Thursday, November 4, 2021

The Wandering (Part 12)

Night. We are upstream from the moon-sisters, close enough to see the lights of their fires. Ignose is bathing her swollen feet in the river while I light our own flame. I reach around Roan to pull the flint out of Ignose's pack, and strike it against my knife. Soon we have our own flame, carefully hidden behind a rocky outcropping where we will escape notice. 

A Lyx howls somewhere behind us. Ignose pulls her feet out of the water, and hobbles over to me. She has caught two fish in her basket. She looks much better, the marks from her beating have turned to bruises now, her swelling face a normal size. Instead of a puffer frog, she looks only like she fell into a patch of wineberries, the purple and black juice dotting her skin. I smile at her, but turn to look into the dark, searching after the sound. 

“We must keep our fires well stoked tonight,” She says, looking in the direction of the Lyx with me.

I nod. I had never seen a Lyx.

“Tell me a story about the Lyx,” I ask Ignose, as I gut and clean the fish, spitting them on a stick over the fire to cook. Even though it is night, the fullness of two moons, and half of a third brighten the sky to dusk. And if you squint a tiny tinge of pink pervade the horizon, signaling autumn with the rise of the red moon.

Ignose gathers Roan to her, and latches him to her bare chest. She nods, and I passed her a handful of berries and dew-folded leaves, feeling my excitement rise. Ignose tells the best stories. And she had not told me one since the day she had spoken of my birth, many months ago.

One time, I was 2 hands old, just as you are.

Dark and skinny and dirty, hair matted like an old oak

On my walks to the cave

I would sleep in a tree, perched tall

Like Yeul, who flies over the mountains

That night,

one night when the night sky

was alight with the light of the moon

I awoke 

the silence shook me

and the stars were whispering

my body thrummed and

my breath stilled in my lungs

I looked down

what had called my name

what has shaken me

from slumber?

Oh, yellow eyes of the lyx

down below in the shadows

three cubs, soft with ruby fur

feet padded like the wind

beasts of wild power

As I watched

she; tail twitching, prowling

seemed to say

go back to sleep

Ignose my daugher

it's not worth the mud

to eat you.

I sigh with satisfaction when she is done, picking my fish from the flames, my hand wrapped in my furs, to singe my mouth as I gulp it down.

Ignose crooks her lips, reaching for her own fish.

“Hot” she cries, but a few minutes later I hear a sigh escape her lips, too.

Roan has fallen asleep on her chest. We both lay down on our furs, me to stare at the stars and Ignose to..? I turn over to look, but she has curled inward on herself, her body contorted like the spiral of a sea shell.


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