Tears filled her eyes, and she tilted her chin up, trying to keep them from falling. The Nyx-Shape became less distinct. But who was she fooling? Nothing in her life was distinct.
“Even when all I could see were the gods’ art, she was beautiful to me. Nyx. And I could always find her thanks to her Meaning. Her voice was sincere. In it I thought I could hear…” her chin crumpled, and she turned away, wiping harshly at her eyes.
She looked up.
In the fabric of existence, she could see the Far Away Lady was listening.
Her eyes narrowed.
Loudly, almost defiantly, she cried out, “Nyx, if you’re here, then I’m sorry I pushed you to tell me. I was stupid. You weren’t ready to say it, and I wasn’t ready to listen.”
She turned just enough to peer sideways at the Nyx-Shape. “The fact of the matter was, I never needed you to tell me you loved me.”
Elmiryn swallowed. Or tried. All of a sudden it became quite difficult to do.
She went to her hay bed and collapsed onto it, her body on her side and facing away from the stairs. With effort, she managed not to curl up.
“So if you’re real, then just… tell me something. Anything.”
Elmiryn watched the thread of the Lady grow brighter in the air. Wherever she looked it was there. Like it was re-threading itself into the fabric of existence just to hold her attention hostage.
“And when you start, just keep talking,” Elmiryn urged, her voice quieter, but tight with need. “Drown out the spirits.”
The Lady’s thread vibrated with her distant laughter.
Bug scared. SCARED! Stupid bug! the entity taunted. Want to be eaten?
Elmiryn squeezed her eyes shut. “Nyx—!”
She heard someone sit behind her.
“Elmiryn, did I ever tell you about the time Atalo learned how to climb fences?”
The question was so straightforward that the woman actually forgot what she was going to say. Her eyes ticked to the side as a response formed slowly on her tongue.
“Er, no?” she replied. Unable to resist, she let her knees bend like she was about to hug them, but she stopped them getting past her stomach.
The Far Away Lady’s thread vibrated harder as she spoke again. A low hiss filled the air.
Elle-Bug… This one saved you… Not dumb cat. Remember?
The real voice went on. “Oh, well, funny thing… You see, he didn’t just climb our fence. He liked to climb our neighbors too. It started to become problematic when he figured out how to climb back the way he came with whatever vegetables he’d stolen from their gardens.”
Elmiryn’s lips twitched up a little. “Sneak-thievery runs through the family, does it?”
She heard a brusque laugh. It sounded distinctly familiar. “Hardly! He was caught every time!”
This one can wait, The Lady pressed. Her thread hummed with irritation.
“So what did your mother do?” Elmiryn asked with a raised voice.
The Lady could go fuck herself. ‘Saved her’? The woman didn’t owe her anything! Certainly not for her so-called help!
Elmiryn heard the real voice say amidst her indignant thoughts, “A-Ma tied a rope to his belt loop to keep Atalo from leaving our yard!”
Wait… Is it really…?
There was another laugh, this time long and throaty. Elmiryn felt her skin flush hot and her throat clench with joy.
“And?” she asked with a thick voice. She smiled so hard it hurt her cheeks.
The pretty voice only laughed harder. “She forgot that Atalo had no problem taking off his pants in full view of everyone!”
Elmiryn rolled onto her back, and tears leaked from her eyes, streaking through the dirt on her face.
She looked at Nyx. The real Nyx.
“There you are,” she whispered happily.
The Lady snorted from far away. Her thread dimmed in the weave above them.
And still her broken words eked through.
Can wait… Elle-Bug…
Can wait for…ever…