Whew! I never thought Judas would be so popular! I could write a book just from this interview, I’m pretty sure. But, moving on. Forward, to part four!
Oh how I love it when the Scribes show off their crazy side. The characters never see it coming. Judas glances at me uncomfortably, sweat beading his brow, and a blend of worry and dread fills his eyes as I flip to the next page of questions. A wicked smile dances across my lips, and I laugh inwardly when I see the next question… and, perhaps more importantly, its author.
“Oh Jude, just wait until you hear this one! I think you’re going to like it.” Perhaps loath would be a closer fit… His eyes widen, and I can hear the rate of his breathing increase. I let the seconds drag past, slowly, tauntingly, until he can’t take it anymore.
“Well?!” He barks, slamming a foot down. I choke back laughter, clear my throat, and lift my notebook to read aloud.
“Ahem. This next question is from our beloved Scribe… Emily Bradburn.” I pause a moment, knowing my eyes are dancing from the laughter I conceal. But when I see the look in his smouldering eyes, all joy is wiped away. The cold, stony, seething glare flashes, appearing to shower forth sparks of rage. His muscles coil, bracing against the handcuffs as he lunges forward. Gone is the broken, emotional Jude. I sit in terror, watching Judas’s most violent show yet.
“That festering sore of a woman and her poison-laced quill! Eternal curses upon her wretched soul! Does she not know who I am? Has she not heard what I am capable of? How dare she…”
“Judas! Be still!” I shout, cutting him off. Emily had better watch her back tonight! He slumps back down in the chair, which he had somehow managed to leap out of in his rant. Thank God the handcuffs are still intact! “Emily is a friend of mine, and if you so much as look at her in a way I don’t like, you just might meet an early tragedy. Quit your grumbling, and answer. The. Question. If put on a deserted island with Melgred and Valentine, would you kill either of them, and if so, who first?” For a moment, I wonder if he could possibly even know who these characters are. But, our characters work in mysterious ways… and always seem to know about things we wish they couldn’t.
“Now that’s a nightmare of a situation. My instinct tells me both of them would be dead within a day, maybe two. Melgred would have to go right off. That conniving creature has no trust for anyone, putting me in danger as a known liar. Besides that, I’m sure if he didn’t go first, he would kill the fluffy redhead himself. Jabber Jaws on the other hand may be of some use to me in making camp or gathering food. But once his usefulness had run it’s course, I’d have to cut loose of him. Or, cut his tongue loose from him at least.” Happy thoughts Hannah, think happy thoughts. Not about this psycho path that could snap at any second. I shudder, a bit taken aback by how quickly and thoroughly he’d thought that through. Almost as though he’d pondered it before.
“There, was that so hard? Now. Take a deep breath. Good. Next question: What is the one thing you love most, besides yourself?” He looks up, the fire rekindled in his stare. Uh oh…
“Besides myself? Besides myself! Listen here, you diminutive swine, there is nothing I love about myself. If it was not for my vow, I would have blasted myself to the afterlife many and many a year ago.” He growls the words, a low, vicious rumble that rebounds from the walls, making the hair on my neck stand on end. A heavy silence hangs over the room, one I dare not interrupt. At last, he lets out a sigh, and a bit of the tension eases from his arms. I can almost see the fight behind his eyes, where Jude battles to come back to me. “There is nothing I love. Not truly. Not that I would admit to. For to admit it would be to accept it. And to accept it would be defeat. But I have loved, in days past, long gone and far away. I loved my mother with every fiber of my being. I loved poetry, until it brought back only memories of her. The same rings true for music. And as for any humans since then… I’ve learned my lesson.” His voice is weighed down, exhausted, broken. Judas must be ripping him apart in there. My eyes flutter to the just one of the many long scars, this one reaching from the top of his jaw line, down his neck, and vanishing beneath his shirt.
I cough, and hastily gather my thoughts. “Let’s move to a lighter topic, shall we? Jude, do you like puppies? Or are you a hater like Melgred?” He glances up quickly, another quizzical look on his face. “What’s that look for?” I ask in a teasing voice.
“Just… Just wondering…. Pondering really… How anyone could possibly be this crazy. You scribes…” He shakes his head, as most do at a writer’s antics. No one can understand the writer’s mind. “Puppies? I’ve never been against them. And, if I’m entirely honest… Charlie has grown on me a bit. That fuzzy little mutt. Just about got himself killed yesterday when Jesse didn’t tie him firmly enough.” I swear, his mouth is nearly smiling.
“Perhaps there really is a thin strand of humanity that still runs through your soul Jude. And now, the words you’ve waited for since we began this interview: Emily’s last question is…”
“FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! At last I’m FREE!” He shouts, sounding about as giddy as a school girl. That’s certainly never a noise I ever expected from Judas. Or Jude. In fact… I find it rather disturbing.
“Not quite yet Jude! You still have to answer the question.” His face takes on a glum appearance, and I continue. “If you are haunted by the people you have killed, does that mean you regret the things you have done?” Now I’m asking for it.
“I… yes. Every face, every one of them is etched within my mind. Judas’s memories… they haunt me. Zack, perhaps, the most of all. But It’s not the bloodshed I regret… it’s that I was weak enough to let myself love them. I let myself reach out to them, gain their trust, as per the plan… but always found myself becoming attached. Which only made the knife thrust all the more painful for everyone involved. Oh, shut up you weakling! I regret nothing. Those rebels asked for it the moment they laid hands on my mother. There is nothing to regret… only to revel in. No Judas! Jude, if I could have, I would have rid myself of you long ago. As I would have you. You idiot! With me, you’ve done things you never even dreamed of before! I am your strength! Strength isn’t the only thing I care about, you wicked, twisted little…”
“Alright, alright! Stop bickering you two, you’re giving me a headache!” Why did I ever think this was a good idea? “Let’s take the next question. This one is from Amanda. Do you think that your young age could hurt you? A lot of people wont follow someone of your age, even a powerful one.”
“It has caused some to doubt. But I do not want leadership. I want only trust. Many of the men in these rebel gangs are young, most of them around my age or just slightly older. The wonderful fact is, they don’t last much longer than this when they make the choice to become a rebel. As for this mission in particular, the two heads themselves are only 18 and 15. Those just below them are the oldest rebels I’ve ever seen, but because of the way I managed to worm my way into this army, I bypassed them. And I truly believe that, even had I joined in some other way, due to the way they work, it would have been simple to make the connections I need. For me, all I need is intel. If I am trusted enough for them to pass down information, I can pass that information to the military when it comes time to ambush them. In the same way, I forge ties with my largest targets, so that my revenge is more than surprise. It is pure, wicked, painful betrayal. For just as love always leads to pain, so betrayal is the fatal bane of human life. Nothing is more painful. And when joined with lethal force – and a jagged knife’s blade – the combination is the purest, most beautiful form of revenge there is.” His cat-like, evil grin and hateful, crushing words make my blood turn to ice, my heart nearly stop in my chest. Jude may be just a broken soul, but Judas… how could I possibly have created this monster?
END OF PART FOUR