The Passed Note Issue 8 October 2018 - Page 51

“They call her the storm-witch, storm-born; foolish stuff like that. Just because she arrived in a storm. They say that’s why her children died, because they were a mix of land and water. I’m sure that’s just made it harder for her.” The old woman had shaken her head with a worried frown.

“And her husband?”

“He’s dead. He got pneumonia, poor man, and couldn’t shake it. She used to smile, Talia. Now she just looks out and away, like she’s looking for something. Him, maybe.”

Ahmar knew that look. It was the one that drove him crazy, the one that made him want to find whatever it was and bring it to her. The one that made him feel that at any moment, she might disappear.

Thunder crashed again. He was shivering, but he couldn’t stop now. The elder had told him that she had said she wouldn’t come back, that she was going home. Going home. . . Where was that? Home to her dead family? Home to the place beyond the lake? Or home to the storm?

Talia’s hair whipped about her as she stood tall and strong like the figurehead of a ship. Her hands were at her sides, her calm face turned toward the heart of the lake. She was black one moment, white and sapphire the next and silver in-between, like she was part of the rocks, part of the sea, part of the storm itself.