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    version 22: awakening


    GHAUL -- Year 209


    "(souls are not meant to live more than once — death was not meant to be temporary, and she is so sure that every time her heart starts to beat again that irreversible damage is further inflicted)" -- Anonya, written by Colby

    look me in the eye, starlust
    His birth had been unceremonious - one minute he was not, and then very suddenly he was. He doesn’t remember crying out in surprise at how cold the world was against his skin, but he can recall the way Starlust fussed with his mane. She pulled roughly and jerked his head around until she was satisfied with his appearance. Then, the moment she was content, his body began to bloom. Little vines crept from his mane and tail, and bright green shoots of tiny grass blades formed his coat. The boy was vibrant as the spring meadows in which they lay. Tiny pink flowers bloomed in the vines, lovely and soft. And then they all began to turn black. Black as the night, as the awful little heart beating in his chest.
    He looks up at her now, days later, with the glistening black fly traps quietly gnashing and testing their bite in the air. She has tried to shy away into the shadows and away from her monster child, but his ink black eyes command her attention.
    You haven’t named me,” he whispers, tears threatening to tumble down his cheeks. Starlust looks down at him, perhaps furious at the vines that have sprouted around her ankles to tether her in place.
    “Wilt,” she spits, but the command goes right over his head. The boy just grins and nods.
    Then I am Wilt,” he says as he settles down to sleep. The ground releases her and she immediately makes a break for it. Rage is an entirely new sensation to him, yet it festers up into the back of his throat rather easily. He doesn’t mean to, as he does not yet know his strength, but he drives his anger like a nail through her heart, letting all her nightmares bleed from the wound. Wilt watches her closely as she freezes and shies backward from whatever she sees. His grip loosens as she returns to his side.
    Please say you love me,” he says softly, and this time the tears do spill down his dark cheeks. “Please. Love me like I love you.
    The vines creep up her legs once more, gentle this time. They touch her cheek and explore her throat. She could rip them from her as easily as breathing, for now, but the threat is still there.
    Sister loves her children. She kisses them good night and tells them stories and you can barely look at me!” he shouts, rising onto his small branch legs now. He can make her stay, and he can even get her to lie to him. But he can never force her to mean any kind words that leave her tongue.

    sweating all your sins out,
    putting all your thoughts back together --

    She isn’t sure if she has ever felt real love for any of her children, but even her tolerance for them has dwindled as the years passed on.

    They are lucky now if they get names, much less kept alive.

    She would never kill them herself, of course. Murder was messy, and she has never much cared for the sound of bones breaking.

    As the days went on, it sounded more appealing, though.

     This one was, somehow, worse than all of her recent children combined.
    Starsin had eventually given up, too stubborn and proud to repeatedly ask for love and attention she was never going to get.
    Midnight had been easy to simply drop off with his older sister. She figured they could bond over her general dislike of both of them.

    But Wilt is a different monster entirely.

    She should have known this would eventually happen, that she could not keep up her dalliances with darkness and not expect it to spit something like this back at her. She debates locating her own mother, thinks at the very least Ryatah would be too soft to turn away her own flesh and blood. There is also a wicked kind of delight at the idea of telling her mother who the boy’s father is. Not that her mother would be jealous under usual circumstances, but she imagines she could spin the story until it at least got under her skin.

    She watches him with hard, jade-colored eyes as he sleeps, and as she always does, she turns to slip away.

    The fear that suddenly grips her, though, is unlike any she has felt before. It stalls her heart in her chest, steals the breath from her lungs, and sends her startling backward. She whirls around suddenly to pierce him with her steely stare, the fear replaced by fury as the vines wind up her pale legs. “You were not born of love,” she says, her voice level and icy. She does not move as the vines travel further up, creeping along her throat, across her cheek. It makes her skin crawl, sends shivers the length of her spin, but all she can do is stare, cold and unyielding. “If you want to live with your sister so badly, then go. She’s in Sylva.”

    A pause, and a calculated tilt of her head accompanied by a cool smile. “Or, maybe we can locate your father. Maybe then you’ll appreciate the fact that I at least tolerate you.”

    - - S T A R L U S T


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