I plan on posting chapters of this book on Authonomy.com in the future. So, if you are an Authonomy member, look for that in the coming months.
Here's another short passage from Saint Pauley.
Pauley was deep in thought, his long body draped over the small table in the kitchen. Stiff and crumpled pieces of paper littered the floor around him. The candle burned short but strong near his clenched fist. A shadow rolled over his shoulder and his mother's hand rested lightly on his arm.
“Vat yoo do, Pauley?”
"I'm working on a problem, Mama. Just working on a problem." An owl hooted outside and the wind ducked itself into and out of the corners of the windows. She patted his arm and leaned over to look into his face. Deep furrows plowed into his forehead and she traced them gently with her finger.
“Yoo vorry too deep."
"Yes, Mama." Pauley turned toward her with tears washing his eyes.
"Oh, ma boy!" she exclaimed.
"Shush, Mama. We don't want to wake Papa and Mac."
"It's too late for that," Mac announced from the doorway. He and Ezra shuffled in, their eyes masked with sleep and hair askew.
"I vill make sump tea."
Mac slumped into the chair opposite of Pauley. "What's got you up, friend?"
"Just something I'm trying to work out." Pauley avoided the gaze of his father and friend. It was quiet enough to hear the water boiling.
"Son," Ezra leaned toward Pauley as he sat down. "I've never seen you look so worried. Can we help?"
"No, Papa. This is something I must do. I made a promise."
"Oh, boy," Mac said cautiously. "What did you promise?"
"It's just a promise I made to a friend. I'd rather not talk about it. Here's the tea."
Willow set a steaming pot in the middle of the table and clattered heavy cups onto its surface. Pauley pulled his cup close and then poured tea for everyone. He leaned over and breathed the steam in slowly.
Mac cleared his throat, unsure of how to continue. Pauley had not shared all of his adventures and Mac assumed that what troubled his friend was part of one of those stories. "We might help."
Pauley shook his head slowly. "Not with this one, Mac."
Ezra leaned back and took a sip of tea with his eyes never leaving his son's face. "We've always worked out problems together, son. Why don't you give it a try?"
Pauley looked up at his father, his eyes dark with anger. "This is much more serious than our little troubles here, Papa. I don't want you involved." The look on his father's face told Pauley that he had spoken too harshly. "I'm sorry, Papa. I'm sorry." Pauley’s head dropped to his chest and his shoulders sagged.
Willow shifted in her seat. "I half seen many, many troubles—deep vones—come an’ tell us. Vee kin help. Vee kin." Her voice pleaded in Pauley's ear.
"It's about the City of Promise."
Mac’s face went white and no one moved.
"Tell us," his father prodded. "It seems too much for you to carry."
Pauley was silent for some time. He took a fresh piece of paper and began to draw. The others could not move for the power of mystery and curiosity bound them.
Copyright M.R.Hyde 2013