obdurate (OB-doo-rit), adjective

Stubborn and unyielding.

Twelve shadows crept across his face, one for each defiance. Cedric Limekiln’s thoughts were obdurate. He only had one more thing left to do.

By the time the train stopped, Cedric was two hundred miles from his family, from his wife he never kissed goodbye. He never kissed her goodbye, but this time he felt like he should have. He would never see her again and she would wish he had kissed her.

The way the sun streaked through the windows made Cedric forget her disappointed face and the pain he surely caused.

The train thumped into motion. Cedric changed cars to see if anyone would join him. No one did. He sat facing forward because he was easily prone to motion sickness. He sat in the middle seat where the break in the window pane cast a heavy line across his eyes. That one hid the malice slanted by regret for what he was about to do. Six tiny specks, filth from a long journey on endless tracks sprinkled against the window and splotched Cedric’s face. Those were for the men who tried to stop him. The imprints of trees swooshed by, submerging his whole body in darkness, split second after split second. Four final lines, silhouettes of the letters V&T etched into the window, lay across Cedric’s face in hazy iconic crosses, but there were too many to be holy. Cedric stared into the mirror hanging just above the bench on the opposite side of the cabin from where he sat. The mirage of shapes hovering across his face made him look sickly and different. Cedric did not recognize himself behind the mask of shadows. His eyes darkened and his square chin tightened. With a jolt, the train stopped.

Cedric blinked some long gone sadness out of his eyes. He adjusted the hat on his head, held firmly to the side of his waistcoat, and got off the train towards Mr. Claude Gellert’s house.


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