Saturday Short: Close Enough, Part IX

“What are you talking about?” Sami hurried to follow me into the kitchen.

I ignored her as I pulled the canisters of flour and sugar from the cupboard and felt for the knothole behind the papered wall. I pushed it and the back of the cupboard swung in.

“What…” her question trailed off as the house shook again causing us all to catch our balance.

“The mountain has surrendered,” Silas said as if reporting the weather.

“Yes, thank you.” I pulled out the bundle I’d stashed behind the cupboard. I’d hoped not to need again. Not after my last apprentice. “Do you know how to use one?”

“One what?”

I pulled out one of the weapons from the bundle and snapped it open with a flick of my wrist, the blade glowed with the flash of lightening from the storm. It was a very old sword, one that the craftsmen no longer knew how to forge. The sheath of the blade was its handle, as long as my forearm. It made it easier to carry, easier to conceal than today’s swords.

“We don’t have to learn to fight. We’re responsible for making things grow!”

“That is not what I asked.” I pulled the second sword from the bundle and palmed it, holding it out to her. “Do you know how to use one?”

“Yes,” she said in a whisper. “I do.”

“Then for Mother’s sake take the blade.”  I thrust it in her hand.

She shook her head and tried to shove it back to me. “No. I don’t want to.”

I grabbed her by the collar of her dress, an affront that could get me expelled from the Sisterhood or worse, but there was no time. “I do not care what you want. I do not care what happened to you in the past. What you did or did not do, does not concern us. What I care about is surviving until tomorrow. So take the damn blade and try not to run any of us through with it. And if we survive, we can talk about your wants tomorrow.”

Her eyes narrowed as I spoke until the panic turned to anger. That I could work with. That might keep her safe or at least safer.

“The River is boiling.”

I ran to the window, not that I doubted Silas, but I needed to see for myself. The mists rose where the River should be and though I knew the mists would be as hot as teakettle steam, my heart felt like a shard of ice had lodged in it. I was afraid.