Mother Damnation: Sinclair
Aristotle Davis Sinclair — how he hated his name! — stood in the living room of his home with his fists clenched, staring at his father. His friends called him Sink — short ‘i’, just the sound of the first three letters of his last name. He wanted to shout at Duncan Sinclair, to express his rage verbally and as loudly as he could. However, he knew it wouldn’t do any good to shout, because his father couldn’t hear him.
Duncan had been a company sergeant in the 101st Morgan Militia of Louistrana, serving in Myssitarpin as part of the units that had been sent in to help Louistrana’s beset neighbor and ally against the hordes of demons and vampires that were overrunning it. In a battle near Pon d’lea, a bomb had gone off too close to Duncan and he had lost his hearing permanently as a result of it. He had been a damned good sergeant and proud of it.
So Sink could not understand why his father kept refusing to sign his enlistment papers. Not that it would matter in the end. Sink would be sixteen in two weeks and wouldn’t need Duncan’s signature. High School graduation was in three days and Sink wanted to be able to announce his enlistment in the army when he accepted his diploma. He had written his speech, centering it on patriotism and the need to keep Louistrana strong. However, if his father refused to sign the damned paper, he would not be able to give that speech the way he wanted to.
Sink walked around and sat down in a chait in front of his father’s chair, leaned forward and tapped his old man on the knee to get his attention before he began to sign slowly. “Please, dad. I’m going to do it anyway. Please sign.”
Duncan watched his son working at making his words clear and shook his grizzled head. He still wore the same buzz cut he had during his years in the military. “No. Out of the question. What you do when you’re sixteen is your business. Until then, it’s mine.”
“No. You’re going to college.”
A knock at the front door made Sink glance and he saw his Uncle James poke his head through the door. “Am I interrupting anything?”
In contrast to Sink’s father, who wore faded khakis, his Uncle James Sinclair was dapper in a three piece suit with a diamond stick pin through his lapel. Although the Sinclairs were a plain, old-fashioned working class family, James had married an heiress and had money to throw around. Sink suspected that his father wanted him to be more like James.
“Dad won’t sign my papers. Graduation’s coming up.”
James walked in and patted his nephew on the shoulder. “Maybe I have the solution. How would you like to have both college and the army?”
“You mean ROTC? No. I want to enlist. I want to go straight in.”
“Wouldn’t it be better to be an officer?”
Sink set his mouth stubbornly and glared at his uncle. “I want to enlist.”
Then he became aware of how hard his dad was focusing on them and wondered just how much Duncan caught in his attempts to lip read. Duncan just sat there with an expectant look on his face, which made Sink wonder even more what was going on.
“Did you get it, James?” Duncan asked.
The entire Sinclair clan had learned to sign when they knew that Duncan would never hear again. James smiled and signed. “Yeah, Duncan, I got it.”
Duncan heaved himself out of his chair and hugged his brother.
“Got what?” Sink kept glancing from one man to the other as James pulled a sheaf of folded papers out of his pocket and shoved them into Sink’s hand.
“Read it.” James nodded at the papers in Sink’s hands.
Sink frowned and opened them up. The first thing he noticed was the congressional seal on the bottom. “Darmuth Point? Me? Darmuth Point?”
“Best military academy in the nation. In four years you’ll graduate as an officer — Louistranan Army.”
Sink swung around on his father as Duncan returned to his chair. He signed rapidly at his father. “You knew about this, didn’t you?”
Duncan chuckled. “I sure did.”
This scene takes place before the main events of The Blessed and the Damned. The Blessed and the Damned is written by Janrae Frank and Phil Smith