*The plot bunnies struck last week. So I hope this small flash piece will keep them quiet for a while until I can focus on the trilogy idea they gave me. By the way, this takes place 3000 years in the future from the Phoenix trilogy I wrote.*
Her wrinkled hand clutched my arm. The fingers and grip were much stronger than I would've thought. Blue eyes shined clear and alarming in the moonlight. I placed my hand upon hers. It reminded me of parchment and ancient times.
"Mother, release me. I have to do this."
"No, I won't let you do this again, Apenth, my son. You know what will happen, if you do." Her nails dug into my flesh.
I closed my eyes and air entered my lungs. Images of the darkened city ripped into my heart. Smoke swirled around my other sight. I knew what would happen. Both outcomes. I gently pried her fingers from me.
"I'm sorry, mother." I turned my back on her.
"The gods will curse you. Please, they've already harmed us enough. I-I can't . . ."
I knew she would lower herself on her aged knees. She would beg me to stop, to stay. I couldn't. Without a backward glance, I disappeared from her side.
The shadows enveloped me. A woman's soft cries lured me to the farthest corner. Her dark hair draped over the swaddled baby. She was the one I saw in my visions, or rather the child was. The mother stilled as I entered into her grief. It pressed around me and a man's tears joined it. Like a palpable enemy, the sadness shoved me away.
Time was too short.
Invisible to these parents, I knelt before her. Wet blood seeped into my knees. My eyes briefly closed. I drew back the ragged towel used as a newborn's blanket. My fingers brushed against damp dark hair. Smooth, cool flesh met my touch as I placed my hand over her heart.
"Live," I commanded.
A gasp, a thump, and a wail rose from the infant. I spread my healing touch over the woman.
They would both live.
It was done.
Arms snatched hold of me. Night covered my eyes. I couldn't see. A roar built into my ears. I didn't think it would happen so quickly. I thought I screamed, but I couldn't hear my own voice. My body twisted in their cruel embrace.
Mother was right.
I was falling. The gods hit me with blindness, muteness, deafness.
The ground rose to embrace me.
My eyes opened to fabric and blond hair.
I could see.
"Oh, my sweet baby boy," the woman murmured, scooping me into her arms.
I could hear.
A cry erupted from my throat. Tears distorted my vision and slid down my cheeks.
I could speak.
"Mommy thought she lost you." She pressed me harder against her.
I peered at my tiny hands in awe. My head ached as the realization seized me by the throat. I couldn't breathe. The gods truly had cursed me.
I was human.
No more than a small child.
What had I done?