Chapter 8: Gray is Black with Age


...a shoe narrowly missed Jule's ear. Her head jerked in the opposite direction of the shoe and her eyes snapped and locked with Gray Man's.

"Time to leave. I don't intend to repeat anything else today," commanded Gray Man.

Jule watched him intently. His back turned against her. This was the first time she really paid attention to this man who seemed to be holding her captive. The adrenaline flowing through her body from the shoe attack was intensely focusing her attention.

Gray Man did, in fact, seem very gray... the faded intensity of black very well described him in more than just color terms. Jule was sure he was fearsome before the years had rendered him gray. His thick shoulders, once squared, now rounded at their points as they sloped with the weight of an invisible load. He wore his hair longer. Without the aid of a comb, it waved and tangled to greasy tips.

His overgrown hair wasn't unlike many of those in the community. Grooming was scheduled once quarterly for the men and twice quarterly for the women. Children under 14 were not groomed. There were some residents who had fashioned cutting devices to groom themselves. Men like Gray Man didn't care about their appearance. The wisdom of their years seemed to teach them that "caring" was a luxury that would end a person as swiftly as any other weakness.

But Gray Man had actually cared last night. The realization was sudden and startled Jule. Was he not her captor? Why would he ever care about what The Consortium wanted with her? So if Gray Man cared - where was he taking her now? She physically recoiled at the idea of being taken to Draeden. She now knew what awaited her there.

Outside and dressed, the fog laid heavily across the fields and glowed with the ethereal light of a brimming dawn. Gray Man started moving toward the woods he had pulled Jule out of just hours ago. The snow was thinner today, but the ice of the air pierced Jule's lungs. Afraid to break the silence, afraid to question, afraid for her future - Jule desperately wanted to know why he was leading her into the woods when he should be transporting her to Draeden.

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