Monday, July 21, 2014
February 25, part two
It was too late. They were gone, the Earther man was going to die in the most awful way I could conceive of, and it was all my fault.
I hadn’t been strong enough to torment the poor man, so Oses had taken on the terrible duty to keep me and my child safe. The Earther had been made to suffer because of my ridiculous agreements to Finiuld’s drunken arguments that I should make men like him pay. When I couldn’t bear to do it myself, Finiuld had taken it as a sign that our victim was good only for Tragoom fodder.
My fault. All my fault.
I guess I had a breakdown then. There is a period of time that I don’t remember. Oses later told me it lasted about two days. I simply curled into a little ball on the ground and wept. Except for falling asleep for some hours, during which I screamed from nightmares, I did nothing else.
Oses spent that time holding me. He kept trying to coax me back to sense, murmuring things he was sure I could no longer hear. He said my eyes, even as they spilled nonstop tears, were blank.
“That may have been the scariest thing I’ve ever been through,” he admitted when I rejoined reality and began talking sense again. “If you hadn’t cried, I would have thought your mind had been broken beyond repair. I hated seeing you weep, but it was the one thing that gave me hope you’d come back. If you were still in there somewhere, feeling pain, then you weren’t completely gone. That’s what I told myself, anyway.”
Maybe Oses was right, because after what felt like an eternity of blankness, I became aware of my surroundings once more.
I was in the pond, naked in Oses’ arms. I felt his hands moving carefully over my body. He was bathing me. It was soothing the way he cared for me. It was also utterly strange to have this wild, muscle-bound Nobek caring for me like a father with a baby. I felt safe though for a few precious moments before I remembered where I was and what had happened.
At that point, my consciousness begged to be taken away again. I didn’t want to be here anymore. I wanted to go back into the nothing I’d escaped to, where psychotic leprechauns didn’t drag off people to be eaten by monsters.
Yet I couldn’t go again, and after a few moments I realized why. I had a little hostage to fortune on board. I had to gather my strength and get the fuck out of here before the baby arrived. God only knew what Finiuld would do to us with a child to use again me.
Oses’ voice slowly penetrated my still somewhat foggy cocoon of madness, as if catatonia had decided it could release me now that I remembered I had something to fight for yet. In his deep, growly voice the Nobek crooned, “That’s it, Shalia feels better when she’s clean. Soon she’ll wake up and stop crying. She’ll be all right again, and we will find a way to tear that nasty little bastard to dripping shreds. I will eat his heart in front of his dying eyes, and Shalia won’t cry anymore.”
I guess that was the Nobek version of a lullaby. I blinked up at him.
He drew in a sharp breath. “I thought you were looking back at me finally, but I didn’t want to get my hopes up. Are you back? Can you talk to me now?”
I lifted a shaking hand to caress his jaw. “I guess I freaked out. Damn, I feel weak.”
Oses carried me out of the pond. “I haven’t been able to get you to eat. I’ve been saving your meals for when you came out of it. The last two should still be good.”
Remaining as solicitous as a parent with a sick child, Oses fed me. “I hope the baby is okay,” I whispered to him between bites. “What with me not eating and all.”
“I don’t know for certain, but I would think your body would continue to nourish the child. It’s not that far along anyway, so it hopefully doesn’t require much.”
I felt better after getting some food in me. I apologized up and down to Oses for going weak on him.
“No, don’t ask me to forgive you. There is nothing to forgive,” he insisted. He even managed a smile. “I am just glad you regained your senses. That took strength, you know.” He nodded to the ever-sobbing Plasian a few cells over. “She may never return. At least you summoned the bravery to do so.”
I asked Oses if anything important had happened while I was on my mental vacation.
He shook his head. “There has been no sign of Finiuld. No doubt he is hunting around for another man for you to claim justice from.”
I shuddered. “I am not as courageous as you give me credit for. I can’t do this, Oses. It’s too much. I’m afraid I’ll go insane for real if he brings another Earther man here. What the fuck do we do?”
Oses rubbed the palms of his hands over his face. He looked angry. “We must find a way to lure Finiuld into the containment. We have to kill him and get out of here before this goes any further.”
Our opportunity came the very next day, before we had any sort of a plan for it.