Firstly, apologies for not following up my Ghostbusters post for the second movie. I’ll be doing a review of the remake though, once I see it. But for now, I thought a nice piece of Demon Haunted might be in order, at least beyond the first chapter. I will, of course, post snippets with no spoilers to the main plot. Mostly, these will be interesting bits and bobs from the first half of the book. This first teaser introduces the Hanging Judge himself. Enjoy!
Sometime later, a chorus of footsteps prompted him to open his eyes again. He wasn’t entirely sure how long it’d been but figured an hour or so. Lantern light cast its orange glow across a white suit. The man from the gallows. The man stood outside the cell, taking in the jail for a moment before facing him. Stockburn and the dwarf deputy, a man named Donal, stood behind the man in white, their revolvers out and ready. Donal unlocked and opened the cell door.
“Thank you, Deputy,” the man said, stepping into the cell. “You, stand up.”
“Judge Fenton, I presume,” Grimluk said as he rose, towering over the man.
“Judge Parker Fenton, and you will speak when I tell you to. I understand you’re a kidnapper and a murderer as well as laying claims as a demon hunter.” The judge tsked. “Charlatans are a special kind of disorder. And you felt confident traveling with a child of my kind to boot.”
“The girl is family,” Grimluk said coolly.
Fenton held a hand out. Stockburn dropped a club into his palm with an amused grunt. Fenton stuck the club under Grimluk’s jaw and pushed it into his throat. “You speak out of turn again and I’ll make sure you don’t say anything else for a good long while. You understand me, boy?”
Grimluk growled low in his throat but said nothing. He hadn’t forgotten the guns trained on him.
“Good,” Fenton said, lowering the club. “Sheriff, keep your gun on him. If he gets out of hand, shoot but don’t kill him. Now, I’m sure you can explain yourself right quick but I’m a man of truth. I see through the lies your kind spills so here’s what we’re going to do. I’ll ask a question, you’ll lie your big green ass off, and then I’ll correct you. Understand me?” Fenton tapped Grimluk’s chest with his club.
“I’ll take that as a yes. Where did you steal the girl from? She’s not local.”
“I stole no one. I—” Grimluk grunted as Fenton’s club slammed into his stomach.
“First lie, goblin. Care to try that again?”
Grimluk stared into Fenton’s eyes, giving no sign he’d even been struck. “The girl is family.”
Fenton struck again, bashing the club into each of Grimluk’s tree-trunk legs. “That’s two strikes for two lies. I’ll repeat myself. Where did you take her from?”
Grimluk looked down at Fenton with measured eyes. “You call me kidnapper and murderer. Either show me the proof of your accusations, lawman, or get the fuck out of my face.” He turned around, crossing his arms.
An enraged sneer spread across Fenton’s face. “Don’t you turn away from me, you filthy fucking goblin! I’m the law around here and you will show your due respect!”
A grimace of pain shot across his face as Grimluk felt the club slam into his ribs, then another shot to his back. He spun, lightning quick and caught his attacker’s hand. A twist sent the club clattering to the floor. Grimluk released Fenton’s hand.
Stockburn stepped forward, cocking his revolver. “Time to die, fucker.”
“Sheriff, you kill that man and I’ll leave you in here with the corpse,” Fenton said, a growl coloring his words. He bent down and picked up the club. “He has attacked a judge of the province, adding to his transgressions. Justice will be served.”
“Justice? I wonder if that word tastes bitter on your tongue, old man,” Grimluk replied as Fenton left the cell. “Most folks out in the Borderlands, and even the Wastelands, can get along fine without someone pushin’ his will as law.”
“I see your wickedness runs deep. I’ll have to break you. Take him to the room, Sheriff.”
Stockburn and his deputy slipped into the cell once Fenton had exited, jamming the barrels of their guns into Grimluk’s back and directing him to the end of the jail, toward the huge, wooden door. Fenton pulled it open, revealing the darkness inside, save for what cast inside from the lanterns, and stepped in. A moment later, two lanterns on either side of the doorway lit up, dispelling some of the darkness. The room was half as long as the jail itself, mostly bare but for a table with a crank on it and three pairs of shackles that hung from the back wall. The shackles glittered vividly in the lantern light. Mithril. Grimluk cursed inwardly as Deputy Donal slid each shackle around his wrists and locked them.
Fenton stood in the doorway, a grim look of determination upon his face. “I’m not sure if you’re strong enough to break iron, but you’re sure as shit not strong enough to break mithril. Until I say you’re ready for trial, this is your new home.” The others shuffled out, slamming the heavy door shut and bolting it, leaving Grimluk in solitude.
Hopefully that does a little to entice you. The next time I post something, it’ll be a little more on the weird side.