Short and Sharp

A quick note today. Why? The race (tdf) is still underway, sleep is short, and I’ve been helped out with my misbehaving address page (I should send that person a lollipop, yes?).

Anyway … as always, a slight digression, but here comes a small insight (first draft only, so susceptible to changes/amendments) into the Ghost Story (soon to be renamed … any suggestions?). Copyright Rose Brimson & Cage Dunn 2017


Scene 20

Not a single truck passed the shop while Anna stood and stared at Arni in the middle of the shop-floor. Otherwise, she could have blamed a heavy rig for the thundering of the floor, the sensation of an earthquake that rose from her feet and into her legs and stomach; that wrenched her heart into skipping more than one beat.

This was worse. Arni stood with her hands on her hips, and the long skirt wrapped around her hands. The bare legs glistened and twisted in the light of the blue-white LED overhead light.

The scars looked freshly healed. Redness and puffy edges Anna could almost feel the pain from. The twists of ropy tendrils of half-healed scar tissue from a burn. A hot burn. One that went deep. That was meant to kill.

“It was a dream!” Anna felt the words come out of her mouth, even as she pulled the sleeves of her arm up. The handprint scar on her arm burst with heat and became red and white slashes of angry pain, as if it was happening again.

Arni stepped forward in a creeping sidle. The edges of the scar on her left leg oozed a pink fluid. She put her hand on Anna’s scar. It was a perfect fit; her hand covered the whole scar.

Anna’s eyes widened as she looked into Arni’s face and recognised the features. She hadn’t been wrong. Arni had Nan’s features, her hair colour – and her eyes.

“You’re one of us?” Anna squeaked.

“No. I’m a … I don’t know what. But not blood. Not as you know it. Not clan. But …” she looked away and dropped her skirt as the loud bang of the back door intruded. “It was a dream, but it was more.”

Rod stepped through the door from the residence into the shop.

“She knows, does she, love?”

Arni nodded without taking her eyes off Anna.

“What is this?” Anna asked.

“We know,” Arni said She reached behind and found Rod’s hand. He stepped up beside her. “We know what you’re here for. We want to help. Tell us what you need. What we can do. Please, let us help.” Tears poured down her face as she spoke.

“Is this…?” Anna had to think, and fast. Had she been sent here? For this? Did Nan mess with her mind and make her think she was doing something of her own volition, but really sending her out for the Task?

“I don’t understand,” she finally said.

“Bullshit,” Rod snorted. “You’re going to be a Valki, and a Valki has to … do things … to get that name. We know.”

“We know a bit, not all of it,” Arni finished. “I’m an extra,” she added.

“What is an extra?” Anna raised her eyebrow. “And what does it have to do with me?” It better be a good story, or she was out of here – now!

“Illi.”

It was all Arni said. It was enough.

“We can discuss this later, when I’ve …” what? What excuse could she come up with to give her time to find out what the crap was going on?

“We know. But we had to let you know.” Arni turned away. “Rod, love – can you get the supplies she needs? You know, the salt and litter and stuff?” She didn’t wait for an answer, just walked out of the shop.

Anna’s face must have reflected her shock.

“It’s alright,” Rod said. “Things will come together when they should. That’s the way it goes, isn’t it?”

But Anna had no idea. If she’d been set up, it was amazing. If it wasn’t a set up, it was worse because it was too real.


 

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