#VisDare 28 – Obscured

Prompt: http://anonymouslegacy.blogspot.com/2013/07/visdare-28-obscured.html

Allabelle had never been in Daddy’s chambers, at least not since her naming ceremony, and she didn’t remember that, but she hoped this would be the last time. The air was fouled with incense and the smell of rotting offal, with something profoundly sour and more revolting underneath. His workbench was stone, a material that she had never seen before, but it was etched from the droplets of a thousand potions. There was only one light in the room, a wan yellow thing emanating from a ceramic bowl to her left. It didn’t flicker like fire, and she was glad she could not see how the light was made.

The workbench was large enough to hold two full grown men laid end-to-end, but today, it was empty save for two vials, each stoppered with glass. The one on her left was black, as black as Daddy’s hair, but the one on the right was absolutely colorless. It didn’t even reflect the light from the ceramic bowl.

Daddy stood behind the table, not speaking, not looking at her. His eyes were open, but the pupils were entirely dilated. As she watched, his chest rose and fell slowly, but it took a dozen or more of her breaths for him to complete one. She tried to match his stillness, but uncertainty and fear had nested in her brain, and she lost the battle with her youth.

The squeaking sound Allabelle made wouldn’t have drawn a raised eyebrow in a church full of mourners, but to Daddy, any failure was unacceptable. His gaze disconnected from whatever it had been drawn to and slowly fell on her. When he spoke, his voice came from behind her, in two places at once, but she knew that turning to look would have exacerbated what was to come, and she won the battle this time.

“You are weak. But you are of the blood, and your fortune will be told. But know that the spirit world consumes the weak. Be still, or suffer your fate.”

He unstoppered the bottle on her left and held it up, blocking his face from hers. The words he spoke now came from every direction, and weren’t in any language she had ever heard. The other bottle slowly lifted from the table of its own accord and hung next to the one in his hand. Daddy’s breathing stopped entirely as he opened the second one, and Allabelle did her best to copy him. She couldn’t see what it was, but it smelled sweet and diseased, like honey that had grown mold.  Something came out of that bottle and settled into the first one, and the blackness exploded, shattering the glass and engulfing them with smoke.

Still Allabelle did not move, although the voices turned to shrieks in her ears, and her heart beat a staccato pace which caused her to see red even in the dark.

Then the smoke vanished, and she was alone with Daddy. The look on his face was unreadable, and his gaze bore down on her more fiercely than before. She felt a bead of sweat form on her forehead, above her tightly drawn-back hairline, and she fought to keep it from running down over her face. Finally Daddy exhaled.

“You may go. The spirits know nothing of you.”

Allabelle walked out of the room backwards, moving smoothly so as not to break Daddy’s gaze. When she entered the cool air of the hall, she walked into something and almost jumped in the air, but knew that this was something benign, even beneficial. Turning, she saw the bright smile of her brother Caleb, holding his arms out to her as he knelt down to her height. Wrapping her in his warm embrace, he kissed her cheek and whispered in her ear. “Happy second birthday, wonderful Allabelle.”

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4 Responses to “#VisDare 28 – Obscured”

  1. Absolutely brilliant; loved the way you used a couple of words here and there to imply a bigger story, although the story itself is rich enough. Sweet disease…says it all about the nature of this necromancer and his work. Also really liked the point of view.

  2. Very well written. He sounds like he could be friends with some of my characters’ nasty fathers.

  3. Oh yes.. the imagery is great and I can almost smell the stale nectar..xx

  4. This is great. I love how you described the setting. It really made me feel I was part of the story. 🙂

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