They were sitting in the park, a child had come running up chasing a creature no one else could see, playing a game in augmented vision. She swiped at something in the air between them.
Yris watched her run off already obsessed by the next intangible she needed to track down.
“She knows,” Soraya said, as the child danced away over the sunlit grass. “She called me to account for my activities this last cycle.”
The pit of his stomach tightened and he looked at the woman sitting beside him, unsmiling. Her face was haunted by shadows of sadness and fear, beneath the sweep of blue-black hair. He reached out and gripped the two slender hands resting in her lap.
“Then we will have to go. I won’t lose you.”
“But nothing. It is time to make a stand. My sister has dictated the course of my life long enough. I will not have her destroy the one thing that makes me truly happy.”
The shadows lifted from her face for a moment, and the smile was as sweet as life itself. “She will not let us go easily.”
“I know. I’ve known her a long time. A very long time, more than four times as long again as you have been alive. So you must trust me when I say I know how to deal with her.”
The blue-black hair swung as Soraya turned her face away, watching the child running after her private ghosts. For a moment, Yris envied that unknown child, her freedom and potential had yet to be curtailed by life.
“I don’t know,” Soraya’s voice came from behind the veil of her hair. “I’m not sure we get to live happily ever after.”
“No ‘ever after’ is happy forever.”
It got dark as he spoke. The air was no longer crisp and fresh, but brackish and still. Shadows flickered from the weak lights.
“But ‘tsa story, Gran’pa. It says so – so they did.”
The small dark eyes looked up at him from a face wearing a defiant expression.
From ‘Tongueless Caverns’ by E.M. Swift-Hook, one of the stories in Inklings Press newest anthology Tales From The Underground: Twelve tales of hidden legends which is available for preorder now.