Eyes darting around the room, Phyllida merely shrugged.
"Come, come, Miss Mandrake, do not be reticent. She is writing your story, after all. You must have an opinion."
Fingers rubbing at the smooth surface of the table, Phyllida still refused to look at him. She shook her head.
"You know what I think?" Stodder leaned forward in his chair.
Phyllida shook her head again.
"I think she is a low, miserable coward." Stodder's deep voice rolled over the table like soft thunder, signalling the beginning of a storm.
Phyllida's hand on the table stopped moving. Her brown eyes found his face. "No," she said.
"Yes." Stodder's lips twisted into a poor facsimile of a smile. "She has not the guts to do what you did, only to peck away at her keyboard, writing others' deeds -- your deeds. She has not even the courage to discuss both sides of the argument. She shows me in a very poor light, never showing--"
"Everything she says you really did!" Phyllida burst. "You really did torture Thanasius."
Back to staring at the table. "...and me."
"But with good reason. Does Miss Larson go into the reasons? No. Why? She is a dirty mundane and a filthy coward."
"Good reason?" Phyllida repeated faintly. "You can't really believe that?"
His eyes narrowing, Stodder took another swallow of tea. "Why does anyone do anything, but for what they believe to be a good cause?"
"We are straying from our main topic. You have not yet told me what you think of Miss Larson."
Swallowing hard, Phyllida merely shrugged.
A slow smile started over Stodder's face as his cold swamp-colored eyes watched her. "You do not like her, either."
"That's not true," Phyllida said, too quickly.
Stodder laughed. He finished his cup of tea and got to his feet. "If you will excuse me, Miss Mandrake, I must return to my cell. It is always a pleasure to see you. Tell Miss Larson she is welcome to do these little hypothetical chats any time."
"She can hear you," Phyllida said, not looking up.
"Can she? Hello, Miss Larson." Stodder smiled up at the ceiling and gave a little wave. "I hope you rot in hell." He turned to go, and Phyllida only watched him.
"I'm sorry," she whispered.
Today's Novel Idea Prompted by: