Saturday Short: Close Enough, Part VIII

“She’s too stupid to know what she’s done,” Silas continued. “But how did he get his hands on her. He hasn’t been in this area for years. The River has seen to that.”

There were many ways to infect an impressionable mind, especially a young one. Ways that didn’t require one to be physically present. The old saying might be that words couldn’t hurt you, but I always found that laughable at best and incoherent at worst. How could words not hurt yet knowledge was power?

It was bad to look to trite sayings for wisdom, worse to look to them to save you. Most of the time words got you hurt, at least in my experience with the young.

But Silas was right. There was no way to get that type of control without being present. He’d need a lock, a touch, something with her on it. Not even Mother was powerful enough to replace a mind without that connection. It made all of this unbelievable, impossible.

I grabbed on to the kitchen counter as another shockwave caused the house to shudder. The wooden frame groaned, but held. I would never complain about the Carpenter’s fees again.

“Well?” Silas was more impatient than usual in his fright.

“I do not…”

I spun around and ran to Sami’s room. I threw open her door without knocking. Her head snapped up, her eyes registered surprise then anger at my invasion.

“You can’t—“

“Did you go to your parents a fortnight ago?”


“Were you at your parents or not?”

“I haven’t seen my parents since last winter.” Her honest answer tumbled out of her mouth before her brain caught up. I saw the look of panic on her face as she realized her mistake.

“Where did you go?”

“I missp—“

I grabbed her shoulders, our faces inches apart. “We do not have time. Where did you go?”

“To Deeping Market. There was a festival…”

“Ah.” Silas sat in the doorway. “A masquerade no doubt.”

Sami nodded, tears welling up in her eyes. “I…I went with some of the other apprentices…”

I sank back on my haunches and rubbed my left temple that had begun throbbing in time with the rolling thunder. “And had your fortune told.”

“How did…”

“By a man whose eye color you cannot describe, but cannot forget. And voice that made you remember and forget. And you had an unexplained cut on the side of your finger that you noticed in the morning.”

“Yes, I…” Tears spilled as she jumped at the next shake of the house.

“Not good.” Silas cocked his head to the side, hearing something we did not yet. “Not good at all.”

“No, not at all.”