Coleen was red.
Coleen realized she did not know whether she still thought of herself as Faith or not. It seemed to her that everything Faith had done that she liked was done by someone else. The Faith of now. When Faith did something she could not stand… (Lizzie Lizzie Elizabeth!)
Well, then it was Coleen. It was all Coleen.
She had been trying so hard not to think of Elizabeth.
Continue reading “A Simple Life (pt24)”
He would probably whine about this soon. This was the third time she had taken chocolates away from him. The last time she had to eat it all herself to keep him from it. It was disgusting, but throwing it out had not been an option. For some reason she could not make herself waste it all.
Not that it mattered. Nothing mattered. She had accomplished what she had wanted and had been left with her final promise: killing Emil. He had apparently volunteered to die through the slow process of old age. Or chocolate poisoning. Whichever came first.
“Experiences are what you get when you don’t get what you want,” he reminded her. He had said that before, once. Coleen was certain he quoted someone else, but had never bothered to find out.
Experiences. Things she could never have now or things that she could have now that she had nothing more to give to the world.
“We could get married,” she found herself suggesting. A homemaker for Emil while he found a way to adapt to a mortal life. It would not last forever. She could take care of him for that long. He had claimed them to be engaged at one point (a ploy, but still).
“I can’t get married to the former king,” Emil flat-out refused.
“Of course.” It had been silly of her to suggest it, but now Emil looked thoughtful. Perhaps because he realized he could make that connection now. Make a connection and see it through to his end.
So this is the simple life.
“In any case,” Malak continued, “it does appear that we don’t have to continue further west. This is the strongest lead we’ve found.”
“And one of the strangest. I don’t think I’ve ever known a messenger to start causin’ so much ruckus so fast.”
“You mortals allow for much more oddities to prevail the larger the population there is to deviate from,” Malak explained. “The less people there are, the less tendency there is for a stark contrast from the normal to be acceptable.”
Bri corrected them. “We mortals.”
At one point, this would have offended them. They might have become angry, stormed away, ignored her. Now it simply resounded with the feeling of hollowness that Malak hadn’t become accustomed to yet. Part of the human condition, they supposed, but it had never been an interest of their before, which left them at a loss to comprehend any of it now, no matter the years.
“Anywho, people congregate with like minded individuals for similar goals. I think that’s something everythin’ does.” Bri nodded, agreeing with her own sentiment. “Where should we go from here?”
Malak closed their eyes, shaking their head. “If we had come across anyone other than a human being walking on two legs, I believe the both of us would be on the same page.” Bri was just as capable, if not more so, of realizing what didn’t belong in the world. If she hadn’t been, the both of them never would have met. They would not be doing this now.
Who knew where Malak might be. Or Gotzone. Inglebert. Vangelis.
What is happening is wrong, make no mistake. I watched the Official the other day, hovering around what was once the entrance to the Vault. Whether or not she had been suspicious of the spot, I couldn’t tell. I did my best to stay away from her. But now it didn’t matter either. She could be as suspicious as she wanted, there would be nothing to find.
So magic remains hidden here. I wonder often about that old man, where he could go now to still be a magician. The young woman, who had continued her studies despite how life has become. The young boy, without a place in order to harness his power, might be discovered by someone if he doesn’t learn how to conceal it. The Librarian, without his child, without the rest of his Library, forever sealed away.
I am the only one who hadn’t lost anything like that. I don’t have any magic.
I am the only one who only lost the Keeper.
No one could know anything was different. Whatever reason the Keeper had, I would not endanger the Librarian by letting anyone know that something had happened. I returned to the library to spend all of my time there as I usually did.
I couldn’t cry. Even more than that, I couldn’t lash out when I saw the Official. Not that I could. She terrified me.
And that would be it, wouldn’t it? Because of fear trapping us, the Keeper is gone. Because of trying to stay safe, they are just as dead as they would have been had the Official found them. Our own fear is just as dangerous as the actual violence that the state threatens upon us. There is no going around this. It was a hard lesson to learn.
To make something of this lesson? Even harder. Despite knowing what has been sacrificed in order to learn this, that doesn’t make the fear go away. Knowing better actually might make it worse.
I wondered why they did it. Why now. I sat down on the swing next to the boy, our tears as silent as each other’s. All I could think about was our last conversations. Was it the talk about the Official? The mention of doing something? Something that none of us could do? All the power they had left, with all of the power contained within their magic, seemed to be the power to make sure their father wasn’t caught harbouring magicians and their tomes.
Or was it that? Was it the slow drain of their very being, caused by their incarceration, necessitated for their own safety. From the fear of what would happen if they were discovered.
The boy eventually left. I tried to make it so it didn’t look like I had been crying when I finally went home. I would have to do this for many months.
My thoughts filled with the Keeper. Only them. “But what about them?”
The boy still didn’t look at me, but as he wiped his face with his sleeve I knew the answer. Why we couldn’t go together. Why no one could go anymore.
The Keeper had closed the way. No one to get in or out. Not even them.
I wondered if they were still playing their pocket pet, or if it was already too late. The Librarian’s avoidance seemed to be my memory causing me direct pain. Of course it was. If it wasn’t…
No, if the Keeper closed the way, there would be nothing the Librarian could do. This I was certain of. He wouldn’t have let them do that. All I could imagine was that it happened while the Official was there, because he would have stopped them otherwise. With the Official there… a death sentence, not only for the Keeper, but for everyone. For the library. For the tomes that the Keeper sealed.
I followed him to the park, hearing him sniffle without seeing it. When I thought about it, his eyes had looked rather red.
We arrived at the park before too long and he ran over to the abandoned, swing set, jumping onto one of the seats and letting the motion carry him back and forth. “We can’t go together anymore.”
His words made no sense. “What?”
“No one can go anymore. It’s closed off.”
I stared at him, understanding not nearing as one might think it would. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“They closed everything off.” His words came closer to home and I suddenly realized what he might be referring to. “So we can’t go together anymore.”
The Librarian’s hollow eyes.
“Some people believe if you give someone you love a handmade teddy bear named after yourself, then that person will always return your love.”
The boy looked at his teddy bear. Well worn, well loved. He looked back over at his aunt. “What if the person stops loving you anyway?”
His aunt looked at the teddy bear. No dust, not like anything else in the house. “Do you still love him?”
The boy nodded.
“Always return the love.”
That was no answer as the boy wanted it, but it hadn’t changed the truth. He still loved his mother, despite her no longer loving him.
The dragons were having a fit. As far as Emine could tell. However, they weren’t in the Alcoves, but up outside of the cliff and on top of their home. If she looked out any of the opening, she could see them on the other side of the valley, discussing whatever it was above there. She could even hear sometimes the dragons that were above the side she was on.
Emine had never seen this before. Even when other things were going on to upset them, all of them had never been outside to chatter. At least, she was pretty sure it was just about all of them. Most of them.
“Are they still going?” Sanni asked, looking out over Emine. Her tone was subdued.
Emine nodded. “Is something wrong?”
“They found some broken eggs.”
Sanni usually explained what things like that meant immediately, but this time she didn’t say anything. Emine couldn’t imagine why, but by looking up at Sanni’s face, she had somewhat of an idea about the enormity of the situation.
She didn’t ask, but eventually she heard a sound from one of the dragons she had never heard before. Staring across the way, she saw it come from Norro.
Emine didn’t have to think long or hard to know it was grief.