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The Writing on the Wall CH4By conditioning and a small stroke of luck, I managed to sleep through dinner. Mostly due to the fact that I was almost literally run off my feet, but it helped that I had exhausted myself trying to find some kind of writing utensil. I'd lost my chalk in the forest, or private park, whatever it was. Chalk was, of course, the best tool for sigil writing. It worked on most surfaces and lasted longer than a pen.
There wasn't so much as an old dusty quill and a scrap of someone's old grocery list. Even the vanity had yielded nothing. An hour after Demetrius had left me to my own devices, and I had searched the whole room over, I would have gladly settled for lipstick and the mirror. But to no avail. The vanity was empty of even the most basic feminine product.
Under other circumstances, I would not have complained. I didn't know foundation from eyeliner. Except what I had learned f
The Writing on the Wall CH3"What did you say your name was?"
Of course, I hadn't said my name, but I wouldn't have been surprised to find the butler had. This was the sort of place where one was 'announced', after all. I bobbed another curtsey, a real one this time. "Athena Idony," I said, my voice once again rising treacherously high in pitch.
Grandmaster Trevino continued staring me down a moment longer, then turned on his heel the same way I had seen Demetrius do not so long ago. It was hard not to crack a smile. It helped to remember the position I'd landed in. "I see," was all he said.
It was not enough for me. I folded my arms over my chest, hoping it didn't look too silly with my arms bare and a bit goose-pimply thanks to the lacking parts of the day dress, and frowned deeply. "Do you? I am afraid I do not."
"Are you registered, young miss?"
The truthful answer was no, but it was also the short answer that w
The Writing on the Wall CH2Demetrius gave me a look that would have scorched a salamander. "Why didn't you say something immediately?!" he snapped, a vein in his forehead twitching.
My excuse, though technically a reasonable one, was too embarrassing to divulge, so I decided to just go on lying. Just a little. In for a step, in for a marathon, maybe. "People see things when the Hollow Man comes for them." The best lies have some truth in them, after all. May as well start with that much. "I thought that I was only imagining you."
"For fifteen minutes?"
Was that how long we had been walking? No wonder I was so light-headed. The top of my head might as well have been rubber, I felt like a balloon. "It was the first time I'd ever had such an encounter. All I know about Hollow Man is the stories."
This appeared to placate Demetrius somewhat. Although I had a suspicion that this was not
The Writing on the Wall CH1Three raps at the door. Each of them was like the sharp, staccato footsteps of Old Lady Tessernack, her gnarled cane just outside the sinister rhythm. I held my breath, cheeks bulging, and shut my eyes tight.
Even with my back pressed firmly against the back wall, I couldn't get far enough away. Three more raps. Never more than three, never less. The cement was hard and cold through my back, but I didn't move. Didn't shift. For all I knew, he could smell me, or sense movement through the door.
Then my brain decided to let me know just how little it cared for me by pointing out something. The door was only made of wood.
Fingers trembling, I reached into my pocket for the lump of chalk I kept there. It glowed slightly, somehow catching the light spilling in from the gap between the floor and the bottom of the door. I tried not to let myself measure it, but years of training didn'
Inspiration, RealisationThe dusty quiet of the library welcomed few. It was very like a skittish bird. However, unlike a bird, it could not physically depart when disturbed. Instead, it withdrew its inspirational atmosphere the way a guilty cat retracted its claws upon being caught eyeing the tastier small and fuzzy pets.
Balanced on this tentative beam, Rielyth scribbled over a well-loved sheet of paper. Notes in the margins bred continuously, as expansive as the work itself. She could feel the world and story bursting in her head, egging her on in its impatient way.
A dark curl flopped onto her paper. She wrote over it, the ink in her pen not bothering to distinguish its interruption. The hero was fighting a dragon, after all. It was a nasty, belligerent thing, driven mad by twisted magic and disappointed love. But it didn't seem quite enough. She considered adding a troll, and then settled for burn
a dangerous hallucinationThe light coming through the window was bright,
much too bright.
Even though my eyes were closed
I could see it-
The skin of my arms prickled,
sweat dripped from my brow.
It was two in the afternoon but…
the sun was setting
through the window facing east.
I should have seen the hutch,
shelves lined with bone china
decorated with delicate leaves and vines.
I was so thirsty
and reaching for cups that should have been there.
Instead I found a billboard of butterflies,
the colors raging
more than any rainbow
I'd ever seen.
Their wings fluttered and flashed
yet somehow they moved in slow motion.
I wanted to stand,
wanted to reach out and touch them but…
I couldn't move,
and yet I laughed
ignoring my dry mouth
and the tingling in my feet.
There was a tempest
on the rise
and in my blood.
A sugar rush disguised
as a riot of butterflies
and they were swarming me.
There was a small vial
of insulin in my pocket
that I nev
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