THE SCARS OF THE SEA / book two /// chapter 35 - burdens (again, language, you get the drill)
Posted March 13th, 2017 by Garrett
in the chaos of my mind that i'm just too lazy to organize
a/N: IS HE ON A ROLL? I THINK HE'S ON A ROLL.
ALSO 98,000 WORDS. Holy moly this book will be the death of me.
| 35 |
The sisters whispered into the long hours of the night, until their words left one season and entered the next. Their conversations ranged from that of the past and the present and the future. What was to happen to them when Ciara decided to pull up their roots and leave Sudbury. Or maybe she would have the baby there and remain in the quaint little town for the rest of her days. She could start a lineage in this town. For centuries, people would speak of her family.
“Brana,” Ciara said in the dark. Her shoulder dug into the thin mattress of her cot. “Are you happy here?”
A moment of hesitation resonated between them.
“No,” Brana said.
“I’m not either.”
“If we stay,” Brana said. Her cot groaned. “For too long…we’re not going to leave.”
Ciara sighed. “I want to have my child here.” She cupped her growing stomach, warm under her shivering hand. A fortnight had passed since the last time Eliza had checked on her. She’d been busy caring for their own children.
“Care and attention is the way to raise a good baby!” Eliza often told her, sometimes accompanied by the wagging of one of her meaty fingers. Ciara followed the woman around day after day, scrutinizing every detail of her life. She set the children to bed for a nap five times a week in the afternoon. She tucked each one in with care and hugged them each twice at night, and kissed their foreheads once. During the night when the infant would wake up squalling, Ciara would tiptoe downstairs to see her doula’s antidote. She said that for each of her children it had taken a different trick to get them back to sleep.
For this one, it was a couple pages out of a worn children’s book. The cloth cover was fraying and the pages were yellow and halfway torn from the spine, hanging only by threads. Though little Emelie loved it and it put her right into a deep slumber.
“If your baby is born here then we’re never going to get away—”
“Hush, Brana,” Ciara said.
Her sister’s voice faltered. Silence remained in the debris of their conversation. A wolf howled far away, a low moan that stretched across the grasses and rang with the moon.
“I don’t hear anything,” Brana said.
She is still a child. But darker than before, tainted.
“I guess I just imagined it,” Ciara muttered. But she swore she heard something off through the cracked window between their cots.
“In…in the slave cart…” Brana’s voice trembled. “When you were talking to Phillip through the wall, I thought you were insane.”
Ciara laughed. “I was.”
“It’s never going to be the same as it was, is it?”
“Our lives. We’re always going to be messed up, right?”
Ciara turned over, hugging her swollen stomach through her nightgown. “Gods be good, I hope not.”
There was silence and Ciara thought that Brana had fallen asleep.
Then the young girl said, “You should go see Phillip.”
“He’s in the jail—”
“I know but you could still go see him. Talk to him. If you want him in the child’s life then he has to be in yours too.”
“I don’t know if that is what I want,” Ciara said.
“Well you need to find out.”
She pulled back her blankets and padded barefoot out of the room. The stairs creaked under her feet, even as she tried to make minimal noise. In the foyer, she grabbed her blue coat off a peg and shrugged it on. Then she was gone out the door, her feet already going numb against the biting cold of the first winter day. It was too early in the morning for the sun to have woken, but the stars were beginning to snuff one by one. The sky was navy on one side, a few shades lighter at the top, and in the east it had brightened to the color of Ciara’s coat.
It only took minutes to reach the jail on the town square from Howard’s house. By then the first rays of sunlight were peeking above the jail’s roof.
It was a tiny wooden building with barred windows in its facade and a sign on the door that read: Sudbury Jail.
A rug splayed before the door was the shade of blood.
Ciara wiped her feet on it and stepped inside. The floor was packed dirt, cool on her toes. She scanned the cells lining the walls. All were empty save for one. They hadn’t even bothered to assign someone to watch the single prisoner, and if they had then he’d bailed.
Phillip was sitting in the corner of the cell, hands draped over his knees, head hung as if he’d already given up. Ciara knew better. Manacles rubbed his wrists raw and red, and chained his ankles to the far wall. There was a rancid bucket that Ciara assumed was full of his piss and shit. And something with little eyes crouched in the left corner, watching both the man and the woman on the other side of the bars with curiosity.
Ciara wrapped her fingers around the bars.
“Hello,” she said.
Her voice struck a chord in his ears and he looked up.
His dark eyes bore into her, hair drooping over his forehead. “What the hell do you want?”
“I need to talk to you.”
“The child I carry.”
“Keep it. I don’t want anything to do with that thing if you’re going to be a bitch.”
“You don’t get a choice, Phillip. It’s my decision if you’re to be involved or not. You did this, not me, and I’m not going to let this child be a burden.”
“It’s already a burden, Ciara.”
“No, Phillip. I have a burden in my life, but its not my baby.”
“I want our child to know his father,” Ciara said.
“I want to know him.”
Phillip grunted. “I don’t care if its a boy or a girl, but I want to be there.”
“Then be here.”
“I can’t very well help you from behind bars.”
“Yes you can,” Ciara said. “There is nothing you can do for me physically, but you can talk to me. Tell me what you want and I’ll let you know if your plans align with mine.”
“And what are your plans?”
I don’t have any.
“Fine.” He craned his head back and Ciara heard a pop in his neck. Phillip sighed. “I want to be a part of the child’s life. I want to its father, not a stranger.”
“If you can promise to change your ways then I will consider your involvement—”
“Cut the shit, Ciara,” Phillip said. He crawled as far as he could to the bars and lifted his chained arm for her to see. His filthy sleeve dropped to his elbow and on his forearm was the scabbed, gross etching of an Exile. His chains rattled like bones, echoing through the empty jail.
Ciara’s mouth was a thin white line.
“I’ve changed my ways, Ciara.”
“You are not a Savage by affiliation. That doesn’t mean that your heart is any different than it was months ago.”
“How can I believe that?”
Phillip said, “Because I’m saying it.”
“Well I don’t trust you.” Ciara leaned against the bars, the metal digging into her forehead.
Phillip was on his knees before her, his image chopped in pieces by the cage he was trapped in.
“How can I ever trust you…” Ciara started, but stopped when she felt that all too familiar rock lodged in her throat. She tried to swallow it, but it was clogged in there. There was only one solution to dissolve it.
“I thought you said that your baby is a blessing.”
“It is.” Ciara used her gritted teeth as a dam to stop the flow of tears. “The result of what you did is a blessing but what you did was horrible. You used me as if I were just something to throw away. Something useless. You didn’t know me but you ravaged me and left me in the remains of a shattered window, in a city ridden with men just like you.”
“Worse than me.”
“Just like you. You are scum, Phillip. And maybe you are trying, but it is going to take a hell of a lot longer than you think for me to trust you with my baby. You are going to have to prove yourself before you’re allowed anywhere near me, or Brana, or my child.”
“Have I not already done enough?”
A solemn tear dribbled down Ciara’s cheek.
Phillip’s throat bobbed and he dropped backward, slumped against the far wall. The rat in the corner scurried away into whatever hole he’d come from.
The two sat in silence for an hour, maybe more…it felt like more. Ciara opened her mouth to say her farewells but her parted lips paused and what resulted was her word-stolen breath stirring the stiff air. The heart-chilling howl of a Savage horn tore through the quiet morning, lifting the ears of every wolf and prickling the hair on every human. Stealing the birds’ songs and the crickets symphony and Ciara’s goodbye.
The Savages’ horn wailed across Sudbury.
yes, the Savages are getting around amirite?
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