A scene from a project I’m working on taking place in a steampunk setting. Working title: “Running”

“You frighten her, captain.”

His hands shoved in his pockets, Rufus headed back along the street with an unhurried gait. “Correction, Gereon. I terrify her. There’s a difference.”

The younger man looked at him in confusion. “How so?”

“Terror is deeper and far more intense. Fear is simply being scared. Terror can paralyze a man.”

“And this is a good thing? That you terrify her?”

“Whether it’s good or bad depends on the man, I suppose.” Rufus shrugged. “Speaking for myself, it’s something I consider an accepted facet of life. We’re members of the Department of Inquisition’s Executionary Order. People fear us for a variety of reasons.”

“Because they’re pagans or heretics or supporters of the barbarians in the north.”

“Or because they can’t handle what we do.”

“Do you think Miss Viatrix is the last one?”

“Most likely.” Rufus thought back on his conversation with Lucretia, how she acted and responded to things. Her terror ran deep and wasn’t only directed toward him, or more specifically his uniform. He had a feeling as to what, but he would bring it up to her just yet. If at all. He’d spare her the embarrassment until it was unavoidable. “But she’s hiding something.”

“What do you plan to do?”

“Do?” The men crossed the empty street to the next block, their boot steps echoing in the still humid air. Most of the other bars and clubs had closed for the night, leaving a hush in the wake of the departing patrons. “I plan to take her to dinner tomorrow evening. Some place away from where she works and that walking whore that can’t seem to get it through her blonde head that I have no interest in her – for fucking or otherwise.”

“You could have her in you wanted her, sir.”

“That’s a big ‘if’, Gereon. She’s not what I would call my type.”

The younger man laughed and running his fingers through his short blonde hair, adjusted his cap. “I guess I just don’t get it, sir. There isn’t a woman in her right mind who’d turn down an Executioner if he wanted to sleep with her. So why go through all the trouble?”

Rufus laughed softly. “You’re young yet, but you’ll eventually learn that a conquest like that, isn’t a conquest at all. There’s no effort put into it.” He paused to look both ways before crossing the next street to the Crusades where Albus was waiting with the car. “Winning a woman’s heart is a lot more challenging than simply demanding her body and taking it as you will. The reward is infinitely more satisfying when a woman wants to be with you.” Rufus smiled as he allowed himself the brief thought of winning Lucretia over. He could tell it wouldn’t be easy. Her nature was that of a survivor, of one who did what she thought she had to do to survive. So long as she saw him as a threat, he would be up against a wall. “That being said, I suppose you could say I enjoy the challenge.”

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