Hoping for a Break
Shortly after Captain Hall shut the door, Collier retrieved his pipe and pouch of tobacco from the side drawer of the desk. Filling his pipe, he lit it. After he returned the tobacco to the drawer, he walked to the window and gazed onto the landscape. Solace stretched beyond his survey. And he reached out to God. Surely if He resided on earth it would be among the gardens and fields that stretch before me. He drew in the smoke and purged it through his nostrils. Today, he found it soothing, its effects liberating. Calm settled in for a fleeting moment. He had come to expect the unexpected. Life taught him it was foolish to think otherwise. He had given harbor to a discomforting, self-imposed, litany of cruel possibilities for his son’s fate. The difference between what he could and could not affect was clear in his mind. But the agony of relinquishing his son’s fate to another was unbearable. Worst, he could not share it. He walked back to his desk and sat. He had no direct experience in the kind of battle Captain Hall was about to wage; her battle would be fought in the shadows of a different garden, the garden of beasts. The special set of skills of cloak and dagger inherent in her, he knew he did not possess. Yet, there was commonality joining them. It existed in the hot-blood coursing through their veins and the shared knowledge that losing was far more dangerous an option than winning.
An hour drifted by unnoticed since Captain Hall’s departure and he snarled at himself fo...