Friday, June 18, 2010

Mere Acquaintances- Chapter Thirty-Five

Senne’s view from the balcony in the palace in Estria was really breathtaking. In the fading light of sunset, the city practically glowed, every fleck of gold glinting in the last rays of the day. It would have been beautiful, had the strange black wall not been in the distance.

She couldn’t say where the horizon was, because the black was there, just… cutting off sight of everything. It was too early for it to be night’s darkness, and too solid a black for it to be anything except… what she had seen a long time ago. For whatever reason, she remembered that blackness. It had been all the way across the river so long ago, then just a bit nearer as recently as a month ago. What was happening to bring it so close now?

Akotherian was sleeping in the next room. The man was still adjusting to being worldly– so he said– and he had to rest often. But she wasn’t tired.

“Sonsedhor and Cheyne are coming,” he had told her days and days ago. His servants were bringing them. But how soon would it be there? And would it do for him what he thought it would? He was concerned. The world was shrinking, he had told her, dying. Slowly, all of the world they was giving way to a bleak blackness even he was afraid of.

But Sonsedhor would fix everything. If only he could take hold of it– take hold of the Mother’s gift to the world– he could force the blackness back. With Sonsedhor in his hands, he could even challenge the Mother herself and take control of everything!

She wondered what happened on the other side of the nothingness. How far in each direction did it really go? Her thoughts went to Hoeth for what felt like the thirtieth time this evening. Had he gone through the blackness to whatever lay on the other side? Was it death? Did the man she thought she might have loved even exist anymore?

The man she thought she might hate– who she had made exist– stirred in the next room. He was her soul. And more than once since she had sacrificed that part of her to him, she had come to realize he was sensitive to her. He could feel her emotions, even the faintest ones. Thinking about Hoeth was dangerous, she chided herself. Akotherian could seize on anything, any weakness, and use it against her. She had sworn complete obedience– and Akotherian would abuse that in an instant and order her to kill Hoeth if the opportunity arose again. She wished she could pray to the Mother that Hoeth would never come back for her. If he did, it would undoubtedly mean his death.

The few whispered words to the mother, her prayer, never came to her lips, but even so it was enough to bring Akotherian to her side. Silently, he wrapped a hand around her throat. But he didn’t squeeze.

“Emery was a great cop,” Deputy Chief Don Harson said over the phone. “Even after his health started going, he was a great example of an officer. Not one of those stereotypical desk-job doughnut cops.” He chuckled. Emery’s old boss seemed pleased with his wit– or lack thereof. “It was that jumper that did him in. But I’m sure you’ve seen the files on that, being at the mental hospital and all.” He rambled on for awhile, not really telling Becca anything new, but the man seemed to really have liked Emery. It was good to see that at least one of her patients had actually had a friend of sorts.

More calls told her that Sarah Landers, Emery’s mother, had passed away half a decade ago. His father Andrew was still alive, though, and Becca decided to give him a try. Even the files told her that Emery and Andrew had never seen eye to eye, but it was worth a shot.

Andrew was less-than-forthcoming concerning his second son. He was still helpful in pointing her in the direction of Emery’s sister Rebekah. The two had been fairly close as children– so he thought.

Excited, Becca hurriedly hung up with Andrew and dialed the number he had given her for Rebekah. She was more than happy to talk about her brother.

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