asked, his voice thick with some nameless emotion.
The Reviewer shrugged, “I dare to hope that my words will be read, perhaps even appreciated,” He said. He set the quill down carefully, his hand suddenly greasy with sweat.
The hooded figure regarded him steadily, the blade spinning slowly in his hand as if an aid to contemplation. At last the knife fell still. He reached over and picked up the sheet of paper, covered now in a beautiful script, and sighed.
“As do I Reviewer,” he murmured, blowing gently upon the ink to hasten its drying, “as do I.”
S. P. Oldham
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