Excerpt from The Culling Dark by Bettyann Craddock, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Culling Dark

by Bettyann Craddock

The Culling Dark
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Paperback:
    Sep 2000, 490 pages

  • Rate this book

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


"Kruseos, thou ancient, mysterious planet, what secrets dost thou guard to thy golden breast?"

Year 2. Book Two.

Antonio Felipé Perez did not care to eat his lunch. Neither had he eaten his breakfast. Also, though it was yesterday and useless to waste today's thoughts on, he had not eaten his dinner. He was robbed of freedom. Therefore, while he was a prisoner his body would be prisoner to his own will, and if he wished to kill his body by starving, it was his right. For the hidden man is ever free, subject only to himself. God made it so. To emphasize this dear truth, he lifted and kissed the silver crucifix that hung about his neck.

His jailers changed shifts, and the new man who took the post looked in on him often, asking if he needed anything. Felipé knew him well. His name was Sovic, and he had lost a wife at Surface. Still he answered him nothing, and the man kept looking in on him as if he were the one needing something, not the other way around.

He knew Felipé had been away three days. He was hungry for those days.

Once in awhile he was told the time. This, too, had no effect on him. No matter what the time, it is always right now. And right now he, Antonio Felipé Perez, was a prisoner. His wife could not see him. She was confined for hiding his whereabouts for the three days. Until they released him, he could not see his beloved. So, he would starve in protest. His freedom lived within him. It was not subject to the whims of another.

In the dark afternoon, Mr. Bellamy came to him. He stood outside his jail with a flashlight pointing at a piece of paper for Sovic. Mr. Bellamy waited while the jailer, more a prisoner outside the bars than he was within them, unlocked and opened the doors.

Felipé stood inside his cell with his arms folded.

Mr. Bellamy shined the light between them so they could both see each other. He said, "Come out, Felipé."

"Do we go somewhere?"

Mr. Bellamy said, "The commander wants to question you now." Mr. Bellamy looked very tired. His round face was drawn in unhappy shadows, and the middle part of him, the part that once bounced when he laughed, sagged as if the guts of him were broken. Mr. Bellamy never laughed anymore. Hardly anyone laughed anymore.

Felipé folded his arms tighter.

Mr. Bellamy said to Sovic beside the door, "Could you step away for a moment, give us some privacy?"

Sovic hesitated. "Well, orders are…"

Mr. Bellamy pursed his lips. He said, "I'm giving you an order," he pointed at his collar.

Sovic stood there unmoved. He said, "What if…"

"What if what? I'll cover for you."

"But I've already got…" He raised his hands, "Whad'ya think I'm doing here? I was late for roll call. That's what I'm doing here."

"I'm sorry."

"So I can't get in any more trouble. I'm on probation as it is."

"I'm sorry. Please let me and Felipé talk in private."

Sovic grew belligerent, "Why aren't you doing something, you and the other officers? Seems to me you could. It gets worse and worse and nobody…"

"C'mon Sovic! Just do it. Jesus Christ."

Felipé said, "He fights with himself in the prison his mind has become."

Sovic snapped, "I don't like this either."

Felipé shrugged, "Then we agree."

Sovic worked his mouth wordlessly, then stormed away.

Mr. Bellamy sighed again, "What's happening to us all?"

"Not all, only the blind."

Mr. Bellamy looked at him, "Do you still see, Felipé?"

He had not uncrossed his arms, nor moved from his stance. He leaned back a little, gazing at Mr. Bellamy with his head turned to one side, "Not with eyes. Eyes deceive. I see with my heart."

Copyright Bettyann Craddock 2000. All rights reserved.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Crossing the Horizon
    Crossing the Horizon
    by Laurie Notaro
    In Crossing the Horizon, Laurie Notaro takes us back to a time when flying was a rare and risky ...
  • Book Jacket
    Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions
    by Mario Giordano
    Munich matron and self-described worldly sophisticate, Isolde Oberreiter, has decided to retire to a...
  • Book Jacket: Of Arms and Artists
    Of Arms and Artists
    by Paul Staiti
    In the late eighteenth-century, the United States of America was still an emerging country, ...
Book Discussions
Book Jacket
The Bone Tree
by Greg Iles

An epic trilogy of blood and race, family and justice.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Comet Seekers
    by Helen Sedgwick

    A magical, intoxicating debut novel, both intimate and epic.

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win The World of Poldark

Win the book & DVD

Enter to win The World of Poldark and the full first series on DVD.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

One S D N M A S

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.


Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!

Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.