Story by Martha Ostout
“Are you certain of this?”
“I have checked my calculations at least 10 times. There is no other way to go about this.”
There is a moment of silence as their eyes meet for what is likely the last time. A breath and then she is hugging him with everything she has. It’s not a strong hug, she has never been a strong woman and even after all that they have gone through, the physical trials as well as the emotional ones, her body has remained thin and waif-like. She will never be a big woman, it’s more than just her genetics, it’s her spirit. She will stay small until the day she is no more.
“I will miss you, my feathers.”
She nods, but keeps her silence. She will never see him again and he has done more for her than even her own family.
He finished drawing the runes and symbols around the pentagram as she sat placidly in the middle. Candlelight gave him just enough illumination so that he could see what he was doing. The windows had been heavily shuttered and barred from entry and the single door as well. If they had been able, they would have bricked and mortared all openings as well.
This was their only chance to get this done and they didn’t want to be interrupted.
Interruption of the ritual would kill them if they were lucky enough.
Either way, it was unlikely that he would survive the outcome of this endeavor.
All rituals needed some kind of sacrifice.
It was something he was willing to do for someone who had tried so hard to help him.
(It never occurred to him that this was her plan all along. After all, all the old tales warn you about trusting anything non-human for a reason.)
(He didn’t see her smile and if he had, he would have thought of it as sweet and not malicious.)