Dark Sister (Part 3)
I don’t even know what day anymore
“Hey! Could I get some books at least? It’s pretty boring in here. Please?”
“Prison is not here for your entertainment,” To-ong declared, as he pushed in the food tray. Well, at least he had a sense of humour, of sorts.
“Could you at least tell me what day it is?”
“Does it matter? Does it change anything about your predicament?”
Well, if nothing else, To-ong, last and most dangerous bastard of Ätile was rather articulate I had to give him that – I guess that came with serving a wizard.
“The point is, you are still married to your husband.”
“I’m not… he’s not… why is this so goddamn important to you?”
“The union of a firstborn and a vohiek – it is unheard of. It happened only once in recorded history.”
I knew the story of Elizabeth, or Bessa, as she is called by vohieks, and Bokte, doomed lovers, executed in all sort of gruesome, horrendous, not nice ways. I was a Death Bride by profession, but I didn’t feel like dying at all. Not for such a stupid reason. “You are not thinking of some kind of reenactment of the Bessa and Bokte story, are you? I mean I’m not involved with him that way, you know. As I’ve pointed it out countless times already.”
“Don’t get all worked up…”
“Don’t tell me not to get worked up. You’re not the one locked up in here, with no idea what’s gonna happen to you.”
He didn’t reply.
“Can you at least tell me how you’ll sacrifice me?”
“Not me; my maker, Ätile will.”
“Maker? Are you a robot, or something?”
He made an irritated sound. Obviously he said more than he’d intended.
I entertained myself by walking up and down, doing strengthening and stretching exercises between meals. I was almost hoping against hope that Tim would come and we would get done and over with the sacrifice, but obviously he had no plans of joining me. I was annoyed with him and with myself for expecting him to rescue me like I was some kind of stupid damsel in distress. The princess in the Tower. Which, come to think of, I was, sort of. Sort of princess in a sort of tower. “I’d really rather get on with that goddamn sacrifice than rot in this cell another day. Please, is there no other way to bring him here? He obviously has better things to do than trying to save me.”
“Don’t call him that, damnit! If he was my husband, he’d at least make an attempt at freeing me.”
“Maybe you just have to call him. Have you never thought of that?”
“What do you mean?”
“He can’t hear you if you don’t talk to him.”
I tried to get a better look at him through the slot. “Are you bullshitting me?”
He just stood there waiting.
“Hey! Tim! You hear me? Come ‘n get me out of here, bitch!” I peeped at To-ong through the slot. “Look, I really don’t think this is gonna work. We did not part on the best of terms.”
“There are ups and downs in the best of marriages.”
I took the orange juice off the tray and threw it at the slot, trying to splatter him with it with mixed results. “Oh, piss off. What are you, some kind of marriage counselor?”
“Maybe you should try it with some feel. I know you are used to getting your way but maybe, just this one time you could try asking nicely?”
I tried to catch his eyes, which was kinda hard as the slot was around the height of his waist. “With feel.”
“Go ahead, give it a shot; do you have anything better to do? The sooner he gets here, the sooner we can get started.”
I sighed. “Nicely,” I echoed with all the scorn I could muster. “Tim,” I whispered breathlessly, “my beloved husband! Come and get me out of here, I beg of thee!”
I dearly hoped To-ong appreciated the show I put on, but when I checked, he was gone.
Day n+2nd found me in my room, in the Debil klub. I sat up with a start and looked around wildly. Was I dreaming? I ran out to the corridor. “Sindre? Gai?”
Tim’s door opened. “Oh. Good morning.”
“Wh… what’s going on?”
I sat on the chair he offered as if I was moving in a dream.
“So you did call for my help in the end.” He shook his head, as he poured some water. “All that sarcasm, though…”
I felt suddenly faint. The length he’d go just to win, just to have the last word. “To-ong, Ätile, the sacrifice, all of that was a load of crap…”
A light smile crossed his face. “How did you like the food? A taste of home – a nice touch if you ask me.” He offered me the glass, but I didn’t take it.
“What day is it?”
“Sunday. You made it. You are still my Oiskog-bride.”
I looked up at him, into those very blue, whiteless, three pupiled eyes, the clear one and the cloudy, ruined one. “You are sick. A psychopath.” I said with numb lips. “Just… go away.”
He laughed. “Where to? This is my place, remember? Don’t worry, a lot of people who don’t understand magic and catch a glimpse into its depths react the same way.” He stopped and looked down at me as if struck by an afterthought. “So, you give up then? Just before the end?”
I felt a surge of hate towards him. He knew exactly how to play me. “Is this all this is for you? A fucking pissing contest?”
So, only two days have passed. Two days, during which he kept me in this… limbo. Illusion? Dream? Or did he actually open another, timeless dimension? He was right; I had no idea of the power Aziz-priests wielded, or of his rank within the order. Just thinking about the possibilities filled me with fearful respect. I was never a match for him. In the end he did manage to freak me out, the bastard.
In the evening we gathered in the Golden Knight, the biggest and most popular vohiek tavern in the capital city, where the Oiskog usually ended.
I went with the other vohieks – with the vohieks, I mean. I was back in my disguise. The mood was cheerful, ribald as is fitting a spring ceremony, with food and draught abundant on the long table. Only I sat in a glum silence.
“What was that about my music?”
He flinched. “What?”
“Your creature, or robot or whatever it was said you needed my music for some reason. What was that about?”
For a long time I thought he wouldn’t answer and when he did, he spoke so softly I thought I misheard him. “He is not a robot.”
Before I could ask him further, Esty squeezed my arm. “You did make it!”
I turned to look at her. She saw the wound in the corner of my lip and her smile withered.
“So, Nenya,” that was Johnny, one of their numerous second cousins. He sat across the table from us, a blond guy with a scattering of small, round insect eyes on the top half of his face, all of which were focused on me now. I could never get used to the sight of them blinking all at the same time. “Any final thoughts?”
My hand crept to my mouth. “You want my final thoughts? He is a total whacko, a full-on psychopath.” I thought for a while. “At least he’s not boring, I have to give him that, I guess.”
“Mydzi Möjz!“ Johnny muttered. He turned to Tim instead. “Rev?”
He deliberated for a long moment. “She is hard to get rid of.”
Some of the beetle eyes flicked back to me. “Do you think you could stick by him long term?”
I looked at Johnny incredulous, then at the Rev. I took the ring he gave me at the beginning of this long-long week and put it on the table. “I really don’t think so.”