In the mean time, here's some more from the NaNo story. In this snippet, Ellie and Duncan go to church.
Eventually the congregation fell into a whispering silence, punctuated by the occasional cough or sniffle. A door opened beneath the mural and the Prophet, dressed in a black suit, walked through and climbed up to the pulpit. He gazed across the congregation and cleared his throat.
“It makes my heart burst to see so many beloved faces here today on this glorious Sabbath.” His hands curled around the carved edges of the pulpit. “I have much to say to you.”
Ellie realized that it was going to be a very long sermon. Duncan’s leg rested against hers and she was glad of the distraction.
“…as you know, we are engaged in a battle against the Federal Government, who want to destroy us. I have vowed that I will take away their representatives, one by one, until they have no choice but to either take a stand and fight us or leave the state of Arizona altogether. I am delighted to see one of those employees here today, in the company of Elder Obidiah. He has shown true, Christian charity in taking her under his roof and making her welcome, making her part of his family. Welcome to our Church, Eleanor.” His gaze fell on her.
Ellie managed a weak smile in return and looked down at her hands, wishing she could disappear.
“…Eleanor has fit well into our Community. I fear she is the exception to the rule. The other one is not so obliging…”
Obidiah’s sharp intake of breath made Ellie jump. This was clearly news to him too. Duncan’s hand crept over hers and, in spite of Obidiah’s raised eyebrow, remained defiantly there.
“What the hell has he done?” Obidiah whispered.
Duncan’s fingers curled through hers. He edged closer-a shield between her and the prophet.
Enos continued, his eyes sweeping across the hushed congregation. “…My brothers and sisters, the die has been cast. We are now at war…”
Ellie didn’t want to hear any more, especially when the Prophet then went off on a long, rambling rant about the justness of holy wars. He spoke of wars between ancient, long forgotten tribes with Old Testament names, wars between Athens and Sparta, Rome and Carthage. The length of his rant was measured by the amount of fidgeting in the long-suffering congregation. She had no idea how long he spoke for because she was distracted by the seething males she was sitting between. Obidiah was a study in carefully contained rage, his eyes icy, his mouth set in a thin, hard line. Beside him, Deborah, the senior wife, regarded him with worry. Duncan’s palm was damp with perspiration, and his grip tightened on her hand. His eyes were narrowed as he watched Enos.
She had no idea how long the Prophet spoke for. It felt like forever. Her butt ached and the edge of the seat bit into her legs, no matter how often she shifted and fidgeted. The vast church was full of the whisper of restless worshippers. The sunlight had been swallowed by clouds, filling the place with shadows and a chill that Ellie couldn’t shake.
“…and so, my brothers and sisters, go home, enjoy the Sabbath with your families, embrace your loved ones. I will summon you when it is time.” With that, he stepped down from the pulpit, walked back to the door and disappeared.
“Bloody hell.” Duncan murmured.
“Bloody hell, indeed.” Obidiah’s voice was cold.