‘Choose one,’ he said, an alarming serenity to his voice that sort to send me off my solid ground and crashing into his vitriolic maze of conniving stew.
I hesitated. In his hand he held five feathers and I knew to choose the wrong one would lead to terrible things for me as it had for poor old Ned.
‘Take one,’ he said, a touch of menace now lacing his tone.
I drew back.
His look told me, screamed at me, to get out of there as quickly as I could and yet, bizarrely, an easy peace had begun to fall upon me. Whether the fear of being in front of such a dreadful man has just driven me to forget my senses I know not, but now I brazenly stepped forward and seized a feather.
He looked at the feather, then to me, then back to the feather, a look of mad astonishment across his face.
‘You’ve chosen the longest feather,!’ he spluttered, his ease of control suddenly evaporating.
I looked at him, smiling. He just turned and ran.