Wordsmiths March Post


Landing was going to be rough; thankfully water would hurt my abused body less than land. I sighed and focused on the rapidly approaching surface, trying to point myself feet first. I slid a bit at the end, wincing as my back slapped down, the impact waking other hurts with a vengeance.

Water closed over my head. I looked up at clouds through spreading ripples and floating algae; it was peaceful, until Lallin’s face drifted by. I fought for strength to claw at enough water to break the surface, took a gasping breath then laid back, letting the cool water ease me, resting.

I smiled slightly as water ran off my face. She’d looked like a drowned cat that stormy night, as we nearly collided in our rush to get under the overhang of the transport shelter. Alone, physically fragile, someone I could have crushed with one fist, Lallin was understandably wary, but then she’d looked at me closely, and a smile lit her face. She’d known I wouldn’t hurt her, her gift allowing insight beyond my intimidating exterior.

My smile faded as I thought how, lately, she would not look too closely at me, for fear of knowing what I didn’t want her to know. The look in her carefully neutral face when I left last night haunted me, and I feared losing her; how quickly I’d gotten used to having her there, not just another presence, but someone who cared.

Strength seeped back. A quick look confirmed I was still alone, and I flopped up onto the pier, registering rough wood grain and poking splinters briefly. Ten minutes & several miles later found me hesitating at the bottom of the stairs to our apartment. I could see her standing by the window, staring across into the slowly brightening streetlight. She looked, not sad, but lost in thought, and I watched her for a few moments, gathering strength and resolve. This was the night; I had to speak now.

Stairs flowed beneath my feet. My key kissed the lock and the door opened, almost without pause. I entered in the same silent, fluid motion, not slowing or making noise as usual, but still she looked up, self-preservation instinct startling her backwards into the shadowed drapes of the curtain.

“Rioppa…?” She stepped back towards me as recognition reassured her.

I grinned. “Hey, girl, miss me?”

She grinned in response, eyes intent on mine, forgetting she had decided not to look at me. Her eyes widened further than I thought possible. She slowly sank to a chair, gaze never leaving my face, and nodded.

I grimaced, “Yeah, well, I missed you, too, and we need to talk.”

Astute eyes scanned my visible skin, flawless yesterday, narrowing slightly at bruises already faded to yellow-green. “Um. Yes, I can see that.” Then her eyes returned to mine, her face falling into serene lines as she read knowledge from me. “Thank you, Rioppa, for trusting me.”

And it was that easy.


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