It looked nothing like home, all rust-hued cliffs and coral grass. I missed Earth’s cool tones keenly.
Then, your gift: a terracotta pot with one slender green stem; at its peak, hyacinth flowers blooming like purple fireworks. It even smelled like blue – like home.
“I’ve got the grimoire.”
He’d been waiting so long for those words that he almost couldn’t believe he’d heard them. He watched, tail twitching, as she opened the crackling pages and began to read.
As fur fell away, he started to hope; as human limbs returned, he began to believe.
He spoke his long-planned words into her embrace: “I knew you could do it.”
Night draws a curtain on the world, obscuring the landscape and turning the window to a mirror. Looking outside at the darkness beyond the glass wakes some primal unease, so I refocus on the warm interior; on our kitchen’s blurred reflection; on your face and mine, close together.
I told her something was wrong. First my gown catching on the stairs, then the rowboat struggling low in the water – but she never believed me.
Now she must marry him, and their wedding will be the final time we sisters dance.
Sonia opened the door for the coded knock. “Blessings of the Lord of Sapience and His Unvanquished Flame.”
The cloaked visitor handed her a small box. “Three more.”
The smuggler disappeared into the night. Sonia closed the door, smiling, already freeing the rescued books from their packaging.
Seven miles later, we exited the trees into sunshine over the glittering river. There are many trails on this mountain, each one a new view.
The fires took them all.
At the mountain’s ashen feet, we say goodbye until it greens again: someday, whether it takes months or years.
No one likes to talk about what happened after he untied me. He sat frozen, ribbon limp, staring at me but not at me. He stumbled through guilt for weeks afterward before he noticed me again.
Of course I was still there: I did tell him he’d be sorry.