RoYds Part 18 - Reflect

December 1944

Billy knocked, entered the dark cell-like office and scoured the floating dust particles in an attempt to make out the figure on the other side.

“Welcome... Welcome, Lawrence. Please take a seat.”

Billy was unsure whether to sit or not. Friendly officers and welcoming committees had not been his experience of prison so far.

He selected the scruffiest of a duo of mismatched Victorian chairs -- the only furniture in the room. Sitting bolt upright, Billy skipped his gaze between the stranger standing in shadow and the distant view of the unfamiliar city offered by the criss-cross taped and barred metal-framed window.

“How is life treating you these days?”

Billy automatically snapped to his feet. The bloke was standing right beside him and he hadn’t even heard him cross the room! He must be getting slow!


“Please sit and relax,” directed the older man.

It was obvious from his clipped vowels that he was a former army officer of some kind -– Billy had enough service experience to be certain of that. He felt edgy. There was something not quite right here. He had known it from the off this morning when he received the order to report on this wing. They had something dire in store for him alright. It had been on the cards from the moment he had told that sadistic screw Price to back off.

Billy followed the instruction he had been given and sitting stiffly, tried to avoid eye contact and unwittingly provoking the stranger.

“I’ll not beat about the bush,” said the older gentleman, absentmindedly rubbing his chin. “I have no doubt that you have done a lot of thinking over the past four years. You’ve certainly had the time to reflect on the direction your life has taken so far. Am I right or am I wrong?”

Was it a trick question? Billy was unsure how to answer and before he could, the stranger continued.

“You have experiences, skills and temperament that the organisation I am a part of will make good use of.”

“Me?” asked an incredulously Billy.

“There is a job waiting for you upon your release. It will entail grave danger. However, in the long run I believe you will consider it to have been worth it.”

Billy turned his attention away from the brewery chimney he had been focussing on and toward the older man, concern clearly written on his face. “Do I have a choice?”


“Why me?” asked Billy, becoming more and more restless with each passing minute.

“Why not? You are a convicted murderer as well as an accomplished thief and liar. All talents we can use. In return, we offer you an opportunity to make amends whilst you are still alive.”

Alive? Had he just been threatened? Billy suspected he might have been. A white card with RoYds embossed on it was thrust in front of him and he took it automatically. The lettering appeared to glow. Billy rubbed his eyes with his fingertips. He must be more stressed than he thought.

“Think about it. We will be in touch.”

Footsteps echoed on the landing outside the room; the thud, thud, thud, of steel toecap and disciplined leather. Like the other inmates of HMP Strangeways, Billy could decipher the prison officer from his gait.


The stranger stood upright and Billy automatically followed his example.

“Goodbye, Lawrence. And whatever path you take, I wish you well.”

Billy put the card into his pocket just as the door opened behind him.

“Stop piss-farting about, Lawrence and follow me back to A Wing! Whoever thought it was a good idea to let bleeding murderers roam around at their own frigging will wants a bloody good taste of what we’re serving up to Hitler!”

Billy hesitated. Should he stay where he was or leave with Price? He looked to the stranger for guidance -- the room was empty. Billy’s mind was made up for him and he made a sharp exit!

“I would be proud to join ‘em too, instead of being locked up here babysitting Nancy boys and murdering scum,” Price bellowed down the landing behind Billy.

Billy wished he would just shut the freak up. He wished all the other voices would shut up too. If it came down to it, though, he would take the voices, the beatings and being locked up over conversations with weird strangers any day of the week!

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  • At 30 October 2009 at 00:28, Blogger Miladysa said…

    There will be two tasty helpings of RoYds on Halloween :)

  • At 30 October 2009 at 16:14, Anonymous Melissa said…

    "He looked to the stranger for guidance -- the room was empty." Woohoo! Love it! Don't give up on the weird stranger, Billy! :) Love the glowing letters on the card, the movement of the visitor, the hidden information in everything said! Can't wait for the next installment ... :)

  • At 30 October 2009 at 17:44, Blogger Charles Gramlich said…

    Easier reading today. Good scene. Did you ever read "The Guardian" series? By Peter Saxon I think? Saxon was a house name. There are a few interesting similarities, more in the feel of this particular scene than in the story in general

  • At 30 October 2009 at 19:49, Blogger Jannie Funster said…

    I really liked "disciplined leather," perfect image that.

    and "frigging," thought we Canuncks were the only ones to say that, I feel even more at home here now.

  • At 31 October 2009 at 01:09, Blogger Miladysa said…

    Melissa - I really enjoyed writing this one - glad you enjoyed it :)

    Charles - Thank you :)

    Nope - never read any - I will look out for them though.

    This is some of my more recent writing - following the first edit.

    Jannie - It's very old anglo saxon I think - I was always told that anyway. I don't really know how much truth there is in it but my father always used to say that words we consider as swear words today are part of the "old language" which later became taboo to use as people who spoke the "old language" were looked down upon and ridiculed.

    "bleeding" is what we call a 'Manchester' swear word in the part of Lancashire that I live in. If someone uses that you can usually assume a Manchester connection somewhere...

    Price would definitely use all these different swear words in one paragraph - I know the type LOL

  • At 6 November 2009 at 17:06, Blogger Vesper said…

    Wow! Quite a scene... It gave me a very eerie feeling. Which I like a lot... :-)

  • At 6 November 2009 at 17:57, Anonymous Miladysa said…

    "very eerie feeling" hee hee Great news Vesper!
    I realy enjoyed writing this one :)


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Whituth's living can't see the dead but psychic Elizabeth Whyte can see everyone: living humans, delayed souls, fallen angels, vampires and fae. She helps maintain the fragile peace between light and darkness in her work with RoYds, an unworldly refuge. But that peace has suddenly become fragile. Whituth's carefully maintained balance is tipping toward darkness. Now Elizabeth and her angelic allies must discover who or what is threatening both town and refuge before balance is lost forever


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