Author Topic: Scar Tissue_Prologue - 1284 words  (Read 147 times)

Offline Svermorg

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Scar Tissue_Prologue - 1284 words
« on: June 24, 2019, 12:22:04 PM »
"You never even tried, have you?"

"What?" Kevin's eyes didn't leave the screen of his computer, his voice tinted with a scarcely hidden annoyance.
Only when Thomas didn't answer, did he, with a sigh, lift his eyes up to look at the man standing in his office.

Thomas’s back was turned, and he was looking at something on the bookshelf.

"Never tried what?" Kevin almost spat the words out. Why couldn't that man just let him work in silence. Then again, what had he expected? Had he not known what he was getting himself into?

"To find someone. You know, to build a life with." 
Thomas took a half step back and now it was clear what he was looking at. The perfect family picture, that little piece of obligatory office decoration of every successful man. Kevin could see the smiles on the four faces, the brightly colored holiday attires, the windswept hairdos. It had been a nice sunny day, hiking in the Vosges. A stunning view of a valley. Kevin had placed the camera on a convenient rock outcrop, had put his arms around his two boys and had smiled like an idiot back at the camera until the timer had done its work.

"You do realize that I'm married, don't you? Or have you forgotten?" Over the rim of his glasses, Kevin looked sharply at Thomas before returning his gaze to the computer screen.

Thomas made a soft huffing noise, that was obviously meant to be laughter.

"Sure, you did do that."

Kevin sighed again, closing his eyes briefly while rubbing the spot between his eyebrows.

"Is this going somewhere?" he asked. "Because if it isn't, could you just shut it and let me work. I have a lot to do, remember?" God, like dealing with a teenager, he thought.

Now Thomas turned around. Kevin could feel the man’s green eyes burning holes into his head. Yes, it would take some time getting used to that intense gaze again. It was almost more of a distraction than Thomas’s stupid questions had been. Annoyed, Kevin tried to ignore him and continue reading the magistrate's e-mail. Failing miserably however, he contented himself with just pretending to read it. Thomas didn't need to know how much his presence disturbed him.

When he failed to get Kevin’s attention, Thomas started to pace the office. He stepped over to the window and studied the view of the square in front of the building. Even though it was springtime, the square would probably be deserted, since it hadn’t stopped raining in two days. Kevin had noticed the little fountains had optimistically been squirting away this morning, as impatient as the rest of the town for the weather to turn. He wondered if someone had switched them off by now.

Apparently the view wasn’t all that interesting because Thomas soon turned away from the window and paced back to the bookshelves. He squinted his eyes and twisted his neck to decipher the titles of the books.
‘…as pertaining to case 17532, the case of Prachtman versus State, the honorable magistrate graciously requests…’ Kevin found himself staring at the words, grasping less of their meaning than a five-year-old boy would.

“Jesus, would you just sit already.” Kevin tried his best to keep his voice calm and even, but he could hear his own irritation. So much for his pretense of indifference.

Thomas looked like he would say something, but instead he quietly walked over to the couch at the other end of the office. Heavily he lowered himself down on the couch, somehow filling both seats despite his slight build. He sat still for precisely two seconds. Then he tapped his hand on the back of the couch.

“All right, that’s it. You can go back downstairs.” Kevin rose from his desk chair and moved towards the door to get Prentis, one of his two personal guards, to escort Thomas back to his cell.

“Oh, come on, I’m sitting down, aren’t I? What do you want? Shall I stop breathing too?” Thomas leaned forward on the couch, staring hard at Kevin.

Now that would make things easier, Kevin thought.

“You’re distracting me, so you need to leave.” Kevin opened the door and exchanged one glance with Prentis, who immediately knew what was expected of him. They were very convenient, those guards. They had been in his employ for over ten years now, and he could hardly imagine his life without them. Kevin wondered when he had gotten so used to having guards around and at his disposal all the time. 

