Nico had the vague impression that the impact crater was too small for the body that had caused it. She also had the distinct impression that the molten mass at the bottom, deep iridescent green like beetle wings, was not a meteorite, particularly when it started moving.
It flowed together and rose, like a slime mold attempting to take on a humanoid form.
A psychic message flooded Nico's mind, which put it in words as "Fear not!"
After a moment's pause, she answered, "If you're going to tell me I'm pregnant, there will be trouble."
Some thoughts want to circle in your mind endlessly, stealing time, blurring focus. Doubts and worries are fond of that. They crave attention. They need some of it, rightfully, too, but take as much as they can get.
I've found that some rituals help. I guess it's how confessionals help those that belong to a church that practices it.
I don't, so I had to try and come up with my own way to take those thoughts out of my head so I could have a good look at them, giving them what they wanted, with the effect that I needed.
That's why I spent more time than some people liked carving the names of friends on little wood plackets, and "be safe" on the reverse, and burned them. Carving takes more time than writing. Fingers and eyes work, the mind remembers the person. My worries for my absent friends go up in smoke and crumble to ashes.
Today's problem is harder. The people I killed yesterday... I don't know their names. I hardly know their faces. What I have to focus on to anchor them outside my head is their deaths, my blade cutting their flesh, their blood covering my hands.
There is still the impulse to fight guilt with justifications and apologies, when what is needed is one undiluted prayer: Rest in peace.
Light played on the iridescent feathers of the Kingfisher mask. The huge, dark glass eyes looked strange. An enticing danger, a challenge. Or mockery?
Nico shook her head and looked around her room. It was small, the mask was bulky, and she was foolish for not re-selling it. Though she wasn't so short on either cash or space she couldn't afford a bit of sentimentality. That was all there was to it. Right?
There were people in town she could consult to find out if the mask was enchanted or haunted. But quite apart from the cost, she didn't want to. She was quite sure the feeling of being someone slightly different when wearing it was all in her head. It was the same in other situations where she had to, or wanted to, pretend.
And if she was wrong? Well, it would be rude poking into the mind of anything with a personality, particularly if you liked him. It. Whatever.
That was a better reason than, I like the little thrill of this doubt.
Nico ambled away from the main hubbub of the party, and found Daaren on the veranda, apparently watching the gardens. She propped herself up next to him, and asked conversationally, "So, why'd you leave?"
The view from the shoulder of the Tellanot - that's a mountain, in case you didn't know - is amazing. If you inch right to the edge of the cliff, and lean forward, You get a feeling almost like falling up into the sky.
I guess I was caught up in admiring it a bit too much, for the next thing that happened was that I fell down past the ground; the edge had crumbled. I twisted and tried to grab the new edge, and Daaren successfully grabbed my wrist, and well, the usual you'd expect happened. With me down the cliffside and him flat on the path, he said, "Don't look down."
I looked him in the face while trying to find some purchase with my other hand, and feet, and asked, "Sure, but tell me why."
He didn't answer until we were lying both on sound rock, panting, myself more than him. Sound rock has benefits, too.
Then he answered, "I thought you might get stupid ideas. Like jumping."
Made me laugh until I couldn't breathe at all anymore. Right to the point, that's him.
She lay cradled in a little nest that had grown for her, at the heart of a little world she had made using scavenged memories and wishes. The slight swaying of the tree caused by the wind she had summoned was soothing, as was the lack of voices. She liked being around people, but sometimes solitariness was good. From being pulled any which way until you were stretched so thin you barely knew yourself anymore, you could gather yourself into a compact drop, so each part of you kept all the others in its sights.
The downside was that too much navel gazing rotted your mind, and too much time alone led to boredom.
At some point, hurt and afraid after being betrayed in on of the bigger worlds she thought of as "outside", the thought had crossed her mind that being a Creator meant that she could make people for company, too. She found the thought of being able to create a person to her tastes of company, and changing them on a whim sickening.
Her world felt less real than the outside worlds, and it would remain so. A temporary retreat, and a place to stash the few mementos she wanted to hang on to.