My husband screamed as he cowered behind the toilet, repeating, “Kill yourself. Please, kill yourself.”
The attack would begin in five hours. Brown passed the time making a sketch of their objective, the Castle of Light, with its circle of seven lofty towers, all aglow with some mysterious radiance, a different colour for each tower. It was the jewel of Calday. Taking it would humble the enemy, that was for certain, and if they could not take it, they would destroy it, reduce it to rubble with pneumatic artillery.
The tree reacted like a sleeping snake, surprised and awakened by an unwary walker’s foot. As I stooped to retrieve the black fruit, knotty limbs reached for me and coiled around my arms and legs and lifted me, squeezing and pulling.
Cara lifted the mushroom cap and stared at its underside. Innumerous indentations faced her like long, skinny, stretched mouths, row upon row, dangerous as shark teeth. She flinched, dropped the cap, and wrung her hand through the air. She couldn’t shake the repulsive feeling of close contact with those squishy, ravenous maws.
A few minutes later the door burst back open, and Jiala the jester cartwheeled in on one hand. His other held a scepter with a small replica jester’s head on it, complete with matching hat and festooned stick. Barclay sneered as Jiala hopped to the door and closed it. This newcomer’s emerald and ebon checkers, from tights to cap, blended in so well with the quilt that one could hardly tell where the bed ended and the fool began.
Dad whispered. “That’s a Dimetrodon sail. The spines are a touch lighter than the grass. The top matches the dry tips of fronds in summer heat.” He traced his finger down to the muddy body. “He blends with shore, then . . . .” He moved his finger left.
I may be low on company, but one thing I have in spades is time for thought. Far too much time, and, if I’m honest with myself, probably far too much thought than is healthy for me.
Then I saw her. Her face. Her eyes – maybe blue, maybe green – maybe just the colors of the sea clouding my mind, but bright. That’s what stuck in my mind the most, the brightness.
Of all the one time mortals, Arachne knew this best of all. Athena had cursed her arrogance by turning her into a spider. In her previous life, she had met the goddess’ skill on the loom. In her new one, she would best her cruelty.
A naked corpse lay in the dim dressing room’s corner…