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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

"Maiden" by Deborah Bonnar

And then “Marcus Pinarius” was finally called for the ultimate battle and Sarah watched him walk onto the field.  He was in uniform and armed with his two-foot sword and a shield, small and round rather than the large rectangular one he’d always carried before.  He looked huge and fierce and Sarah felt sorry for whoever would have to face him in combat.  He turned to Sarah, stood as if at attention, and then bowed from the waist to her.  She smiled at him and blew him a kiss.
            “Pinarius Silvanus” was called and Sarah turned white as Silvanus strode onto the field in all his glory.  For Sarah, time slowed to a crawl.  Her eyes seemed to become a single lens that zoomed in and so enlarged his image that he took up the whole screen of her vision.  She could literally see nothing but Silvanus.  Even the noise of the crowd disappeared for her.  She heard each sandal hit the earth, heard the muted “clink” of the metal he wore, heard the “slap” of leather on skin, heard even the slow and confident inhalation and exhalation of air as he breathed. 
            His every movement was athletically graceful and confident and Sarah realized for the first time that he walked like a cat.  And not the small domesticated variety but the large and deadly kind.  How had she never noticed that before, the sheer power evident in his stride? 
            She seemed able to differentiate each muscle that came into play in his legs to propel him forward, saw the ripples as his arms moved in perfect synchronization with those legs.  Her eyes seemed able to catch the glint of reflected sunlight from each “scale” of his upper body armor as if they were randomly sparking as he moved. 
            Finally Marc returned to her view but only because Silvanus had reached him.
            Marc no longer looked huge and fierce to Sarah.  Suddenly, two inches taller, he looked like a child about to be slaughtered before her eyes. 
            Silvanus turned to face her.  As Marc had before him, he stood as if at attention, then bowed from the waist to her.  Sarah merely stared at him, her eyes huge, not sure she was capable of responding.  She was not, in fact, certain she was breathing.  She did suddenly realize her mind was unguarded and that, if he was at all interested, he had already heard her frank appraisal.

If you enjoyed this sample, be sure to check out "Maiden" here.

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