August 31, 2016

In Which Adonis Is a Pinched Candle

April 29, 1202

"I... I just..." Dora broke up her own sob with a cough. She'd been ill the past few days, to the point where Thetis Tumekrin had taken it on herself to make bowl after bowl of soup, to keep an eye on Ceidrid when Adonis had to work, to fight for sleep on the uncomfortable spare bed just in case she was needed in the morning. She was with Ceidrid now, downstairs, greeting Adonis as if she'd half-expected him to return as early as he had. The walls weren't thick. She'd probably heard more than Dora thought she had.

The sickness wasn't the half of it. "I can't remember anything, Adonis! I don't know, maybe it's the fever, but I can't! It used to be that everything seemed wrong, or that pieces were missing, but now it's all--just--gone!"

Adonis wiped his wife's brow with the cuff of his sleeve before lacing his arm around her back. The fever was as strong as ever. He wished she'd lie back down, but then again it had been long enough that bedsores may have been a concern. Still, her brow... "Darling, let me get you a cold cloth, for your head. It might be easier to talk about this if you're a little more comfortable."

"I don't--I don't know." He couldn't quite be sure she'd spoken in answer. "I don't feel like I'm here, even. I don't feel real any more. I don't know if I ever did."

"You're very real. And you're here. I know because the world's been better, since you've been here." And how unbearable a thought it was, that she might not recover--that she might cease to be here, and the world would return to what it had been before. "I wish I could help you with your memories. Perhaps Orrick, or Severin--"

Dora shook her head. "Orrick is my boss; I can't tell him about this. And Severin wouldn't understand. He's not like me. He's never been like me. Even when we were kids..."

Her words collapsed into sniffles as Adonis fumbled with the last of them. "What do you mean? You didn't know Severin when you were kids."

"I--I don't know who I knew when I was a kid. At this point, how can I know I even was a kid?"

She'd forgotten, he knew from the earnest shudders, just what she had said. It might not have meant anything. It might have been a patchwork of words collected from scattered thoughts, in the form of a complete but nonsensical sentence. If it meant anything, Adonis couldn't say he cared what.

She was the love of his life. He just wanted her to get better. "Dora..."

He took her in his arms and she clung to him tightly, fist balled around the fabric of his tunic. The tension of her grip was a wildfire he could not contain.

But her sudden release was a pinch to a candle.

"Dora!"

NEXT CHAPTER:

3 comments:

Van said...

Bleh.

Ann said...

What, what, WHAT?! Don't tell me she's dying! That can't be!

Van said...

No need to worry too much! I think there would be a few too many plot threads left untied if Dora were to die just yet. ;)