FEAR. No uh. No reason.
He was afraid of Solude dying, losing a brother never kept.
He was afraid of his mother’s illness, a literal doom on his house.
He was afraid of a girl, haloed in the Shroud’s sensate choir.
He was afraid of a man, long dead, a spectre of hatred.
He was afraid of a feeling he’d had, staring at a painting.
He was afraid of the shape of a retreating back.
Afraid of the consequence of his vows–the wailing man they contained.
Afraid of a day there was no absolution left.
Afraid of heavy footsteps in a hall.
Afraid of the roots of the crossroads tree–its skeleton liege, his mentor.
Afraid of the knife at his face.
Afraid of the hammering heart of a sparrow curled in his palm, a dart in its breast.
At the bottom of his glass of whiskey, then two, then three–he was afraid. Sitting on his couch in the middle of the afternoon, a nocturnal schedule interrupted by dreams. Nightmares. Not about violence, murder, or death–these didn’t trouble him; not about remorse, or guilt–he had none, freshly shriven. It was suffering–of memories and emotions he’d no vocabulary to. It’d kept him up today, malingering, pernicious.
Selfishly, Severeaux was afraid of suffering.