[Subject to further revision, here’s the opening for the project I’ve been slogging through.]
Why, Rune wondered, were fallowmen so keen on eating breakfast foods at all hours of the night?
He sat at the far end of the counter. With his back to the wall, he could see everything in the diner. He had chosen not to mask his appearance. People saw him as he was: a slender young man with hair the color of cornsilk neatly combed and pulled back in a ponytail. His ears weren’t pointed, exactly, but the cartilage bent in obtuse angles at their tops.
Two men sat at the counter. Two others, a man and a woman, ate pancakes and gushed about the concert they had just come from. Rune took it all in, sipping his tea and pretending to read yesterday’s newspaper.
Outside, the city was dark. The streets were empty.
Three people were working at the diner: a waitress, a fry cook, and a manager helping both as needed.
It was the waitress that Rune had come for. She looked just like his client had described: average build, mid-twenties, mousy brown hair, not a great beauty but pretty enough by this world’s standards. She wiped down tables, lost in thought.
Rune wondered what was on her mind. Was she wrapped up in her work? Worrying about bills? She had a small child; was she thinking about her? Was she worried she was being watched? Is that why she seemed so jumpy?
Other people’s emotions were a puzzle to Rune. That’s what made this job different…and dangerous. How would she react? And how much did she know? Even fellowmen—or women—could be dangerous if they understood the Covenant, and Jo Ellen Hollart was sure to know something. A bit of iron or a hawthorn switch could turn even a simple job into a disaster.