“Maybe it’s not my fault that you’re distracted,” Thomas surly responded when he got up from the couch and walked obediently towards Prentis, throwing one last hard glance at Kevin. The room immediately felt much emptier, Kevin thought when he watched Thomas be led towards the elevator. He shook his head and closed the office door.
Finally he could get back to his other case. He sat back down in his chair and leaned into the back. Hm, it was very quiet now. Had his office always been so big? He sighed and shook his head again.

“Come on Kevin, focus”, he sternly mumbled to himself. This is not the time to lose your mind. He leaned forward towards his computer screen and read the email from the top again. His colleague jurist had run into a difficult legal issue and needed some advice. Kevin clicked the reply button and watched the cursor blink. This was what he had been working towards all these years, to be amongst the foremost elite of his profession. To be considered the top voice in the justice system. To work at the frontiers of the law, the basis of society. He had gained the power and the respect to change the system. In his short professional career, he’d already had a profound impact on the way justice was shaped. So, what the hell was he doing, throwing it all away now? Why did he put himself in this position? He was a public prosecutor, who had made it to the position of high judge in only ten years! That wasn’t even possible before. And now he was giving all of that up to defend the country’s most elusive fugitive. A man with a very annoying ability to piss people off. Great move, Kevin.

The cursor on the white email page seemed to beg him for some words, any words of advice to his colleague. With a resigned sigh, Kevin closed the page. He didn’t feel in a very advisory mood right now. Damnit, Thomas had taken a huge gnaw out of his self-confidence. How did that man get under his skin just by being in the same room?
Maybe it is not my fault that you’re distracted…

Kevin leaned with both his elbows onto his desk, burying his hands in his dark hair. He closed his eyes, but that only made the green eyes burned on his retinas stare at him more intensely. He had to get out of here.

With more force then necessary, Kevin pushed his chair back from his desk. He took his coat from the hat stand and sped out of his office. When he walked through the corridor towards the same elevator Thomas and Prentis had disappeared in only minutes ago, he felt the eyes of his secretary follow him. She seemed to assess his mood quite accurately and did not ask him where he was going or when he would be back. He wouldn’t have been able to answer her. He barely managed not to run out of the justice building and settled for a brisk pace instead.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2019, 04:20:38 AM by Svermorg »

Offline landmersm

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Re: Scar Tissue_Prologue - 1284 words
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2019, 09:58:03 PM »
It was an interesting read. A few points:

I like starting off with a conversation, but the first sentence doesn't flow well, imo. It just seems a little . . . I dunno. Unnatural, maybe? Maybe think of another way to say the same thing.

Also, this:
Quote
Only when Thomas didn't answer, did he, with a sigh, lift his eyes up to look at the man standing in his office.

That is tough reading. It stops the flow, makes the reader stop and think, "Did I read that right?" I had prepared myself, once I saw this sentence, for a post full of these breaks. Thankfully you didn't seem to repeat it too much. It is, however, at the beginning and along with the first sentence could easily derail a potential reader from getting to the rest of what you say which is actually fairly interesting.

That.  I've read in many places that using the word "that" will get you yelled at by editors. It can also make it so they won't look at your work as well. I find myself using it too much, too, so don't feel alone. (I used it 3 times in one sentence.) As I re-read my own work, I'm amazed at how many times I use it. A good practice is to find a different way to say the same thing without using it. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it's just the right word. Be careful with it, I guess is what I'm saying.

A few minor punctuation issues but nothing glaring.

Keep working and best of luck!
My blog is  https://betterdevil.wordpress.com/  (It's new-ish!)

Also, check out my self-published first novel, The Last Time

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Offline Svermorg

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Re: Scar Tissue_Prologue - 1284 words
« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2019, 05:34:42 AM »
Thank you for the valuable advice. You're absolutely right about that quoted sentence.
And I hadn't thought about using the word 'that' too much. I'll definitely look for it now!