“Prince who became King.”
Shay turned her head toward him. A look of curiosity washing across her cinnamon complexion. Without a word spoken, she had moved her question into Ethan’s mind.
You spoke those words to me a moment ago, he said, continuing their private conversation.
They were still making a long trail down the road that led through the center of the sleeping city. Along the way, they passed a green rectangular sign hanging from a rusted metallic pole that poked high into the overhead sky. Broadway. That is what was printed on the sign in bold white letters. Ethan had been schooled thoroughly in many subjects and had easily read the wording. He conveyed the message to Shay, who had had limited schooling and had struggled with the first half of the signage. He also told her that this road had once been a main concourse for the city; a large gathering place for all of its long-gone inhabitants. She nodded in understanding. They would talk much more on the subject in days to come. For now, she only needed this small piece of information to know that this place had once been sacred to a people who had gone silent and whose children had scattered to the four winds.
Shay had chosen to keep their current conversation private because she still had no trust for the lean shadow slipping alongside them down the road, hidden in the dark shapes cast by the large piles of debris strewn by the roadside.
I don’t remember saying that, she silently whispered to him. She was slightly disturbed by this. A full minute had gone by where she had no memory of what had occurred. It was as though her mind had seized her completed, and the essence that stirred within her stomach and chest – elders had spoken the word soul once or twice when she had inquired about it, and their brows were always wrinkled with fear and worry, dread at having said the name aloud – whatever it was that made her her had gone off elsewhere, to a place she could not recall or imagine but that she knew she had been during that moment. I don’t remember anything at all. What happened?
After you tossed the snake, you came back from the side of the road. And you were different. Your eyes and hair. Your skin. It all glowed. Not like before, at the castle. This was different. Ethan paused and let his fingers slip down to the smooth, brown skin of her forearm. He turned and looked deep into the hazel of her eyes. Then you reached out and touched me and I felt a change work through me also. You went into a trance and began to speak a verse. You called me Prince who became King. He stopped a moment, trying to give her time to process what he had said, hoping that it would spike a memory of the event. Do you remember now? Deeper into her eyes, he stared, not realizing his breath had stopped in hope of receiving answers to so many questions that had stirred up in him since that moment.
Shay’s eyes drifted off to the side, breaking their stare. Her mind tried to reach and grab for any bit of memory. But only faint sparks of blue and silver danced across her inner vision. Nothing else returned.
“It is your destiny,” a dark voice, Drek’s voice, cut into the midst of their mind-bond, what the elders would have called a phaze. “You are the end and the beginning, which is why they took you and kept you and tutored you…and tormented you…to raise you as one of their own.”
from By Moonlight, An Apocalyptic Fairy Tale, by Q. Lenise Lee
©2019 Lenise Lee Pubn.