Today, we return to Stina Leicht’s and Blue Skies from Pain, where half-fey Liam Kelly has turned himself over to the church inquisitors so that they might determine if he is a demon or something else.
To catch up or review, see Part 1.
Liam finds himself in a cold, inescapable, underground chamber before Father Conroy, a physician, who keeps calling him “it,” and a tray full of syringes and knives. Under normal circumstances, he would be nervous. However, with past experience in the horrid prisons reserved for Catholic troublemakers, Liam is terrified. Father Murray convinces him to tolerate the procedures then takes him to their suite. Liam finds his bedroom filled with cameras and reeking of blood someone tried to hide under the heavy scents of bleach and pine.
Reader Comments: Oh dear, I fear there will be quite a bit of blood before this is all over. However much Bran and Father Murray reassured Liam that he could leave at any time and he would be safe, I have a sneaking suspicion, encouraged by what I know of Leicht’s dark and wonderfully twisted abuse of her characters, that, in the very near future, all that will become irrelevant. Someone is bound to take out Father Murray, one way or another. Someone is bound to really hurt Liam.
Writer Comments: Technically, everything is going for Liam as well as it could possibly go. He has reassurances, everything that is happening to him is voluntary, his father can come rescue him at any time, and he has a trusted friend at his side looking out for his best interests. The chapter is full of technical procedure and what could be called tedious detail in the hands of a lesser author. Yet, rather, it’s full of tension. Why? This comes from two primary aspects. First, Liam is incredibly tense from his present fear and his past experiences of being caged and abused. This saturates every word on the page. And second, Leicht slides in details that contradict any feeling of ease or security: the windowless room, the lack of normal furnishings, cameras in LIam’s room, the reek of blood.
Despite his unease, Father Murray leaves Liam for a brief time to meet Bishop Avery, his superior. Murray makes several requests to ease Liam’s discomfort and fear, most of which are denied. He also gets hints from Avery and Thomas, the priest that escorts him to the bishop, that all is far from well and that there are more “considerations” in play than Murray thought.
Reader Comments: There’s politics in this scene that I don’t quite understand, yet they intrigue. No one can be fully honest, it would appear, and even among the priests, there’s a dangerous undercurrent. Nothing feels safe. Of course, I’m sure that’s how Leicht intended it.
Writer Comments: What purpose does it serve to have Father Murray as a second primary POV character? So far, he has had as much page time as Liam as far as POV is concerned. It accomplishes two primary things. First, it allows Liecht the means to reveal subplots and undercurrents, threats even, that Liam would be oblivious to and, thus, so would we readers if we only got Liam’s perspective. And second, it lets Liecht assure us as readers that Liam is not entirely without hope. As Murray walks with Liam through the trial before him, a sort of Campbellian decent into the underworld, Murray also walks with the readers to reassure them that there is hope.
Thank you for joining me for today’s chapters of and Blue Skies from Pain by Stina Leicht. We will see what horrors await Liam next Monday when we continue the tale. If you have not already picked up a copy, do so. In the limited format of blog posts, I cannot cover every detail of the book, and I would love to hear of other’s responses to the story.