The Passed Note Issue 8 October 2018 - Page 54

Talia wasn’t where she had been standing, for now he crouched there, searching. He looked around in the crevices in the rock and back toward the trees. He looked because that’s what you did when you had lost something, but he knew, his whole body shaking, water dripping down his face, his clothes squelching with each movement, that he wouldn’t find her. His memories flickered and flashed like the lightning, but he couldn’t bear to look.

Ahmar crumpled to one knee, unable to stand where Talia had been in his mind’s eye, his head aching from the noise. Before him stretched the lake as far as the eye could see, frothing and bubbling, boiling with the violence of light and thunder. Silver and white and black and indigo, but she wasn’t there. She wasn’t in the water, or on the water, or in a boat. She had vanished into the storm.

His eyes caught on the ground next to his knee. He shielded his eyes with one hand, blinking the water from them, and hesitantly, fearfully, picked up the stone. The light flickered. Had he come out here twice?

A first storm, when his father had left. A second, when he had arrived in that town. A third, when after losing everything all over again, he had lost himself.

Talia pulled her long dark hair from its bun so that once more it was whipping in the wind, shrieking the truth into the wind even as it was chained to her. In