Harriet confronts her mother about the mysterious letter, but her past in the land of her fantasies keeps coming back for her.
When four students get together to work on a project, the evening might just take a much darker turn
Books fell on the table and woke Sphene up. She jolted up and brushed her tangled hair away from her face. The orange light of the sun flooded the library. Josut leaned over a pile of books, “When I told you to take one of these books to bed, I didn’t mean for you to sleep in the library.” She rubbed her eyes, “I didn’t realize how late it was.” “Did you eat last night?” He asked. She shook her head. “Of course, you didn’t. Come on, I can’t let you leave like this.” He stood up and held out a hand for Sphene. She took it and followed him. It was only during early mornings that Sphene realized how massive her castle was. Every step she took through the hallways weighed on her. Servants passed by her as they carried buckets of water and fabric from room to room. She might have been leaving that afternoon, but all chores seemed to go uninterrupted.
Sphene couldn’t get the image out of her head. The sky had been gray and the wind chilled her to the bone. The practitioner spoke words that had grown so familiar to Sphene that she had decided to simply not listen. She tried to force herself to feel anything, but she didn’t. Standing at the feet of the sea, she saw the bodies as they floated off to the horizon. Twelve, she had counted. The body of Petra and the ones of twelve soldiers that had tried to save her.
Harriet wasn’t sure why she had been so afraid the first time she met her mother. She tried to focused on the white walls of the castle and tried to paint them with the colors she remembered from the in-between. A man escorted her through more white rooms than she could count. She wasn’t thinking about her mother at all as she walked through them. She had thought for so long that her mother was dead, that she wouldn’t believe otherwise until she saw it for herself. To her, this was no different than meeting her mother in a dream, and not much more real either.
Warning: adult themes and depiction of sexual assault. "Sal leads the way through the darkness. We walk a couple of blocks when a single raindrop falls onto my nose. Rain is closing in. I hope the place is close by..."
Marcus couldn’t see a thing beyond the light of the fire Fatima had set. She held dried leaves over the flame and let them fall into it. Marcus could barely keep himself awake. Only the pain of his cut fingers kept him from falling asleep. He watched Fatima feed the fire. “You keep surprising me,” he muttered. Fatima turned to look at him for an instant before returning her sight to the fire. “What happened after I fell?”
Daylight crawled through the branches and onto the grass. Marcus opened his eyes but he didn’t sit up. He was too tired to move. He stared at Fatima as the light fell over her. He hadn’t gotten a chance to look at her so closely. She had a soft face that resembled the one of a child, but with bags under her eyes that aged her terribly. Her skin seemed to be covered by a soft layer of fog. Her eyes were fixed in the trees of the forest.