February 17 at 10:00 PM
Photo courtesy of Stefan Wagner
"Cold, this heart," Yakim whispered. Although drenched, neither the frigid air nor falling essence fazed her. She continued along, barefoot and numb, dragging one before the other, yet another barren tree. "Barren." She traced a finger across her stomach. Her wound sometimes flowed; other times it vanished. It bled eternal, as long as she could remember.
Flecks of ash swirled in the wind, and settled on her moist dress. She let them fall without a care, and did not bother brushing them off. "Flesh and dreams to ash," she murmured, catching a stray ember with her hand. She blew it back, as if a kiss, and watched wings sprout from it. Had she caught a moth, and watched it flitter, or was it another shallow vision? She checked the scar, and like the moth, it was gone.
But Clarence's depraved words still lingered.
"Many must fail, so that few succeed," the words echoed through her soul. Although no longer present, she could still feel his stain. Indeed he was just as dangerous as Enura. She did not shudder at his desire to kill her, surely that was his plan all along, but his desire to kill the world over gave her pause. Such misplaced words fell from him; good thing he was not a vampire.
But what did he want with her? Enura could not be stopped, nor could she deliver her to him. This girl, this tiny girl, barely half vampire, little more than bones.
Sometimes thoughts fell from her, as if never conceived. And when she reclaimed it, the notion muddied with pangs of recollection. Had she known these things, done these things?
Shards of ice cut her feet, though she took little notice. A distance away the fire raged, stronger now than before. Yakim knew her fragile shell could not bare the storm much longer. Bare as she was, she had to seek shelter soon, and warm her raw feet before the cruel winter took them. Journeying to the blaze was her first chore, though the disciple would look for her there.
She held one distinct advantage: burdened by his fleet, Clarence was confined to the winding roads. He, too, could not expose himself long. Unwillingly, he would lurk near his transport, and avoid pushing too far ahead to engage her. If she wandered ahead now, and dried herself before he came, she would be in safe quarters before his arrival.
Yakim crept up to the shoreline. Fire flailed across the surface, neither still nor frozen. Black and murky, the waters teemed with chunks of ice floating out from its core. Yakim considered the drifting teeth. Despite their frequency, a clear path lay ahead. She could cross in a blink, and if there was time, leave behind a gift.
"Wicked, wicked heart." Her breath dissipated in short bursts. Before she gave herself a chance to reconsider, she dove into the black lake, unaware of the creature below.