“I have one final question,” he said. “How did you create these in the fields?”
The figure placed a bowl on the floor between them, and her bones creaked as she leaned in to look. A cluster of black rosebuds sprouted from bloodied ash.
“I’m sorry if I did something I wasn’t meant to do,” Eris said. “I wasn’t thinking.”
“You’ve seen this land,” he said. “It’s made of sand and ash. Nothing grows here. I’ve tried for… for a very long time, to cultivate life back. The panther was one such success, but you’ve taken it from me.”
In her mind she fantasized that she stitched up the wound she carved into the cub’s neck. It would recover and run freely again, and she would not worry for it. “Had I known, I wouldn’t have killed it. I’m sorry.”
He waved her apology away. “You being here when this happened is no coincidence. You’ve taken life, but what you’ve given back is far more valuable. You had no knowledge of creating this?”
“And yet you develop a natural affinity towards this magic that you know nothing about.”
She breathed out a laugh and her stomach hurt. “Magic, me? No, magic was destroyed a long time ago.”
“Who told you such things?” he asked, incredulous.
“The book of the two kings, Saulos and Ananos.”
A pause. The figure drew up to his full height, cloaking the room further into shadow. Eris feared she had said something wrong, but her arms were already shaking from propping her body off the bed. She wasn’t going to get very far if she ran.
Thank you to my patrons:
Tamar, Jennifer, Val, Dustin, Olga, Naomi.